Plains All American Pipeline (PAA -2.19%) has been having a great year. The oil pipeline master limited partnership (MLP) not only delivered a profit gusher during the first quarter but also secured several more expansion projects. Those dual accomplishments have helped push the company's unit price up more than 10% so far this year.
The oil pipeline company can continue that momentum by delivering excellent second-quarter results later this week. Here are a few things investors should keep an eye on in that report.
See if results met expectations
Plains All American Pipeline's expectation-topping first-quarter results led the company to boost its full-year adjusted EBITDA forecast. The company now expects to generate $2.85 billion of EBITDA this year, which would be about 6% more than 2018's total. The MLP anticipates that it will haul in about 21% of that amount during the second quarter. This forecast implies that it should report about $600 million of adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter, which would be up about 19% year over year.
One of the drivers of Plains All American's improved outlook for the year is the strong results of its supply and logistics business. That's due to the company's ability to take advantage of market conditions. It buys oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) from producers in price-constrained areas and leverages its infrastructure network to get them into premium-priced markets, profiting from the difference.
This business benefited from an uptick in oil prices in the first quarter. However, with crude prices coming under pressure during the second quarter, Plains All American's supply and logistics business might not have performed as well as expected. That makes it a key area to watch. If it underperforms, then the company might not achieve its updated guidance.
Check whether the company secured any more expansion projects
Plains All American has been very successful in locking up enough customers to approve several new oil pipeline projects this year. In late January, for example, the company sanctioned the Wink-to-Webster pipeline, which will move oil produced by ExxonMobil and others out of the Permian Basin and toward the Texas coast. It followed that up by approving joint ventures to expand its Red River pipeline and build the Red Oak pipeline. Those systems will also move more oil from the Permian toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The company had several other expansions in development that investors should keep an eye on this quarter. For example, it launched an open season to secure shippers for a proposed capacity expansion of its Western Corridor and Rangeland systems. These expansions would enable the company to transport more oil from northern production regions like western Canada and the Bakken shale of North Dakota to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The company, however, faces intense competition for these northern barrels, which is why investors should keep an eye on these potential expansion projects.
Another expansion area to watch is in the Permian Basin. The company's success in securing new oil pipelines out of the region could open the door for it to construct complementary infrastructure such as more oil storage capacity. The company has hinted that it could build a storage hub in Wink to support the fast-paced growth in the Delaware Basin section of the Permian. Plains All American's success in securing these and other projects will give it the fuel to continue growing earnings and its dividend at a healthy rate over the next few years.
Hoping for another strong quarter
Plains All American Pipelines got off to an excellent start this year, which has it on track to grow at a faster rate than initially expected. However, with oil price volatility returning during the second quarter, all eyes are on whether that impacted its more sensitive supply and logistics business. If it was able to weather those issues and secure more expansion projects, that could give this high-yielding pipeline MLP more fuel to continue rallying.