Aramco selling US$12.4b stake in oil pipeline rights unit

[NEW YORK] Investors led by EIG Global Energy Partners LLC agreed to acquire a roughly US$12.4 billion stake in a Saudi Aramco oil-pipeline rights company.

The group will acquire a 49 per cent equity stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Co., a newly formed entity with rights to 25 years of rate payments for oil shipped through the Saudi oil giant's network of conduits, EIG said in a statement.

The deal implies a total equity value of about US$25 billion for Aramco Oil Pipelines.

The sale is part of Saudi Arabia's drive to open up to foreign investment and use the money to diversify its economy.

Asset disposals also go some way to helping the energy giant maintain payouts to shareholders, as well as investments in oil fields and refinery projects.

The company paid a US$75 billion dividend last year, the highest of any listed company, almost all of which went to the state.

Aramco will continue to retain title to and operational control of its crude oil pipeline network.

BLOOMBERG

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