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Expanded PE Funding to Target More Deepwater GOM Projects

Upstream investor Ridgewood Energy Corp., which last year threw the dice with a big investment in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), has put together another $1.1 billion in commitments to pour even more into offshore exploration.

The private equity (PE) company's latest fund, Ridgewood Energy Oil and Gas Fund II LP, reached its hard cap with the commitments, management said. The fund originally had a target amount of $750 million to explore the GOM deepwater.

"Our focused investment strategy, coupled with disciplined execution, has demonstrated the potential to generate enormous value for our funds' limited partners," said Ridgewood President Kenny Lang. "We aim to continue delivering on that strategy for our Fund II LPs."

Fund II, sourced from 39 institutional investors, is a continuation of the investment program to drill and develop "high potential" fields. The new commitments are in addition to $700 million in capital and commitments that Ridgewood manages for PE giant Riverstone Holdings LLC and affiliates.

Ridgewood in early 2013 partnered with Riverstone to invest more than $550 million in a series of deepwater exploration projects (see Daily GPI, March 6, 2013). The firms had formed their GOM venture in 2010 and since then have participated in at least four discoveries in the Mississippi Canyon (MC) and Ewing Bank blocks. They also have at least seven exploration "opportunities" in the works.

Among its investments is the Dantzler project, operated by Noble Energy Inc. Wireline logging data indicated in December that the well encountered more than 120 net feet of pay in two Miocene reservoirs. The discovery well, located in MC Block 782, was drilled to a total depth of 19,234 feet in 6,580 feet of water. Discovered gross resources are estimated at 55-95 million boe.

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