The former CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, and a group of backers announced plans Thursday to raise $1.6 billion for a fund to invest in oil-producing assets in "emerging and under-developed regions."
Hayward, 54, was the top executive of BP at the time of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon well blowout, which spilled almost five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Among those behind the new fund, called Vallares, is financier Nathaniel Rothschild and veteran Wall St. investment banker Julian Metherell.
Vallares plans to spend between $5 million and $13 million on a company or properties within two years, according to a prospectus filed by the fund in advance of a planned initial public offering of shares on the London Stock Exchange.
"The founders," the filing said, "particularly Nathaniel Rothschild and Tony Hayward, have a global network of relationships with key decision-makers and owners of potential targets in the resources sector."
"Many high quality international resource assets have been acquired by family owned or private companies in the last few years," Hayward said. "We will have the cash, access to funds and the capability to unlock value where the current owners have neither the capital nor technical expertise to develop the assets."
Rothschild, Hayward, Metherell and Tom Daniel, a partner of a London-based investment management partnership, have together committed $160 million of capital to the new company.
Hayward stepped down as head of BP on Oct. 1 after he became the lightning rod for anti-BP feeling in the United States. He didn't help matters with a series of gaffes, raising hackles by saying "I want my life back," going sailing, and conducting what was viewed as an evasive performance before U.S. congressmen in June 2010.