Ownership of New Brunswick's natural gas distribution franchise is changing hands in a C$331 million (US$265 million) sale announced Tuesday by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. The buyer -- Liberty Utilities (Canada) LP, a subsidiary of Oakville, ON-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. -- added that a C$5 million (US$4 million) service expansion program will begin after the deal's scheduled close in first-half 2019. Under Enbridge ownership the franchise, New Brunswick Gas, arranged for imports from the eastern United States for its 12,000 customers in 12 communities to replace Nova Scotia offshore wells that are depleted and shutting down. Enbridge retains a 78% ownership interest in the import route, Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The Calgary gas and oil transportation conglomerate described the New Brunswick deal as part of continuing asset sales triggered by its C$37 billion (US$28 billion) takeover of Houston-based Spectra Energy in 2016.