Pine Brook commits $100m to energy venture

The New York firm led by former Warburg Pincus vice chairman Howard Newman has partnered with Australian Stock Exchange-listed Comet Ridge to develop US oil and gas assets. Drilling will commence immediately at the company's Colorado oil field.

Pine Brook Road Partners, a 2-year old firm focussed on growth capital investment in energy and financial services companies, will provide up to $100 million (€64 million) and hold a majority stake in Comet Ridge Resources.

Comet Ridge Resources is a joint venture with Comet Ridge, an oil and gas company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange; the new entity now owns and will develop Comet Ridge’s US oil and gas assets in the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies.

Immediate drilling is planned for its Florence oil field in Colorado, while geological and geophysical operations are scheduled for later this year across 425,000 acres it has optioned in the Grays Harbor Basin in Washington State, the firms said.

Howard Newman, formerly vice chairman of Warburg Pincus and Pine Brook Road’s president and chief executive, said: “The investment in Comet Ridge is consistent with our practice of providing growth capital to exceptional management teams in an effort to build companies of meaningful scale.”

Managing director Craig Jarchow, formerly with First Reserve, added that Pine Brook Road’s team has known Andy Lydyard, chief executive of Comet Ridge Resources, and some of his team members for more than a decade.
“Andy Lydyard and his team are widely known in the oil patch to be business builders and oil finders,” said Jarchow. “We are pleased to finally have the opportunity to work with them.”

Pine Brook Road in October 2007 led a consortium comprised of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, emerging markets buyout firm Actis Capital and global power company AES Corporation to buy a $380 million stake in oil and gas exploration company Asia Pacific Exploration Consolidated.

The firm has yet to announce a fund close. A spokeswoman declined to comment as to whether the firm has or has not closed a fund.