Blackstone, Alta To Seek ‘Unconventional’ Oil And Gas Deposits

Apr 13 2011 | 7:33am ET

Blackstone Capital Partners and Alta Resources have joined forces to form Alta Energy Partners, a private equity unit that will invest $1 billion to invest in “unconventional” oil and gas assets in North America.

Blackstone Capital is part of the Blackstone Group while Alta Resources is a Houston-based oil and gas exploration company founded in 1999 by Joseph Greenberg. Alta specializes in the development of shale gas assets.

The companies say they’ve been evaluating joint investments and have identified “a number of potentially attractive investment opportunities to lease or acquire acreage in emerging and developed shale basins in North America.

Said Greenberg: “I am delighted that Blackstone has chosen to partner with Alta Resources. Millions of acres are currently leased for North American shale oil and gas, requiring extraordinary amounts of capital to develop. We believe the combination of Alta’s experienced shale gas technical team with Blackstone’s strong capital base, network, and industry knowledge will allow Alta Energy Partners to stand apart as the partner of choice for companies seeking joint ventures or exits for their shale oil and gas assets.”

The United States has huge shale oil deposits but extraction is a costly, energy- and water-intensive process that becomes economically viable only when oil prices are high. Crude oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday as Goldman Sachs warned investors that crude oil was on a "substantial pullback" path and Brent crude would fall back to $105 a barrel (a drop of almost $20).

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