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Saudi Aramco taps banks for $12-14 bln gas pipeline loan

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Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) has asked banks to arrange a loan expected to be in the $12 billion-14 billion range that it plans to offer to buyers of its gas pipeline network, sources said, as the oil giant advances plans to raise funds from asset sales.

Aramco could raise at least $17 billion from the sale of a significant minority stake in its gas pipelines, sources have previously told Reuters. The stake would be offered with a loan financing package already in place, worth about 80 per cent of the price.

Banks that financed a $12.4 billion acquisition of the company’s oil pipelines earlier this year received a request for proposals from Aramco last week, said three sources familiar with the matter.

That deal, which included all of Aramco’s existing and future stabilised crude pipelines, was backed by $10.5 billion financing from a large group of banks including Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new financing for gas pipelines. It is working with JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Goldman Sachs (GS.N) on the gas pipeline deal, sources have said. read more

Reuters reported in August that companies that have been in talks for Aramco’s gas pipeline assets include Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Brookfield, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, European gas infrastructure owner and operator SNAM, as well as China’s Silk Road, Chinese state-backed investment fund CNIC Corp, South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund Korean Investment Corp (KIC) and NH Investment & Securities.

Potential buyers are expected to submit bids at the end of October, said one of the sources.

Earlier this year Aramco, similar to Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), used a lease-back agreement to sell a 49 per cent stake of newly formed Aramco Oil Pipelines Co to the buyer and rights to 25 years of tariff payments for oil carried on its pipelines.

It plans to use a similar structure for its gas pipelines.

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