EIG sells stake in Gasbol pipeline, eyes more Brazilian investments

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – EIG Global Energy Partners has sold its stake in the Brazilian portion of the Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline, widely known as Gasbol, to Fluxys Belgium NV, the chief executive officer of the U.S.-based company said on Tuesday.

The sale of EIG’s 27.5% stake in the Brazilian part of the pipeline for an undisclosed amount ends a regulatory conflict that could have prevented it from bidding for a 51% stake in the same asset that Brazil’s state-run oil firm Petrobras plans to sell in a competitive bid, he said.

EIG intends to buy a bigger piece of this pipeline, as well as additional assets, and invest in Brazil’s natural gas industry, CEO Blair Thomas told Reuters in a video interview.

EIG, which manages funds focused on the energy assets, has multi-billion dollar firepower to acquire assets in transport, processing and eventually production of natural gas in Brazil, which is Latin America’s largest economy.

“This is about liberating us for a wider strategy,” Thomas said.

The specific fund in which the pipeline investment was in will be closed, Thomas said. The Bolivian side of the pipeline, in which EIG has a 38% stake, will eventually be sold as well, he said, without revealing further details.

The Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline connects natural gas reserves in the Andean nation to the major economic and industrial hubs of Brazil, according to EIG’s website.

The pipeline is comprised of two separate entities: Gas TransBoliviano S.A. (GTB) and Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolívia-Brasil S.A. (TBG), which own and operate the Bolivian and Brazilian sections, respectively.

The sale price stayed at the lower end of what EIG thought was reasonable for the Brazilian portion of the pipeline, Thomas said.

Future acquisitions in Brazil could be similar in size of the $ 8.7 billion gas pipeline network Petrobras sold to France’s Engie SA and Canada’s Caisse De Depot Et Placement Du Quebec (CDPQ) in 2019. EIG came second in the competition with a close bid, he said.

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