A barrel of oil currently fetches just over $80 on the global market. Crude produced in the U.S., on the other hand, trades for about a $9-a-barrel discount to the global benchmark, with the gap even wider for those produced in the Permian Basin due to that region's pipeline issues. Given that the country is producing 11.1 million barrels per day (BPD) at the moment, this suggests that the U.S. oil industry is missing out on roughly $100 million each day.
It's a problem that Phillips 66 Partners (NYSE:PSXP) is quickly working to fix by building out new infrastructure that will provide U.S. oil companies with more access to global markets. In doing so, this under-the-radar master limited partnership (MLP) will deliver high-octane growth for its investors, which could make them lots of money in the coming years.
The Texas two-step
This past April, Phillips 66 Partners and its partner Andeavor, which Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) recently acquired, said that they'd secured enough shippers to proceed with construction on the Grey Oak Pipeline system. The pipeline would move oil from Texas' Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale to its coast. The $2 billion oil pipeline will have the initial capacity to move 800,000 BPD, though it could be expanded to 1 million BPD depending on final shipper commitments and should be in service by the end of next year. That would help ease pipeline constraints in the Permian Basin, where producers are currently pumping out right around 3.6 million BPD, which is nearly at the limits of the region's current pipeline capacity.
In addition to building the Grey Oak Pipeline, Phillips 66 Partners and Marathon Petroleum are also working with Buckeye Partners (NYSE:BPL) to construct the South Texas Gateway Terminal. The facility will have the capacity to store 3.4 million barrels of oil and have two export docks capable of loading very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which can hold 2 million barrels of oil. Those tankers can then ship that crude to global markets, where it can fetch a higher price. The Buckeye Partners-operated facility has the potential to expand in the future to more than 10 million barrels of storage capacity as well as add multiple docks. The partners expect to finish this project at the end of next year, which would coincide with the completion of Grey Oak.
The fuel to continue growing its payout at a fast pace
Those are just two of a growing number of expansion projects Phillips 66 Partners currently has under way. The company is also building additional natural gas liquids (NGL) storage capacity that should come online in late 2020 as part of an expansion by its parent Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) at their Sweeney NGL hub. In addition to that, the partnership is building a unit at one of Phillips 66's refineries to increase production of higher-octane gasoline blend components. Further, it has several other smaller pipelines under construction, including two that will enter service by the end of this year.
These expansions will provide Phillips 66 Partners with the fuel to continue increasing its distribution to investors at a high rate over the next few years. The company has already raised its payout 19 times since its formation in 2013, boosting it at a jaw-dropping 30% compound annual growth rate over that time frame. While the company likely won't maintain that pace in the future, it still expects to grow its distribution at a top quartile rate going forward, which implies at least a 10% annual growth rate. For a company that already yields 5.9%, that makes it an attractive option for income-seeking investors, especially when factoring in its top-tier financial profile.
Set up for big-time total return
Phillips 66 Partners is working fast to address the oil industry's infrastructure constraints, which will enable oil producers to earn more money per barrel. Phillips 66 Partners, meanwhile, will haul in a steady supply income on these expansions, since oil shippers will pay fees to use these assets. Those fees will provide the company with more cash flow so that it can continue growing its distribution at a high rate. Add that growth to the company's already high-yielding payout, and Phillips 66 Partners has the potential to deliver substantial total returns in the coming years, making it an attractive MLP to consider buying these days.