Williams buying storage facilities

Cites growing demand for natural gas, LNG exports

Pipeline company Williams said it will acquire a portfolio of natural gas storage assets from an affiliate of Hartree Partners LP for US$1.95 billion.

The transaction includes six underground natural gas storage facilities located in Louisiana and Mississippi with total capacity of 115 billion cubic feet (Bcf), as well as 230 miles of gas transmission pipeline and 30 pipeline interconnects to attractive markets, including LNG markets, and connections to Transco, the nation’s largest natural gas transmission pipeline.

“This premier natural gas storage platform on the Gulf Coast fits squarely within our strategy to own and operate the best assets connected to the best markets to serve growing demand driven by LNG exports and power generation,” said Williams President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong. “These assets better position Williams’ natural gas storage operations to serve Gulf Coast LNG demand and growing electrification loads from data centers along the Transco corridor. Importantly, this storage will also allow us to provide value to customers in markets with growing renewables adoption as daily peaks for natural gas increases the need for storage. Since 2010, U.S. demand for natural gas has grown by 56% while gas storage capacity has only increased 12%. We expect the increasing demand for high deliverability storage to drive significant earnings growth across these assets.”

The six natural gas storage facilities include four salt domes with combined capacity of 92 Bcf and two depleted reservoirs with combined capacity of 23 Bcf. The facilities have injection capacity of 5 Bcf/d and withdrawal capacity of 7.9 Bcf/d, among the highest of any natural gas storage platform in the United States. Two of the facilities, Pine Prairie and Southern Pines, are directly connected with Transco and are well positioned for expansions, the company said.

The transaction is expected to close in January, following satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

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