Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge has agreed to acquire Spectra Energy for about $28 billion, creating a North American energy infrastructure giant amid an oil price slump that has spurred pipeline companies to diversify.
The deal will add Houston-based Spectra’s natural gas focused pipeline network to Enbridge’s pipelines for transporting crude oil. Spectra, which operates in both Canada and the U.S., has 33,796 kilometers of natural gas and crude oil pipelines and about 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage and 4.8 million barrels of crude oil storage.
Under the terms of the transaction, Spectra shareholders will receive shares of Enbridge valued at around $40.33 each, or a premium of about 11.5% to the closing price on Friday.
“The combination of Enbridge and Spectra Energy creates what we believe will be the best, most diversified energy infrastructure company in North America, if not the world,” Spectra CEO Greg Ebel said Tuesday in a news release. “This is an incredible opportunity for both companies.”
Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said the deal would result in “unmatched scale, diversity and financial flexibility with multiple platforms for organic growth.”
As The Wall Street Journal reports, diversification has become more important “as pipeline operators face the fallout of a prolonged rout in energy prices. Even though many pipeline companies have take-or-pay contracts that protect their revenue when commodity prices fall, the slump has dimmed the once bright growth outlook for pipeline companies.”
“The deal also highlights how tie-ups are increasingly becoming the investment of choice for pipeline operators in a world where new growth projects are challenged by low commodity prices and mounting regulatory hurdles,” the WSJ added.
Earlier this year, a Canadian court overturned an earlier approval of Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline connecting Alberta with the Pacific West Coast.
According to Enbridge, the combined companies have projects in execution worth $20 billion and another $37 billion of projects under development. Their assets will also include U.S. and Canadian midstream businesses, a regulated utility portfolio, and a growing renewable power generation business.