Calgary-based Canbriam Energy Inc. has been formed with an equity-financing commitment of up to US$300 million from company management, New York-based private-equity investment firm Warburg Pincus and Calgary-based private-equity investment firm Arc Financial Corp.

Canbriam will explore and develop oil and gas interests in certain onshore regions of Canada and the U.S., initially concentrating on unconventional plays in western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. The company will eventually target unconventional opportunities in the U.S. as well.

Paul Myers is president and chief executive. He was CEO of Esprit Energy Trust. Stephen Soules is chief financial officer. He was CFO of Esprit and Canadian Hunter. The company also has managers focusing on geology, geophysics and land and engineering.

Myers says, "We are delighted to be partnering with Warburg Pincus and Arc Financial, two leaders in private equity investing in the energy sector. With Warburg Pincus and Arc's financial backing and expertise, I am confident that our management team is in the best possible position to create and realize value."

Warburg Pincus managing director Peter R. Kagan says, "Led by a senior management team with extensive technical experience in all of its targeted areas, Canbriam Energy has the operational capability and financial foundation to pursue multiple exploration and development projects simultaneously and to succeed in the competitive environment of onshore unconventional oil and gas exploration in North America."

Arc Financial managing director Nancy L. Smith says, "This investment follows our firms' practice of backing strong management teams to build companies of meaningful scale."

Warburg Pincus has more than $20 billion of assets under management with more than $10 billion available for investment. Arc Financial has C$1.9 billion of capital focused exclusively in the energy sector.

Croff Enterprises Inc., Denver, (OTCBB: COFF) reports its new, privately held Croff Oil Co. Inc., Denver, now holds its oil and gas assets, including perpetual mineral interests and oil and gas production from nonoperated properties throughout the U.S., primarily in Utah. Croff Oil has a working interest in approximately 50 wells or units of several wells and small royalty interests in approximately 200 wells, primarily in Utah.

New York-based Orbit Acquisition Corp. has filed an S-1 to IPO 25 million units at $10 each for a total raise of $250 million on the American Stock Exchange as OSW-U. JP Morgan Securities Inc. is underwriter.

Orbit is a blank-check company that plans to focus on the energy and power industry, including the energy services businesses and the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.

Gabriel S. Nechamkin is chairman. He is a senior principal and head of trading for Satellite Asset Management LP. Garry N. Hubbard is chief executive and president. He is co-founder of Willow Bend Capital Management LLC and was senior vice president, development, construction and acquisition for Panda Energy International Inc. Jerry D. Thurmon is chief financial officer. He is a co-founder of Willow Bend and was CFO of Panda Energy.

The company will use the proceeds to fund an initial business combination, working capital and for general corporate purposes.

Quintana Energy Partners LP, an affiliate of energy-investment firm Quintana Capital Group LP, Houston, and Lafayette, La.-based oilfield-service company D-O-R Engineering Inc. have formed Prize Petroleum LLC.

Prize's assets consist of lease rights to Neches Field in East Texas, Homer Field in North Louisiana and Rich Field in Michigan. The properties' reserves are more than 90% oil and are characterized by stable, mature and shallow decline production profiles. Prize will grow production through well reactivation, lift enhancements and drilling. Additionally, Quintana Energy and Prize will pursue complementary acquisitions of properties.

Quintana Capital is the general partner of a $650-million private-equity fund focused on oil and gas, coal and power.

Quintana Energy managing director Brock Morris says, "With this acquisition as an anchor, Prize will pursue additional acquisitions of long-lived oil and gas reserves in mature fields. We believe that this type of asset is an excellent investment in today's strong, yet volatile, commodity-price environment. They are often found in mature fields containing numerous reservoirs, in which we believe significant untapped opportunities still remain."

D-O-R president Michael F. McKenzie and its management team will manage the properties. McKenzie says, "In addition to having a relationship with Quintana that dates back over 30 years, we have extensive experience with and knowledge of fields of this type. We look forward to the challenge of building a new company to further develop and extract additional value from these assets as well as those from future acquisitions."

Former Netherland, Sewell & Associates co-founder and chairman Fred Sewell has formed a new E&P company, Sovereign Resources LLC, in Dallas. He plans to make acquisitions with substantial upside. Don Blanchard has joined as geologist, and some former Netherland, Sewell employees also have joined the new firm. Sewell may be reached at 214-647-4200. Sewell recently retired from NSAI after 38 years.

North American Royalty Corp., Dallas, has filed an S-1 to IPO up to 800,000 shares at approximately $3 each for a total raise of $2.4 million on the OTC Bulletin Board for an undetermined ticker. Alaron Financial Services Inc. is underwriter.

The proceeds will be used for expenses, to acquire assets and for working capital. North American has oil and gas mineral, royalty and overriding royalty interests in Texas and Oklahoma.

Garry P. Mauro is president and chief executive. He was a Texas land commissioner, director of the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Texas deputy comptroller. William J. Amdall is chief financial officer. He was CFO of Toltec Royalty Corp.

Venoco Inc., Denver, (NYSE: VQ) has filed to go ahead with an upstream MLP, the first of 2008.

Venoco Acquisition Co. LP, Denver, has filed an S-1 to IPO up to 10.56 million units, for approximately $19.82 each for a total raise of $209 million on the New York Stock Exchange as VAC. Lehman Brothers, Citi and UBS Investment Bank are underwriters.

Venoco Inc. is the parent and will provide the initial assets to the new MLP. Venoco Acquisition Co. GP LLC is the general partner and will manage operations and activities in exchange for an initial 2% stake in Venoco Acquisition.

The company's assets include a 38.5% average working interest in 325 gross producing wells in the South Ellwood, Dos Cuadras, West Montalvo, Beverly Hills West and Santa Clara Avenue fields in Southern California and the Hastings Complex in Brazoria County, Texas. Proved reserves as of Dec. 31, 2006, were 21.2 million barrels of oil equivalent (86.2% oil, 81.1% proved developed). The assets also include five associated oil or gas pipeline systems.

Timothy Marquez is chairman and chief executive of the general partner and the parent. William Schneider is president of the general partner and parent. Mark DePuy is senior vice president and chief operating officer of the general partner and parent. Timothy Ficker is chief financial officer of the general partner and parent.

Venoco Acquisition will use the proceeds to buy $117.5 million in securities as collateral for borrowings under its credit facility, reimburse Venoco for capex incurred prior to the IPO and for working capital.