Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, a pension fund, has acquired a 5 percent stake in Norwegian gas transport network Gassled from Anglo-Dutch oil group Royal Dutch Shell for $730 million, a Norwegian subsidiary of Shell announced in a statement yesterday.
“This sale is a further step in our strategy of exiting non-strategic assets and focusing on major growth projects,” David Loughman, managing director of A/S Norske Shell, commented in a statement. In addition to Shell’s 5 percent stake in Gassled, the deal includes Shell’s 3.3 percent stake in Dunkerque Terminal and its 2.5 percent holding in Zeepipe Terminal. The sale is still subject to regulatory approvals and should be concluded during the last quarter of the year.
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board joins a long list of institutional investors that have been acquiring stakes in Gassled over the summer. In early June, a consortium of Allianz Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority spent €2.2 billion acquiring a 24.1 percent stake in the transportation network from Norwegian oil company Statoil.
A few days later, Allianz announced that it had acquired an extra 6.4 percent in Gassled from French oil and gas group Total for approximately €580 million. And in April 2010, Njord Gas Infrastructure – 82 percent owned by UBS Infrastructure Fund and 18 percent by CDC Infrastructure – bought a 9.4 percent stake in the business for an undisclosed sum from ExxonMobil.
Gassled transports Norwegian gas from production sites by pipeline to consumers on the European continent and the UK. Its grid transported around 100 billion cubic meters of gas last year, representing roughly one-sixth of total European Union consumption.
Gassled’s owners derive revenues from shippers who have booked transportation capacity on a “ship or pay” basis. The transportation tariffs are regulated by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.