Houston-based Eagle Mountain Energy Partners LLC (EMEP) said Wednesday that it plans to partner with Pearl Energy Investments and an affiliate of NGP to prowl for acquisition and development opportunities primarily in the Williston Basin and the Rockies.

The newly formed exploration and production (E&P) operator is helmed by executives who gained expertise at private equity (PE) giant Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP, as well as Lower 48 explorers Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. and Oasis Petroleum Inc.

The partnership is backed by Dallas-based investor Pearl and NGP affiliate NGP Natural Resources XI LP.  No financial details were provided.

EMEP was founded and is helmed by CEO Eric Pregler, CFO Shaleen Patel and Vice President Michael DeKruif, who will oversee engineering.

“We expect the current market to present attractive opportunities for EMEP to create value through acquiring and developing low-risk, long-lived assets,” said CEO Eric Pregler.

The EMEP team’s “experience, commitment to innovation and strong financial partnerships lay the foundation to build a successful business,” Patel added.

Even though capital has dried up for some Lower 48 operators, PE funds continue to find openings in the market. Earlier this month, Enverus market research director John Spears said he expected to see more PE infusions for select U.S. E&Ps.

“Challenges for one company can mean opportunity for someone else and we’re seeing that on the private capital side,” Spears said. In the early years for unconventional drilling, PE was funding companies “to drill and flip acreage.

Today, however, PE “is providing a secondary source of capital to companies that need to grow but don't have the financial means via joint ventures, drillcos, purchasing overriding royalties and other arrangements.”

PE sponsors also are finding opportunities in the Lower 48 beyond E&P funding.

For example, Layne Water Midstream LLC (LWM) recently announced an agreement with the Texas General Land Office to expand its oilfield water footprint in the Permian Basin. LWM last April said it had secured $200 million in PE commitments to expand its services.

Bluefield Research in December said U.S. energy companies are likely to spend $174 billion on water management for hydraulic fracturing services from 2019-2028, backed largely by PE and sovereign wealth funds.