Energy Capital pauses pipeline deals on widening shale despair

Rachel Adams-Heard and Kiel Porter February 07, 2020

HOUSTON and CHICAGO (Bloomberg) -- Energy Capital Partners LLC is pausing new pipeline deals, according to people familiar with the matter, as the accelerating downturn in shale prompts investors to seek returns elsewhere.

The private-equity powerhouse’s head of midstream investments, Scott Rogan, is departing, said the people, who asked not to be named because the information is not public. Energy Capital’s current midstream investments will be managed by other teams within the company, they said, and the firm will keep its Houston office.

Investors have been fleeing the U.S. oil and natural gas sector as supply gluts swelled and once-vaunted shale investments failed to deliver returns. The contagion is also infecting the midstream industry that for a time had been largely immune from the shakeout. Private equity firms have struggled to attract buyers for their investments as public-equity markets effectively shut to larger, traditional pipeline companies.

An Energy Capital spokeswoman declined to comment. Rogan couldn’t be reached for comment.

Backing pipelines

Energy Capital recently reached the close of its flagship fund, raising $3.3 billion and bringing total commitments across all funds to more than $20 billion.

While midstream deals are unlikely in the short- to medium-term, Energy Capital has been active in power and renewables. The firm in July bought storage developer Convergent Energy and Power Inc. The deal came roughly two years after it led a consortium that took independent power producer Calpine Corp. private for $17.1 billion in equity and debt.

Rather than invest in oil explorers, Energy Capital had focused on backing pipeline operators, with almost $3 billion invested in the midstream space, according to its website. That included two publicly traded operators: Targa Resources Corp. and Summit Midstream Partners LP.

Energy Capital said on its website that the strategy allowed the firm to “not compete with the customers we seek to build a contractual relationship with.”

Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.