News extract from 30th May 2006

Avista Capital Partners to invest $50 million in Celtique Energie to develop prospects for oil and natural gas in onshore basins in Europe

Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, announced it has committed $50 million to Celtique Energie, a London-based company, to develop prospects for oil and natural gas in onshore basins in Europe. Avista Capital’s investment will be used to fund exploration and development activities.

Celtique’s strategy is to identify, evaluate, and apply for exploration licences within onshore basins located in Europe where management believes attractive oil and gas potential exists. Upon receiving licences to develop these areas, Celtique will work to complete a full evaluation of the licence area and develop drilling prospects.

Avista said it expects a portion of its initial investment to fund formation costs and the evaluation of projects in France and Switzerland, and the application for additional licences throughout Europe. Celtique intends to expand its exploration program as its projects are further developed.

Steve Webster, Co-Managing Partner of Avista Capital, said, “Our investment in Celtique is an exciting opportunity to capitalize on the increasing worldwide demand for ready to drill exploration prospects. We have immense confidence in this management team, which has significant experience evaluating development prospects in the European and African markets and working with both public and private companies to take advantage of attractive projects as they arise.”

Celtique was formed by David Williams, Geoffrey Davies and Christopher Pullan, all former managers of geological, geophysical and exploration and development activities in multiple basins in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The management team has significant experience in the evaluation of exploration properties and generating of drillable prospects in these areas.

About Avista Capital Partners

Avista Capital Partners is a private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. The firm was founded in 2005 by seven former Partners and nine former professionals from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, the private equity affiliate of Credit Suisse Group. Avista’s strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented media, healthcare and energy companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses.

About Celtique Energie

Celtique Energie and affiliated companies were formed to maximize the extensive knowledge of the management team in onshore Europe. The company will upgrade existing information in these areas utilizing modern geophysical technology to generate attractive opportunities for oil and gas development.

Contacts for Avista

Jeffrey Taufield/Diana Postemsky, Kekst and Company, 212-521-4815

Contact for Celtique

Geoff Davies or Chris Pullan at:
76-78 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QS, United Kingdom
[email protected]

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Celtique Energie
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Celtique Energie Ltd
Celtique Energie Petroleum Ltd
76-78 Charlotte Street
London W1T 4QS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7255 6100
Fax: +44 20 7255 6110
[email protected]