April 17, 2017 / 12:56 PM / 3 months ago

Blackstone to buy EagleClaw Midstream for about $2 billion

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FILE PHOTO - The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016.Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - EagleClaw Midstream Ventures LLC, the largest privately held operator of pipelines and processing facilities in West Texas' Delaware Basin, said it agreed to be bought by funds managed by Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) for about $2 billion.

Private equity firms, including Blackstone, Carlyle Group (CG.O), and CVC Partners, have built up significant firepower in recent years to invest in the oil and gas industry, where asset prices have dipped sharply since crude oil prices collapsed mid-2014.

Blackstone said in August it would invest about $1.5 billion in the Permian basin.

The Permian Basin, the largest U.S. oil patch, has emerged as the industry's favorite destination amid a recovery in crude oil prices.

More than $28 billion was pumped into land acquisitions last year in the region, more than triple what was spent in 2015.

The resurgence in shale oil and gas production is expected to spur increased spending on pipelines and processing infrastructure.

In the Delaware Basin region of the Permian, private equity firms have accounted for more than 46 percent of growth in new gas processing systems, according to Barclays.

EagleClaw Midstream Ventures LLC said on Monday the all-cash deal includes about $1.25 billion in debt, financed by Jefferies LLC.

The deal is expected to close by the end of July, the company said.

Midland, Texas-based EagleClaw's assets include over 375 miles of natural gas pipelines and 320 million cubic feet per day of processing capacity.

Jefferies LLC is the financial adviser to EagleClaw, while Morgan Stanley and Intrepid Partners LLC advised Blackstone.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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