Saudi Aramco seeks financing advisor for gas pipeline deal -sources

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Aramco has invited banks to pitch for an advisory role to help finance the sale of a significant minority stake in its gas pipelines, the oil giant’s second major midstream deal after a $12.4 billion deal for oil pipelines, three sources said.

FILE PHOTO: A Saudi Aramco employee is seen at the Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility at Aramco’s Shaybah oilfield in the Empty Quarter, Saudi Arabia May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo

Aramco has already hired Morgan Stanley as an M&A advisor and the financing advisory role is up for grabs among banks, two of the sources said.

The gas pipeline stake sale will be a “copy paste” of the oil pipeline deal, one of the sources said.

Aramco has used a lease and lease-back agreement to sell a 49% stake of newly formed Aramco Oil Pipelines Co to the buyer and rights to 25 years of tariff payments for oil carried on its pipelines.

The pipeline deal was backed by nearly $11 billion in debt underwritten by eight banks and subsequently syndicated to an additional 10 banks, two sources told Reuters earlier.

Japanese lender MUFG had advised on the financing for the oil pipeline assets and was in a strong position for the new role though Aramco has not made any decision yet, the two sources said.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Morgan Stanley and MUFG declined to comment.

Aramco’s sale of a minority stake in its oil pipelines for $12.4 billion to a consortium led by EIG Global Energy Partners was its largest deal since a record $29.4 billion initial public offering in late 2019. The deal closed on June 20.

The financing for that deal is expected to be taken out by bonds across two or three deals, with the first expected in the first quarter of 2022. The gas pipelines deal financing is also expected to be taken out with bonds, one of the sources said.

The structure follows similar deals by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), which has raised billions of dollars through sale-and-leaseback deals of its oil and gas pipeline assets.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s sixth largest gas market, according to Aramco, whose Master Gas System (MGS) derives value from its range of gas deposits and helps deliver it to consumers.

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