Tony Hayward is closing in on a major Colombian oil purchase that will mark the latest in a string of attempts by the former BP chief to make money from challenged commodity assets.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Hayward and Carlyle, the private equity firm, are in detailed talks about a deal in the Latin American country that is thought to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr Hayward, who stepped down as BP’s chief executive after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster in 2010, is said to be planning to travel to Colombia in the coming days to pursue a transaction, further details of which were unclear on Monday.
If completed, the deal would come a year after Mr Hayward – whose wife is Colombian – began working with Carlyle to identify prospective oil and gas purchases in the region.
Bob Maguire, a managing director at Carlyle International Energy Partners, is understood to be closely involved in the potential acquisition.
Mr Hayward has had an indifferent track record since leaving BP, bringing an Indonesian coal venture – Bumi Resources – and a Kurdistan-focused oil business – Genel Energy – to the London stock market.
Both companies significantly underperformed in terms of their financial returns, and Mr Hayward is no longer involved with either.
He continues to chair Glencore, the commodities trading giant and mining group, which has recovered from a balance sheet crisis and is now back on the acquisition trail.
Mr Hayward has become one of the most prominent figures in corporate Britain as a result of his tenure at BP.
He left the company soon after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill seven-and-a-half years ago, with Bob Dudley installed as his successor.
Mr Hayward’s year-long search for oil assets in Latin America is not the only quest to invest in the industry in which Carlyle has been involved.
Alongside CVC Capital Partners, the firm has also agreed to back Neptune Oil and Gas, a company established by the former Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw – a friend of Mr Hayward’s.
A string of vehicles have been set up to buy oil assets on the cheap, but many have struggled to gain traction because of a reluctance among oil majors to dispose of them at the bottom of the cycle.
Carlyle declined to comment, while Mr Hayward could not be reached.