Texas Investor Energy & Minerals Acquires Aussie Shale Stake

Bloomberg) -- Energy & Minerals Group, the Texas-based private-equity firm, has been lured to shale oil and gas prospects in northern Australia.

Energy & Minerals, which manages about $16.8 billion in assets, agreed to acquire an 18 percent stake in acreage owned by Pangaea Resources Pty, the closely held Australian explorer said Thursday in an e-mail response to questions. Pangaea is drilling four appraisal wells, according to the company.

The investment comes as U.S. private equity firms, which raised an estimated $100 billion to bet on energy, hunt for deals overseas after a slide in oil prices.

Inpex Corp., Santos Ltd. and Origin Energy Ltd. have made investments in the Northern Territory, while Central Petroleum Ltd. and Armour Energy Ltd. are among smaller explorers.

“The resources industry is a major driver of the Territory’s economy, and any new investment which creates more jobs and economic opportunities would be welcome,” the mines and energy minister’s office wrote in an e-mail.

Although Australia’s shale deposits are potentially significant, falling oil prices have hurt efforts to unlock the resources. Big producers including Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips have pulled out of Australian shale ventures.

Energy & Minerals in an e-mail referred questions to Pangaea. The Australian company, started in 1997, has permits in the McArthur and Beetaloo basins, southeast of Darwin, the Northern Territory capital, according to its website.

The acreage is in a position to take advantage of existing infrastructure, including the Adelaide-to-Darwin rail line and a natural gas pipeline network, according to the government. ConocoPhillips operates a liquefied natural gas project in Darwin, while Inpex is building a second LNG development.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net Keith Gosman, Andrew Hobbs


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 - Texas Investor Energy & Minerals Acquires Aussie Shale Stake (Aug 13)