Dallas-based Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp., a blank check company organized by veteran energy executives and private equity giant NGP Natural Resources XII LP, is laying plans to create a Lower 48 oil and gas operator.
Former RSP Permian Inc. executives Scott McNeill, Jim Mutrie and Josh Rosinski, along with NGP, in early July submitted a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to advance their vision.
RSP, a Permian Basin-focused explorer, was taken over last year by Concho Resources Inc. Switchback CEO Scott McNeill was CFO at RSP. Mutrie, former general counsel of RSP, will serve as chief commercial officer and general counsel. Rosinski, RSP’s vice president of engineering, is COO.
The Switchback entity has not disclosed where it will target its initial development, but the SEC filing indicated it plans a “merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses…”
Sponsor NGP, an energy-focused private equity fund, has a North American portfolio that is spread far and wide, in both upstream and midstream ventures that previously included a predecessor of Centennial Resource Development Inc. and midstream operators Eclipse, EnLink and PennTex. It also has poured investments into Avad Energy Partners LLC, Luxe Energy LLC, Teal Natural Resources LLC and Colgate Energy LLC.
“We have not selected any potential business combination target and we have not, nor has anyone on our behalf, initiated any substantive discussions, directly or indirectly, with any potential business combination target,” according to the SEC filing. “Although we may pursue an acquisition opportunity in any business or industry, or one that does not fit with NGP XII’s mandate, we intend to capitalize on the ability of our management team and the broader NGP platform to identify, acquire and operate a business in the energy industry that may provide opportunities for attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders.”
The sponsors plan to acquire a business “that could benefit from a hands-on owner with extensive operational experience in the energy sector,” among other things.
No timeline or specific financial guidance was issued. However, Switchback plans an initial public offering with units priced at $10/share. If it moves forward, Switchback is to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the “SBE.U” ticker symbol.
Several blank check entities, considered special purchase acquisition companies, or SPACs, have launched in the energy space over the last few years, often with seasoned oil and gas veterans at the helm and backed by private equity.
Riverstone Holdings LLC two years ago turned to retired Anadarko Petroleum Corp. chief Jim Hackett to lead Silver Run Acquisition Corp. II, an energy-focused SPAC.
Silver Run 1, launched by Riverstone in February 2016, brought aboard former EOG Resources Inc. chief Mark Papa. Papa's Denver-based exploration and production company, rebranded as Centennial, now controls 77,000 net acres in the Permian Delaware sub-basin.
Two years ago, TPG Pace Energy Holdings was formed by Tarrant Capital IP LLC, aka TPG. Former Occidental Petroleum Corp. chief Stephen Chazen, who retired in 2016, leads the company.