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ONEOK Inc (New)  (NYSE:OKE)
Q1 2019 Earnings Call
May. 01, 2019, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day and welcome to the First Quarter 2019 ONEOK Earnings Call. Today's conference is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Andrew Ziola. Please go ahead, sir.

Andrew J. Ziola -- Vice President of Investor Relation and Corporate Affairs

Thank you, Todd and good morning and welcome to ONEOK's First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. This call is being webcast live and a replay will be made available. After our prepared remarks, we'll be available to take your questions.

A reminder that statements made during this call that might include ONEOK's expectations or predictions should be considered forward-looking statements and are covered by the Safe Harbor provision of the Securities Acts of 1933 and '34. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements. For a discussion of factors that could cause actual results to differ, please refer to our SEC filings.

Our first speaker this morning is Terry Spencer, President and Chief Executive Officer. Terry?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Andrew. Good morning and thank you all for joining us today. As always, we appreciate your continued interest and investment in ONEOK. Joining me on today's call is Walt Hulse, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Corporate Affairs and Kevin Burdick, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Also available to answer your questions are Sheridan Swords, Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids and Chuck Kelley, Senior Vice President, Natural Gas.

I'll make a few brief comments and then turn the call over to Walt to discuss our first quarter financial highlights. To start, we've continued to see an improving industry backdrop since January. Crude prices have strengthened, producers remain active across our operations and our capital growth program remains on track and on budget. Project construction is progressing very well with our ability to predict expected completion dates improving every week. As it looks today, we now expect the southern section of the Elk Creek pipeline to be complete early in the third quarter of this year and the entire pipeline complete during the fourth quarter. The Arbuckle II pipeline and MB-4 fractionator are expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2020.

Keep in mind, the earlier these projects are completed and are placed into service, the earlier ONEOK begins to recognize earnings on them. Based on producer activity and the progress on our projects and assuming no dramatic market change, ending the year at the low end of our capital guidance range is less likely than it was in February. To the extent that we may be above the guidance midpoint of $3.1 billion, we would be spending construction dollars in 2019 that were previously planned for 2020 and accelerating the in-service dates for some projects. Last week, we announced an extension of our Bakken NGL pipeline in North Dakota to connect with a third party natural gas processing plant.

We're not only connecting an additional plant, we're reaching into a new area of the Bakken and providing NGL takeaway in Williams County, which historically has had limited transportation options. And by doing so, we are enhancing our ability to provide potential NGL transportation services to more customers. Additionally, our commercial team continues to evaluate a potential NGL export facility on the Gulf Coast. As this opportunity continues to evolve and develop, we will provide further details as appropriate.

After more than a year of taking about our capital growth projects, we are nearing projects, we are nearing completion on several of them. Over the coming months, these projects will add critical NGL takeaway, fractionation and natural gas processing capacity for our customers where they need it the most, providing ONEOK with substantial long-term fee-based earnings and cash flow growth.

With that, I will turn the call over to Walt for comments on our first quarter results.

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Terry. ONEOK's first quarter 2019 net income totaled $337 million or $0.81 per share, a 27% increase year-over-year and first quarter adjusted EBITDA totaled $638 million, a 12% increase year-over-year. All three business segments recorded double-digit adjusted EBITDA growth compared with the first quarter 2018. Distributable cash flow in the first quarter 2019 was more than $500 million, but more than 17% from the first quarter 2018 with a healthy dividend coverage of 1.43 times. We continued to reinvest in the business, generating more than $150 million of distributable cash flow in excess of dividends paid in the first quarter 2019.

During the first quarter, we paid a dividend of $0.86 per share and in April, we announced an increase to $0.865 per share or $3.46 per share on an annualized basis. The dividend is payable on May 15 to shareholders of record on April 29. Our March 31, debt to EBITDA, on an annualized run rate basis, was 4.0 times and 4.1 times on a trailing 12 month basis. We ended the first quarter with total available liquidity of $3.25 billion, including borrowing capacity of $2.5 billion available on our credit facility and $750 million available on our three-year unsecured term loan agreement. As Terry mentioned, the industry environment has strengthened since the fourth quarter and construction on some of our largest projects could be completed early in the quarter as we've specified.

We have clear line of sight to the ramp and timing of expected cash flows on these projects, which combined with our strong balance sheet and financial flexibility, continues to underscore our expectation for no equity financing needs in 2019 or 2020.

I'll now turn the call over to Kevin for a closer look at our operating performance.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Thank you, Walt. I'll walk through each of our operating areas and touch on a few more highlights related to operations in our projects. Starting with the Rockies region, raw feed NGL throughput volume on the Bakken NGL pipeline averaged 167,000 barrels per day in the first quarter with most of this growth attributable to increasing volumes being railed from the basin. Natural gas volumes processed in the Rocky Mountain region increased to more than 1 billion cubic feet per day during the first quarter, as we continued to see strong producer activity and record North Dakota natural gas production in January.

We estimate more than 250 million cubic feet per day of natural gas is currently being flared on ONEOK's acreage, providing a clear backlog of volume to fill Demicks Lake I, when it begins service in the fourth quarter of this year. We expect additional flared natural gas and continued strong production to provide for a quick volume ramp of Demicks Lake II, which is expected to come online in the first quarter of 2020.

Each of these plants, when full, are expected to provide approximately 25,000 barrels per day of NGLs to our Elk Creek Pipeline, not including ethane recovery. We continue to expect Elk Creek to reach approximately 100,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2020 with volumes increasing throughout 2020 and beyond. At volumes of 100,000 barrels per day, Elk Creek will be generating its targeted adjusted EBITDA multiple of 4 to 6 times within its first few months of operation.

In addition, we now have secured contracts with natural gas processing plants in the Rocky Mountain region that can produce up to 200,000 barrels per day of NGLs, up from 170,000 barrels per day previously reported. The Williston Basin continues to average more than 60 rigs operating with approximately 25 rigs on our dedicated acreage. If crude prices sustain around $60 to $65 per barrel, we could see additional rigs move into the basin once NGL takeaway capacity and natural gas processing capacity are completed this year. Feedback from producers in the Powder River Basin also remains positive, where we continue to have more than 20 rigs on our dedicated NGL acreage.

Moving onto the Mid-Continent, NGL raw feed throughput volumes increased approximately 4% in the first quarter 2019 compared with the same period last year. Volumes decreased in the first quarter of 2019 relative to the fourth quarter of 2018, primarily due to the impact of winter weather in the first quarter and some short-term volume we only gathered in second half of 2018.

Construction on Arbuckle II pipeline is on track for completion in the first quarter of 2020 and our total contracted capacity on Arbuckle II is now 350,000 barrels per day compared with 320,000 barrels per day previously. In our gathering and processing segment, winter weather impacts and the delayed timing of several well completions contributed to the decline in natural gas volumes processed in the Mid-Continent in the first quarter 2019 compared with the fourth quarter 2018.

Producer activity on our acreage in the STACK and SCOOP areas remains in line with our expectations and we're on track to be within our volume guidance range. In our natural gas pipelines segment, contracted pipeline capacity increased 10% compared with the first quarter 2018. This increase was driven by recent pipeline project completions in both the Mid-Continent region and the Permian Basin. These strategic expansions have helped alleviate natural gas pipeline constraints in these areas, as we've been able to provide much needed takeaway for our customers.

Now, taking a closer look at our Permian Basin and Gulf Coast operations, NGL raw feed throughput volumes in this region increased 7% compared with the fourth quarter 2018, primarily driven by increased volume on our West Texas LPG pipeline system, including a ramp in volumes from our completed extension into the Delaware Basin. Additionally, the average NGL fee rate associated with our Gulf Coast Permian volumes increased to an average of $0.05 per gallon in the first quarter 2019.

The higher rate is primarily being driven by increased bundled service volumes or transportation and fractionation volumes on West Texas LPG. Volume on this pipeline has historically been lower margin, transport only barrels, but as legacy volumes roll off, we are replacing them with higher margin transportation and fractionation volume, which we expect will cause this average rate to continue trending upward.

ONEOK's systemwide NGL fractionation capacity is approximately 810,000 barrels per day, given our current product composition and this capacity remains approximately 90% utilized. We continue to look at several debottlenecking projects that could add 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day of fractionation capacity in 2019 and early 2020 and be efficiently completed at costs substantially lower than new construction. These de-bottlenecking projects are expected to provide capacity to help bridge us to the early first quarter 2020 completion of our 125,000 barrel per day MB-4 fractionator, which we expect will exit 2020 at full capacity.

Terry, that concludes my remarks.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kevin. We've had a great start to 2019 and are looking forward to getting a number of these projects to the finish line in the coming months. The credit goes to our employees who remain extremely focused on operating our existing assets and building new ones safely and responsibly. We'll be putting hundreds of miles of pipeline and several facilities into service later this year and into next, which will dramatically increase the scale of our operations and provide much needed infrastructure and services for our customers. Our employees work every day to provide solutions for these customers, to enhance our business and to make ONEOK even more sustainable for the long term, all while focusing on safety and reliability, limiting our impact on the environment and providing value to our investors. Again, I want to express my thanks to all of our employees.

With that, operator, we're now ready for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) We'll take our first question from Christine Cho of Barclays.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

I wanted to start off with the lateral to the Bakken NGL line. I think the processor that you're connecting to, their other processing plants have been connected to different NGL takeaway solutions. Can you provide us some color on what's going on with those other options and why they finally came to you. Also my guess is the capacity of the pipeline even though you guys haven't disclosed it, it's much more than the contract is. Can you give us an idea of what other opportunities you have along the line.

Sheridan C. Swords -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids

Christine, this is Sheridan. I think once we get Elk Creek in line that the customers up there are seeing that our alternative for NGL takeaway nets them a greater net back than going the existing route and as they continue to expand up in that area that their existing outlets are limited and they need that extra capacity. And you are correct, we are putting in a line that could move probably over 200,000 barrels a day, the lateral going over there. We see today other processing plants in the area that this pipeline goes by are producing approximately 10,000 barrels a day. But as we talk to people in the area, that 10,000 barrels a day could grow to as much as 40,000 barrels per day in the near future.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then moving over to, just sort of the ethane, with also Permian ethane that's coming out, and I think pressuring ethane prices, in the event Conway ethane frac spread remains negative, should we think that third-party processing plants are rejecting the ethane, so there's less supply of ethane showing up at Conway for you to optimize, just some color on how we should think about that.

Sheridan C. Swords -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids

Well, I think you're right. As long as you keep Conway ethane in rejection, which it is sitting there today, you will have about the same amount of ethane you have today. It may grow a little bit as we bring on a couple of new plants in the second quarter. But remember, not every plants can't reject, not every plant can reject all the ethane. There is some ethane that has to come out naturally anyway on our system. So I think what we're seeing today is what we think we'll see going forward if we stay in a time when Conway is going to stay in ethane rejection.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

And Christine, this is Kevin. I mean, you've also got significant amount of demand for more ethane coming on in the back half of '19 as well. So, that's going to be -- that's going to pull more ethane out also.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay. And can you give us an idea of, like the utilization on Sterling I and II for the quarter.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we just finished the expansion of Sterling III and we really operate those pipelines altogether, they move around and we're a little bit under 90% for the total system.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then last question for me, I just wanted to make sure, can you remind us on the LPG export project, any partner that you guys bring on would be someone who would take the volumes? Yes?

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah, Christine. This is Kevin. Well, I think it could. We're exploring a lot of alternatives, but yeah, especially as you think about ethane, that would be a scenario that could play out. LPGs might have a different approach, but we're working with the markets on both sides and we're working with others as well and still working through the details of what that might look like.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

When you say both sides, you mean ethane and LPG, I'm sorry I just...

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yes.

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We will take our next question from Michael Blum of Wells Fargo.

Michael Blum -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning, everybody.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Michael Blum -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Just two questions from me. One, some of the recent data coming out of the government on Bakken production shows a decline in the last couple of months. So I was wondering if you can just comment in terms of any trends you're seeing in terms of overall production trends in the Bakken?

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Well, Michael, this is Kevin. I mean, from a gas perspective, it's had a record in January. So, that's always a good sign. February, you had quite a bit of weather, not necessarily abnormal, but that pulled production back a little bit, which is standard kind of operating procedure this time of year. There is the feedback we're getting from, not only our G&P customers, but then you -- there have already been a couple of calls from some of the other processors up there, the results have been incredibly strong. So, we don't see any pullback of volumes of rigs and the results seem to keep getting stronger.

Michael Blum -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Okay, thanks for that. The second question I had was on this potential LPG export project. I was wondering if you can just talk to some of the competitive dynamics and return expectations you would have. I'm sure you're well aware that one of the big players in that market is out very publicly talking about basically keeping their rates down to keep competition out of the markets. So I was wondering if you could just kind of talk about the competitive dynamics and what returns would look like for a project like this. Thanks.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Michael, we are seeing -- it's a very competitive market out there on the LPG side and if we would get into the LPG and ethane, it would be a very strategic move that we see that we need to be able to clear our product and be able to incite more ethane to come out. So, it's a bigger look than just straight economics. No doubt the economics would be more compressed than we've seen on some of the recent projects, but we think it's a long-term play if we would go that route that we would do.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

I think, Michael, this is Kevin, I think we've said and we continue to maintain that the project will -- the project will stand on its own merits. So, as we look at that, obviously, the economics will be key, but share and dried, it's a very competitive landscape out there for the project.

Michael Blum -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Great, appreciate it.

Operator

Thank you. We will take our next question from Jeremy Tonet of JPMorgan.

Jeremy Tonet -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi, good morning.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Jeremy Tonet -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Just wanted to touch on Elk Creek and how that was going with the contracting side, if anything was added since the last quarter and kind of what's enabled you to pull forward the timeframe here. It seems like pipeline projects seem to be pulling backwards as opposed to be pulling forward, so wondering what we were able to accomplish?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We'll start with the contracting. As I said in my remarks that we were now 200,000 barrels a day contracted out of the Rockies region that will ultimately we believe here that hit Elk Creek. As for the construction, our teams just -- they've done a great job executing as we've gone through the first stages of the project. As we move forward, we've been very open about starting with the Southern section and the team has made great project, even through some tough weather and some very wet weather in the winter and early spring. But still on track and got comfortable that we now think it's going to be that Southern sectional can be complete early in the third quarter. So just a great job of executing so far by our project team, as it relates to right away acquisition and getting the pipe in the ground.

Jeremy Tonet -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

That's helpful, thanks. And looking at the Mid-Con, it looks like things stepped down a little bit 1Q versus 4Q for some of the volumes you had, just wondering how you see that kind of trending over the balance of the year. Has there been any change as far as producer communications per their activity levels, are things kind of within the band of what you expect?

Chuck Kelley -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas

Jeremy, this is Chuck. I'd say the Mid-Con, we've had a good start to the year with our 32 well connects and the number of rigs operating on our acreage are consistent with our plan and with guidance. Volumes were within the band of guidance. So we feel good about our numbers balance of the year in Mid-Con and in talking with some of the producers, we actually see some of the rigs movement, moving to our acreage on the SCOOP later in the year, end of Q2, end of Q3. So overall, I just think we're on pace with our guidance for the year.

Jeremy Tonet -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

That's helpful. That's it for me. That's it from me. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We will take our next question from Chris Sighinolfi of Jefferies.

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, everybody. Thanks for your time, guys.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Terry, I'm not sure if this is for you, or if this is for Walt, but just wanted to follow up on the discussion we had on the last quarter call about the pace of your dividend growth, was just, I've noticed in subsequent presentations following that discussion that the 9% to 11% rate that you previously discussed and featured no longer appears. Obviously, the pace of growth has decelerated over the last two quarters below that range unless there is a subsequent step up later in the year. So I'm just -- I'm not advocating for a particular range or saying that there's something optimal, I'm just trying to figure out how to interpret what we've seen and what you guys are thinking at this point.

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Well, as far as the omission, I wouldn't read anything into that. We've been clear on that guidance and it hadn't changed. We established that guidance shortly after the consolidation transaction. So it's in place. so, I wouldn't read anything into that. I think as the board thinks about -- as we go into the balance of the year and it thinks about our dividend policy going forward, obviously, we got the guidance there.

But I think the most important fact that they will take into consideration is just the tremendous cash flow growth that we see for the company. The business is performing extremely well and particularly with these projects coming online earlier and the growth opportunities we continue to develop, the free cash flow generation really is continuing to exceed our expectations as we look out. So that will be the key thing that they take into consideration, as I think about the dividend policy going forward.

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

But the baseline view is still a view around the 9% to 11% that you had talked about.

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Absolutely. That guidance is still there.

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Okay. Sure. All right. Thanks for that. And then I guess maybe for Kevin or for Sheridan. We had previously chatted about heat content in the Bakken as it pertained to Northern Border and the fact that ethane rejection might not just be a economic decision, but maybe an operational one. I'm just wondering where we shake out on that, a lot of processing is set to come up later this year and into next year, but curious how the dynamics look today.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. This is Kevin. And yes, that's still something we watch very closely and stay in touch with that as you push, with the basin being in ethane rejection right now, you're pushing more and more high BTU content gas into Northern Border. That trend will continue, and you're right, if you think about Demicks I and Demicks II and the (inaudible) and Crestwood's expansion and you think about those, that all the capacity there and all that residue making its way to Northern Border, clearly, we're watching the BTU content at the bottom of Border very closely.

As we've said, we have the ability, as does the rest of the processors up there, to recover ethane. Now, we need to get Elk Creek in service first before we would have the capacity to do that. But once we have Elk Creek in service, then we've got -- that's a nice option we have as an industry, to be able to lower the BTU content on border, if we start seeing downstream market impacts.

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Okay. Now, that makes sense. And kind of why have you -- just a follow-up on Michael's earlier question about the export dock, I think you said that the project would have to stand on its own. So in terms of returns, you guys have talked for a while about getting into that market. Michael referenced that they are talking about aggressively pricing their capacity, we shouldn't think about there being maybe a sub-optimal return on getting access to that space made up or through later expansions or anything like that.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I mean I wouldn't think about it that way, you're going to see periods of time where competition for spot space or to the extent that there is excess capacity on these docks, you're going to see some dock-on-dock competition that will pressure margins. But as we think about this project, we're thinking about it long-term contracting, solid returns, even relative to our other investments that we have, obviously the project itself, it would be a strategic move for us, making sure that we have the ability to clear barrels.

We could have the ability to clear barrels even without a dock longer term, but it's better if we have a dock. So, but as Kevin indicated, we're looking at all our options and again, it's a project that we are investing a lot of time in and certainly it's a capability that would add value to our existing suite of capabilities. Does that help?

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Great. Appreciate the time. Yeah. It does.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. You bet.

Operator

Thank you. We will take our next question from Michael Lapides of Goldman Sachs.

Michael Lapides -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hey, guys, thanks for taking my question. Actually, I have a couple of them. First of all, your thought for a while about the expansion capability at either Elk Creek and Arbuckle II, just with pumps. How are you thinking about the timeline for when you would potentially implement that and would you do it kind of staggered or you think the market warrants like bigger leaps.

Sheridan C. Swords -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids

This is Sheridan. Obviously as we're starting to get contract up to 200,000 barrels a day, that is really on our mind when we put it in. We have the ability to stagger it, you don't have to go all the way on Elk Creek to the 400,000. There's (inaudible) you can just put a couple of pumps in here and a couple of pumps in there and hit incremental capacity. So, we can do that in stages as we go on, but definitely as we reach this 200,000 barrel a day mark, we are definitely looking at when we want to expand that pipeline because we want to make sure that we have the capacity to meet the customers' needs up there and don't get into an issue where the pumps are delayed by anyway by any means.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

And the only thing I would add on to that, this is Kevin, is the contracted volumes that we talk about and we report are really C3 plus volumes and they don't assume any ethane being extracted. So as we also think about our capacity on Elk Creek, we want to make sure we've got the ability and have some capacity available that if we -- back to Chris's question that if we do need to pull some ethane out because of downstream spec issues or the issues on Border in the BTU content that we have the capacity to be able to do that. So we factor that into our thoughts on capacity expansions as well.

Michael Lapides -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. And then on the debottlenecking projects for the fracs. Can you talk a little bit about how much incremental capacity you think you're adding through that and when you think you get that completed.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

That's where we said we were at 30,000 to 40,000 barrels a day of additional, we think we can get, you will see some of that, maybe 10 to 20-ish that we expect we'll get probably in '19 with the balance in early '20.

Michael Lapides -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. And then last thing, the rates of the margin on West Texas, meaning the Permian and the Gulf Coast, you've talked about going from $0.04 to $0.05, and more importantly, you made the comment about it kind of continuing to creep higher. How should we think about that? How do you want investors to think about how much higher that could creep and I mean, are you talking about just kind of slow and gradual, are you talking about moving closer to the rates you're getting in the Mid-Con? I just want to kind of frame that a little bit.

Sheridan C. Swords -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids

This is Sheridan again. What I would say is that it's, I wouldn't say it's going to be slow and gradual. Obviously, we have the next expansion coming on, on West Texas pipeline that is contracted. When those volumes come up, they will almost be contracted at a rate twice as our average when that volume comes on. And then obviously we know that we will be losing some legacy volume as other pipelines come on and we have contracted that space as well. So I think there's two big leaps we will see in that rate going up. One is, when we complete the second expansion of the West Texas and the other one will be when other pipelines are completed out of there and volume comes off and we're able to replace it with volumes that we've contracted at the market rate and not at a below-market rate.

Michael Lapides -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. Thanks, guys. Much appreciated.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. We'll take our next question from Dennis Coleman of Bank of America.

Dennis Coleman -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Yeah, good morning. I guess I wonder if I might ask a little bit more strategic question. You talk about the export docks and how you enter that market. M&A has been a topic that's come up quite a bit in recent weeks with some of the M&A on the producer side and just some producer activity. How do you think about the M&A market, particularly with your currency being attractive as it is for that.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, as far as the M&A market goes, we think about it quite a bit. The fact of the matter is the challenge there of course is transactability. When you think about the opportunity set that this company has, heavy organic, tremendous returns, low-risk projects relative to say much more strategic or exotic M&A. So we remain focused on this organic growth opportunity set that we have. So it's difficult for us to rationalize the risk associated with some of these transactions that we think about.

We'll look, we have investment bankers coming to us all the time with their own ideas and hope that makes sense, but no one ever seems to have a deal ready to do. So, we stay focused on what we do and that's build in this infrastructure in these basins where we have these great, great positions. I mean, candidly, when you look at it just purely on an accretion basis, just look at it on a DCF per unit accretion, these organic projects blow away any M&A transaction. So that's why we stay focused and continued to execute heavily on the organic side.

Did that help you?

Dennis Coleman -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Yeah, it does. Thanks, Terry. That's it from me.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet.

Operator

Thank you. We'll take our next question from Sunil Sibal of Seaport Capital.

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Yes, hi, good morning, guys and thanks for all the color on the call. Couple of questions from me. Starting out on the Permian side of things, it seems like, how should we think about the 150,000 to 200,000 kind of barrels per day of NGL volumes on that pipeline contracted rolling over the next 1 to 2, 3 years?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think you will be over 200,000, yeah, I think you'd be close to 300,000 barrels a day over the next couple of years on that pipeline moving. You're already today, approaching 250,000 barrels, that's moving on the pipeline. So I think we will be over 300,000 in the next couple of years easily.

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Got it. Actually, I was trying to get some color on the legacy contracts that you have on that pipeline, how should those contracts be rolling over in the next 1, 2, 3 years.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

I think most of them will come off, that we see coming off, will come off in 2019.

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Okay. Okay, got it. And then on the CapEx side of things, it seems like on the growth CapEx side, you spent close to $850 million this quarter, how should we think about cadence of that over the remainder of the year.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We -- I mean if you think about our projects, especially the big 4, we are in the heavy construction as we went through the first quarter and we'll continue heavy construction as we go through the second and third quarter. Every project kind of has a natural flow as far as when the capital is spent and as you get toward the end, it tapers off a little bit. So as you see that, but what could change that is again, we're doing everything we can to accelerate these projects that purely from a timing perspective, you might see some dollars if we're above the guidance, we would be -- it would just be a shift from $20 into 2019 or vice versa. It's just literally the timing of how that would play out at the end of the year.

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Okay, got it. And then just a clarification on the dividend growth policy. I think previously, the policy has been 9% to 11% annual rate, is there any thought on kind of thinking about that rate on an average basis over the next three years or so, just to kind of manage your CapEx spend, or should we just think about 9% to 11% every year through 2021?

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

The Board is going to continue to take it up on a quarter-by-quarter basis. But what I would tell you is that the fundamental of our business continues to strengthen, giving us plenty of earnings to support our dividend growth, and we have not adjusted our dividend growth guidance and we'll let the Board look at it, but we have strong earnings to support our guidance.

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Okay, got it. That's all I had. Thanks guys.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We'll take our next question from Jean Ann Salisbury of Bernstein.

Jean Ann Salisbury -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Good morning. What (inaudible) turnaround from the Bakken, if it is pursued, be overall good or bad for ONEOK, I can kind of see both sides, so I would be interested in your view of the net impact?

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Well, I think, this is Kevin, I think, clearly any time there's addition, we don't want to be takeaway constrained, right. And so we're always looking for ways to ensure that we have the takeaway for our customers up there, and so that will involve, you look at residue in a couple of different ways. And so I think it would come down to what type of rate, what type of term it, and what type of volume commitments that would be required to make a project like that work versus alternatives that the basin might have of other ways to handle the residue, which would also include handling some of the residue by recovering ethane. So I think that's still under, as we look through it and we will be thinking through that, but clearly, having, we don't want the basin to be takeaway constrained from the producer standpoint, we want them to be able to continue to drill.

Jean Ann Salisbury -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Yes. I agree with that. And that's helpful. And then there's some concern by investors of a fractionation overbuild over the next couple of years, how much of your Mont Belvieu fractionation is take or pay or perhaps otherwise protected?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Most of our new stuff coming on has very limited take or pay and that the market in these last couple of rounds has built, has not supported take or pay economics. But what I would say is that for Mont Belvieu fractionation position and we anticipated that 4 and 5 being full, but under the scenario that they wouldn't or not full, we always have the option to take barrels that we're fracking in the Mid-Continent, move them down to the Gulf Coast and collect the additional Conway to Belvieu spread on that piece.

But I don't think, what I'm seeing today with what's coming on, now, there may be a little bit of short-term overcapacity in the fractionation market. But I think long term, it will be eaten up pretty quickly. And also remember that a lot of the players that are building these fracs today are storing raw feed and they will have to frac that off once they come on. So it's not just new production, it's production that's coming on now that we do not have enough frac capacity today.

Jean Ann Salisbury -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Well, that makes sense. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We'll take our next question from Craig Shere of Tuohy Brothers.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

Good morning.

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

Three quick questions around Elk Creek, so the growth that we're seeing out of the Bakken or out of the Rockies is being railed and the railed volumes have, if I understand, at de minimis margins currently. So when the southern leg of Elk Creek opens up and we have more capacity upstream on the Bakken NGL line, those volumes kind of immediately get what, a $0.20 plus bump in margin?

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, you're pretty close.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

And on the 200,000 a day ultimate capacity that's been contracted in the Rockies, two questions on that. One, how long do you think that that could take to reach full capacity on those contracts. And two, can you break it down between Bakken and DJ?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think we will ramp up to that 200,000 fairly quickly. I would say probably as we get into 2021, we will see that volume be at that rate up to 200,000 barrels. And once again, as Kevin said, that is assuming no ethane. If ethane comes on, you'll reach that a lot quicker. So I think it will take a little bit of time. I think the last piece will come in, the delay on the last piece will be, we got to get the lateral over, which will be completed at the end of 2020 and then would you repeat your last part of the question.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

I wanted to get a sense where it's all sourcing from, in terms of proportion from the Bakken or DJ?

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I would say about 70% to 80% coming out of the Bakken.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

Great. And one last...

Chuck Kelley -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas

Craig, just before you move on, really a lot of those volumes are coming out of the powder, not the DJ.

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. 80% of the Bakken and almost the rest of it's all out of the Powder River.

Chuck Kelley -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas

Right.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

And last question, I noticed DCF coverage in the quarter was aided by lower sequential maintenance like CapEx and higher sequential other income, can you touch on the repeatability of that.

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I think that the maintenance is just normal timing that comes and goes quarter-to-quarter and when a project gets done or not. The other was a small, non-strategic asset that we sold for a very small amount of money. So that was just a kind of ordinary course cleaning up some assets.

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. This concludes our questions for today. I'll turn it back to Andrew Ziola for closing remarks.

Andrew J. Ziola -- Vice President of Investor Relation and Corporate Affairs

Thank you, Todd. Our quiet period for the second quarter starts when we close our books in early July and extends until we release earnings in later July. We'll provide details for the conference call at a later date. Thank you for joining us, and the IR team will be available throughout the day. Have a good week.

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 46 minutes

Call participants:

Andrew J. Ziola -- Vice President of Investor Relation and Corporate Affairs

Terry K. Spencer -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Walter S. Hulse -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Kevin L. Burdick -- Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Christine Cho -- Barclays -- Analyst

Sheridan C. Swords -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas Liquids

Michael Blum -- Wells Fargo -- Analyst

Jeremy Tonet -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Chuck Kelley -- Senior Vice President, Natural Gas

Chris Sighinolfi -- Jefferies LLC -- Analyst

Michael Lapides -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Dennis Coleman -- Bank of America -- Analyst

Sunil Sibal -- Seaport Capital -- Analyst

Jean Ann Salisbury -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Craig Shere -- Tuohy Brothers -- Analyst

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