Ward Polzin was in Dallas when an email ticked into his inbox the morning of January 17, 2013. He was there on assignment with Pioneer Natural Resources Co. while working as a managing director for investment bank Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. The email was from an old friend, David Hayes, a partner at the private-equity firm NGP Energy Capital Management LLC. Hayes had a proposition: He wanted Polzin to run an MLP the firm would set up in Denver. Intrigued, Polzin agreed, but he needed a few months to tie up his affairs with the investment bank. 

The MLP never happened.

In the interim, an NGP-backed producer in the Delaware Basin needed management willing to take the company public. NGP asked Polzin if he would shift his priorities and build a team that could execute in the Delaware and get the producer on an IPO track. By April 2014,

Polzin was in charge of the newly-renamed Centennial Resource Development Inc. He and his team navigated Centennial through the ebb and flow of 2014 and 2015, successfully driving costs down and productivity up, and began positioning the company to go public.

The IPO never happened.

Instead, former EOG Resources Inc. CEO Mark Papa and his Silver Run special purpose acquisition company came calling in mid-2016, eager for an entry into the Delaware. Centennial was sold to Silver Run later that year.

The same year, a Marcellus producer, Vantage Energy Inc., was purchased by Rice Energy Inc. for $2.7 billion. The deals left a pair of veteran leadership teams without a home. NGP had conversations with Vantage vice president Seth Urruty about possibly moving forward with a new NGP-backed venture, but then a light bulb went off. NGP partner Chris Carter introduced Urruty to Polzin, and the pair hit it off.

“So we had these two groups that had done these large, private-equity-backed things on the cusp of going public, sold at roughly the same time,” Polzin said. “These teams spun out around the same time to figure out what was next career-wise. There was a lot of common DNA [such as] running multiple rigs in a big shale play and having quality [rock and people] and financially [being capable of going] public. So we said let’s try it again. We merged the teams together in late 2016.”

The result was Denver-based Camino Natural Resources LLC.

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