Midstream Copano to complement KMEP’s larger operations

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMEP), Houston, will purchase Copano Energy LLC, also of Houston, for about $5 billion.

A midstream natural gas company, Copano operates gas gathering, processing, treating, and NGL fractionation in Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The company said it owns an interest in or operates about 6,900 miles of pipelines with 2.7 bcfd of throughput capacity and nine processing plants with more than 1 bcfd of processing capacity and 315 MMcfd of treating capacity.

Copano announced last year it would add 400 MMcfd of cryogenic processing at its Houston Central complex, in Colorado County, Tex., west of Houston, to handle gas liquids from the Eagle Ford shale.

The $190 million expansion will bring capacity at Houston Central to 1 bcfd and be in service by mid-2014 (OGJ Online, May 10, 2012).

An initial 400-MMcfd cryogenic processing expansion at Houston Central, announced in 2011, is to start up this quarter (OGJ Online, Apr. 19, 2011).

When KMEP’s purchase closes, it will own all of Eagle Ford Gathering (currently a joint venture with Copano), which provides gathering, transportation, and processing in Southwest Texas’s Eagle Ford shale. Eagle Ford Gathering consists of about 400 miles of pipelines, including its capacity rights in certain KMEP pipelines, with capacity to gather and process more than 700,000 MMbtu/day (OGJ Online, June 19, 2012).

The larger midstream and transportation company will acquire all of Copano’s outstanding shareholder units and assume Copano’s debt. KMEP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Kinder said the company will be able to pursue development in the Eagle Ford shale, enter the Barnett shale in North Texas and the Mississippi Lime and Woodford shales in Oklahoma.

Contact Warren R. True at warrant@ogjonline.com.

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