(Reuters) – Private equity firm TPG Capital has teamed up with two energy industry veterans to form a new venture with an initial capital of up to $1 billion to buy and run conventional natural gas-producing assets in North America.
U.S. natural gas prices have remained depressed for the last two years due to surging output from unconventional shale fields. High-profile investors such as Carl Icahn, Wilbur Ross and T. Boone Pickens have eyed properties that have become cheaper as a result.
TPG Capital said Thomas Hart III, with 20 years in the energy sector, will be the president of San Antonio, Texas-based Maverick American Natural Gas.
“Maverick is already seeing opportunities to acquire and operate core properties that fit our strategy as other companies divest them to raise capital,” Hart said.
Dan Allen Hughes Jr., who has been active in the exploration and production industry for more than 30 years, will be the chairman of the venture.
“Natural gas will play an important and growing role in satisfying our country’s energy needs over the next decade and beyond,” said Michael MacDougall, a partner at TPG Capital.
Naturals gas-focused companies such as Quicksilver Resources , Exco Resources Inc. and Newfield Exploration Co. have seen a steep decline in share prices mirroring the fall in their main produce.
The Dow Jones U.S. oil and gas index has dipped 7% in the last six months.