Midstream operator, Summit Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:SMLP) is expanding its reach after it announced two separate natural gas gathering acquisitions last week. The company is spending $460 million to acquire assets in the Bakken and Marcellus in unrelated deals. Let’s take a closer look and the deals and what both mean for investors.
Bring on the Bakken’s gas
The first deal is a $250 million drop down transaction from its sponsor Summit Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:SMLP) Investments for Bison Midstream. Bison is a natural-gas-gathering system in the Bakken and it consists of 300 miles of gathering pipelines and associated compression. The capacity on the system is currently in the process of being expanded from 20 million cubic feet per day to 30 million cubic feet per day and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. These assets are secured by minimum volume commitments with 80% of the projected revenue on the system fixed for the next several years. As an MLP investor, you want to see contracted revenue like this as it helps to secure the company’s distribution.
What’s most interesting is that these assets are natural-gas-gathering lines in the Bakken, which is known for its oil. What you might not know is that Bakken oil producers desperately need natural gas infrastructure. Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp (USA) (NYSE:KOG) is an unfortunate example of this. While growing its oil volumes by 265% year over year it also grew its associated natural gas volumes by 398%. The problem here is that the company was forced to flare 3.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas after flaring 807 million cubic feet of gas the year before because it had no where else for the gas to go. This lack of natural gas gathering and takeaway capacity in the region has been a real problem and assets like Bison are an important solution in solving this problem.
Moving Marcellus gas
In Summit Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:SMLP)’s second deal it is purchasing the Mountaineer Midstream gas-gathering system in the Marcellus from MarkWest Energy Partners LP (NYSE:MWE) for $210 million. The newly constructed 40-mile system leads into MarkWest’s Sherwood Processing Complex which is currently being expanded from 400 million cubic feet per day to 800 million cubic feet per day of processing capacity. The system Summit Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:SMLP) is acquiring is secured by a long-term, fee-based contract with Antero Resources. Again, the company is picking up an asset that has secured revenue while providing MarkWest Energy Partners LP (NYSE:MWE) with capital so it can grow its processing capacity.