Deal with Riverstone Holdings has option for further £130m inveetment along with existing investors
Fairfield Energy has secured $150 million (£96.5 million) of private equity investment from Riverstone Holdings to fund North Sea exploration and acquisitions.
Riverstone has pledged an initial $150 million with the option of subscribing a further $200 million (£128.8 million) along with future contributions from current investors, which are led by New York-based private equity firm, Warburg Pincus.
As a result of the latest investment, former BP chief Lord Browne - now a partner with Riverstone - will join the Fairfield board along with Ralph Alexander, who is managing director of Riverstone Holdings.
North-Sea focused Fairfield was set up five years ago to take over assets abandoned by larger companies operating in the North Sea.
Fairfield has since acquired a number of assets in the Northern North Sea and Southern Gas Basin, including the Darwin, Clipper South, Crawford and Porter.
The Darwin assets will be the focus of a “major programme of exploration and appraisal drilling this year with three wells planned in partnership with TAQA,” Fairfield said.
The Crawford and Porter discoveries are also progressing to Field Development Plan with EnQuest as operator, and first gas from the Clipper South development is expected this summer.
Simon Eyers, managing director of Warburg Pincus, said: “We are delighted to welcome Riverstone as a joint lead investor in Fairfield; their $150 million investment firmly endorses Fairfield’s true potential, marking the launch of a new chapter for the company and clearly demonstrating how Fairfield is fast evolving as a significant player in the UK North Sea.
“The progress that Fairfield has made in 2011 and 2012, across the whole portfolio of production, development and exploration assets, is testament to the depth and quality of the team and the real momentum they have given the business.
“We are excited to be so well positioned to capture the considerable value that exists in Fairfield’s current portfolio, as well as in the many new opportunities in the North Sea that the Company will now have access to with the Riverstone investment.”