GIP hires ex-El Paso exec who headed joint-venture

Jim Cleary (pictured) joins Global Infrastructure Partners to work on its energy team. He worked for El Paso, where he headed GIP portfolio company Ruby Pipeline.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has hired Jim Cleary, a longtime pipeline executive who ran a venture part owned by GIP and natural gas powerhouse El Paso Corporation.

GIP said Cleary, who headed Ruby Pipeline Holding Company, a GIP subsidiary, will join its energy team. He will initially be based in Colorado, according to a press statement.

Fifty-seven-year-old Cleary was president of El Paso Western Pipeline Group, which in 2009 partnered with GIP to start Ruby, a 680-mile pipeline stretching from southwest Wyoming through Utah to northwest Nevada.

Cleary, who signed on with El Paso in 2004 after serving with ANR Pipeline Company and Southern Natural Gas, will be joined by Thomas Price, Pat Johnson and Derek Wedel, who each worked with Cleary at El Paso.

Price and Thomas worked as “part of the pipeline executive team” for El Paso, GIP said, while Wedel had been involved with engineering and construction. Cleary himself is a trained attorney who began working in the energy sector in 1979.

The construction of Ruby invited discord in Idaho and Nevada when El Paso paid $20 million to Western Watershed Project (WWP), a litigious environmentalist group, to drop its lawsuit against the pipeline.

GIP, according to its website, invested $700 million in Ruby, and is 50 percent owner with Kinder Morgan, which bought El Paso in October for $21 billion.

Based in New York and London, GIP currently manages the industry’s largest infrastructure fund, Global Infrastructure Partners II (GIP II), which has raised $7.5 billion. GIP II has a hard cap of more than $8 billion.