DALLASVine Oil & Gas LP,headquartered here, is teaming up with Blackstone EnergyPartners to acquire the Haynesville assets of SWEPI LP andShell Gulf of Mexico Inc., affiliates of Royal DutchShell plc, for $1.2 billion. The assets comprise more than107,000 net acres in North Louisiana in the core of the HaynesvilleShale natural gas shale basin, which spans Louisiana and easternTexas.

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The deal follows similar moves by privateequity giants Apollo Global Managementand TPG Capital into the natural gas industry, andfollows other forays in the energy sector by the BlackstoneGroup. Vine Oil & Gas was itself formed by BlackstoneEnergy Partners and funds affiliated with Blackstone, with theintent of becoming a significant, independent shale exploration andproduction company.

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Vine says it seeks to be the partner of choice, capitalizing on“the team's unique operational excellence, track record, andcapital resources, for companies seeking to accelerate drillingactivity and drive production growth, while lowering costs andmaintaining a strong HSE track record.” It's led by president andCEO Eric Marsh, formerly an EVP with Calgary-basedenergy producer Encana Corp.

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“Eric is an incredibly talentedoperator,” says Angelo Acconcia, a managingdirector of Blackstone Energy Partners. “He and his team areuniquely situated to contribute significant operational expertiseto these assets as well as future opportunities.”

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For his part, Marsh says, “We arepleased to acquire and develop a significant, strategic, andtop-tier position in the core of the Haynesville Shale, a premierNorth American unconventional dry gas play located next to multiplegrowing sources of demand and an area where we have operatedextensively before. We are very excited about our partnership withBlackstone Energy Partners, our continued growth and the futurepartnerships and joint ventures that we might be able to form.“

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The Haynesville deal, subject toregulatory approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.Evercore and Kirkland & Ellisadvised both Blackstone and Vine Oil & Gas.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.