Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Chinese energy firms secure premiums in $56bn pipeline deal

The agreements also create a 500 billion yuan ($71bn) national carrier known as the China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corporation

PetroChina Kunlun Gas Company technicians check valves and pipes at a natural gas transmission station of the Sino-Myanmar pipelines in Kunming city, Yunnan. PetroChina produces two-thirds of China's natural gas and controls nearly 80% of the country's patchy 90,000km gas pipelines. Shutterstock
PetroChina Kunlun Gas Company technicians check valves and pipes at a natural gas transmission station of the Sino-Myanmar pipelines in Kunming city, Yunnan. PetroChina produces two-thirds of China's natural gas and controls nearly 80% of the country's patchy 90,000km gas pipelines. Shutterstock

China’s biggest oil and gas companies finalised deals worth $56 billion to sell their pipeline networks to a new national carrier at premiums to their book value, a long-awaited step that’s being seen as a boost for investors.

PetroChina will get 1.2 times book value for assets including pipelines, storage and import terminals while Sinopec will get 1.4 times in the deals. The premium valuations are likely to put to rest investor concerns over whether the state-mandated deal would compensate the companies properly for their extensive networks and reward shareholders.

The agreements also create a 500 billion yuan ($71bn) national carrier known as the China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network Corporation that will be at the centre of reform efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to boost domestic energy production and distribution in the world’s top consumer.

“We see these announcements as positive for the companies as the valuations are market friendly,” Sanford C Bernstein & Company analysts including Neil Beveridge said in a note, adding that both companies are likely to issue special dividends. PipeChina’s capitalisation “would make it one of the largest pipeline companies in the world should it come to market,” they wrote.

As part of the deals announced Tuesday, PetroChina will receive consideration totaling 268.7bn yuan, which includes a 29.9 per cent stake in PipeChina and 119bn yuan in cash, according to the filings and an analysis by Morgan Stanley, which upgraded its rating on the stock.

Sinopec, known officially as China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, will receive a total of 122.7bn yuan, which breaks down into a 14 per cent stake in PipeChina and 52.7bn yuan in cash, according to its filing.

No announcement has been made yet regarding asset transfers from China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the nation’s biggest liquefied natural gas importer, or Kunlun Energy, a PetroChina subsidiary that owns a gas pipeline and several LNG terminals.

PetroChina closed 2.1 per cent higher on Friday in Hong Kong, while Sinopec was unchanged, both paring earlier gains. Kunlun added 5.3 per cent.

As of 2015, China had 64,000 kilometres of pipelines carrying natural gas, 27,000km carrying crude and 21,000km carrying oil products, according to China’s main economic planning agency. Most of those are owned by PetroChina and its parent, China National Petroleum Corporation.

PetroChina’s dominance of the distribution network was seen as stunting the domestic drilling industry, as other firms could be blocked or have to pay prohibitively expensive fees to get their oil and gas to market. PipeChina, on the other hand, is expected to offer open access to the networks.

Updated: July 24, 2020 03:29 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Popular