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5/30/2006 Avista Capital Partners to Invest $50 Million in Celtique Energie Limited to Develop Prospects for Oil and Natural Gas in Onshore Basins in Europe and Africa

NEW YORK, May 30, PRNewswire -- Avista Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has committed $50 million to Celtique Energie Limited, a London-based company, to develop prospects for oil and natural gas in onshore basins in Europe and Africa. Avista Capital's investment will be used to fund exploration and development activities.

Celtique's strategy is to identify, evaluate, and apply for exploration licenses within onshore basins located in Europe and Africa where management believes attractive oil and gas potential exists. Upon receiving licenses to develop these areas, Celtique will complete a full evaluation of the license 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, Switzerland, and Niger, and the application for additional licenses throughout Europe and Africa. 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 generation of drillable prospects in these areas. David Williams, Chairman of Celtique Energie Limited, said, "We look forward to leveraging our considerable experience with the financial resources of Avista in order to advance our exploration and development strategies. Avista, and Steve Webster in particular, has an enormous amount of experience in the energy sector, and we look forward to working with this team as we build our program."

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 Limited

Celtique Energie Limited and affiliated companies were formed to maximize the extensive knowledge of the management team in onshore europe and africa. 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 or Diana Postemsky, Kekst and Company 212-521-4815

Contacts for Celtique

David Williams, Geoff Davies, or Chris Pullan +(44) (0) 207 868 2290 enquiries@celtiqueenergie.com

Source PRN PR Newswire

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