It may not be a voyage led by Captain Kirk into outer space, but it is one that is closer to home -- in Texas. Enterprise Product Partners (NYSE: EPD ) has ventured into a new long-term deal to expand its services in Texas' Eagle Ford shale.
Enterprise Product Partners recently signed a six-year agreement with Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC ) to provide midstream services in South Texas' Eagle Ford shale play. This will add to the agreement they made last September.
Enterprise will provide natural gas processing, fractionation, and transport-related services to conciliate for Anadarko's natural gas production from the Texas shale.
Enterprise's Eagle Ford projects
Enterprise has been expanding its midstream operations in the Eagle Ford shale play supply line. It has entered into a number of long-term commercial agreements in the process, such as those with EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG ) in September last year and with Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) toward the end of 2010.
Why natural gas?
Joining forces with one of the largest oil and gas companies in the U.S. along with its existing deals will definitely provide Enterprise with gains in the future as it looks to capitalize on the expected growth in demand for natural gas.
The recent nuclear crisis in Japan has fueled concerns about the safety of nuclear power. Coal is not a favored alternative either since setting up a coal-fired plant is costly, and there are the emission-related concerns. Natural gas, therefore, has emerged as one of the best and cheapest alternative to satiate the thirst of an energy-hungry world. Plus, with the global demand for energy expected to more than double in the next 10 years, we can expect a surge in natural gas consumption in the future.
A brief look at the financials
After a brief slump in its performance in 2009, Enterprise fared much better in 2010. Its year-over-year revenue grew by 32.3% to $33.74 billion from $25.51 billion in 2009, returning once again to pre-2009 levels. Its net income margin grew slightly from 0.8% to 1% as well. It has been paying off its debts and is also well-positioned to pay off future debts as its interest coverage ratio suggests. Its interest coverage ratio has gone up to 3.1 from 2.7. Overall, the company has performed pretty well and is well-placed to expand its operations.
The Foolish bottom line
Enterprise's recent long-term deals with some of the biggest U.S. oil and gas companies certainly bode well for the future. With the demand for natural gas expected to rise in the next few years, Enterprise has taken the right steps forward. It might take some time for the deals to reap benefits, but the prospects look promising.