MONTREAL, Nov. 18, 2003 — Gaz Màƒ©tro Limited Partnership said it intends to increase its ownership interest in Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) from 26.9% to 38.3% through the purchase of El Paso Corporation’s interest in PNGTS for approximately US$21.6 million.
On October 20, El Paso announced it had reached an agreement to sell its entire 29.64% interest in PNGTS to TransCanada PipeLines. Yesterday, Gaz Màƒ©tro notified El Paso that it would exercise its right to match TransCanada Pipelines’ offer and acquire the units to which it was entitled pursuant to the purchase mechanism in the PNGTS Partnership Agreement. Following the transaction, TransCanada will own 61.7% of PNGTS and Gaz Màƒ©tro will own 38.3%. The transaction should close within the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approvals being obtained.
“We are pleased to be able to seize this opportunity to increase our ownership interest in a major natural gas transportation infrastructure in the New England market. PNGTS transports, among others, gas from TransQuàƒ©bec & Maritimes’ system, which is owned 50-50 by Gaz Màƒ©tro and TransCanada”, stated Robert Tessier, President and Chief Executive Officer.
In service since 1999, PNGTS’ natural gas transportation services extend over 470 km between the Canada-U.S. border at East Hereford, Quàƒ©bec and the Boston, Massachusetts area. PNGTS interconnects with the systems of TransQuàƒ©bec & Maritimes Pipeline, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. PNGTS transports approximately 210 million cubic feet of natural gas per day under long-term contracts.
With more than $2 billion of assets and 1,500 employees, Gaz Màƒ©tro is a Quebec energy company and one of Canada’s largest natural gas distributors. Gaz Màƒ©tro serves about 150,000 customers in Quebec and is also active in the northeastern United States. It has an underground pipeline network of almost 10,000 km.
Gaz Màƒ©tro also owns significant investment interests in two natural gas transportation enterprises, sells goods and services through various companies in the energy and fibre optic fields, and provides diagnosis and rehabilitation services for drinking water and waste water infrastructures.