Williams targets US LNG export market with $1.95 billion gas storage deal

US natural gas pipeline operator Williams is buying a portfolio of natural gas storage assets across Louisiana and Mississippi for $1.95 billion to serve growing demand driven by LNG exports and power generation.

Under the deal with a an affiliate of Hartree Partners, Williams will acquire six underground natural gas storage facilities with total capacity of 115 billion cubic feet (Bcf).

The deal also includes 230 miles of gas transmission pipeline and 30 pipeline interconnects to “attractive” markets, including LNG markets, and connections to Transco, the nation’s largest natural gas transmission pipeline, according to Williams.

The six natural gas storage facilities include four salt domes with combined capacity of 92 Bcf and two depleted reservoirs with combined capacity of 23 Bcf.

Moreover, fhe facilities have injection capacity of 5 Bcf/d and withdrawal capacity of 7.9 Bcf/d, among the highest of any natural gas storage platform in the US, Williams said.

Two of the facilities, Pine Prairie and Southern Pines, are directly connected with Transco and are “well positioned” for expansions.

Williams said the acquisition price “represents an approximate 10x estimated 2024 Ebitda multiple.”

The firm expects to close the transaction in January 2024, following satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Gulf Coast LNG demand

“This premier natural gas storage platform on the Gulf Coast fits squarely within our strategy to own and operate the best assets connected to the best markets to serve growing demand driven by LNG exports and power generation,” Williams president and CEO, Alan Armstrong, said.

He said these assets “better position Williams’ natural gas storage operations to serve Gulf Coast LNG demand and growing electrification loads from data centers along the Transco corridor.”

“Since 2010, US demand for natural gas has grown by 56 percent while gas storage capacity has only increased 12 percent,” Armstrong said, adding that the company expects the increasing demand for “high deliverability storage to drive significant earnings growth across these assets.”

Last year, US LNG firm Sempra Infrastructure, a unit of Sempra, entered into a heads of agreement with Williams for the offtake of LNG from two projects.

The deal contemplates negotiation and finalization of two 20-year long-term sale and purchase agreements for about three million tonnes per annum of LNG.

Sempra Infrastructure said the supplies would come from the Port Arthur LNG project in Jefferson County, Texas, and the Cameron LNG Phase 2 project under development in Hackberry, Louisiana.

The agreement also contemplates the negotiation of a separate natural gas sales agreement for about 0.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd) to be delivered in the Gillis, Louisiana area, as feed gas supply for the LNG projects.

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