Oil and gas executives can't agree on whether a comprehensive U.S. domestic energy policy is in the cards, though most agree that merger and acquisition activity in their sector is likely to heat up. Those are some of the findings of a survey of 108 executives from oil- and gas-related firms who attended a recent global energy conference presented by accounting and tax firm KPMG LLP. While 42% of respondents said they believe an energy policy will be achieved in the next five years, an equal percentage said it is unlikely to occur. Sixteen percent expect a comprehensive policy in the next six to 10 years. Merger activity in North America is expected to rise in the next three years, said KPMG LLP. Almost two-thirds (65%) of survey respondents said they believe consolidation likely would occur among small independents. A smaller percentage, 52%, said they expect consolidation to occur between the largest firms and large independents. "The results indicate that oil and gas producers will be refocusing their attention on the North American market and strengthening their balance sheets through acquisitions," says William Kimble, industry sector leader for KPMG's Energy and Chemicals practice.