BlackRock and KKR & Co. have divested their 40% stake in AOP to Lunate, a burgeoning investment entity based in Abu Dhabi with a portfolio of $105bn (Dh385.61bn) in assets under management.

With this transaction, the stake in ADNOC’s pipeline infrastructure has been brought back under local control.

The deal’s financial details remain undisclosed, although Bloomberg News earlier reported that the stake’s value could exceed $4bn, inclusive of debt.

ADNOC, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) state-owned energy company, is a dominant oil producer within the OPEC group.

AOP, established in 2019 and headquartered in Abu Dhabi, holds a 23-year concession agreement to lease 22 pipelines from ADNOC.

These pipelines, spanning 806km, comprise 17 onshore and five offshore, with a combined capacity of 18 million barrels per day.

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Five years ago, BlackRock and KKR acquired the stake in AOP in a transaction that was considered the first investment by overseas asset managers in the infrastructure of a Gulf national energy company.

Commenting on the acquisition, Lunate managing partner Murtaza Hussain said: “We are pleased to partner with ADNOC, a leading energy group and national champion that continues to raise the bar for innovation and efficiency in global energy markets.

“Lunate’s investment in AOP aligns with our long-term capital strategy to identify and invest in premium infrastructure assets. It also presents an opportunity to invest in a core Abu Dhabi asset and demonstrates our confidence in the UAE economy.”

In 2019, BlackRock and KKR committed $4bn to AOP. Later that year, ADNOC further reduced its holding to approximately 51% by offloading shares to the Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pte.

Lunate is swiftly ascending in Abu Dhabi’s investment sphere, leveraging the emirate’s substantial energy wealth to establish a significant presence.

Abu Dhabi is the base for several major wealth funds including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Mubadala Investment Co. and ADQ, collectively managing assets well over $1tn.

Chimera Investment, under the direction of Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, established Lunate in 2023. Chimera, along with the Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ, was reported by Bloomberg to be in talks over capital injections into Lunate.

Sheikh Tahnoon, who is also the UAE’s national security adviser and a brother of the country’s ruler, oversees a number of these entities, such as ADIA and ADQ, in addition to the International Holding Co conglomerate.