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Carlyle Buyout Fund Scoops Up Mediterranean Gas Assets

As the war rages on in Gaza and tensions escalate between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, private equity fund Carlyle (NASDAQ:CG) is forming a new Mediterranean oil and gas company to be led by ex-BP CEO Tony Hayward following the fund’s acquisition of assets in three countries for nearly $1 billion from Energean. 

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, will give Carlyle “a diversified portfolio of highly strategic gas-weighted assets with expected production equivalent to 47,000 barrels of oil per day and operations across Italy, Egypt, and Croatia, with well-advanced, large-scale developments in markets that are supportive of new gas development,” the fund said in a press release on Thursday.  

The portfolio also includes interests in Italy’s largest gas field in terms of reserves, Cassiopea, and Abu Qir, one of Egypt’s biggest gas-producing hubs.

Overall, Carlyle is looking at the deal as a way to get more deeply invested in alternatives to Russian gas for Europe. 

Currently, Energean produces gas primarily offshore Israel, with CEO Mathios Rigas telling Reuters on Thursday that it will be looking to expand across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "It's a great deal for us, we're selling assets at three times the price we bought them," he told Reuters in reference to Thursday’s announcement. 

Shares of Carlyle Group Inc were up over 1% at the time of writing on Thursday, while shares of London-listed Energean were up well over 3%. 

The deal is expected to close by the end of this year. 

Energean operates the Karish offshore gasfield in the Mediterranean, in maritime waters involved in a long-running territorial dispute between Israel and Lebanon. While Karish is primarily a gasfield, Energean exported its first associated crude oil from the field in February last year, catapulting it into the oil exporters club. Gas production launched in February this year, with observers warning that it could be targeted by Hezbollah as cross-border rocket attacks and air strikes have escalated over the past couple of weeks.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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