For a moment, I was excited -- someone was bidding for Apache (APA - Get Report) , one of the independent U.S. exploration and production companies, signaling that the long wait in collapsing oil stocks was finally coming to an end, and a chance for a sustained rally might be beginning.

An already year-long price drought in oil and natural gas had destroyed the energy space, and what was so clearly needed was an avalanche of buyouts, restructurings and outright bankruptcies in oil companies in order to get the market back on its feet.

Was the Apache deal going to be the one to kick off the M&A barrage I had long been expecting?

I was hoping for a well-heeled suitor, someone with lots of positive cash flow and a long-term outlook on oil prices. I was hoping for Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) or BP (BP - Get Report) .

What I got was Anadarko (APC - Get Report) . With their own debt issues, it was immediately clear that the deal wasn't nearly so exciting -- and certainly no harbinger of an avalanche of deals to come. Anadarko was merely trying to steal the assets of the undervalued Apache, using as little cash as possible and its own pressured shares as buyout currency. Not surprisingly, Anadarko was rebuffed by Apache and withdrew its bid on Wednesday.

I'm still waiting for the start of an avalanche of energy deals -- a landslide that must come if production is ever going to contract to sustainable levels and the oil market is given a chance to clear.

So far, that's all I've been doing -- waiting.

Meanwhile, I play a fun game with Jim Cramer in the attached video -- speculating on who the best targets are for acquisition. We talk about Continental (CLR - Get Report) , Anadarko (APC - Get Report) , EOG Resources (EOG - Get Report) , Devon (DVN - Get Report) , Hess (HES - Get Report) , Whiting (WLL - Get Report) , Cimarex (XEC - Get Report) , Concho (CXO - Get Report) and perhaps a few others -- check it out.

It's a fun game, but I'm still left wondering when those acquisitions will start.

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author was long EOG and HES.