(Adds financial details)
By David Sheppard and Jonathan Leff
LONDON/NEW YORK, July 14 Asian commodity trader
Noble Group Ltd has joined forces with U.S.
private-equity firm EIG Global Energy Partners to launch a new
venture aiming to snap up $2 billion in global energy assets.
Harbour Energy Ltd will be helmed by former top Royal Dutch
Shell Plc executive Linda Cook, the companies said,
with EIG and the new firm's management team overseeing cash
raising and acquisitions, with Noble responsible for marketing
The move comes as Noble refocuses its business on commodity
trading, while many energy majors are shedding once-prized
assets to help streamline their operations and return cash to
"This transaction represents a significant milestone in the
continued implementation of Noble's 'asset light' strategy...
while partnering with market-leading asset managers and owners,"
Noble Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Alireza said.
Cook, 56, spent 29 years with Royal Dutch Shell and was once
tipped as a future CEO of the firm, before losing out in a
leadership battle with then CFO Peter Voser in 2009.
She was widely credited with building up Shell's natural gas
business, a top business at the oil and gas major.
"She is an extraordinarily accomplished senior executive
with deep operating and management expertise across all facets
of the global energy industry," R. Blair Thomas, Chief Executive
Officer of EIG said.
Harbour Energy will initially be seeded with $150 million
from Noble and $50 million from EIG, according to a person
familiar with the matter.
It aims to raise $2 billion eventually from large investors
to buy energy-related projects.
Singapore-listed Noble is one of the world's largest
commodity traders, growing rapidly from its Hong Kong roots to
post revenues of almost $100 billion last year from trading more
than 230 million tonnes of energy and agricultural commodities.
Noble has signed two similar ventures in the past year
covering mining and the agricultural sector.
Last September Noble and private-equity group TPG invested
$500 million in a mining-related investment venture called X2
Resources led by Mick Davis, the former head of Xstrata.
In April, COFCO Corp, China's largest grain trader, agreed
to pay $1.5 billion for a majority stake in Noble's agri
Washington-based EIG had more than $15 billion under
management as of March, the company said, with 290
energy-related investments over its 32-year history.
Harbour Energy's initial capitalization will be funded
solely through the balance sheet of Noble and EIG, the companies
said in a statement.
(Reporting by David Sheppard in London and Jonathan Leff in New
York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jason Neely)