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Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE: KMI) today announced it has reached a verbal tentative agreement with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff to divest certain Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) assets in order to receive regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of El Paso Corporation (NYSE: EP), which was announced in October of 2011. Subject to final FTC management and Commission approval, Kinder Morgan has agreed to sell Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission, Trailblazer Pipeline Company, its Casper-Douglas natural gas processing and West Frenchie Draw treating facilities in Wyoming, and the company’s 50 percent interest in the Rockies Express Pipeline.
“We would prefer to retain all of these assets, but as we anticipated when the transaction was announced, we must sell certain assets in the Rockies to obtain FTC approval,” Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder said. “The amount of divestitures is reasonably consistent with our original financial model. We are very excited about the 43,000 miles of El Paso natural gas pipelines that we will be adding to our Kinder Morgan portfolio. In addition, we anticipate significant interest in the Kinder Morgan assets that will be sold, particularly the Rockies Express Pipeline, which was the largest natural gas pipeline to be built in the United States when it was fully completed in 2009. We are nearing the final stages in the regulatory process, and we look forward to becoming the largest midstream and the fourth largest energy company in North America when the acquisition is completed, which is expected to occur in mid to late May.”
KMI expects to offer (drop down) EP assets to KMP to replace the assets that KMP will divest. KMI expects the divestitures and these dropdowns to occur contemporaneously, but subsequent to the close of the KMI-EP transaction. Now that the required asset divestitures are tentatively known, EP also expects to offer EP assets to El Paso Partners, L.P. (NYSE: EPB). Such a dropdown transaction to EPB could be completed by EP before the close of the KMI-EP transaction.