LONDON, July 19 Former BP chief executive
John Browne is to preside over the biggest set of oil and gas
assets in the shallower, mature section of the Gulf of Mexico
after buying them from U.S.-based Apache Corp.
Private equity firm Riverstone Holdings LLC, where Browne is
a partner, is to pay Apache $3.75 billion for its continental
shelf assets, Houston-based Apache announced on Thursday.
The area covering 1.9 million net acres and 500 blocks will
be held through a Riverstone portfolio company, Fieldwood Energy
LLC, Riverstone said in its own statement.
Browne ran BP from 1995 to 2007 through an era when it built
a position as one of the most important players in the Gulf,
especially in the deeper water, where it still is a big player.
He was replaced by Tony Hayward - who became the public face of
the company's 2010 oil spill. Hayward has also since left the
British company, which is now embroiled in costly litigation
over the spill.
The assets sold by Apache ended 2012 with estimated proved
reserves of 133 million barrels of oil and natural gas liquids
and 636 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The fields produced
around 50,000 barrels of oil and liquids and 254 million cubic
feet of natural gas per day. Apache is keeping a 50 percent
stake in the unexplored portions of the properties.
Apache is looking to focus on growth from its U.S. onshore
assets. Having spent more than $16 billion acquiring oil and gas
properties over the last three years, it is now selling off
assets as it has struggled to grow production and its shares
Fieldwood will also assume $1.5 billion in estimated future
costs related to plugging and abandoning old oil and gas wells,
Riverstone is an energy and power-focused private investment
firm founded in 2000 with approximately $25 billion of equity
capital raised across seven investment funds.