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Noble Midstream, PAA JV Buys Southern Delaware Crude System in Permian

Noble Midstream Partners LP and Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) agreed Monday to jointly acquire Advantage Pipeline LLC for $133 million, which would give them an expandable 70-mile, 16-inch diameter crude oil pipeline system in the southern Delaware sub-basin of West Texas.

The purchase, split evenly through a new 50-50 joint venture (JV) by the Houston-based companies, includes a 150,000 b/d Texas intrastate pipeline constructed in 2013. The system carries crude oil from Reeves County to Crane County and includes 490,000 bbl of combined crude storage at three separate trucking stages in Reeves, Pecos and Crane counties.

"With this transaction we are able to provide our sponsor and third-party producers connections to multiple market centers and Plains' premier pipeline network," Noble Midstream CEO Terry R. Gerhart said.

The Advantage system "provides area producers with more efficient access to multiple markets through interconnections with PAA's Permian Basin system," added CEO Greg Armstrong.

Once the purchase is completed, now expected before the end of March, throughput growth on the Advantage system would be driven by an acreage dedication from Noble Energy Inc. and a volume commitment from Plains Marketing LP.

Noble Midstream, which spun off of Noble Energy last fall and which is handling the producer’s Permian infrastructure buildout, would operate the system.

Noble Energy last fall dedicated roughly 40,000 net acres in the Delaware to Noble Midstream, then upped the ante in January when it more than doubled its West Texas holdings to 120,000 net acres with the $2.7 billion takeover of Clayton Williams Energy Inc. Likewise, PAA in January paid $1.2 billion for a crude oil gathering system in the northern Delaware, which serves New Mexico producers. PAA also owns other Permian pipe systems.

Noble Midstream initially plans to construct a 15-mile pipeline to deliver crude oil to Advantage from its first central gathering facility in the Permian. PAA in turn plans to construct a pipeline to connect its Wolfbone Ranch facility to Advantage near Highway 285. The connections should be completed by the end of June.

Noble Midstream's JV interest is to be funded with cash on hand and its undrawn credit facility, with its stake held by Trinity River DevCo LP, a newly formed, 100% owned development company.

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