Paving the way for hydrogen - Snam buys stake in North African gas pipelines

Paving the way for hydrogen - Snam buys stake in North African gas pipelines

Italy's Snam, Europe's biggest gas infrastructure group, has announced to buy a stake in pipelines carrying gas from Algeria to Italy in a move that could pave the way for hydrogen imports from North Africa into Europe.

Snam will pay Italian energy company Eni 385 million euros for a 49.9% stake in the pipelines, which include onshore gas pipelines running from the borders of Algeria and Tunisia to the coast of Tunisia (TTPC), as well as offshore gas pipelines connecting the Tunisian coast to Italy (TMPC).

Under the agreement, Eni ensures to transfer its entire ownership in the pipelines to a newly found Italian company (NewCo) where Eni will still have a 50.1% stake, while Snam will be holding the residual 49.9% share. NewCo will be jointly controlled by Eni and Snam, based on equal principles of governance.

While the agreement has been approved by the Tunisian government, other authorities will need to rubber-stamp the agreement to comply with antitrust regulations. Subject to this, the transaction is expected to be finished by the third quarter of 2022. More details on the deal can be found here.

For Snam, the deal secures Italy’s natural gas supply from the Mediterranean region. Snam will also use the transaction to expand its infrastructure to North Africa, a key area for gas supplies to Europe, an area which is may become a hub for solar energy and green hydrogen production in future.

Frontier advised on perspectives of hydrogen imports from North Africa

As the partners are related parties under Article 3 of the regulation adopted by Consob, the transaction required a “reasoned favourable opinion” by the Risk Control and Related Party Transactions Committee. Frontier supported this opinion with analysis on the perspectives and risks associated with imports of green hydrogen from North Africa in the mid- to long-term future, in cooperation with Italian consultancy, DFC Economics, which provided advice on the perspectives of natural gas imports for the interim.

Frontier regularly supports clients with commercial and regulatory due diligence in mergers and acquisitions.

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