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UpstreamOnline: Ex-Shell boss to spearhead Delta

Van de Vijver shakes off reserves scandal to form investment outfit

CHRISTOPHER HOPSON
London

ROYAL Dutch Shell’s former upstream chief executive Walter van de Vijver is returning to the oil and gas industry, raising about $1 billion of private equity to form a new company called Delta Hydrocarbons.

Van de Vijver has founded the new company with Maarten Scholten, formerly head of Schlumberger’s mergers and acquisitions team. They have been joined by Jeri Eagan, formerly chief financial officer for Shell’s gas and power business and Frederik Rijkens, previously a Total project director.

Private equity company 3i has committed $250 million for Delta Hydrocarbons. Two other investors, SHV Holdings subsidiary Dyas and Upstream Capital Partners, an affiliate of Mercuria Energy Group, have each committed $250 million.

“At the moment, Delta has raised $750 million. It is in discussions with a number of parties and expects to raise a further $250 million over the course of the next six to eight weeks,” 3i investment director Colin Burnett said.

Delta is looking to collaborate with national oil companies and international oil companies to enhance production from mature fields. In particular, it will focus on assets where lack of investment has hindered development.

It will offer companies an outsourced solution to meet their needs to increase reserves and production with little risk.

Burnett said Delta will provide the capital, the people and the technical and management skills to develop existing producing fields and thereby increase production. “The aim over the coming months is to build a core team of 25 to 30 people, based in Amsterdam,” he said.

Delta is looking to develop a balanced portfolio of projects across a number of regions, outside of North America. These are likely to focus particularly on Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and Latin America.

Van de Vijver was forced to quit Shell three years ago, together with former chairman Philip Watts, in the scandal that resulted from Shell’s 20% downgrading of its proven oil and gas reserves. The downgrade stunned financial markets, costing the group its top grade credit rating and leading to $150 million in regulatory fines.

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