Ridgeback Resources

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ESG Overview

ESG standards are becoming an essential component of companies that are looking to attract investment, appeal to the larger public, attract top talent and improve long-term profitability.


  • According to McKinsey & Company and Investopedia, ESG standards are defined across three key areas: (1) environmental, (2) social and (3) governance criteria.
  • Environmental criteria examine how a company performs as a "steward of nature," such as its waste production, resource utilization, carbon emissions and other impacts on the environment.
  • Social criteria consider how a company manages its relationships with stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, communities), and can include discrete factors such as diversity and inclusion.
  • Finally, governance criteria refer to a company's self-governance or internal system of "practices, controls and procedures," such as executive pay standards, audit protocols and shareholder rights.
  • Notably, the three components of ESG are inextricably intertwined, given that social and environmental factors often overlap, and there are invariably governance concerns underpinning both areas.


  • Forbes recommends that all businesses start their ESG journey by identifying three to five measurable ESG criteria that are appropriate for the specific company and industry.
  • According to Bank of America, this early process of identifying the key facets of a company's ESG program should begin with obtaining feedback from key stakeholders, such as employees, consumers, investors and public officials.
  • As part of this process, companies should also consider benchmarking their proposed ESG framework against their peers through ranking organizations such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Global Initiative for Sustainability Rankings (GISR).
  • Similarly, Forbes recommends that the general counsel or IR leader should research and address any key ESG criteria that relevant ESG funds or ETFs are using to evaluate investment opportunities.
  • Finally, the large majority of experts including Forbes, Bank of America and Nasdaq highlight the importance of establishing and announcing metrics by which a company will measure its ESG performance.
  • Failing to do determine and publish which financial and non-financial metrics will be used to evaluate the success of an ESG program not only undermines the ability to track and manage its progress, but can lead to public scrutiny and claims of "greenwashing."


  • A preponderance of experts (e.g., McKinsey & Company, Forbes, Investopedia, Nasdaq, Bank of America) highlight the "emerging zeitgeist" and "meteoric rise" of ESG-oriented investing as one of the most significant factors involved in corporations choosing to integrate ESG into their organizations.
  • Specifically, a strong ESG program increasingly helps attract large pools of capital amid the growing social, governmental and consumer attention on the larger impact of corporations.
  • Moreover, institutional investors such as Trillium Asset Management are increasingly incorporate ESG metrics when evaluating (and excluding) potential investment opportunities, with over 50% of investors now considering ESG when making an investment decision.
  • Secondly, ESG initiatives are becoming increasingly attractive to companies because they have been demonstrated to help strengthen corporate brands as well as attracting top talent, according to Forbes and Bank of America.
  • The large majority of the general population (86%), as well as Millennials (87%) and Generation Z (94%), believe that companies should address ESG issues, and research indicates that a company's "record for socially responsible behavior" is now a key consideration for individuals when buying a company's products or considering joining a company as an employee.
  • In addition to these external ESG factors, recent research by McKinsey and Company also indicates that ESG programs directly "link to cash flow" within corporations in five key ways: (1) top-line growth, (2) cost reduction, (3) preventing regulatory/legal issues, (4) supporting employee productivity and (5) optimizing investment/capital spending.
  • Overall, the McKinsey and Company research suggests that a strong ESG program is highly correlated with corporate value creation, as evidenced by stronger equity returns, higher credit ratings, and lower loan and credit default swap spreads.

Oil & Gas Considerations

  • Experts such as Investopedia and Bank of America highlight ESG as a particularly relevant subject within the oil and gas industry, given that the industry is central to the growing focus on climate change and sustainability, and has been known for ESG disasters such as BP's 2010 oil spill.
  • As such, companies in the oil and gas industry can use ESG programs to signal that they do not engage in the long term "risk factors" that investors are increasingly looking to avoid, but rather are working to address growing social concerns about the energy industry and the environment.
  • For example, Forbes suggests that a fracking company could measure the impacts of its clean water and waste management processes on natural resources as a means to not only improve its ESG performance, but share that commitment with external stakeholders.
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ESG Case Studies

Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corporation are examples of companies in the oil & gas industry that have successfully implemented ESG standards. Exxon Mobil is committed to protecting its people, the environment and the well-being of communities where the company operates. Chevron Corporation, on the other hand, makes its decisions with consideration of their environmental impact, for instance, utilizing the business processes to identify and manage risks to the environment and lessen potential environmental results, and implementing Tenets of Operation.

 Exxon Mobil

What they did

  • The company is committed to protecting its people, the environment and the well-being of communities where the company operates.
  • In the environment, the company aims to manifest leadership in environmental management. Exxon Mobil acknowledges the environmental risks associated with the company's industry and assesses potential and actual risks at each stage of a project to mitigate environmental impacts. The company addressed risk inherent to the business and promoted a company culture mindful of the planet.
  • In social, Exxon Mobil prioritized the development of its employees. The company conducted work assignments, on-the-job experiences, and focused training and education. The company also addressed the health concerns and risks of employees.
  • In governance, the company's goal is to build long-term value for its shareholders at the same time exploring to answer the growing global energy needs. The company generated procedures and addressed the shareholder’s concerns.

How they did it

  • In the environment, to address risk, they implemented a set of standards through to its Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS) which includes addressing environmental risks and impacts. The company also commits to "Protect Tomorrow. Today." which is established through OIMS and offers a set of environmental standards and best practices that are part of the company's daily operations.
  • In social, it examines its employees through assessments that include a conversation between employees and their supervisors discussing their work achievements, learning goals, growth opportunities, and job interests. The company also provides affordable health care to help employees and offer the Culture of Health program that includes services like health education, disease management assistance, and fitness programs. Further, it also provides prevention and control programs to address health risks.
  • In governance, the company conducts forums and established procedures through the boards, created a corporate governance page where people can send emails such as requests or queries to the company's non-employee directors. Besides, to address the shareholder’s concerns, the company's management and the board actively listen to shareholder concerns to find common ground.

Metrics of success

  • In the environment, through the company's "Protect Tomorrow. Today." philosophy, Exxon Mobil successfully manages its operations in a way that preserves high standards of environmental performance. Also, the company's program named OIMS fulfills environmental standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 and American Chemistry Council Responsible Care® requirements. Through using OIMS, ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Company is ISO 14001-certified at its worldwide network across 20 lubricant plants.
  • In social, through its career-oriented and personalized approach, it resulted in a 96% retention rate and a 30 years average length of service to its employees. The company's efforts also resulted in increased skills and competencies in employees' acquisition to increase their levels of responsibility and job complexity.
  • Since 2007, there have been no counted fatalities due to malaria to its employees and contractors. Further, the Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa recognized ExxonMobil as a "Champion in Sustainability Malaria Programming" in 2018.
  • In governance, through its engagement in shareholders or their proxies, the company held 80 shareholder engagements in 2018 which have doubled since 2014. It also resulted in 55% outstanding stock and 30% total shares outstanding. Further, the engagement of the company succeeded in owning nearly 1B shares.

Chevron Corporation

What they did

  • In the environment, Chevron applies 4 principles such as including the environment in decision-making, lessening the company's environmental footprint, operating responsibly, and stewarding its locations.
  • In social, the company strives to achieve workplace gender equality, attracts talent, partnerships & programs for universities & associations, performs mentorship, and diversity action & plans. Besides, it also did workforce training and development and workforce engagement.
  • In governance, the company imposed the role of a board of directors, the process of director selection, views on U.S. political activities and applying standardized business ethics. Chevron also prioritized stakeholder engagement and issues management.

How they did it

  • In the environment, the company makes its decisions considering their environmental impact, for instance, utilizing the business processes to identify and manage risks to the environment and lessen potential environmental results, implementing Tenets of Operation, with which also Chevron improves reliability and process safety to prevent accidental releases, and operates to decommission, re-mediate and reclaim sites striving for beneficial reuse."
  • In the social aspect, they launched Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) under its Chevron’s Women’s Network to improve the opportunities for women to compete for roles at all levels. Chevron also partnered with governments, communities, and educational organizations and organized programs for student development, offered formal mentoring programs, hosted diversity councils and training, conducted programs for suppliers, and celebrated and promoted diversity.
  • Chevron also developed an accelerated development program named Horizons program which helps to build the technical competency of workers who have fewer than six years of industry experience. For its workforce, it launched New to Chevron workshop for all new employees within their first six months on the job. It also addressed employee engagement through an annual Worldwide Employee Town Hall program that engages its employees in various topics.
  • In governance, the Board of Directors supervises and leads the company's business and affairs. Chevron also claims that its "experienced, talented and diverse board" has helped "drive innovation and solve some worlds most complex energy challenges." Further, director nomination centers on sustaining a balance of knowledge and experience across relevant disciplines.
  • Also, the business ethics imposed through the Chevron Way values include diversity and inclusion, high performance, integrity and trust, partnership, and protecting people and the environment.
  • Chevron also launched the Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) in 2004 aligning with critical OE risks, security, stakeholders, etc. The system is composed of risk management, safeguards, and assurance programs.

Metrics of success

  • In the environment, from 2015-2016, the company received an “Excellence Award” for Safety, Health, Environment (SHE) Award from the Department of Mineral Fuels. The operation facilities in Thailand received various awards in the past years that includes the Prime Minister Industry Awards for Safety Management in 2014.
  • The quantitative environmental performance report of the company indicated that there were 67 spills of petroleum to land and water in 2018 compared to 79 in 2014, and 71M cubic meters of freshwater withdrawn in 2018 compared to 85M in 2014. Besides, there was also improvement in air emissions where 101k metric tons of the total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were emitted in 2018 compared to 134k in 2014.
  • In social, it received 8 recognitions which include one inaugural 2016 National Business Inclusion Consortium, Best-of-the-Best Top 30 Corporations for Inclusion, Best Practices Awards of Asia Society, one of 12 organizations that made a positive impact by investing more than $100k in African American communities of National Association of Black Engineers in 2019, among others.
  • Other success metrics of the company include the Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) program of Chevron that exceeds 2.6k participants in which 60% are men, 14 consecutive years in achieving a perfect score in Human Rights, more than 100 college and university partnerships, 40% regular employees, 19k worker engagements in promoting diversity, 90% new employees developing their skills in 2017, more than 2.1k employees active in Horizons in 2017, 94% surveyed employees stating to “believe strongly in the goals and objectives of Chevron”, and 93% being “proud to be a part of Chevron.”
  • In governance, through the consideration of an experienced, talented and diverse board, 36% are women and 36% are ethnically diverse.
  • On the other hand, the Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) is aligned with the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 through Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) verification.

Research Strategy:

To address the request, we looked for oil & gas companies that have successfully implemented ESG standards. Based on the report of Statista, both Exxon Mobil and Chevron are one of the largest American oil and gas companies based on market value in 2019. Therefore, we leveraged each company's website and reports determining each successful environmental, social and governance standards implementation. One source is older than 2 years but provides details on how Chevron successfully implemented its environmental standards. The companies also operate in various locations around the globe giving this research a global scope for their implementation and results. We have, therefore, provided the oil & gas companies that have successfully implemented ESG standards including what they did, how they did it and the metrics showing how successful the change was.
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ESG Barriers

Three barriers that small-medium enterprises (SMEs) encounter when implementing ESG standards and reporting are excessive costs, lack of experience, and fear of "greenwashing." These are described below, along with ideas for addressing these concerns.


  • The large oil & gas companies have more funds available to focus on ESG. This could include establishing R&D departments to focus on renewables, as well as planning projects that can be paired with extractive developments.
  • If SMEs are using the ESG reports of large corporations as a guideline for what they have to produce, they could be scared off. However, in reality, smaller companies generally have a smaller impact, and can provide much less reporting than a large multinational.
  • It was estimated by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) that investments in ESG funds exceed $30 trillion worldwide. Especially for public companies, not reporting will likely cost them as investors choose to put their money elsewhere.
  • There is also a belief by many that having a sustainability strategy, including ESG standards, will result in a decline in financial performance. However, a study on firms that had an ESG policy in place in 2016/2017 found that 4 out 5 in the sample group actually achieved better financial results.
  • An additional cost that can be incurred as part of establishing ESG standards and reporting, is the cost of external assurance. This is where an outside firm reviews the reporting for accuracy. However, in practice, only about 25% of companies appear to be doing this.
  • In addition to implementing ESG standards, companies also have to ensure they have a communication plan in place to report on their accomplishments. Communication should be genuine and honest, and this adds another cost to the process.

Feeling it is Unnecessary/Lack Experience

  • Many oil & gas companies do not believe they have the experience necessary to make the types of changes that are demanded. However, it is possible to start small and see what information is already available. By conducting an internal review of the types of data the company already collects, as well as where that data is held, companies can take concrete steps to provide ESG reporting without having to make large changes they don't feel prepared to take.
  • Additionally, with only a small percentage of SMEs in North America publishing sustainability reports, many may believe it is not necessary. However, for firms in environmentally challenging sectors, such as energy, the pressure to report will only increase. By taking steps now to start the process, these companies will be better prepared to move forward as the pressure mounts.
  • While many SMEs feel they don't have the tools necessary to move forward with ESG initiatives and reporting, there are actually many tools available to help with the transition. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has a certification program that teaches SMEs the skills needed for ESG reporting, and the International Network for Environmental Management (INEM) created a tool kit to help SMEs.

Fear of "Greenwashing"

  • When companies announce steps to reduce their impact on the environment, but consumers do not see concrete actions being taken to achieve those reductions, they may be accused of "greenwashing." This is used to describe companies that consumers believe are trying to deceive them into thinking they are more "green" than they actually are.
  • Some firms are afraid of the accountability associated with reporting on ESG initiatives. There is fear that if the goals are not met, consumers may view them negatively and assume the reporting was only done to take advantage of the benefits of being seen as a "greener" company, without actually taking the steps to get there.
  • Companies can avoid this by making clear choices about what they will focus on, and then providing consistent and honest reporting on whether they are making progress.

Research Strategy

Research on the barriers or challenges faced by small to mid sized oil & gas companies when implementing ESG standards on sites such as Financier Worldwide, Oil & Gas 360, and IPIECA led to very little publicly available information. However, a report from the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence found that in the 2016/2017 reporting period, only 9.3% of U.S. small-medium enterprises and 10.5% of Canadian SMEs had published a sustainability report. This seems to indicate that there are barriers to implementation for SMEs overall. Therefore, we pivoted to focus on barriers to implementing ESG for SMEs overall in North America, with a focus on particular impacts and concerns for oil & gas companies. The ones chosen were selected because they were mentioned by multiple experts and in multiple industry reports.

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Ridgeback Resources: David Broshko

Dave Broshko currently holds the position of President at Ridgeback Resources with 15 years of experience in building and growing oil and gas companies in Western Canada. An exhaustive search was conducted of several professional profile sources, news publications, company databases, and the company website, and all publicly available data relating to Broshko has been provided below.


Work History

  • Most recently, Broshko has worked at Ridgeback Resources, holding the position of President since 2017.
  • Prior to his position as President, Broshko worked for 15 years with several companies leading a team that built and grew oil and gas companies in Western Canada. With this team, he worked closely with CanEra Energy Corp., CanEra Resources Inc., Canetic Resources Trust, and Acclaim Energy Trust to create substantial value for shareholders.
  • Broshko's role with this team was to identify, acquire, and develop assets including "large oil-in-place pools with low recovery factors and decline rates."
  • His work before that included the position of CFO at Paramount Resources Ltd. Acclaim Energy Trust and CFO at
  • Broshko has held positions on the boards of Titan Exploration Ltd., and CanEra, Inc.


  • Since 2017, Broshko has been part of the team that has reduced G&A per boe at Ridgeback Resources by 50% through streamlined internal resources and processes, reviewed the corporate asset base, shifted focus to economic projects by recalibrating the capital program and reallocating capital, streamlined reserve bookings, and focused on the debt reduction and strength of the balance sheet.
  • In 2006, Broshko was a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and holds his Chartered Directors designation.
  • In 1986, he received his Chartered Accountant designation.
  • The institute is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and specializes in accounting, auditing, tax, advisory, and professional services.

Press Scan

  • The only news releases found that mention Broshko from the last 4 years were two reports with identical content that detailed Ridgeback Resource's change in management in 2017 from Globenewswire and Boereport.
  • This was confirmed as the only press release publicly available by the company's investor relations information page.
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Ridgeback Resource: Overview

Ridgeback Resources Inc. is a private equity-backed, light oil-focused petroleum and natural gas company that explores, develops, and produces petroleum and natural gas. Apollo Global Management LLC and GSO Capital Partners are its primary private equity investors.

History, Ownership, and Business

  • A private equity-backed, light oil-focused petroleum and natural gas company, Ridgeback Resources Inc. explores, develops, and produces petroleum and natural gas.
  • The company's operations focus on conventional & unconventional oil plays in its core areas, which include southeastern Saskatchewan, where it allocated 44% and 25% of its 2019 capital allocation to Mississippian and Brakken formations, respectively. 16% of its 2019 capital allocation went to West Pembina, where it targets Cardium formation, 9% of its 2019 capital allocation went to Kaybob, where it focuses on Montney formation, with the remaining 6% of its 2019 capital allocation going to the Deer Mountain (Swan Hills).
  • Ridgeback Resources was incorporated in September 2016 to acquire all the assets and business of Lightstream Resources Ltd, a mid-sized oil producer in Western Canada. The acquisition, which closed on December 29, 2016, was backed primarily by the private equity investors, Apollo Global Management LLC and GSO Capital Partners.
  • The company's current executive team, which has significant experience in oil and gas, having worked together successfully at prior private equity-backed companies, was appointed on June 15, 2017.

Key Milestones

  • Since its appointment, the executive team has been able to streamline the company's internal resources and processes, with a 50% reduction in general and administrative expenses per Boe (G&A/Boe).
  • Management has also successfully streamlined reserve bookings, comprehensively reviewed its corporate asset base, reallocated capital and shifted the focus of its capital program to the most economic projects, and remained focused on debt reduction and strengthening its balance sheet.


  • Being a private company, Ridgeback Resources has not published its revenues. However, it published a financial statement in October 2019, which shows that it had an operating netback of C$29.65/boe. According to Investopedia, "operating netback is a measure of oil and gas sales revenue net of royalties, production, and transportation expenses."
  • Its average production was at 23,000 boe/d, with adjusted funds flow from operations of C$218 million, and free cash flow of $70 million.
  • ZoomInfo estimates its annual revenue at $329.3 million.

Media Mentions in the Last 6-12 Months

  • June 4, 2019 — This article stated that Ridgeback Resources purchased a steer named Choice, during the largest 4-H event in Western Canada.
  • June 6, 2019 — Ridgeback Resources was the top bidder in southeast Saskatchewan, purchasing two leases for $532,392 during the most recent "public offering of Crown petroleum and natural gas rights" by the provincial government.
  • July 5, 2019 — This article reported that Ridgeback Resources was among several companies that announced that they had upcoming drilling projects during the week.
  • July 16, 2019 — In this article that reported low drilling activity across Western Canada, Ridgeback Resources Inc. was said to be drilling with a rig south of Kisbey.
  • August 16, 2019 — This article on the number of active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan, stated that Ridgeback Resources had a rig drilling in Stoughton.
  • October 30, 2019 — In a report that said that drilling activity was down in Saskatchewan, Ridgeback Resources Ltd. was said to be drilling northeast of Stoughton.
  • January 7, 2020 — This article reported that drilling activity had picked up in Saskatchewan, stating that Ridgeback Resources operated Horizon Rig 33 at Clarilaw.


Research Strategy

We searched for any press Ridgeback Resources has received in the past 6-12 months and found a total of seven articles that mentioned the company, as summarized above. However, there were no mentions of the company preparing for an IPO in any of the seven articles. Based on information on its website, its only news release was one issued on June 15, 2017, announcing changes to its senior leadership team.
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PE in O&G

Private equity firms have become the major source of funding in the US oil & gas sector over the past few years. Their investments have continued to increase and this trend is expected to continue in the next few years. However, private equity funding in the Canadian oil and gas sector has been reducing because of unfavorable government policies.

Current Role of Private Equity Firms in the Oil & Gas Sector

  • Private equity firms have provided an alternative source of funding for the oil and gas sector. They have replaced traditional financing solutions like conventional bank or capital market funds.
  • Upstream oil and gas companies are now expecting to receive funding for their operations from private equity firms first because they know that the public markets will ignore them.
  • Private equity firms have billions of dollars available for funding which they have raised over the past few years and they are very willing to help.
  • Private equity firms have continually shown significant interest in energy infrastructure and they have invested over $10 billion in the midstream segment as of the beginning of 2019.
  • A private equity firm can provide capital as a JV partner, an asset acquirer, a competitor, or a prospective asset seller that provides inorganic growth opportunities.
  • A $780 million fund was raised in 2019 for the oil & gas sector in Canada.

How the Role of Private Equity Firms in the Oil & Gas Sector has Evolved

  • Since 2014, private equity firms have invested over $200 billion in the energy sector, including $50 billion for shale oil drilling.
  • They have investments in over 350 private U.S. oil-producing companies, including 73 companies which were established in 2017 with investments of $12.4 billion. Those investments increased by about one-third compared to 2016.
  • Private equity firms were part of oil-production deals in 2017 worth $15 billion. That was thrice more than between 2008 and 2012.
  • They were involved in 15 of the 20 largest transactions in 2017. As of 2018, around 40% of the 979 rigs across the continental United States are linked with private equity firms.
  • Private equity firms invested $9.4 billion on U.S. storage terminals, pipelines, and other energy logistics assets in 2017, compared to $4.3 billion in 2015.
  • As of 2018, the proportion of investment that has emanated from private equity firms is rising.

Expected Future Role of Private Equity Firms in the Oil & Gas Sector

  • In the next three to five years, more private equity investment is expected to go into drilling of wells. It is projected that they will hold on to their investments for much longer for efficiency gains.
  • Private equity firms and their partners have access to huge capital and they are eager to find and invest in excellent assets in the oil and gas sector at bargain prices.
  • That "evolving piece of the oil and gas funding universe" is expected to usher in a new flow of transaction activity for private equity firms.
  • DrillCo structures, a new funding arrangement, would continue to help fill the funding gap left by traditional funding sources. The transaction structure has identifiable advantages for both private equity firms and upstream oil and gas companies.

Research Strategy

There is abundant information on the role of private equity firms in the oil & gas sector in the US but very little information about their role in Canada. We found a report that showed that investment in the Canadian oil and gas sector has been declining due to unfavorable government policies. Also, an article revealed that a $780 million funding raised for oil and gas sector in Canada is the largest funding within 18 months from all sources - both public and private equity. Since this fund was an isolated case, it is assumed that private equity funding for the Canadian oil and gas sector will continue to decline as a result of the unfavorable government policies.

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PE Owned Companies & IPOs

Corporate Finance Institute breaks down the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process into five steps, namely selecting an investment bank for underwriting services, due diligence and regulatory filings, pricing and pre-selling the offering, after-market stabilization, and transitioning to market competition.

Selecting an Investment Bank for Underwriting Services

Due Diligence and Regulatory Filings

Pricing and Pre-Selling the Offering

After-Market Stabilization

Transition to Market Competition

  • This step begins after about 30 days following the IPO, while awaiting any comments from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), after which, a new journey for the company begins.
  • Investors transition from depending on the previously required disclosures and prospectus and start depending on the current market forces when inquiring about their shares.
  • The final process involves valuing the company, whereby the underwriter now becomes the company's advisor and evaluator.

Research Methodology

Research findings show that the process of preparing for an IPO is similar for venture-backed companies, PE-owned companies, and even private companies. Extensive searches did not uncover any differences in the process based on the type of company ownership. We did not uncover any reports or research in the public domain, indicating whether the IPO process of PE-owned companies in the oil and gas industry differs from the method other sectors use. In this regard, the processes detailed above provide a high-level overview of the steps a company would follow during an IPO, regardless of their ownership structures.