Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE:SEP) has a pretty big appetite for growth right now. With more than $3 billion in gas transmission projects slated to come online between now and 2016, it's positioning itself to be one of the dominant players in a natural gas boom in the Northeast, thanks to the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. Thing is, that growth doesn't just happen and, for a Master Limited Partnership like Spectra, it needs to do most of it either through debt, or equity. So how will it pay for it?

Based on the company's financial standing -- especially compared to competitors ONEOK Partners (NYSE:OKS) and Williams Partners (NYSE: WPZ) -- and the guidelines for Spectra to keep its investment grade credit rating, it might not need to rely on shareholders as much as you might think. Find out how Spectra Energy Partners' financial position provides it with lots of options by tuning into the video below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.