Earnings Preview: Plains All American Pipeline

Midstream companies have grabbed investor attention recently, and for good reason. Oil and gas production volumes have increased across America, resulting in a massive build-out of midstream infrastructure and a ton of acquisitions.

Plains All American Pipeline  (NYSE: PAA  )  reports earnings on Monday. The midstream company has been pretty busy over the past few months and there should be plenty of material to pour over in the third-quarter release. Here are three things to watch for when Plains reports.

1. Distributable cash flow
Plains recorded $390 million in distributable cash flow in the second quarter, well above its guidance of $318 million, and far beyond its $259 million performance in the second quarter of 2011. The partnership expects its distribution coverage to be about 140% on the year, retaining $385 million in discounted cash flow.

2. Volumes
Plains has three different outlooks for its three different business segments in the third quarter. The partnership expects volumes in its transportation unit to stay about the same as its second-quarter performance -- about 3.59 million barrels per day. Volumes for its facilities segment should increase due to additional natural gas storage capacity coming online in the second and third quarters of this year. Finally, volumes for its supply and logistics unit will decline, primarily due to lower natural gas liquids margins.

3. Forward progress
Plains has been busy integrating the NGL assets it picked up from BP, and that process should be coming to a close. The company expected to achieve its goal of finalizing the plan for transition to uniform systems and processes in the third quarter, so we should get an update on that.

Additionally, Plains expects multiple projects to come online during the second half of this year. Look for updates on the Gardendale gathering system, Patoka terminal expansion, and the completion of its Phase IV expansion at the St. James terminal facility in Louisiana.

Foolish bottom line
Analysts are expecting earnings of about $0.55 per unit and revenue of $9.68 billion. Last quarter, analysts anticipated earnings per unit of $0.83, but actual earnings came in one cent lower at $0.82. Plains reports after the market closes on Monday, with its conference call scheduled for 10:00 a.m. EST, Tuesday Nov. 6. Interested investors can listen here, or click here to add Plains All American Pipeline to My Watchlist.

Fool contributor Aimee Duffy has no positions in the stocks mentioned above.

The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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