The Williams Cos. Inc. (NYSE: WMB) said Dec. 6 it has sold noncore assets across the U.S. Gulf Coast with $177 million cash proceeds from the deal earmarked to drive growth for the Tulsa, Okla.-based pipeline operator.
Easton Energy LLC, a Houston-based midstream company backed by Cresta Energy Capital, agreed to acquire the assets consisting of certain pipeline systems located in the Gulf Coast area in a sale that closed Nov. 30. Easton said the deal comprised roughly 416 miles of Gulf Coast pipelines primarily used to transport NGL from various supply sources to petrochemical consumers in Texas and Louisiana markets.
One of the pipeline systems included in the transaction is the 31-mile Texas Belle Pipeline, which transports NGL from Mont Belvieu to customers along the Houston Ship Channel. Other assets include the Purity Pipeline System, certain assets in the Live Oak Pipeline System and additional idle pipelines located along the Gulf Coast.
“Paired with our salt cavern storage development at Markham, Texas, this acquisition represents an opportunity for Easton to utilize a significant footprint of pipelines to connect key NGL storage markets with end users along the Texas Gulf Coast,” Joel McComas, president of Easton Energy, said in a statement.
Williams plans to use proceeds from its sale to fund the company’s portfolio of growth capital and investment opportunities.
“We’re pleased to be able to leverage these assets, which were not core to our business strategy, into a source for growth capital and a driver for improved credit metrics,” said Chad Zamarin, Williams’ senior vice president of corporate strategic development who noted the company continues to assess and execute on opportunities to optimize its portfolio.
The deal follows reports on Nov. 28 by Bloomberg that Williams was evaluating the sale of its Powder River Basin pipeline stake citing unnamed sources. The potential sale, which includes Williams’ 50% interest in Jackalope Gas Gathering Services operating in eastern Wyoming, could fetch more than $500 million, according to the report.
“While the [Powder River Basin] likely represents Williams’ highest growth [gathering and processing] asset, reasonable monetization with proceeds likely dedicated to deleveraging and potential share repurchases falls squarely in energy investors playbook,” analysts with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said in a Nov. 29 research note.
Post the transaction with Easton Energy, Williams’ Atlantic-Gulf business segment still includes 506 miles of purity product pipelines. Additionally, Williams’ previous 2019 guidance is not impacted by the sale.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC was the lead financial adviser to Williams for the transaction.