Fund-backed firm buys Brazil exploration assets

Barra Energia, a Brazilian company backed by fund managers First Reserve and Riverstone Holdings, has agreed to acquire a 10% stake in Block BMS-8, an oil exploration block, from Shell Brasil Petroleo.

Barra Energia do Brasil e Gas (Barra Energia) has entered an agreement to acquire 10 percent of the Block BMS-8 oil exporation block off the Brazilian coastline from Shell Brasil Petroleo, which owns 20 percent of the block. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Barra Energia’s principal investors are First Reserve Corporation, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based energy and energy infrastructure specialist, and Riverstone Holdings, the New York-based energy- and power-focused private equity firm.

The BMS-8 block is located in the Santos Basin in water approximately 2,100 meters deep. Petrobras, the Brazilian energy firm, is the operator of the block with a 66 percent interest. Galp, the Portuguese oil and gas company, holds a 14 percent stake.

“This…is the first major acquisition for Barra Energia as we execute our strategy to build a high quality portfolio of exploration and production assets in Brazil, and we continue to evaluate other opportunities,” said Renato Bertani, chief executive of Barra Energia, in a press release.

Barra Energia is focused on petroleum exploration and production in the Brazilian sedimentary basins. First Reserve closed its most recent private equity fund on $9 billion in 2009 and its debut energy infrastructure fund on $1.2 billion earlier this year. Riverstone Holdings has $17 billion under management across six investment funds.