Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE: EPD) increased its fourth-quarter distribution by 0.6 percent sequentially and 3.6 percent year over year. The midstream giant generated record distributable cash flow in the fourth quarter, covering this higher payout by 1.3 times.
These impressive results reflected the strong performance of the MLP’s crude pipelines and NGL (natural gas liquids) service, as well as strong gas-processing and fractionation margins. Robust hydrocarbon exports also gave Enterprise Products Partners a lift, with activity on the MLP’s docks increasing 50 percent from year-ago levels.
Enterprise Products Partners announced that it will move forward on a 50-50 joint venture with shipowner Navigator Holdings (NSDQ: NVGS) to build an ethylene export facility that will come onstream in 2020.
Projects expected to start commercial operations this year include the Orla 1 and 2 gas-processing plants in Permian Basin, a propane dehydrogenization plant, a ninth fractionator at Mt Belvieu and expansions to its storage infrastructure on the Gulf Coast.
In early January, Enterprise Products Partners announced the up-sizing of isobutane dehydrogenization facility slated to come onstream in 2019 and a third gas-processing plant at its Orla complex.
Enterprise Products Partners expects to meet 55 percent of its equity funding needs via excess distributable cash flow and aims to self-fund this component of its growth capital expenditures next year.
In coming years, management foresees additional opportunities to expand its NGL export capacity and potential for a second wave of ethane cracker construction on Gulf Coast.
Enterprise Products Partners’ fourth-quarter results once again demonstrate the growth opportunities created by its integrated asset base, smart management team, and leading exposure to natural gas liquids and the expanding Gulf Coast petrochemical complex.
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