Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) is the third largest energy company in North America. It owns an interest in or operates 80,000 miles of pipelines. That's enough to circle the earth more than three times. Needless to say it's a massive company. And yet, few people outside of the energy or investing world have even heard of Kinder Morgan. However, despite the fact it's a relatively unknown company Kinder Morgan really is the type of blue chip stock that could anchor an investor's portfolio.
What are blue chip stocks?
Blue chip stocks are large, well-established and financially sound companies that have been around for a long time. A blue chip stock is typically a market leader and has a reputation for quality, reliability, and profitability in good times and in bad. Blue chip stocks also typically are well-known and pay a dividend. The bluest of the blue chip stocks make up the 30 members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
What makes Kinder Morgan a blue chip stock?
When we read that overall description of a blue chip stock we could easily be describing Kinder Morgan. It's already the third largest energy company in North America by enterprise value, behind just ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX). It's also the largest midstream company in North America and as the following slide shows it's the market leader in several key energy infrastructure segments.
Not only is it a market leader, but most of its revenue and profits are very secure as it operates a toll road-like, fee-based business. This enables it to profit even if the prices of the commodities it transports fall. The stability of Kinder Morgan's profitability enables it to pay a very secure and growing dividend. In fact, the company's dividend is projected to grow faster than most other blue chip stocks, as the following slide points out.
If there is anywhere that Kinder Morgan falls short of other blue chip stocks it's the fact that it's not quite a household name yet. Consumers can't pull up to a Kinder Morgan branded gas station and complain about the price of gas, even though Kinder Morgan is likely getting its cut somewhere along the value chain as it transports more gasoline and other petroleum products than any other company in the country. Still, the fact that its brand isn't as well known by consumers doesn't really matter since Kinder Morgan's customers are energy companies that need to transport natural gas and oil-based products and these companies keep coming back and asking Kinder Morgan to expand its empire even further.
This is why the company is sitting on a $17 billion pipeline of identifiable future organic growth opportunities. That's a massive opportunity set for a $140 billion company to keep growing in the years ahead. Moreover, given the oil and gas boom in North America, there are plenty of opportunities beyond the company's current backlog to support future growth.
Add it all up and Kinder Morgan is well qualified to be considered a blue chip stock. In fact, because it's better insulated against falling oil and gas prices it offers investors an even safer option than fellow energy blue chip stocks ExxonMobil and Chevron. So, investors looking for a blue chip energy stock need to look no farther than Kinder Morgan.
Matt DiLallo has the following options: short January 2016 $32.5 puts on Kinder Morgan and long January 2016 $32.5 calls on Kinder Morgan. The Motley Fool recommends Chevron and Kinder Morgan. The Motley Fool owns shares of Kinder Morgan. 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.