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Adnoc’s $15bn gas pipeline draws BlackRock, GIP interest

Panorama Command Centre at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, (ADNOC), headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg
Panorama Command Centre at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, (ADNOC), headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

BlackRock Inc., Global Infrastructure Partners and KKR & Co. are among suitors considering bidding for a stake in natural gas pipelines being sold by Abu Dhabi’s state-owned energy giant, people familiar with the matter said.

Australia’s IFM Investors Pty and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan are also weighing offers for a stake in Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.’s gas pipeline unit, according to the people. A deal could value the business at as much as $15 billion including debt, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The oil giant expects to receive first-round bids in mid-February, the people said. Adnoc is seeking to sell as much as 49% of the business through a lease structure, according to the people.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is among Persian Gulf oil producers that are opening up their operations to outside investment to attract fresh capital and diversify their economies. Adnoc has raised billions of dollars by bringing in partners for businesses including its refining unit and drilling business.

No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the companies will proceed with firm offers for a stake in the Adnoc gas pipelines, the people said. Representatives for Adnoc, BlackRock, KKR and Ontario Teachers declined to comment. Representatives for IFM and GIP didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

KKR and BlackRock agreed last year to invest $4 billion in Abu Dhabi’s oil pipelines, securing two decades of guaranteed returns. The deal was the first investment by foreign asset managers in the infrastructure of a Middle Eastern government-owned oil producer. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte also invested in the business later.

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