Blackstone backs Clarion Offshore Partners formation

The Blackstone Group said Thursday it has committed an undisclosed amount to the formation of Clarion Offshore Partners LLC. The former executive management team at Pride International — including Louis Raspino, Greg Looser, Kevin Robert, and Ron Toufeeq – are leading Clarion, a Houston-based provider of financial, strategic and operational solutions to the challenged offshore drilling and services industry.


New York and Houston, February 11, 2016. Blackstone (NYSE:BX) today announced that it has formed Clarion Offshore Partners LLC (“Clarion”), a new platform to provide strategic solutions to the offshore oil and gas drilling and services sector, with a financial commitment from private equity funds managed by Blackstone.

Clarion’s investment mandate is broad and flexible, enabling the partnership to pursue opportunities with a wide array of industry participants, including offshore drilling companies, shipyards, financial institutions, investors, and oil & gas operators. The partnership will provide creative financing solutions including growth and restructuring capital to the sector.

The Clarion team is led by senior executives with extensive experience in the offshore drilling services sector who have operated in virtually every offshore basin in the world. Clarion’s Chairman Louis Raspino, together with partners Greg Looser, Kevin Robert, and Ron Toufeeq, were the majority of the executive management team at Pride International. Under the leadership of Mr. Raspino as Chief Executive Officer, with Mr. Toufeeq as Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Robert as Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Business Development, and Mr. Looser as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, Pride International restructured its balance sheet, rebuilt its worldwide management team and infrastructure, and executed asset rationalizations. These efforts established Pride as a leading international offshore drilling company with a heavy emphasis on investment in deepwater growth.

Louis Raspino said, “This is an opportune time in the industry for a well-capitalized and experienced team to provide creative financing and operational solutions. Balance sheets are under severe pressure, existing operators are challenged to deploy assets, and related parties throughout the value chain are also facing financial pressures. We believe Clarion can be a partner of choice to the industry and we are excited about partnering with Blackstone.”

Michael Ryder, a Senior Managing Director with Blackstone Energy Partners, said, “We are very pleased to form this partnership with Clarion, which brings together our global energy investing experience and a best in class management team. Louis and the team are uniquely positioned to contribute deep strategic and operational expertise, having successfully led Pride and other organizations. We look forward to working with Clarion and other industry participants in the coming years.”

About Blackstone Energy Partners and Blackstone
Blackstone Energy Partners is Blackstone’s energy-focused private equity business, with a successful record built on Blackstone’s industry expertise and partnerships with exceptional management teams. Blackstone has invested over $8 billion of equity globally across a broad range of sectors within the energy industry.

Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms. We seek to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, the companies we invest in, and the communities in which we work. We do this by using extraordinary people and flexible capital to help companies solve problems. Our asset management businesses, with over $330 billion in assets under management, include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, non-investment grade credit, real assets and secondary funds, all on a global basis. Blackstone also provides various financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services. Further information is available at Follow Blackstone on Twitter @Blackstone.

About Clarion Offshore Partners
Clarion Offshore Partners is a global investment platform that provides strategic solutions to the offshore oil & gas drilling industry. With a broad and flexible mandate, Clarion seeks to provide creative solutions to a wide spectrum of industry participants including, offshore drilling companies, shipyards, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and oil and gas operators. Clarion is a partnership between Blackstone and former senior executives of Pride International. Further information is available