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Appalachian E&P Start-Up Secures $250M From Private Equity

An Appalachian-focused exploration and production start-up headquartered in Western Pennsylvania has received a $250 million investment from the energy- and resources-focused private equity firm Denham Capital Management LP.

Lola Energy LLC said the equity commitment would help supplement funding from its executive management team and be used to pursue leasing, acquisitions, exploration and development of oil and natural gas properties in the Marcellus and Utica shales. The company is already leasing in Greene County, PA, and is evaluating land in southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.

Lola emphasized that it plans to locally secure oilfield services, land and employees. The company name stands for, “locally owned, locally accountable,” a spokesperson said. Co-founder and CEO Jim Crockard is a native of Southwest Pennsylvania.

The company said it has started to acquire properties for horizontal development and expects to create 10-20 new jobs in the Greater Pittsburgh region. The company is headquartered in Wexford, PA, about 17 miles north of the city.

Lola was established by former EQT Corp. executives. Crockard left EQT in early 2014, where he most recently had served as  senior vice president of business development and land. As EQT's corporate treasurer, Crockard helped lead more than $2 billion of public debt and equity raises for the company, which has grown to become one of the basin's leading producers.

Lola COO is former EQT Executive Vice President of Drilling and Completions Richard Hill. Lindell Bridges, who worked on early technological advances in EQT's Marcellus program, is serving as chief geosciences officer. Chief Commercial Officer Dave Bradley formerly served as EQT's senior vice president of midstream asset management and helped in the initial public offering of EQT Midstream Partners LP.

Denhan, which has offices in Houston, Boston and overseas, has more than $8.4 billion invested across eight funds. It has investments in 26 other E&Ps, midstream and oilfield services companies, including Energy Transfer Equity LP. Its oil and gas portfolio companies have assets in the Midcontinent, the Rockies, Texas and elsewhere in Appalachia. 

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