• Fund buys 8.9% interest in Greater Mariner Area Off Shetland
  • Siccar Point is owned by Blue Water Energy and Blackstone

Private-equity fund Siccar Point Energy made its first acquisition in the U.K. North Sea since opening two years ago, when oil prices traded above $100 a barrel.

The joint venture -- owned by Blue Water Energy and funds managed by Blackstone Energy Partners -- bought a 8.9 percent interest in the Greater Mariner Area off Shetland from JX Nippon Exploration & Production U.K. Ltd., Siccar Point said Tuesday in a statement.

The Mariner project was approved three years ago and is expected to start production in 2018, according to the statement. The price of benchmark Brent oil has sunk below $50 a barrel amid a global oversupply, less than half of its value when Siccar Point was set up with $500 million to spend on North Sea assets.

“Mariner’s long reserves life and its resilience to near-term low oil prices position it well in the current environment,” said Jonathan Roger, chief executive officer of Aberdeen, Scotland-based Siccar Point.

Siccar Point isn’t the only private-equity fund intending to snap up oil and gas assets during the downturn. Sam Laidlaw, the former CEO of Centrica Plc, joined forces with Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners last year in a $5 billion fund targeting the North Sea as well as North Africa and Southeast Asia.

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