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Arab News, Tuesday, Oct 12, 2021 | Rabi Al-Awwal 6, 1443

Saudi Aramco taps banks for $12-14bn gas pipeline loan: Reuters

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Aramco 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 percent 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 and Goldman Sachs on the gas pipeline deal, sources have said.

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 percent 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.

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