Energy

Enstar, the largest natural gas utility in Alaska, is being sold

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The Canada-based owner of Enstar Natural Gas said Thursday that it will sell the Alaska company for $800 million.

Anchorage-based Enstar, the largest natural gas utility in the state, will be sold to TriSummit Utilities, AltaGas said in an announcement.

Both TriSummit and AltaGas, which acquired Enstar in 2012, are based in Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

The deal will more than double TriSummit’s customer base. The natural gas distribution company has about 133,000 customers in Canada.

Enstar has about 150,000 customers in Anchorage and the Cook Inlet region. It has experienced annual customer growth of 1% in recent years, AltaGas has reported.

AltaGas said the sale, in part, will allow it to reduce debt and make “higher growth investments” in its other operations outside Alaska, Randy Crawford, AltaGas president, said in a statement.

AltaGas utilities are concentrated on the East Coast in some of the fastest-growing regions of the U.S., the company said.

The sale includes Enstar, its associated pipelines and Enstar’s majority ownership of Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska that protects against potential gas supply disruptions in Southcentral Alaska.

TriSummit said in its own statement that the purchase will be its first move into the U.S.

[Hilcorp warns Alaska utilities about uncertain Cook Inlet natural gas supplies]

“TriSummit intends to retain all of Enstar’s dedicated employees and hire new Alaska employees to perform certain functions currently performed out of state,” the company’s statement said.

John Sims, president of Enstar, said the Alaska-based company has gone through several ownership changes over 60 years.

“With each transition, our service and commitment to our customers, employees, and communities remain unchanged,” Sims said. “This transaction will be no different; ENSTAR will remain an Alaska-headquartered company, providing the high level of safe and reliable service that our customers expect, with our same employees and facilities.”

ENSTAR Natural Gas is made up of 200 employees in Anchorage, the Mat-Su and the Kenai Peninsula.

The deal is expected to close by early next year, following regulatory approval.

AltaGas said Enstar and the Cook Inlet gas storage reservoir will continue to operate as standalone utilities headquartered in Alaska.

Jared Green, president of TriSummit, previously ran Enstar.

“Our top priority is ensuring a smooth transition, maintaining the strong relationships Enstar has in its communities, and to fully support Enstar as they continue to provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable service,” Green said in the statement.

AltaGas bought Enstar a decade ago when it acquired Semco Holding Corp. in Michigan. The $1.1 billion purchase included both Enstar and a natural gas business in Michigan.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or alex@adn.com.

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