Enterprise Products Partners LP and the Jicarilla Apache Nation have formed a joint venture to own and operate natural gas gathering assets on and near Jicarilla Apache Nation reservation lands, they said last week.

The venture will own and operate gathering assets in northwest New Mexico that were previously 100% owned by Houston-based Enterprise. The agreements related to the joint venture must be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Under the terms of the agreement, Enterprise will receive relatively equivalent value for its contributions of 545 miles of gathering lines, which have an approximate throughput of 31 MMcf/d; related gathering assets; and 40 MMcf/d of redelivery and gas processing capacity through its San Juan Gathering System.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation will contribute rights for access and use of reservation lands for operation and expansion of the joint venture gathering system, which will be operated by Enterprise. The joint venture assets are currently part of Enterprise's San Juan Gathering System, which is composed of more than 6,000 miles of gas pipelines in New Mexico and Colorado gathering more than 1 Bcf/d.

"We are very pleased to enter into this agreement, which will provide our customers in this prolific energy producing area with a seamless transition, long-term stability and midstream service options allowing them to optimize the value of their products," said Enterprise CEO Michael A. Creel.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation is a federally recognized Indian tribe whose reservation was established in 1887 and now consists of approximately 880,000 acres on the eastern edge of the San Juan Basin. Natural gas production has been the driving force of the Jicarilla Apache economy since 1953.

"This joint venture with Enterprise will establish a strong foundation for the Jicarilla Apache Nation to work with producers on the reservation to encourage continued development of our natural gas reserves," said Jicarilla Apache Nation President Levi Pesata.

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