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HitecVision buys oil and gas company

The Nordic specialist energy private equity firm has bought a start-up oil and gas exploration and development company sealing another investment in the frenetic sector.

HitecVision Private Equity has bought a majority stake in Spring Energy Norway, a start-up oil and gas exploration and development company, for $120 million (€76.2 million).

Spring Energy aims to be licensed to work on the Norwegian continental shelf before mid 2008 and to become an operator in 2010.

The founders of Spring Energy will continue as shareholders in the company. In February HitecVision closed its fifth investment vehicle and its third private equity fund on $800 million, surpassing its $600 million target. The deal is HitecVision’s second from the fund following the buyout of Hitec Products Drilling for an undisclosed sum last month.

The oil and gas sector is one of the few to remain isolated from the credit crunch buoyed by the high oil price. Last week a Candover-led consortium agreed its £1.61 billion (€2 billion; $3.19 billion) bid for Expro, a FTSE 250-listed oil and gas distribution company. It may face a counterbid from Halliburton, the global oil and gas company, which is currently in due diligence with Expro.

First Reserve, the specialist energy firm, signed the largest agreed deal of the first quarter, with its C$3.7 billion ($3.6 billion, €2.5 billion) take-private of CHC Helicopter, an offshore oil industry transport company. Numerous other deals include the $625 million consortium buyout of Shelter Bay Energy, a Canadian oil and gas exploration company. Riverstone, a specialist energy firm, Goldman Sachs and Kelso & Co, the US mid-market firm, were part of the five-strong Shelter Bay consortium.