Blackstone Group in talks to buy stake in some Energy Transfer Partners' assets

US private-equity firm Blackstone Group is in talks to buy a stake in some assets of Energy Transfer Partners, the natural-gas pipeline company building the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Blackstone is in talks on partnering with Jamie Welch, the ex chief financial officer of ETP parent Energy Transfer Equity, the report said.

The report said that the potential deal could be valued at about $5 billion or more.

It's not clear whether the assets would include the Dakota Access pipeline, a controversial project that has been subject of protests since it will transport crude from the Bakken Shale formation and the route runs adjacent to the Native American land in North Dakota.

Native Americans have been protesting because the 1,885-km project will would damage sacred lands and could contaminate its water source.

US president Barack Obama this month denied a permit needed to complete the final part of the pipeline, though president-elect Donald Trump is in favor of the project.

Energy Transfer Partners owns and operates around 62,500 miles of natural-gas and natural-gas-liquids pipelines.

It isn't clear which of its assets are part of the potential deal with Blackstone and Welch and why the Dallas company would do it. It is still possible the talks will fall apart before a deal is reached, the report added.

The talks come amid Energy Transfer Partners is in the midst of completing its $20 billion sale to its sister company and partner in the Dakota Access pipeline Sunoco Logistics Partners.