The set of small oil and gas advisory groups bought up by investment banks in recent years continue to do well for their owners.
BP’s hire of Standard Chartered to help sell $10-$20bn of upstream assets has much to do with Martin Lovegrove, the veteran oil and gas banker whose boutique, Harrison Lovegrove was purchased by StanChart in 2007.
New York-listed Jefferies’ buy out of Randall & Dewey has also been integral in making the bank one of the top dealmakers in the booming US unconventional gas market.
Jefferies last year advised XTO in its $31bn sale to Exxon, the largest deal in the sector since Chevron-Texaco. More recently Jefferies acted for East Resources when it sold $4.7bn of Marcellus shale assets to Royal Dutch Shell.
Elsewhere, Macquarie, the Australian bank, bought energy boutique Tristone for C$116m last year.
Now, Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital is getting in on the action.
RenCap has struck a partnership with banker Jeffrey Waterous to form a new advisory business focusing on oil and gas asset sales the Middle East, Africa and other emerging markets.
If Mr Waterous’s name sounds familiar, it is because he too established one of the leading oil and gas boutiques back in 1987, which was later bought by Canada’s Scotia Bank to become Scotia Waterous.
Since selling out Waterous – one of the first Western bankers to advise on sales to Chinese oil companies – has spent his time working on downstream and midstream transactions in the Middle East, adding further to his already sizable client list.
Based in Bahrain, the new business will be looking to feed asset hungry energy companies eager to do deals in emerging markets.
However, unlike the examples mentioned above, the RenCap outfit – to be named Renaissance JMW Energy – will remain independent from the wider bank, meaning the new entity will be more likely to retain its existing culture.
This, the bank will be hoping, will be a shrewder move than simply splurging cash on an established franchise, only to see its people – an advisory house’s main asset – dash for the exit.
At a time when demand for oil and gas assets shows little sign of fading, it would be no surprise to see other banks follow RenCap’s lead.