After federal regulators forced Kinder Morgan to sell off pipelines in Wyoming as part of a deal that made it the largest pipeline company on the continent
, the company is again increasing its Wyoming presence.
In a $3.72 billion deal, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP has agreed to acquire Copano Energy LLC. Including the assumption of debt, the deal is worth about $5 billion and should close in the third quarter.
The deal will grant Kinder Morgan full or partial control of nearly 600 miles of Wyoming pipeline. The acquisition will include interests in 273 miles of pipeline that spider through Johnson, Sheridan and Campbell counties in the Powder River Basin and the three parallel 24-inch Fort Union pipelines that carry coalbed methane from Campbell to Converse County to hook into other pipelines.
In addition to Copano's Wyoming operations, it also has a significant presence in Oklahoma and Texas, where it is headquartered along with Kinder Morgan. Overall, Copano owns an interest in or operates about 6,900 miles of pipelines and nine processing plants. The deal, like the El Paso Corp. deal before it
, will require regulatory approval.
Kinder Morgan said it expects to employ most of Copano's 415 workers. Copano CEO Bruce Northcutt even expects the move to open up significant opportunities for talented employees.
"Through this transaction, Copano will become part of a larger, investment grade organization with stable cash flows and the financial resources to fund our increasing number of high-return growth projects," Northcutt said in a release.
Kinder Morgan Energy, which transports natural gas and coal, owns an interest in or operates about 46,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals.
"Copano's assets are very complementary to ours, as KMP is principally a pipeline transportation and storage company, while Copano is primarily a fee-based gathering, processing and fractionation player," said CEO Richard Kinder in a release.
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