Riverstone Holdings LLC, the private equity firm with its hand in several North American energy enterprises, is said to be in the hunt for BP plc's natural gas liquids (NGL) business in Canada.

A BP spokesperson confirmed to NGI that the NGL business is up for sale. However, Riverstone declined to comment.

BP Canada Energy Co.'s NGL processing facilities in Canada are estimated to be worth about US$2 billion. The business includes fractionation plants at Fort Saskatchewan, Sarnia and Empress. With a capacity of 4.6 Bcf/d, BP Empress is one of the largest gas processing plants in North America.

If Riverstone were to make a successful play for the NGL unit, it would have someone on staff with a solid background in the business: Lord John Browne, the hard-charging and popular former chief of BP, who was hired by Riverstone three months after he retired from the oil major.

Browne, who joined BP as an apprentice in 1966, worked his way up the ranks, with management positions in Anchorage, New York, San Francisco and Canada. Browne led BP's transformation in the 1990s into one of the Big Oil companies and made deals that included the acquisition of Amoco and ARCO. He was named group CEO in 1998, and that year he also was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

However, BP's worldwide operations were beset with a series of accidents and scandals, and Browne took early retirement in 2007; Tony Hayward was his replacement (see Daily GPI, May 2, 2007; Jan. 16, 2007; Oct. 25, 2006; Aug. 30, 2006). Three months later, however, Browne was appointed a managing director of the European branch of Riverstone (see Daily GPI, Aug. 27, 2007).

Riverstone has its hand in many North American energy enterprises. Among them are investments in Kinder Morgan Inc. (see Daily GPI, Nov. 24), Dresser Inc. (see Daily GPI, Oct. 11); Pattern Energy Group LP (see Power Market Today, May 18); and Cobalt International Energy LP (see Daily GPI, April 7, 2009).

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