KKR & Co. Inc. is backing a new E&P team with extensive operating experience in the Williston Basin.
In a joint release, KKR said it formed a partnership on May 20 with Western Natural Resources LLC, a private E&P led by Heath Mireles. The partnership follows a similar investment recently made by the New York-based investment firm in another newly-formed E&P, Spur Energy Partners LLC. The value of either investment wasn’t disclosed.
While Spur is currently focusing on the Permian Basin, Western plans on building a position of producing and undeveloped oil and gas assets in the Williston Basin—a play which KKR said is “well suited” to its strategy.
Ben Conner, director on KKR’s energy real assets team, said in a statement: “The Williston continues to be a core area of focus for us as we see a significant opportunity to acquire high quality producing assets with attractive long-term value creation opportunities to be delivered through superior technical and operational execution. We have known Heath and members of his team for years and believe our partnership is well positioned to acquire and manage assets in the Williston for the long run.”
Western CEO Mireles and his team have drilled, completed and operated thousands of wells in the Williston Basin. KKR is making its investment in the Western partnership through funds affiliated with the firm’s energy real assets strategy, which has invested roughly $4 billion in capital across 12 transactions since 2015, according to release.
“We are excited to partner with KKR and bring what we feel is a differentiated view and business model to the basin to build a premier asset base focused on delivering strong risk-adjusted returns,” Mireles said in a statement.
Western is the second E&P company Mireles has formed. In 2017, he co-founded Valorem Energy LLC with a capital investment from Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP. When Valorem, now known as Flywheel Energy LLC, set out, the company had a $1 billion acquisition target in the Rockies and Midcontinent regions.
Mireles helped lead the company as COO until November 2018, a month before Flywheel announced the blockbuster acquisition of Southwestern Energy Co.’s position in the Fayetteville Shale. Flywheel also held assets in the Williston Basin but has since agreed to sell those to Northern Oil and Gas Inc. in a transaction worth more than $310 million.
Mireles began his career at BP Plc in 2006. He later joined Continental Resources Inc. in 2010, where he spent time spearheading a research project in the Bakken.
While at Continental, Mireles was named as one of Oil and Gas Investor’s “30 Under 40” honorees in 2015. He left Continental in March 2017 after serving as vice president of resource development for over a year, according to his Linkedin profile.
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