Jason Kivett and Robyn Underwood join Houston-based energy finance firm Pickering Energy Partners. Photo courtesy of PEP

A firm focused on financial services within the energy sector has named two former Barclays investment bankers to its team.

Pickering Energy Partners announced that Jason Kivett and Robyn Underwood will join PEP to lead its traditional Energy Investment Banking Practice as managing directors. The team Kivett and Underwood join focuses on traditional oil and gas and will partner with the existing Renewables and Energy Transition advisory team, per a news release.

"Our clients turn to us for our dedication to the energy sector, and our ability to get deals done," Dan Pickering, chief investment officer of Pickering Energy Partners, says in a news release. “As the industry seeks more innovative financial solutions than ever before, our team is ready to support that demand."

With the expansion of this team, PEP has more than doubled its M&A advisory and capital raising team and its advisers worked on over $100 billion in transactions across corporate mergers, acquisitions, and more.

PEP also announced that Osmar Abib has joined the PEP Advisory Board. He worked over two decades with Credit Suisse and served most recently as the chairman of the Global Energy Group based in Houston and New York.

Another addition to the firm’s expanding investment banking platform, Osmar Abib joins the PEP Advisory Board. Abib provides rich market insights based on his experience as the former Global Head of Energy Investment Banking for Credit Suisse.

“Experience matters and we appreciate the deeply rooted relationships our new team members have developed over their careers,” Walker Moody, president of Pickering Energy Partners, adds in the release. “The PEP Investment Banking team knows energy, and they understand operators. We continue to play offense and bring on talented, experienced professionals to benefit our clients.”

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston offshore robotics company secures $12M, makes major leadership changes

big moves

In the wake of a leadership reshuffling and amid lingering financial troubles, publicly traded Nauticus Robotics, a Webster-based developer of subsea robots and software, has netted more than $12 million in a second tranche of funding.

The more than $12 million in new funding includes a $9.5 million loan package.

Nauticus says the funding will accelerate certification of the company’s flagship Aquanaut robot, which is being prepared for its inaugural mission — inspecting a deep-water production facility in the Gulf of Mexico that’s owned by a major oil and gas company.

The new funding comes several weeks after the company announced a change in leadership, including a new interim CEO, interim chief financial officer, and lead general counsel.

Former Halliburton Energy Services executive John Gibson, the interim CEO, became president of Nauticus last October and subsequently joined the board. Gibson replaced Nauticus founder Nicolaus Radford in the CEO role. Radford’s LinkedIn profile indicates he left Nauticus in January 2024, the same month that Gibson stepped into the interim post.

Radford founded what was known as Houston Mechatronics in 2014.

Victoria Hay, the new interim CFO at Nauticus, and Nicholas Bigney, the new lead general counsel, came aboard in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“We currently have the intellectual property, prototypes, and the talent to deliver robust products and services,” Gibson says in a news release. “Team Nauticus is now laser-focused on converting our intellectual property, including both patents and trade secrets, into differentiated solutions that bring significant value to both commercial and government customers.”

A couple of weeks after the leadership shift, the NASDAQ stock market notified Nauticus that the average closing price of the company’s common stock had fallen below the $1-per-share threshold for 30 consecutive trading days. That threshold must be met to maintain a NASDAQ listing.

Nauticus was given 180 days to lift its average stock price above $1. If that threshold isn’t reached during that 180-day period, the company risks being delisted by NASDAQ. The stock closed February 6 at 32 cents per share.

The stock woes and leadership overhaul came on the heels of a dismal third-quarter 2023 financial report from Nauticus. The company’s fourth-quarter 2023 financial report hasn’t been filed yet.

For the first nine months of 2023, Nauticus reported an operating loss of nearly $20.9 million, up from almost $11.3 million during the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, revenue sank from $8.2 million during the first nine months of 2022 to $5.5 million in the same period a year later.

Nauticus went public in September 2022 through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger with New York City-based CleanTech Acquisition Corp., a “blank check” company that went public in July 2021 through a $150 million IPO. The SPAC deal was valued at $560 million when it was announced in December 2021.

Nauticus recently hired investment bank Piper Sandler & Co. to help evaluate “strategic options to maximize shareholder value.”

One of the strategic alternatives involves closing Nauticus’ previously announced merger with Houston-based 3D at Depth, which specializes in subsea laser technology. When it was unveiled last October, the all-stock deal was valued at $34 million.

Houston software company taps new Norwegian partnership to advance energy transition

teaming up

A Houston-based human resource tech platform has announced a new partnership that hopes to help Norwegian energy companies that are navigating the energy transition.

Kahuna Workforce Solutions has teamed up with Norwegian operating services provider PXO AS to provide operations readiness and assurance infrastructure to Norway’s energy sector. Both companies reportedly have Norwegian customers already, and Kahuna brings its software platform while PXO has technical and field experience.

“PXO represents everything we look for in a partner as we strive to ensure successful and rapid adoption of competency-based training and development programs,” Jai Shah, CEO of Kahuna Workforce Solutions, says in a news release. “As a company that works with many of the same customers as PXO, we’ve seen their expertise firsthand. It is clear they are the right partner to help us not only address the current needs of the energy industry but also pioneer innovative solutions that will shape the future of competency readiness and assurance in Norway.”

Both companies reportedly have Norwegian customers already, and Kahuna brings its software platform while PXO has technical and field experience.

“Just as we serve as a bridge between project and operation phases, Kahuna equips enterprises with validated competency data,” Leif Olav Moe, CEO of PXO, says in the release. “By uniting our technical and operational expertise with their cutting-edge competency management solutions, we are delivering a unique solution unlike anything the market has yet to provide—signifying our commitment to building a more skilled and competitive workforce to ascertain safer and more efficient operations.”

Reuters reports that in 2024, Norway is expected to see $22 billion in investments from oil and gas companies. The partnership between Kahuna and PXO hopes to capitalize on this opportunity and support "streamlining skills validation and aligning operational standards with expanding ESG initiatives and emerging technologies," per the release.

“When you combine our capabilities with PXO’s extensive experience in supporting operations with strategic training and competency services, there is no other competency management solution that comes close to building a skilled, safe, compliant, and competitive workforce," Shah adds.

Last year, Kahuna closed a $21 million series B funding round led by Baltimore-based Resolve Growth Partners. At the time, the software-as-a-service company reported that it would use the fresh funding to continue product development and hire across sales and marketing, product development, customer success, and engineering. The company also will grow to support global customers.

Houston solar company acquires Texas project site

coming soon

A Houston-based energy solutions company has acquired a solar power project site in Texas.

Aggreko’s Energy Transition Solutions division has acquired the 13 MW behind-the-meter solar power project site, and the company will oversee construction, own, and operate the facility.

“Texas is an attractive market for these types of C&I projects, thanks to its robust solar resource, ease of development, and an efficient ERCOT grid connection process for projects of this size," Prashanth Prakash, Aggreko ETS chief commercial officer, says in a news release. "This project serves as another example of how we help commercial and industrial customers meet their decarbonization goals.”

Once completed, the site will provide Aggreko ETS customers with emissions reductions and predictable cost savings under a long-term fixed-price power purchase agreement.

“We’re pleased to complete this transaction and add it to our growing portfolio of solar and storage projects under development in Texas that total over 600 MW,” Jerry Polacek, Aggreko ETS president, says in the release.

Late last year, the Aggreko ETS division acquired a portfolio of nine community solar projects in the state of New York. The ground-mounted installations will total approximately 59 MW of generating capacity Aggreko ETS also successfully connected the first of the nine projects to the grid, a 5.9 MWdc project in the town of Vernon, 40 miles east of Syracuse.