As you've probably heard, the United States is in the midst of a full-fledged energy boom. Due to abundant domestic supplies and revolutionary drilling techniques, oil production is quite simply soaring. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that oil production in the United States last year hit a level not seen since 1989.
All this oil production means the companies that operate energy infrastructure across the country stand to reap huge rewards. After all, once oil is discovered and produced, it needs to be treated, stored, and transported around the country. That's where midstream oil and gas companies like Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD ) and Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE: MMP ) come in.
Enterprise Products owns a massive network of oil and gas storage facilities, terminals, and pipelines all across America. It operates a wonderfully consistent business, because its services act very much like toll roads. These services collect fees based on volumes, which provides insulation against often-volatile swings in oil prices.
If you're on the hunt for a high-yielding stock you can buy today, look no further than Enterprise Products Partners.
America is awash in oil
The U.S. is getting closer to true energy independence by the day. The EIA states that last year, U.S. oil production averaged 7.5 million barrels per day. This represented a 15% increase from the year before, and was the biggest annual percentage increase since 1940. The surge in production was largely due to huge success in the Permian Basin and Bakken formation, which collectively accounted for 83% of the growth.
Because of this, Enterprise Products Partners is firing on all cylinders. Its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 8% last quarter. Distributable cash flow, which measures how much cash a company generates that it can pay out to investors, soared 19%.
Enterprise Products received a sizable contribution from its onshore crude oil pipelines and services segment. Total crude oil pipeline volumes jumped 28% to 1.3 million barrels per day in the first quarter. The company's significant presence in South and West Texas, in the Eagle Ford shale, was the primary contributor.
Likewise, other players in the same industry are feeling the same benefits. Magellan Midstream realized 56% growth in its crude oil operating margin.
Enterprise Products Partners stands to do even better going forward, especially now that the U.S. Commerce Department has announced it will allow the company to export U.S. condensate to foreign buyers. The Obama Administration has loosened the four-decades-old ban on condensate, a form of ultra-light oil that can be turned into gasoline and diesel. Enterprise Products is one of only two companies that will be allowed to export condensate.
The great thing about midstream operators is that they operate highly stable business models, which are very similar to toll roads. Enterprise Products Partners stores, treats, and transports oil and gas, and receives fees based on volumes. As a result, it's not highly dependent on fluctuations in the price of crude oil.
This stability allows it to maintain an impressive history of rewarding its unitholders.
A high-yield you can confidently buy right now
Recently, Enterprise Products increased its distribution for the 40th quarter in a row, and yields 3.7%. Its distribution is up 5% from the same quarter one year ago. Enterprise Products has come through with 49 distribution increases since its initial public offering in 1998.
Thanks to the steady nature of its business, it's able to pass on regular distribution raises to investors. And, because of its status as a master limited partnership, it's required to distribute the vast majority of its cash flow through to unit holders in exchange for a favorable tax structure.
The bottom line is that Enterprise Products offers a rock-solid yield, which it increases every quarter. It operates a stable toll road-like business that generates reliable cash flow. Since the U.S. is seeing oil production steadily rise, demand for Enterprise Products' services should remain strong for many years. That means its hefty distributions will almost certainly keep flowing, just like the oil it processes.
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