UPDATE 1-Blackstone, LLOG Exploration to invest $1.2 bln in US Gulf

Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:26am EST

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP and LLOG Exploration Company LLC will jointly invest $1.2 billion to expand the private offshore oil producer's operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Blackstone and other private equity firms have been investing in the capital-intensive oil and gas industry as the United States is working towards meeting its energy needs.

The International Energy Agency forecast on Monday that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer by 2017.

LLOG plans to use the funds to develop four recent deepwater discoveries and to explore more than 110 offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

The partnership will also expand LLOG's asset base in the U.S. Gulf through lease sale participation, farm-ins and acquisitions.

LLOG, founded in 1977, is one of the top 10 private oil and gas companies in the United States with 2011 net production of 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

New York-based Blackstone will invest from its two private equity funds, which aggregate over $19.3 billion of committed capital, including Blackstone Energy Partners.