The average price for U.S. onshore unconventional acreage has declined by more than 70% in the last two years, a precursor to more consolidation through 2022, according to Rystad Energy.

The price for Lower 48 acreage fell on average to $5,000/acre this year from $17,000 in 2018, the result of lower West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices. That could lead to more tie-ups between rival exploration and production (E&P) companies. 

“Fundamentally, tight oil and gas economics have improved significantly since 2018, yet the implied price strip in our new base case is substantially lower than it was in 2018,” Rystad analysts said. The lower strip price reduces a “large portion” of undeveloped net present value, or NPV, potential. 

While overall acreage prices are down, the...