Avista Capital Sells Some Marcellus Shale Rights

Avista Capital Partners has agreed to sell around 52,200 net acres of its Marcellus Shale mineral rights to a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd., for $326.6 million. Avista will continue to hold around 70,000 net acres.


Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, today announced the execution of an agreement by its wholly-owned entity, ACP II Marcellus LLC (“ACPM”), to sell approximately 52,200 net acres of its Marcellus Shale mineral rights in Pennsylvania to a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (“Reliance”) for $326.6 million in cash.

Upon completion of the sale of its Pennsylvania acreage, Avista, through ACPM, will continue to hold a direct interest in approximately 70,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale region primarily in West Virginia and New York.  This acreage will continue to be developed in partnership with Carrizo through ACPM’s existing joint venture.

In a related announcement, Avista’s joint venture partner, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRZO), will also sell a portion of its Pennsylvania acreage to Reliance in a separate transaction.  Avista formed its joint venture with Carrizo in December 2008 to focus on the acquisition and development of natural gas properties in the emerging Marcellus Shale play.  Avista said its joint venture with Carrizo will now focus on acquiring and developing acreage prospective for the Marcellus Shale primarily in the states of West Virginia and New York.  Avista’s original $150 million equity commitment to the joint venture to fund the purchase of mineral acreage will remain in place to fund continuing operations.

Robert Cabes, a Partner at Avista, said, “Avista is pleased with the sale of a portion of acreage in the joint venture.  The sale to Reliance will allow Carrizo to team with a respected, well capitalized industry partner in order to accelerate the development of the acreage in central and northeast Pennsylvania.  We look forward to continuing our successful joint venture with Carrizo and enhancing the value of our extensive acreage position in West Virginia and New York.”

The transaction is expected to close by mid – September 2010, subject to certain closing conditions.

J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP acted as legal advisor to Avista.

About Avista Capital Partners

Avista Capital Partners is a leading private equity firm with offices in New York, Houston, and London.  Founded in 2005, Avista’s strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented healthcare, energy, and media companies.  Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses.  For more information, visit www.avistacap.com.

About Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc.

Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. is a Houston-based energy company actively engaged in the exploration, development, exploitation and production of oil and natural gas primarily in the Barnett Shale in North Texas, the Marcellus Shale in Appalachia, the Niobrara Formation in Colorado, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, and in proven onshore trends along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast regions. Carrizo controls significant prospective acreage blocks and utilizes advanced 3-D seismic techniques to identify potential oil and gas reserves and drilling opportunities.  Carrizo also controls large acreage positions in other productive shale resource plays.

About Reliance Industries Limited

Reliance Industries (RIL) is the largest private sector company in India with a current market capitalization of over $71 billion.  It is a global energy leader and one of the largest refining and petrochemical producers in the world.  For the year ended March 31, 2010, RIL reported revenues in excess of US$ 44.6 billion, cash profit of US$ 6.2 billion, net earnings of US$ 3.6 billion and net worth of US$ 30.6 billion.  For more information, please visit RIL’s website at www.ril.com.