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Private Equity Bets $2 Billion on This Commodity

There's a shuffling of investors going on, according to reports this week. In one particular market: natural gas.

On the way out of this market is major Canadian producer EnCana. Which is looking to offload dry gas assets as it whittles down its project portfolio to a more manageable size.

Local media noted this week that one of the first fields to go may be the Jonah project in Wyoming. A development producing about 323 million cubic feet of gas per day, with a only a small amount of associated liquids.

EnCana will reportedly seek somewhere around $2 billion to exit the field.

It's interesting to see this big player moving to leave a project like Jonah. Showing that large producers may be giving up on dryer gas production, and looking to focus ever more closely on liquids-rich plays.

The more interesting point of note on the potential sale here is the purported buyers. With reports suggesting the field may go to private equity groups including major global player Carlyle Group, along with NGP Energy.

If this does pan out, it would be a significant purchase in the natgas space for a player like Carlyle. Suggesting that managers here see significant potential in the commodity.

Even more so since a field like Jonah is basically a pure play on gas. A very contrarian bet right now, at a time when most E&Ps and investors in general are moving toward plays with significant amounts of oil or natural gas liquids like propane and butane.

We'll see if a billion-dollar deal actually emerges. If it does, it's a potentially significant sign of changing sentiment amongst large investors.

Here's to big bets,

By Dave Forest

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