The sale of Alaska’s largest natural gas utility has cleared its final regulatory hurdle. That means Canadian company TriSummit can move forward with the purchase of ENSTAR Natural Gas and its share in Cook Inlet’s gas storage facility — an $800 million deal.
ENSTAR has about 150,000 customers on the Kenai Peninsula, as well as in Anchorage and the Mat-Su. For a decade, it was owned by AltaGas, which is also based in Canada.
ENSTAR spokesperson Lindsay Hobson said little will change for customers when TriSummit takes over.
“The costs of the transaction will not impact ENSTAR rates,” she said. “And so the rates that customers pay will not be impacted until ENSTAR goes in for another rate case.”
She said the company is bringing some services back that were previously done out of state.
“While we have 200 in-state employees right now, we do expect that number to go up slightly as we’re bringing more finance and HR and IT functions back in the state of Alaska,” Hobson said.
ENSTAR gets all its natural gas from Cook Inlet producers, most coming from oil and gas company Hilcorp.
It’s also a majority owner and operator of the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Alaska — which stores gas during times of high production for times of low production. TriSummit will take over ENSTAR’s 65 percent ownership.
“And it will continue to be operated by ENSTAR employees through a management agreement between ENSTAR and CINGSA,” Hobson said.
TriSummit, the new parent company, has 133,000 customers in Canada and had a net income of over $51 million in 2021 after taxes, according to a final order from the state. The order said ENSTAR will be the company’s “largest regulated natural gas distribution utility” when the acquisition is complete.
In a press release, AltaGas said proceeds from the sale will help the company reduce its debt and become more financially flexible for growth elsewhere.