Energy firm closes debut fund on $120m(2)

Pelican Energy Partners invests exclusively in oilfield services and has deployed roughly $20m in three acquisitions.

Houston-based Pelican Energy Partners has held a final close on $120 million for its debut fund.

The oilfield services investor launched the fundraising process in November 2011 and held a first close on $104 million after roughly four months. The firm attracted an additional $16 million from existing investors who increased their commitments and from a small number of new limited partners. Pelican's LP group of more than 40 investors does not include institutional investors, but is comprised of high net worth individuals in the oilfield services industry.

Pelican is run by managing partner Mike Scott and managing director Joseph Welsh. Scott was previously a principal at Salt Lake City based-Sorenson Capital Partners, where he led the firm's energy investing practices. Prior to Sorenson, he worked in corporate development at oilfield equipment company Cameron International.

Welsh, who joined Pelican last April, was previously the director of corporate development at Complete Production

We're not private equity guys doing energy services, we're energy services guys doing private investment

Joseph Welsh
Pelican Energy Partners

Services, an energy services business formerly owned by Houston-based energy investor SCF Partners.

“We're not private equity guys doing energy services, we're energy services guys doing private investment,” Welsh told Private Equity International. “Everybody in the fund has a deep background in the energy services industry.”

Pelican has deployed about $20 million of capital from the fund into three transactions, acquiring pressure testing services business 2-J Well Service, oilfield equipment maker Boss Hog Energy Services and water management services company Capline Environmental Services. Pelican makes primarily majority investments of between $5 million and $15 million, with the ability to co-invest in larger oilfield services transactions.

“That would be if we found a deal that required a $50 million equity cheque,” Welsh said, adding that “the only thing we can't do are exploration and production deals”.

In addition to committing capital to Pelican's debut fund, the firm's LPs also act as a resource for evaluating potential investment opportunities, according to Welsh.

“If we encounter a business that makes a new type of choke valve, in pretty short order we can go through our LP network and get to a person that probably knows more about choke valves than anybody in the world,” he said. “So it's very helpful to us.”