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May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Carlyle Group LP, the second-biggest private-equity firm by assets, hired six energy executives led by Petroplus Holdings AG founder Marcel van Poecke to invest in energy assets outside North America.

The team will focus on oil and gas exploration and production as well as other oil-related services in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, Washington-based Carlyle said in a statement today.

Carlyle is expanding its $28 billion energy business after a joint venture with Riverstone Holdings LLC wound down and the two private-equity firms started raising money independently. Carlyle last year acquired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-backed Cogentrix Energy LLC, which oversees coal and solar power projects, and it bought commodities hedge-fund manager Vermillion Asset Management LLC. In December, Carlyle took a 47.5 percent revenue interest in NGP Energy Capital Management LLC for $424 million.

“Energy, and particularly carbon-related energy, is the single most attractive global area in which to invest today,” David Rubenstein, Carlyle’s co-chief executive officer, said on a December conference call with investors and analysts. “There is a revolution going on in the U.S. and a need for energy around the world as economies in the emerging markets grow.”

Van Poecke started Petroplus in 1993 and grew it into Europe’s biggest independent oil refiner, which Carlyle owned from 2005 to 2007. He left in 2007, and the Zug, Switzerland-based company filed for bankruptcy last year after lenders froze credit lines.

Other executives joining van Poecke at Carlyle include Paddy Spink, who will be an operating executive, and Joost Droege and Joao Saraiva e Silva, who will be managing directors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at

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