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Forbes / Associated Press: Ashmore to Buy Some Shell Energy Assets

Associated Press 05.29.07, 4:44 PM ET

Houston-based energy company Ashmore Energy International on Tuesday said it will buy Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s stakes in energy businesses in Brazil and Bolivia, including part of the Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and the transaction requires regulatory approval and consent, AEI said.

AEI already owns stakes in each of the projects from its May 2006 purchase of the Latin American assets of bankrupt U.S. energy company Enron Corp.

AEI will increase its stake in both the Bolivian and Brazilian sections of the Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline, which has capacity to transport 30 million cubic meters of natural gas a day.

AEI will increase its stake in the Bolivian unit, GasTransboliviano SA to 34 percent from 17 percent, and will raise its stake in the Brazilian unit, Transportadora Brasileira Gasoduto Bolivia-Brasil SA, to 8 percent from 4 percent, according to the statement.

AEI also will buy 25 percent of Bolivia’s largest natural gas transport company, Transredes Transporte de Hidrocarburos SA, increasing its overall stake to 50 percent.

“These assets are strategically located and are critical for the energy supply of the region, and the acquisition will further strengthen our platform to grow in South America,” said Joao Carlos Albuquerque, AEI’s vice president responsible for Brazil and Bolivia.

In 2006, the Bolivian government took over the other 50 percent of Transredes, which had been in the hands of Bolivian pension funds. As part of its drive to nationalize the hydrocarbons industry, the government has said it wants to own at least 50 percent plus one share of Transredes.

AEI also will buy Shell’s 50 percent stake in the Cuiaba Integrated Project in Brazil, increasing its stake to 100 percent. The project includes a 480-megawatt thermoelectric power plant in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, and an accompanying natural gas pipeline transporting Bolivian gas to Cuiaba.

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