By Dallas Business Journal

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) said on Sunday it will buy El Paso Corp. (NYSE: EP), creating the world's largest pipeline company with 80,000 miles of access for natural gas and petroleum products.

Chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan, Rich Kinder, told the Houston Chronicle that the melding of the two Houston companies is a "once in a lifetime transaction."

Industry analysts say the multi-billion deal represents Kinder Morgan's gamble that natural gas prices, which have been depressed based on a vast domestic supply, will eventually increase. Neal Dingmann at the Houston office of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said it's a long-term bet.

The deal is expected to close mid-2012.

Kinder Morgan is in a joint venture on the Fayetteville Express Pipeline with Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

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