The drop in oil prices will probably spur smaller oil and gas explorers in Africa to consider mergers to fund their ambitions, according to Pura Vida Energy NL.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s $70 billion deal to buy BG Group Plc may be followed by mergers and acquisitions among smaller operators, according to the Perth-based company, which started drilling off Morocco this week. Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC is its partner.

“If that deal tells you anything, it’s that the industry sees more value than equity markets are giving companies,” Managing Director Damon Neaves said in a phone interview.

 While Pura Vida isn’t focused on potential M&A, “it’s fair to say we’re open to ideas,” said Neaves, whose company is also looking for a partner in Gabon.

Pura Vida is among smaller explorers, including FAR Ltd., Otto Energy Ltd. and Cooper Energy Ltd., with prospects in Africa, which in 2013 had half of the world’s 10 largest discoveries.

Pura Vida fell 6.5 percent Wednesday to 43 cents a share in Sydney trading, the most in six months, valuing the company at A$64 million ($50 million).

Source: Bloomberg