Natural gas exploration and production company Rice Energy Inc said it had filed with U.S. regulators to go public.

Reuters reported in October that the privately held company, founded by former BlackRock Inc portfolio manager Daniel Rice and his children, planned a stock offering that could value the company at up to $2.5 billion.

The company said on Monday it had confidentially submitted a draft registration statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and expected to launch the IPO in the first quarter of 2014.

Separately, Alpha Natural Resources Inc said it would sell its 50 percent interest in its shale joint venture with Rice Energy for $200 million in shares in the IPO and $100 million in cash.

Alpha and Rice Energy entered into the joint venture in 2010 to develop a portion of Alpha's Marcellus natural gas holdings in Greene County, Pennsylvania.