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UK's Harbour Energy eyes 'a number' of M&A opportunities

(Reuters) - UK's largest oil and gas producer Harbour Energy is evaluating "a number of material" merger and acquisition opportunities as it looks to build a global company as part of its strategy, Chief Executive Linda Z Cook said on Wednesday.

"Recent large transactions in our sector and our own discussions with potential counterparties indicate that market conditions for M&A are improving," Cook said in a statement.

"We remain disciplined, balancing the return of excess capital to shareholders with ensuring flexibility for meaningful, value accretive M&A which would support shareholder returns over the longer run."

There have been a couple of mega mergers in the U.S. oil and gas sector recently, such as Exxon Mobil's $60 billion deal for Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron's $53 billion deal for Hess Corp in October.

Harbour Energy itself was created in 2021 after an all-share merger between Chrysaor and Premier Oil to create Britain's largest oil and gas producer.

The London-listed company on Wednesday kept its annual production forecast unchanged.

Harbour Energy shares were up 2.8% in early trade.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)