Denver-based MarkWest Energy Partners LP has sold its 50% interest in Starfish Pipeline Co. LLC to Enbridge Offshore (Gas Transmission) LLC, an Enbridge Inc. company, effective Dec. 31, 2009, the company said Monday.

Starfish consists of the federally regulated Stingray gas pipeline, the unregulated Triton gathering system and the West Cameron dehydration facility, all located in the Gulf of Mexico or onshore in southwestern Louisiana.

“The sale of the Starfish assets is part of our ongoing strategy to continue developing our position in the onshore resource plays,” said MarkWest CEO Frank Semple. “We are currently the largest gatherer in the Woodford Shale, the largest gatherer and processor in the Marcellus Shale, and we have a growing presence in the Granite Wash and Haynesville shales. The proceeds from the Starfish divestiture will be used to further develop infrastructure to serve our producer customers in these rapidly expanding areas.”

MarkWest bought its 50% stake in Starfish in 2005 from Enterprise Products Partners for $42.1 million (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27, 2005). “This acquisition provides a great opportunity to establish our presence in the Gulf of Mexico and is consistent with our goal of growing quality cash flow from fee-based services. The assets are also well positioned to transport anticipated LNG [liquefied natural gas] deliveries from offshore regasification terminals in the Gulf,” Semple said at the time of the Starfish acquisition.

MarkWest is engaged in the gathering, transportation and processing of natural gas; the transportation, fractionation, marketing and storage of natural gas liquids; and the gathering and transportation of crude oil. It has gas gathering, processing and transmission operations in the Southwest, Gulf Coast and Northeast regions of the United States, including the Marcellus Shale, and is the largest natural gas processor in the Appalachian region.

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