Two MDs to shift as BlackRock closes First Reserve deal

BlackRock will focus on deploying the remainder of First Reserve’s Fund II before eyeing the launch of a new vehicle next year.

BlackRock managing directors Pat Eilers and David O’Brien will form part of the new management team at First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Funds, after the firm closed the acquisition from First Reserve.

Eilers, who was hired by BlackRock 12 months ago from Madison Dearborn Partners to build a North American equity strategy focused on conventional power and energy, will join the First Reserve funds’ investment committee alongside Jim Barry, head of infrastructure, Barry told Infrastructure Investor.

O’Brien, who joined BlackRock from NTR in 2011 and has largely worked on the group’s Renewable Power unit, will become one of the managing directors on the newly acquired platform, Barry said.

With the undisclosed deal now concluded, he added that the First Reserve funds business will concentrate on deploying the remainder of the $2.5 billion First Reserve Energy Infrastructure Fund II, which is approximately 55 percent invested, with further deals expected soon.

A third fund is expected to be launched next year, Barry confirmed, which will seek a similar strategy targeting midstream assets, regulated transmission and distribution as well as storage and renewable projects. He remained confident LPs would be happy to commit to another fund, although declined to comment on the possible size of the vehicle.

Barry said he is eyeing the power-hungry, growing economies in Latin America and Asia as investment destinations for the First Reserve unit, with the growth of the global renewables market and the exporting of gas as some of the more specific targets. Opportunities for investors lie in both the public and private sector, he explained, where owners of assets are constrained and need investors to help with the recycling of assets and co-investments in new projects.

The acquisition brings BlackRock’s infrastructure assets under management to about $14 billion and the firm’s Real Assets platform to approximately $36.5 billion.