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Veteran Chazen to head up new outfit TPG Pace

Former Occidental chief executive is chosen by investors to lead special-purpose acquisition company in the US

Private investors in the US have once again tapped a veteran oil executive to lead a company set up solely to buy undervalued oil and gas assets and capitalise on a recovery in the industry.

Former Occidental chief executive Steve Chazen has signed up to lead a new blank-cheque company with backing from private equity investor TPG that will look to snap up undervalued oil and gas assets.

TPG Pace Energy Holdings filed paperwork with the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering of shares worth up to $690 million in gross proceeds.

The company plans to sell 69 million shares at a price of $10 each, assuming that underwriters exercise their full over-allotment, the SEC filing states.

A blank-cheque company, also called a special-purpose acquisition company (Spac), has no assets of its own and is required to spend the money over a set timeframe or return it to investors.

TPG Pace did not detail the types of assets it might be eyeing but did single out producing assets as being attractive.

“We favour opportunities with certain elements of downside protection, for example, opportunities where we believe we can acquire and hedge assets with existing oil and gas production to reduce commodity risk, while improving the risk-reward by driving change and accelerating a target company’s growth initiatives,” the company said in an SEC filing.

Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs are acting as joint bookrunners on the offering.

Once public, TPG Pace will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker TPGEU.

Chazen served as the chief executive of Occidental between 2011 and 2016 and is the latest in a string of executives that have made a comeback as the head of a Spac.

Former EOG chief executive Mark Papa partnered with Riverstone to lead Silver Run Acquisition, which eventually acquired a position in the Delaware basin and a public listing through its buy out of Centennial Resource Development.

The company now operates under the Centennial name.

Riverstone followed Papa’s success by recruiting former Anadarko chief executive Jim Hackett to head Silver Run Acquisition II, which is currently in the market for its initial purchase.

Finally, private equity giant Kayne Anderson recruited Robert Purgason, a former senior vice president with pipeline giant Williams to head Kayne Anderson Acquisition, which is also yet to close on an asset package.