Blackstone raises $2.5 billion energy fund

NEW YORK, Sept 5 Wed Sep 5, 2012 4:43pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP, the largest publicly listed alternative asset manager, said on Wednesday it raised just over $2.5 billion for its first energy-focused private equity fund, as it seeks to ride a wave of energy deals in the United States.

The U.S. oil and gas sector has attracted some of the largest leveraged buyouts of the last 12 months, including the $7.2 billion acquisition of Samson Investment Co by a consortium led by KKR & Co LP and El Paso's $7.15 billion divestment of assets to an Apollo Global Management LLC -led group.

Blackstone's fund, Blackstone Energy Partners, has already committed more than $965 million in six investments. In February, Blackstone agreed to invest $2 billion in Cheniere Energy Partners LP, a deal that will help Cheniere finance construction of a gas-liquefaction plant in Louisiana for export markets.

Blackstone said it invested or committed about $6.3 billion in 21 energy and natural resource deals around the world since it made the first one in 1997, generating through the most recent quarter a 37 percent net internal rate of return, without a single realized loss of capital.

Over the comparable period, these investments had internal rates of return that were over four times that of the S&P Energy Sector Index and over six times the S&P 500 Index, Blackstone said.