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Clifford Chance advises Carlyle's oil and gas fund on first investments

9 January 2014

Clifford Chance advises Carlyle's oil and gas fund on first investments

International law firm Clifford Chance advised The Carlyle Group on the first two investments by Carlyle International Energy Partners (CIEP), a newly established fund that focuses on oil and gas exploration and production, midstream, oil field services and refining and marketing in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The first is an investment by CIEP of up to US$200 million over the next three years in Discover Exploration Limited. Discover is an unlisted, geology-led oil and gas exploration company headquartered in London. It was founded by the same management team responsible for the creation of Cove Energy plc in 2009, which was acquired by PTT Exploration and Production three years later for £1.2 billion. Carlyle's investment will enable Discover to participate in an immediate two-well, deep-water drilling programme in the Taranaki and Canterbury basins offshore New Zealand, and to fund an exploration programme offshore the Comoros.

The second is an investment by CIEP in Varo Energy. CIEP and Vitol Group will each own 50% of Varo Energy to create a new energy midstream group across north-west Europe. In conjunction with CIEP's investment in Varo Energy, Varo Energy also acquired from Vitol all of the shares in PT Holding GmbH, the German tank storage business operated by Petrotank Neutrale Tanklager GmbH and Vitol's German wholesale distribution business. This transaction will enable Varo Energy to expand its refining capability in Switzerland and Germany and acquire complementary pipeline, storage and wholesale distribution businesses.

Caroline Sherrell, corporate partner at Clifford Chance said, "We are delighted to have advised Carlyle on these important first investments for CIEP, and to continue to develop and strengthen our relationship with Carlyle across our global network of offices."

The Clifford Chance team for the Discover deal was led by Caroline Sherrell, assisted by senior associate Toby Parkinson, the team for the Varo Energy deal was led by Corporate partner Thijs Alexander partner, assisted by associate Gerrit Jan Kleute and the team for the acquisition of Petrotank's storage business and of the German wholesale distribution business was led by Corporate partner Markus Muhs, assisted by counsel Bernhard Magg.