(Adds comments from Trafigura)
Sept 3 Oil logistics specialist Buckeye Partners
LP said it will pay $860 million for control of
Trafigura's prized oil facilities in the Texas shale
hub, while expectations rise that Washington will relax its ban
on crude oil exports.
U.S. firm Buckeye will buy 80 percent of the global
commodities trader's assets in its Corpus Christi complex,
including a deep-water tanker-loading terminal, liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) storage and a small refining unit known as a
Trafigura will hold on to the remaining 20 percent in the
Corpus Christi facility, described in Trafigura's 2013 annual
report as "one of the company's most important strategic assets
... at the centre of the action in the world's largest, most
dynamic, energy market".
The deal comes at a time of increased pressure on the U.S.
administration to lift a ban on crude oil exports imposed in the
1970s, a move that would allow overseas markets to tap into the
country's huge shale resources.
"The logic of the deal was very simple - we invested a lot
of money to create infrastructure that was needed to support
rising trade flows from the Eagle Ford shale," said the head of
Trafigura's corporate affairs Andrew Gowers.
"The market for oil infrastructure assets in the United
States is very liquid. Now we have decided it was time to
realise return on capital invested," he added.
Trafigura said in its 2013 annual report that its total
planned capital expenditure on its South Texas assets would
amount to around $850 million.
The sale of 80 percent for $860 million plus Buckeye's
planned investments in facilities value the business at over
Buckeye said it expected Buckeye Texas Partners to invest
about $240-$270 million through to the first quarter of 2016.
Earlier this year, Trafigura reduced its stake in its
mid-stream energy company Puma Energy and said it could find a
partner in the future for its metals warehousing and logistics
Trafigura has said it has no plan to become public, like its
rival Glencore, which has gradually turned from a
trader into a mining company by building up asset exposure.
"We invest in assets to support trading business but we
remain flexible and can also invest together with partners,"
(Reporting by David Sheppard, Ron Bousso and Dmitry Zhdannikov
in London and Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; editing by David
Clarke and David Evans)