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GE Unit, ATP to Expand Deepwater Processing Facility

GE Energy Financial Services has agreed to invest $150 million in a partnership with ATP Oil & Gas Corp. to expand the producer's floating natural gas and oil production unit in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

The GE unit would obtain a 49% limited partnership stake in the existing project, its first investment in a floating production facility. ATP, which operates the unit, would own the majority stake and serve as managing partner.

Located 80 miles south of New Orleans, the ATP Innovator has been in operation since March 2006 to produce ATP's offshore reserves. The Houston-based producer in 2005 purchased and converted the unit from a drilling semisubmersible rig into a floating production facility. The unit processes up to 100 MMcf/d of gas and 20,000 b/d of oil.

Under the new partnership agreement, the facility plans to process additional reserves from a third-party producer by 2010.

"Our partnership with GE Energy Financial Services, especially in today's troubled economic times, will ensure continued production of much-needed domestic oil and natural gas, and will allow ATP to maintain our development program, said ATP CEO T. Paul Bulmahn. "We depend on investors like GE, which has the financial strength, energy expertise and long-term vision necessary for an investment of this magnitude."

To date, GE Energy Financial Services said it has invested in 30,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in North America, as well as in gas storage, gathering and processing systems, floating production, storage and offloading vessels, offshore drilling assets and oil and gas reserves. On Friday the GE unit announced it would invest $126 million in a joint venture partnership to help Regency Energy Partners LP move forward the Haynesville Expansion Project (see related story).

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