Gaz Metropolitan & Co. has exercised its rights under a partnership agreement and intends to increase its ownership interest in Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS) to 38.3% from 26.9% through a $21.6 million purchase of El Paso Corp.’s interest in the pipeline.

TransCanada PipeLines had signed an agreement last month to buy El Paso’s entire 29.64% stake in PNGTS, but because of preexisting ownership rights Gaz Metro will be able to capture some of that interest. TransCanada had offered El Paso $137.2 million for its entire stake in the system, including El Paso’s debt of $80.7 million.

On Monday, Gaz Metro notified El Paso that it would exercise its right to match TransCanada’s offer. Following the transaction, TransCanada will own 61.7% of PNGTS and Gaz Metro will own 38.3%. The transaction should close within the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approvals being obtained.

PNGTS’s 293-mile, 210 MMcf/d interstate natural gas pipeline connects with the Trans Quebec & Maritimes Pipeline, which is jointly owned by TransCanada and Gaz Metro, near Pittsburgh, NH. And on its southern end in Maine, it connects with Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. It delivers natural gas throughout New England, including markets in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently granted PNGTS an amendment to its presidential permit so that it can reverse flow at times and export gas to Canada from the United States.

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