Platform investment: Cantera Resources
Overview
Together with the founders, we helped to build Cantera Resources, a natural gas gathering and processing company, through the strategic acquisition of the assets of a variety of other firms. Cantera Resources Holdings LLC owned and operated gas gathering and processing assets in Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
The opportunity
An experienced management team familiar to MSCP:
Metalmark Capital has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the founders, Greg Sales (CEO), Terry Klare (COO) and Keith Finger (CFO), who have an outstanding track record in the natural gas processing industry. In fact, they were members of the senior management teams of two previous successful MSCP investments, Mountain Gas Resources and Highlands Gas Corporation.

Attractive industry characteristics:
The natural gas gathering industry is fragmented and continues to offer attractive growth opportunities due to increasing natural gas demand and expanding transportation requirements.

Metalmark Capital's relationships and experience:
Metalmark Capital and the Cantera management team utilized their industry contacts to identify gas gathering and processing assets that were viewed by their owners as non-core businesses.

  • In May 2000, Cantera, through Cantera Resources, Inc. (CRI), closed on an acquisition of the gas gathering and processing assets of TXU Processing Company from TXU Corporation.
  • Following this in June 2001, Cantera, though Canyon Gas Resources, Inc., acquired certain gas gathering and processing assets of TBI Field Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Tom Brown, Inc.
  • In July 2003, Cantera, through Cantera Natural Gas, Inc., acquired CMS Field Services Inc, a subsidiary of CMS Energy Corp.
Our approach
Once assets were acquired, the management team's extensive experience and relationships in the sector enabled them to identify opportunities to reduce costs and increase volume and profitability. With the resulting improved scale, operational efficiencies and profitability, these assets became attractive acquisition targets for acquirers who had a strategic interest in including them in their existing portfolio.
Results
Cantera's assets were monetized over a several year period in transactions involving different acquirers. The first of these acquirers transactions was in 2004, when Cantera's Texas gathering assets were sold to Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. In 2005, the company's Mid-Continent assets were sold to Penn Virginia Resource Partners, L.P. In a final set of concurrent transactions, the company sold its Powder River Basin assets to Copano Energy LLC and its Piceance Basin assets to Energy Transfer Partners L.P. in 2007.
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A long and productive relationship with the founders of Cantera resulted in numerous acquisitions of gas gathering and processing assets with strong growth potential.