Hess Enters Into Joint Venture Deal
Energy exploration and production firm Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES – $68.07) announced that it intends to sell a 50% interest in its prized Bakken midstream assets to Global Infrastructure Partners, a private-equity concern. Specifically, the operations include a natural gas processing plant and rail loading terminal in Tioga, North Dakota, plus a propane storage cavern in Mentor, Minnesota. Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2015, the joint venture would incur $600 million in debt through a 5-year term loan facility. Those funds are to be distributed equally to both partners, resulting in total after-tax proceeds, net to Hess of $3 billion, to be used, among other things, to shore up the balance sheet in view of the current oil price environment and repurchase common stock. Hess also noted that, upon closing of the joint venture deal, it plans to continue to pursue a proposed initial public offering of Hess Midstream Partners LP common units. This appears to be a prudent strategy, since Hess would retain operational control, and Global Infrastructure boasts an extensive midstream energy investment track record. HES shares can be retained for recovery.