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Enbridge Inc., Announces Its Purchase of Spectra Energy Corp.

Recent mergers change the landscape of natural gas pipeline ownership.

On September 6, Enbridge Inc., announced its purchase of Spectra Energy Corp. Enbridge currently operates 1,800 miles of large-diameter (24 inches or greater) natural gas pipelines in the United States. Before its acquisition of Spectra Energy, Enbridge was the 15th-largest holder of large-diameter U.S. natural gas pipeline miles (including co-owned pipeline), and Spectra ranked fourth in the nation with nearly 9,800 miles. Their newly combined pipeline holdings are still the fourth-largest overall.

Nearly 82% of large-diameter pipeline miles and 62% of all pipeline miles in the United States are owned by 10 companies. Kinder Morgan Inc., with 32,000 miles of large-diameter pipeline, has more than double the mileage of TransCanada Corporation, which acquired Columbia Pipeline Group in July 2015. The merger of Energy Transfer Equity LP (third-largest holder) and Williams Companies, Inc. (fifth-largest holder) that was recently canceled would have resulted in a large natural gas pipeline conglomerate ranked second to Kinder Morgan, which owns about 19% of all U.S. pipeline.

Most of the top-10 companies, which includes some large regional players, are common carrier pipelines regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The top five companies have national or international scale operations.

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