In RMR’s continuing series The Money Backers, we give readers a glimpse of who’s who and who owns what in energy’s private equity world. From the largest to the smallest to the newest, we look especially at those firms making hay in the midstream industry to provide the capital infusion required to give growth projects liftoff.
Private equity may have shut the door on investment capital for certain segments of the oil and gas industry, but Dallas-based Energy Spectrum Capital is leaving their door wide open for new midstream opportunities. This investor—the longest-operating midstream PE group in the nation—finds its niche with lower, middle-market companies that acquire, develop, and operate North American midstream assets. ESC has just announced the final close of its eighth midstream private-equity fund amounting to $996 million, and by all accounts looks to shop for more assets with an eye on gathering and transportation systems, processing and treating plants and storage facilities. Since its inception in 1995, the firm has raised more than $4.5 billion in capital for 63 portfolio companies. The previous Energy Spectrum Partners VII fund closed in 2014 at $1.225 billion.
Energy Spectrum Capital
Energy Spectrum Capital is a private equity infrastructure firm that focuses on the energy industry. The firm also manages private equity funds that make direct investments in the companies that acquire, develop and operate midstream energy assets.
For now, ESC’s investments are spread across 15 midstream operators. But with nearly one $1 billion in pocket—and a ripe-for-the-picking environment—expect that number to increase in short order. Here are a few of the growth vehicles currently supported by Energy Spectrum.
- Houston-based Azure Midstream operates 479 miles of natural gas pipeline, providing gas gathering, compression, treating and processing in north La., and East Texas. The company’s Holly System serves the “core of the core” of the Haynesville and consists of 361 miles of high- and low-pressure pipeline, two amine treating plants and four compressors. The Shelby System, which also services the Haynesville and Bossier formations, includes 126 miles of pipe, one amine treating plant, and access to four major pipeline interconnects.
- From its home base in Plano, Texas, BlueJack Energy Solutions develops and operates wastewater solutions for Permian producers. Customers include Laredo Petroleum, Occidental, Sable Permian Resources, Arch Oil & Gas, and Discovery Natural Resources.
- With 61 bulk liquids tanks and barge, rail and truck capabilities, Houston-based Bluewing Midstream is expanding its storage facilities to add 1.9 MMBbls of new storage capacity, as well as adding shipping connections at the Port of Brownsville.
- Caliche also focuses on storage but on the subsurface side. Headquartered in Houston, this company owns and operates a 5 MMBbl salt cavern on the Texas Gulf Coast that can accommodate 600 lbs of ethylene at maximum capacity. Growth projects ahead include a large expansion to provide 32 MMBls of salt dome storage capacity.
- In a joint venture with Concho Resources, Tulsa-based Frontier Energy Services built and sold the 500-mile Alpha Crude Connector in the Northern Delaware in 2017 to Plains All American for $1.215 billion. Frontier’s latest project, the Beta Crude Connector, will consist of 100 miles of crude oil pipe and approximately 250,000 Bbls of operational storage in the Midland.
- City-based Great Salt Plains Midstream operates crude oil and natural gas infrastructure serving producers in the state’s STACK play. The company’s assets include 317 miles of crude pipe, 137 miles of natural gas pipe, two cryogenic plants, and the 115-mile Great Salt Plains Pipeline which extends from Cherokee to the Cushing Hub.
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