Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Sterling Energy form partnership

Morgan Stanley Private Equity and Denver-based Sterling Energy Co. have entered into a strategic partnership whereby Morgan Stanley Private Equity has made a majority equity investment in a newly formed company called Sterling Investment Holdings LLC (Sterling Energy) to support the growth of Sterling Energy’s midstream business in Colorado and North Dakota. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sterling Energy provides natural gas gathering and processing infrastructure and related services for oil and gas production companies through its two gathering systems – the Yenter System, serving Denver-Julesburg (DJ) and Niobrara production in northeast Colorado, and the Ambrose System, serving Williston and Bakken/Three Forks production in Divide County, North Dakota. Sterling Energy has begun a multi-year construction project to extend and expand its Yenter System into the Pony Area of the Niobrara Field to meet recently contracted, long-term commitments with multiple producers. Sterling Energy has also proposed an expansion of its Ambrose System to accommodate both nearby natural gas being flared from existing wells, as well as projected new volumes from development in the area.

Sterling Energy Co. was founded in December 2000 by CEO William Penney. Penney previously served as vice president and general counsel of Cantera Natural Gas, a Morgan Stanley Private Equity-backed natural gas gathering and processing company, from 2003 to 2007. Prior, Penney served as vice president and general counsel for a number of other midstream companies sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Equity dating back to 1991. David Kenyon joins Sterling Energy as president. Most recently, Kenyon was vice president and general manager of Monarch Gas Resources. From 2000 to 2007, Kenyon served as vice president of business development for Cantera Natural Gas. Prior to that period, Kenyon served as Vice President in a number of other midstream companies sponsored by Morgan Stanley Private Equity, dating back to 1991.

Sterling Energy CEO Bill Penney said, “We are very excited to be working again with Morgan Stanley Private Equity. They are old friends and the ideal partner as we execute Sterling Energy’s long-term strategic plan to expand our existing business in the DJ and Williston Basins. We are also very excited about the rapid development of the Niobrara and the Bakken/Three Forks and, in particular, the recent signing of significant long-term commitments in the Niobrara.”

John Moon, managing director of Morgan Stanley Private Equity, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner again with Bill Penney, Dave Kenyon and their team. We are particularly attracted to the strategic position of Sterling Energy’s existing operations across two of the most compelling oil shale basins in North America and the team’s plan for further expansion into other areas in need of midstream infrastructure.”

Source:  Morgan Stanley

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