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GIC joins 2 lead investors to fund North Sea oil firm

New company will first focus on resource-rich waters surrounding UK

[SINGAPORE] The Republic's sovereign wealth fund, GIC, is investing in a new North Sea oil-and-gas exploration and production company, Siccar Point Energy Limited.

Affiliates of heavyweights - Blue Water Energy and Blackstone Energy Partners - are pumping in an initial investment of up to US$500 million in the new firm, making it one of the largest ever private equity investments in North Sea oil.

The deal includes funding from GIC, which is investing alongside Blue Water Energy.

Scotland-based Siccar Point Energy will participate across the full value chain, from exploration through to production.

The company will initially focus on UK Continental Shelf, the regions of water surrounding the United Kingdom, believed to be resource rich.

Siccar Point Energy said on Sunday that a change of control in the area will facilitate follow-on investment activity and further enhance asset potential.

Chief executive officer Jonathan Roger, the former managing director of Centrica Energy Upstream, will lead the new oil company.

At Centrica, Mr Roger led the business from early 2010 following the acquisition of Venture Production plc, which at that time was producing over 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

During that period, he managed an international portfolio of over 180,000 boepd of production, including the sixth-largest UK production business, a Netherlands business established during his Venture tenure, and also oversaw Centrica's growth in Norway during the last decade.

Mr Roger has been working in close collaboration with Blue Water Energy since he left Centrica last year to formulate Siccar Point's business plan, and was joined by Blackstone in early 2014.

Mr Roger said that this is a time when "some of the largest upstream companies are cutting back on capital expenditures and consolidating their global asset portfolios".

"We believe that selective capital deployment and efficient operations can deliver attractive returns in this environment."

In March this year, GIC took up a 10 per cent stake worth some US$63 million in a UK fuel cell company Intelligent Energy.

Last December, GIC subscribed to the first tranche of a convertible bond issue by Green Dragon Gas, reportedly one of the largest independent companies involved in the production and sale of Coal Bed Methane gas in China.

The first tranche was US$35 million and is part of a larger convertible bond facility of up to US$100 million. In June this year, Green Dragon Gas issued a second tranche of US$50 million to GIC.

Last week, GIC invested US$104 million in KKBOX, a popular Taiwan-based music-streaming provider aiming to expand across Asia.