CH4 sold to Venture

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02 Aug 2006

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces the sale of its portfolio company CH4 Energy Limited (CH4), a privately owned, UK headquartered E&P company to Venture Production plc for €224m (£153m).

3i has been involved with CH4 since its start-up in 2002. 3i provided the initial start up capital followed by further funding and strategic support as CH4 developed its portfolio of infrastructure, exploration, development and production assets.

CH4's operations are concentrated in the southern North Sea gas basin where it holds an operated interest in the Markham field and the Chiswick development; which is due to come on stream in the first quarter 2007. In addition, CH4 has interests in the producing Windermere and J/3c fields, both of which have been developed as tie-backs to the Markham field. Venture is also acquiring CH4's 25% interest in the ETS pipeline system in the Southern North Sea, currently used by the Trent, Tyne and Tors fields.

Colin Burnett, Investment Director with 3i's Oil, Gas & Power team commented: "3i has been instrumental in developing CH4 from a start-up business into an E&P business with a diverse asset portfolio. We backed a strong management team that shared a vision with 3i. We are proud of what the CH4 team has achieved in a short period - the development of Chiswick is an example of how CH4's focus has delivered results - from standing start in January 2006, Chiswick will produce its first gas by the first quarter of 2007. I believe this is a North Sea record and is testimony to the management and culture of the company.

"We believe that CH4 is a compelling fit for Venture. It will cement its position as the UK's foremost North Sea independent. 3i was also a founding shareholder in Venture where we were pivotal to the early development of the business until its IPO in 2002. Venture has a good quality asset base and is a well managed company."

Commenting on the sale, Phil Kirk & Mark Routh, ex-Joint Managing Directors of CH4 said: "We're very proud of what the CH4 team has achieved with 3i's help and pleased that Venture will be taking our vision forward. The fit with the Venture portfolio is excellent in terms of both geography and people and we wish the organisation every success in the future."


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