Energy-focused private equity firm Carnelian Energy Capital Management LP has closed its inaugural fund with $400 million in capital commitments, with an aim to capitalize on the volatile oil markets.   

The fund, Carnelian Energy Capital LP, will make lower and middle-market energy investments between $35 million and $75 million. The firm will focus on upstream, midstream and oilfield services transactions.

"The current energy landscape present exciting investment opportunities, especially in the under-served lower and middle market oil and gas sector, and our focused fund structure enables us to move nimbly to capitalize on these opportunities," says Daniel Goodman, Carnelian partner.

Houston-based Carnelian was formed by Tomas Ackerman and Goodman, who were previously with Natural Gas Partners, where they worked to source, execute and exit oil and gas investments. Carnelian does not list any current investments on the firm's website.

Kirkland & Ellis advised Carnelian on the fund formation.

Several private equity firms have closed dedicated energy funds that intend to capitalize on depressed crude oil markets. PE firm EIV Capital LLC raised $267 million in February to invest in midstream and oilfield services businesses. Before that, NGP Energy Capital Management closed a $5.3 billion PE fund focused on energy deals. 

Dealmaker interest in the space is underscored by Piper Jaffray Co.'s recent annoucement that the firm is buying an energy-focused investment bankto expand in the sector. For more on investor interest in the sector, see Investors Flow Into Oil & Gas.

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