Documents: Petraeus Fracking Field Trip Reveals ND Government, Oil, Private Equity Nexus
The documents reveal Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) — a private equity firm where Petraeus now works at the KKR Global Institute — wrote a press release for North Dakota’s State Treasurer announcing the Petraeus visit, meticulously counseled the state treasurer’s office on media strategy and hosted the state treasurer on its company plane.
A large part of Petraeus’ visit centered around a tour of the state’s Bakken Shale basin, where upwards of 1 million barrels of oil are extracted each day via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). The Bakken pumped out its billionth barrel of oil during his stay.
With over $4 billion sitting in an energy investment fund as of June 2012, KKR also owns over $950 million in oil and gas industry assets. Marc Lipschultz, head of energy and infrastructure for KKR, called the firm a “mini oil and gas company“ in an April 2013 interview with Privcap.
“We have our own technical abilities attached to the firm we have our own back office [and] we can manage the daily flows of oil and gas in drilling wells and managing our own hedges,” said Lipschultz.
At face value, the Petraeus visit seemed rather banal, garnering no national press attention and little local media coverage.
“Petraeus has a tie to the Bakken through private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts…which is partnering with other investors on a 164-acre housing development in Williston,” Dalrymple wrote. “Petraeus works for KKR as chairman of the KKR Global Institute.”
But e-mails reveal KKR stage-managed the entire event from start to finish, doing so quietly and behind the scenes.