Breadcrumb Home June 25, 2012 01:00 AM Energizing private equity The shale natural gas boom and the potential for the U.S. to be a net gas exporter have been major drivers of private equity's recent interest in the energy sector. Tweet Share Share Email More Toggle Fullscreen Share *January through June. Sources: Preqin; Cambridge Associates Preqin reports there are 95 energy-focused funds seeking to raise $53.2 billion; year-to-date closings are off pace from recent years. Toggle Fullscreen Share The number of private equity deals in the energy sector has increased at an annualized rate of more than 13% in the past four years. Toggle Fullscreen Share Overall, energy investments have outperformed: The median internal rate of return by vintage year is more than 900 basis points higher for energy companies than all others combined.