Dominion Resources (NYSE:D) is getting ready for a very different energy future. And it has a lot of moving parts since its exposure spans the regulated utility, merchant power, electric transmission, natural gas utility, and midstream spaces. Here are some key points management wants you to know.
Forget about the weather
In the second quarter, the company's regulated utility, Dominion Virginia Power, posted results "below the midpoint of its guidance range," according to CFO Mark McGettrick. However, "Kilowatt hour sales were below expectations largely due to milder than normal weather."
Taking out the impact of weather, sales were up about 1%. Although that still didn't meet expectations, the core business, which really provides a stable underpinning for growth elsewhere at the company, is still growing. Thus, investors shouldn't worry too much about the relatively weak quarter.
Our nat gas shift is going as planned
Meanwhile, the company's planned shift toward cleaner burning natural gas is progressing nicely. CEO Thomas Farrell highlighted the big projects. "The conversion of Bremo Units 3 and 4 from coal to natural gas was completed during the second quarter on time and on budget." He also noted that, "construction of the 1,329 megawatt Warren County combined-cycle plant is progressing on schedule and on budget." In fact, "The project is about 90% complete and is expected to be in service during the fourth quarter."
Looking longer term, he went on, "Last August we began construction of the 1,358 megawatt combined-cycle facility in Brunswick County Virginia and expect that plant to be in service by mid-2016." The utility industry is making a shift toward natural gas, and Dominion Resources wants you to know that it's successfully going along for the ride.
That's not all we're building!
However, power plants aren't the only thing Dominion Resources is working on. For example, according to CEO Farrell, "During the second quarter $394 million of transmission assets were placed into service, including the Mt. Storm to Doubs 500 KV rebuilt project which was finished a year early." He noted that electric transmission growth projects will be worth watching for the "remainder of the decade."
Meanwhile, in the natural gas business, "Construction is under way on the Allegheny Storage Project and we have begun to accept injections ... Construction is also under way on our Natrium-to-Market project. Both of these are on budget and on schedule to commence full service by November." Continued natural gas production growth in the company's operating region is helping drive solid construction results on this side of the business, with more positive news likely on the horizon.
Natural gas is exciting
In fact, natural gas is one of the most exciting things going on at the company right now. Not only is it expanding its midstream footprint, but Dominion is also working on a liquified natural gas (LNG) export hub. Farrell took a moment to outline the approvals that have been received so far and those that were still needed. However, construction should start soon, and "the Cove Point Liquefaction [facility] is expected to begin operations during the fourth quarter of 2017."
That would make Dominion Resources one of the first companies to feed U.S. LNG into the world market. This toll-taker business should see solid demand and could even expand if relatively low-cost U.S. gas becomes an in-demand global resource, as industry watchers expect.
We are going LP
While all of this natural gas activity is exciting, the big change coming down the line is an initial public offering of key natural gas assets in a publicly traded limited partnership. CFO McGettrick noted that the shelf registration has been filed, and that Dominion Midstream Partners LP's offering will commence "after receiving work approval to begin construction of the Cove Point export project."
Cove Point is the LNG terminal, and it's the core asset in the LP. The offering will help to fund the construction. However, this isn't a one-time transaction. Dominion can continue to raise cash by selling other natural gas assets, known as dropping down, to the LP. And, better yet, Dominion will get to retain control of the assets because of its stake in the general partner. This single deal will have a notable and positive impact on the company's long-term financing.
There's a lot of work going on at Dominion Resources. And while not every business is doing great, the overall story is still pretty good.
Reuben Brewer has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Dominion Resources. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.