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Kinder Morgan Purchase of El Paso Cleared With Conditions

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Kinder Morgan Inc.’s purchase of El Paso Corp. was approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on the condition that the company sells three natural gas pipelines in the Rocky Mountain region.

The $38 billion transaction as originally proposed would have hurt competition in several natural gas pipeline transportation and gas processing markets, the FTC said today in a statement.

The settlement requires Kinder Morgan to divest its Rockies Express, Kinder Morgan Interstate Gas Transmission and Trailblazer pipelines, in addition to two gas processing plants in the Rocky Mountain region, the agency said.

The FTC said its decision is part of its “ongoing efforts to promote competition in the energy sector.” The sales will reduce the combined company’s dominance in Rocky Mountain natural-gas transportation, while allowing the creation of the biggest U.S. gas pipeline company.

The El Paso purchase is still expected to close in late May, Larry Pierce, a Kinder Morgan spokesman, wrote in an e-mail.

Kinder, based in Houston, said March 15 it had agreed to the sales.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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