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Private equity firms see potential in Wyoming

Encana Corp. has slowly emptied out of Wyoming in the past few years. According to a recent Casper Star Tribune article, the company sold its Jonah Field facility for $1.8 billion last year as well as 4,250 wells between Casper and Shoshoni.

As Encana’s facilities file out of Wyoming, the state lost two rigs in the past week. The buyers for Encana’s facility are indicative of a national trend: private equity firms are taking advantage of oil field prices, snapping up more and more oil and gas facilities.

Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstein recently told CNBC his company was pulling out the stops with oil and gas investments:

In fact, we’d say probably there is no other sector in the world that we are as bullish on as we are on energy.

The global downturn in fuel prices presents especially attractive opportunities as companies loosen their grips on less-productive sites.

“Private equity looks at it as an opportunity,” said David Neuhauser with energy hedge fund Livermore Partners. “You’re always going to put the money to work when it gets cheap.”

And private equity is well-positioned to do so; unlike publicly traded entities, private equity firms have the wiggle room to wait for an upswing rather than pay investors immediately.

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