Board role for Lord Browne raises flotation hope

ANALYSTS believe that appointing former BP chief executive Lord Browne to the board of a US energy firm may help it gain support for a flotation among investors.

Browne is joint head of Riverstone Holdings’ renewable energy funds and is said to be in line for a board position if the listing of its subsidiary Riverstone Energy goes ahead.

One City analyst said: “There’s always money out there for good assets and quality management, but there’s very little appetite in London at the moment for risky exploration and production plays.

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“Anything coming to the market has struggled of late. Having said that, with a big name on board and a good set of assets, it could come off.”

Browne, who spent 41 years at BP, has been a partner at Riverstone Holdings since 2007.

Riverstone Energy is reportedly aiming to raise at least £500 million to invest in the oil and gas and renewables sectors, and market-watchers pointed to a recent fundraising from Ophir Energy as one example where the right mix of assets can prove attractive to investors.

The explorer raised more than £520m through a share placing in March to fund its expansion in Africa.

According to PwC, the London market accounted for almost half of the ¤5.2 billion (£4.5bn) raised through flotations across Europe during the second quarter.

Riverstone subsidiary Fieldwood Energy last month agreed to buy $3.75bn (£2.4bn) of Apache’s oil and gas assets in the Gulf of Mexico.

A spokesman for Riverstone declined to comment.