The 3-Headed Cash Machine That Is Kinder Morgan

In the world of energy transport Kinder Morgan is a juggernaut. It's the fourth largest energy company in North America, with 68,000 miles of pipeline servicing every major oil and gas region in the country. It's also the largest independent oil and CO2 transporter and has recently branched out into oil tankers as well. 

However, Kinder Morgan is a complicated empire. There are four tickers under which its companies trade: KMI, KMP, KMR, and EPB. This article outlines the differences between these securities and summarizes some of the growth catalysts that make Kinder Morgan one of the best ways for long-term income investors to profit from America's historic energy boom.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners  (NYSE: KMP  )  is the MLP that operates the vast majority of Kinder Morgan assets. As an MLP it doesn't pay dividends to shareholders but distributions to unit holders (for a more detailed explanation of MLPs see this article).

Recently the entire family of Kinder Morgan companies has been hammered by negative press arguing the company's best growth is behind it. 

Despite management's vigorous reply to the charges against it, as well as a reiteration of previous guidance of 5% distribution growth and 8% dividend growth (for Kinder Morgan Inc), shares fell to multi-year lows.

Kinder Morgan Inc  (NYSE: KMI  ) yields 5% and is the parent company and general partner to both Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and El Paso Pipeline Partners. It owns 8% of KMP units, 13% of KMR shares, and 41% of EPB units, from which it collects cash distributions and stock dividends. In addition it collects IDR (incentive distribution rights) fees from its MLPs. This means 50% of marginal distributable cash flow (DCF) goes to KMI above a certain distribution rate, which has been achieved for both MLPs.  (NYSE: KMI  )

Kinder Morgan Management  (NYSE: KMR  ) yields 7.4% and is exactly like KMP, but pays out stock dividends instead of cash distributions. This is a great option for investors who want to participate in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) but whose brokers don't offer one. Most brokers will allow investors to own partial shares, though some won't allow selling partial shares.

Growth catalysts
There are five primary growth catalysts for the Kinder Morgan Empire: the Marcellus shale production boom, ethane exports, gas exports to Mexico, LNG exports, and a potential merger between KMI and KMP. For purposes of brevity only the first two will be discussed in this article.

The Marcellus shale is the largest gas formation in America, covering 15 million acres in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Ohio. The EIA estimates there are 410 Tcf (trillion cubic feet) of recoverable natural gas, or 15 years' worth of U.S. production.

Production from the Marcellus has increased from 1 Bcf/d (billion cubic feet/day) to 14 Bcf/d in 2014 and is projected to increase to 20 Bcf/d by 2017-2018. This mind-boggling growth will mean high demand for transportation and storage facilities that Kinder Morgan is investing in. 

On the back of the natural gas boom is an explosion in NGL (natural gas liquids) production. Specifically, ethane is being produced at such a furious pace that there is simply no infrastructure to store or transport it. This has created a glut resulting in such low prices that producers are having to "reject" ethane by not refining it out of natural gas (ethane is a valuable petrochemical used in plastics).

This kind of waste is why Kinder Morgan is partnering with Mark West Energy and Targa Resources to repurpose Kinder's Tennessee gas pipeline system to transport NGLs, such as ethane, 1,000 miles to the Gulf Coast for export. The initial capacity will be 150,000 bpd (barrels/day) but expandable to 400,000 bpd.

With Enterprise Product Partners predicting NGL production to increase by 79% by 2020, driven by a doubling of export demand, Kinder Morgan stands to benefit greatly from this strong energy trend. 

Foolish takeaway
Kinder Morgan is one of the best-run energy companies in the world. Its caliber of management (who invest right alongside investors) and access to financial resources mean that this company's optionalities to take advantage of America's energy bonanza are nearly without equal. With the above growth catalysts and the recent price declines caused by none fundamental factors, long-term income investors can have confidence in generous income yields that are likely to grow strongly for decades to come.

3 more income plays on America's energy bonanza
Record oil and natural gas production is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. Finding the right plays while historic amounts of capital expenditures are flooding the industry will pad your investment nest egg. For this reason, the Motley Fool is offering a look at three energy companies using a small IRS "loophole" to help line investor pockets. Learn this strategy, and the energy companies taking advantage, in our special report "The IRS Is Daring You To Make This Energy Investment." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 

 


Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 6:34 AM, SCDividends wrote:

    "Most brokers will allow investors to own partial shares, though some won't allow selling partial shares."

    Ameritrade USED to sell off the partial KMR shares. After pointing this "error" to them they now, as of the last KMR dividend, credit the partial KMR to your account instead of paying cash.

    Dave

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2014, at 6:46 AM, SCDividends wrote:

    KMP pays a dividend of 7.4% VS KMR's dividend of 7.6 %. This is due to the lower price per share of KMR vs KMP.. Ie With $10,000 will buy you more shares of KMR than you can buy of KMP.

    Ergo KMR gives more bang for the buck

    Dave

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2014, at 6:27 PM, AdamGalas wrote:

    A very good point. Of course if you need the cash to pay bills you probably still want to own KMP.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2014, at 11:26 AM, drdm wrote:

    Is their a problem with KMR in a retirement account like some MLPs?

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2014, at 4:58 PM, AdamGalas wrote:

    http://boards.fool.com/ok-i-put-this-together-from-a-couple-...

    The following comment explains in detail more differences between KMP and KMR but in short, no, KMR doesn't generate UBTI, in fact the whole reason KMR was invented was to allow investors to own Kinder Morgan assets in IRAs.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2969044, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 11/23/2014 1:05:42 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement