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Morgan Stanley Partners Again with Appalachian Explorer Triana

Morgan Stanley Private Equity is partnering for a second time with the management team of Triana Energy Investments LLC, a venture that is expected to focus on acquiring natural gas properties in the Appalachian Basin's Marcellus Shale.

The investment with Triana is intended to be a first step in a "broader partnership" as the newly reformed Triana expands its operations in North America, said Morgan Stanley, the company's majority stakeholder. No financial details were released.

"We have had a successful relationship with this team for nearly a decade, and we believe this is an extraordinary investment environment," said John Moon, a managing director of Morgan Stanley Private Equity.

The latest transaction is the private equity firm's second go-round with Triana's management team and its fourth investment in the Appalachian Basin.

The Morgan Stanley affiliate pursued a similar investment strategy with predecessor Triana Energy Holdings LLC from 2001 to 2005. In 2003 the company acquired NiSource Inc.'s exploration and production arm Columbia Energy Resources Inc., which consisted primarily of Columbia Natural Resources (CNR) and its 1.1 Tcf of reserves (see Daily GPI, July 7, 2003). The assets were sold in 2005 to Chesapeake Energy Corp. for more than $2.2 billion (see Daily GPI, Nov. 17, 2005).

With a financial infusion from the private equity affiliate, Triana Energy Investments and the predecessor company were founded by CEO Henry Harmon, who previously was president of CNR. The new Triana management team includes several senior executives from the original firm, Harmon said.

"Given the strength and success of our longstanding relationship with Morgan Stanley Private Equity, we are eager to reengage with them in the development of our existing assets and the expansion of our business throughout the Appalachian Basin," said Harmon.

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