Warburg Invests in E&P Start-Up

Private global equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC will offer a line-of-equity investment of up to $500 million in Houston-based exploration and production start-up Independence Resources Management (IRM).

Warburg Pincus, which is focused on growth investing, sees the investment as an opportunity to grow a start-up exploration and production (E&P) company with a leadership team with deep geoscience, reservoir and operational experience and one “ideally suited” to acquire and develop existing assets and to pursue new exploration concepts.

The investment “fits squarely with our investment thesis and our track record of success,” said James Levy, managing director at Warburg Pincus, in a March 31 press statement.

Launched in 2014, IRM will initially focus on the Anadarko Basin as part of its plan to target extension opportunities in known onshore oil and gas basins in the U.S. Midcontinent and Rockies.

Mike Van Horn, who recently served as senior vice president of exploration and vice president of geoscience at Newfield Exploration, will lead IRM as its chief executive officer. Van Horn has nearly 40 years of technical and commercial experience in both domestic and international and conventional and unconventional oil and gas plays.

“We are excited to have the support of Warburg Pincus, especially in the present commodity price environment, as we pursue the significant opportunity set we are seeing in our regions of interest,” said Van Horn in a press statement. “This investment will enable us to acquire a meaningful footprint in targeted plays and optimally delineate and develop that hydrocarbon resource over time.”

IRM’s management team holds more than 120 years of collective industry experience. The firm’s founding members, who previously worked together at Enron Oil & Gas, include John Nicholas, chief operating officer for IRM and former general manager for Southwestern Energy’s Appalachian division. This group also includes Rod Steward, chief corporate officer for the company and former manager of exploitation, capital planning and analysis for Sheridan Production Partners; and Charles Minero, Ph.D., chief geosciences officer, who previously served as senior staff geologist at Shell Oil Company.


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