Private equity firms double down on Venari's offshore drilling

Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:15pm EDT

Aug 13 (Reuters) - Gulf of Mexico deepwater oil explorer Venari Resources LLC said on Wednesday it had raised $1.3 billion from original backers Warburg Pincus LLC, Kelso & Co, the Jordan Company and Temasek Holdings, as well as new investors.

GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, and BlackRock Inc's private equity arm participated in the new round of equity commitments, joining private equity firms Warburg Pincus, Kelso and Jordan, as well as Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek. The four original investors formed Venari in 2012 with $1.1 billion in equity commitments.

The new funds will be used to help develop assets Venari has discovered since 2012, as well as bolster the company's exploration program, Venari Chief Executive Brian Reinsborough said in an interview.

Venari, the 12th largest leaseholder in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, explores and develops deepwater well sites with operating partners such as Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation .

The company is drilling three new exploration wells; two alongside partner Chevron and the third with Murphy Oil Corp , Reinsborough said. (Reporting by Mike Stone in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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