PE trio in $470m energy commitment

Quantum Energy Partners, Carlyle/Riverstone and Lime Rock Partners will back an ‘unconventional’ natural gas exploration company.

A consortium consisting of the private equity firms Quantum Energy Partners, Carlyle/Riverstone and Lime Rock Partners have committed $470 million (€355.9 million) to Vantage Energy, an oil and gas company based in Denver, Vantage said in a statement.

“Vantage will focus on the acquisition, development and exploration of unconventional natural gas resources, primarily tight gas sands, gas shales and coalbed methane, onshore in North America,” the statement said. “Vantage will acquire and develop properties with significant undeveloped potential and apply technical and business expertise to maximize the value of those resources.”

Roger Biemans and Tom Tyree founded Vantage in October, and Bierman is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, the statement said. Bierman formerly was the president of EnCana Oil and Gas USA, a producer of natural gas and a gas storage operator. Tyree will be the company’s president and chief financial officer. He was previously the chief financial officer at Bill Barrett Corporation, an exploration and production company that specialises in “unconventional resources in the Rocky Mountains,” the statement said.

The firms in the consortium are not new to energy investments. Quantum, founded in 1998 and based in Texas, focuses on the oil and gas, midstream, oil field service, coal, power and alternative energy industries.  and has more than $3.2 billion in capital under management, the statement said. In conjunction with Aspect Energies, the firm closed a $1.2 million debut fund in August.

Carlyle/Riverstone launched in 2000 and provides capital for buyouts, growth capital and joint ventures in the energy and power industries. Its first fund, known as Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I, closed at $685 million this year.

Lime Rock, founded in 1998, also invests in the energy industry. The firm has $1.6 billion in assets under management and focuses on the production, energy service and oil service technology sectors, the statement said. Based in Westport, Connecticut, it closed its fourth fund at $750 million in September. Its first three funds had a combined value of $850 million. 

In separate news, Goldman Sachs has invested in Houston, Texas-based Green Earth Fuels, a producer of “petroleum-friendly biodiesel infrastructure” whose majority investors include Riverstone and Carlyle, Carlyle said in a separate statement. Carlyle/Riverstone used its Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I to acquire Green Earth in July of 2006. “Green Earth is building 86 million gallons of biodiesel production capacity at the Kinder Morgan Galena Park Liquids Terminal located on the Houston Ship Channel in Texas and is expected to be on line in the third quarter of 2007,” the statement said. “The company also secured state and local permits for an additional 86 gallons of production capacity at the Kinder Morgan Terminal in Harvey, Lousiana.” Construction on the latter site is expected to commence early next year.