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North American oil deals trickle back after Brexit shock

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012.

Acquisition-hungry energy companies are back on the prowl.

Dealmakers have recovered from the shock of Britain's "Brexit" vote last month to leave the European Union and have resumed buying oil and gas fields in choice locations in Canada and the United States, restocking their inventories on a bet that a two-year slump in the price of oil has abated.

"Buyers are increasingly confident in a stable to slowly increasing oil price - as are their funding sources, whether private equity funds or public market investors," said Bobby Tudor, chief executive of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co, an oil and gas investment bank.

Oil prices CLc1 have held steady at or above $45 a barrel for a majority of the last two months and touched a 2016 high above $51, ahead of the British referendum.

Tudor said buyers were banking on it eventually settling at around $60 a barrel, giving them confidence about buying drilling acreage in some of the nation's shale heartlands.

U.S. oil and gas producer Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG.O) last week said it would spend $560 million buying leases on oil-rich land in the Southern Delaware Basin, within the Permian Basin, the top U.S. oilfield, where initial production results have been strong and costs are coming down.

A day later, U.S. energy company Laredo Petroleum Inc (LPI.N) said it would spend $125 million buying acreage in the Midland Basin, also part of the Permian.

These deals mark a resumption in buying after Brexit caused a temporary lull in acquisitions.

Before the British referendum on June 23, buyers and sellers had grown comfortable with the idea that oil had rebounded from 12-year lows. That conviction helped to unclog the acquisition...