Carlyle sets up energy team

The appointment of six dedicated investment professionals, headed by former Petroplus co-founder Marcel van Poecke, paves the way for a $1.5bn energy-focused vehicle.

The Carlyle Group has hired six professionals to form an international energy investment team. 

Based in London, the US firm’s new recruits will be headed by Marcel van Poecke, a co-founder of now-bankrupt Swiss refiner Petroplus. Van Poecke was CEO of the company during Carlyle’s ownership between 2005 and 2007. 

The new team will focus on oil and gas exploration and production, midstream, oil field services and refining and marketing in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. “Marcel and his team expand and complement our broad-based energy investment offering. Through organic growth and strategic partnerships we have created an energy platform that can invest in energy assets located anywhere in the world,” commented Daniel D’Aniello, Carlyle chairman, in a statement. 

Carlyle already has
 $28 billion invested
 in the energy sector

The move is expected to pave the way for a dedicated energy fund, which sources close to the matter said will be targeting around $1.5 billion. The expected vehicle already has some commitments from investors, according to reports. 

Carlyle ended its 11-year partnership with energy specialist Riverstone Holdings at the end of 2011. The two firms launched six vehicles focused on the energy and power sectors. This has helped Carlyle amass $28 billion of investments in the energy sector, made through its general buyout, infrastructure and mid-market funds. The new, dedicated fund will be its first outside North America. 

“This is a remarkable opportunity to combine my team’s international oil and gas investing experience — in particular in Europe and Africa — with Carlyle’s established energy platform. With global energy demands inexorably on the rise we believe we are well positioned to invest and create value for Carlyle’s investors,” commented van Poecke. 

Carlyle is the latest firm to devote a specific team and vehicle to the energy sector, after similar moves by other large buyout groups over the past few years. The Blackstone Group raised $2.5 billion for its first energy-focused fund last year, whilst Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is reportedly seeking $1.5 billion in commitments for its a vehicle exclusively dedicated to investments in the sector.