JP Energy Partners LP (NYSE:JPEP)
Q2 2016 Earnings Conference Call
August 9, 2016 9:00 AM ET
Patrick Welch – Chief Financial Officer
Patrick Barley – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
TJ Schultz – RBC
Mike Gyure – Janney
Lin Shen – HITE
Matt Schmid – Stephens
Good morning and welcome to the JP Energy Partners’ Second Quarter 2016 Conference Call. As a remainder today’s call is being recorded. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. And a brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation.
For opening remarks and introduction, I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Patrick Welch, Chief Financial Officer of JP Energy. Thank you, sir. You may begin.
Thank you, operator, and thank you for joining us today for the JP Energy Partners’ second quarter 2016 earnings conference call. With me today is Patrick Barley, our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Before we begin, I would like to remind all participants that our comments today include forward-looking statements. It should be noted that a variety of factors could cause the partnership's actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results or expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. For a complete discussion of these risks, we encourage you to read the company's press release and our documents on file with the SEC.
Today's call contains certain non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the earnings press release we issued yesterday, August 8, for important disclosures regarding such measures and forward-looking statements discussed on today’s call. You can obtain a copy of our press release in the Investor Relations section of our website.
With that, I would like to hand the call over to Patrick.
Thank you, Pat, and thank you for joining us on our call this morning. Last night we reported our results for the three and six months ended June 30 2016, including a net loss of $2.4 million for the quarter and $5.6 million for the year-to-date period. Adjusted EBITDA of $14.9 million in distribution coverage of one-time both include the benefit of $3.5 million of corporate overhead support from our general partner for the second quarter.
Year-to-date adjusted EBITDA of $29.1 million in distribution coverage of just over 1 times includes the receipt of $5 million in corporate overhead support from our general partner. Our performance for both the first and second quarters of 2016 reflect the continued challenges we and others have faced through the downturn in the energy sector particularly in our crude and NGL segments.
Despite this our consolidated performance for both quarters excluding corporate overhead support has been within the range of expectations we laid out in our financial guidance provided in January. We were able to exhibit considerable EBITDA growth despite these headwinds reflective of our strong asset platform, diversified set of operations and the focused effort by all of the employees at JP Energy.
In the second quarter, we continue to benefit from the increased efficiencies and lower cost structure we’ve been able to achieve following our diligent and extensive expense reduction initiative implemented last year. The work of ensuring the JP Energy is running as efficiently and reliably as possible as ongoing and is a key part of our 2016 strategy as well.
In our refined products segment, we saw further benefits from recent investments including the addition of butane blending capabilities at our North Little Rock facility. In our crude oil segment, we’ve been able to deliver on the improved connectivity of our crude oil system in the Permian basin, increasing our operational flexibility in that business. Similar to trends seen in the last quarter these gains were partially offset by continued headwinds and our crude oil business created by the impact of lower overall producer activity.
Our NGL group was able to effectively cut costs and capture wider margins, but lower volumes attributable to the continued impact of record setting warm weather and a decline in oilfield service related NGL activity resulted in this segment not meeting our expectations in the second quarter. Let me start this morning by giving an update on our crude oil segment.
Over the course of the second quarter and through today, we have seen increasing activity by producers around our Silver Dollar Pipeline system. You’ve heard extension of this team in a number of recent communications from producers regarding their plans for increased drilling and completions in the second half of 2016. The commentary and plan for producers have certainly done much to improve expectations for the industry and we have seen early signs of stabilization and market recovery specifically in our operating areas including a return to modest rig count growth and resurgence of completion crews around our system.
Given this level of activity in the recent conversations with producers, we expect more than 30 wells will be connected to our crude oil system during the second half of the year. As has been noted by a number of analysts regarding Permian focused producers, DUC inventories remain high, drilling and completion costs have come down considerably and producers are beginning to bring rigs back to the region.
While we are encouraged about the prospects for our system and the impact that all of the additional drilling and completions will have, the benefit to any midstream operation is typically lag and the recovery is still seems a bit fragile. But we are cautiously optimistic for the second half of the year. Even with the increased optimism from producers we still believe that a sustainable increase to even higher prices is needed in order to sustain any significant increase in U.S. activity.
That said, during an eventual recovery, we do expect the Permian basin including our areas of operation to be the first to benefit from incremental rigs and CapEx. Given these puts and takes, we expect to exit 2016 between 30,000 and 35,000 barrels per day on our Silver Dollar system, representing approximately 20% to 40% growth above our second quarter averages.
Turning to our NGL segment, we were able to grow adjusted EBITDA year-over-year in this business, which was a result of our team’s continued focus on controlling costs. The extensive set of initiatives we have underway is helping to drive much lower expenses and a favorable margin per gallon. We experienced volume headwinds within our NGL business due to unseasonably warm weather at the start of the quarter and lower demand from our oilfield service customers. We will remain focused on controlling costs and increasing our sales effort throughout the balance of the year.
I’d also like to take a few minutes to further discuss our oilfield service customers in the NGL segment given its recent contribution to much of the volume headwinds that we’ve experienced so far this year. Our NGL business targets the use of NGL by oilfield service customers via multiple channels. The primary focus is for the use of the clean fuel for remote power generation at well sites.
This demand has been impacted not only by lower drilling activity, but also by the continued build out of the electric grid to these locations as drill sites mature and plays evolve over time. We saw an acceleration in volume declines from the business in the second quarter from both lower drilling activity and increased grid connection.
We also sell refined fuels, lubes and solvents to oilfield service customers for their vehicle fleets and for the use at well sites too. These sales are most impacted by production volumes and the activity in the region, but this also represents a smaller portion of our NGL segment EBITDA. While a potential recovery in drilling and completion activity will certainly helps sales to our oilfield service customers, we are proactively pushing for market share growth in the region.
Now turning to our refined product terminals business. This segment exhibited considerable EBITDA growth year-over-year during the second quarter of 2016. We have slightly lower throughput volumes during the second quarter, but we expect to benefit from our ability to offer both Gulf Coast and Mid-Con gasoline pricing to our customers, following our recent connection to Magellan’s new Little Rock pipeline.
Additionally, we will place in the service our ethanol unit train project during the third quarter of 2016, which will allow for unit train deliveries of ethanol at our North Little Rock terminal. We remain focused on identifying and realizing further improvements in our cost structure and enhancing efficiencies across each of our businesses. This effort is critical to our strategy and will be an ongoing effort by our entire team.
Year-over-year costs were down across all three business segments in addition to reductions in our corporate overhead and notably we have significantly reduced our crude trucking costs making us more competitive and profitable. As we’ve seen over the past three quarters, these improvements have had a positive impact on the results we achieved during a challenging market as a direct result of the focused efforts we have implemented across all of our operations.
For the second quarter and first half of 2016, our general partner contributed $3.5 million and $5 million respectively in corporate overhead support. These contributions are intended to accelerate the benefits to our unitholders today for the various cost and margin improvement initiatives that we continue to target and capture. As we’ve said before this amount will vary by quarter, primarily due to the seasonality of our NGL business and is also subject to review by our general partner on a quarter-by-quarter basis.
We appreciate the ongoing support that our general partner continues to provide to our partnership and we consider our strategic relationship with ArcLight as a key differentiator to our story. Our continued cost control focus coupled with a larger and more targeted sales effort, particularly in our NGL business will allow us to improve our earnings power and profitability by better utilizing our current assets with little additional capital spending.
We expect the majority of our capital spending over the next few years to be in our crude business. As drilling activity increases, we will further develop our system as needed to meet current and future producer demand. I would like to remind everyone that the most significant capital expenditures for our pipeline system have been made to service our anchor producers. But we are also in discussions with additional producers with acreage near or adjacent to the Silver Dollar Pipeline regarding the potential of connecting wells to our system. These type of low capital, high return, bolt-on organic projects were a key part of our vision for the Silver Dollar system when we acquired it and we are committed to proactively targeting these types of opportunities going forward.
The timing of this growth was delayed by uncertainties caused by lower commodity prices, but we are now seeing increased activity and we look forward to expanding our systems footprint to service these producers over time, adding additional volume growth above and beyond what we expect from our current customers. As you’ll recall, we discussed two refined products terminals projects during our first quarter earnings call.
The North Little Rock ethanol unit train project in the connection of that terminal with Magellan’s Little Rock pipeline. We’re pleased to report since the Magellan pipeline connection is complete and operational and we are receiving deliveries currently into our terminal. And the ethanol unit train project will be completed an operational in the third quarter.
We continue to consider M&A to be an important component of our long-term growth strategy. Our corporate development team remains active as we explore various opportunities for potential acquisitions and we are seeing increased activity in perspective acquisitions that would be nice additions to our current assets.
With that, I would like to hand the call over to Pat to provide a review of our financials and discuss updates to our 2016 guidance. Pat?
Thanks, Patrick. Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2016 totaled $14.9 million, including $3.5 million of corporate overhead support from our general partner.
Second quarter EBITDA was almost $8 million higher than the $7.1 million we reported in the same period end of the prior year, driven by EBITDA improvements across all segments and lower corporate costs as well as the corporate overhead support received from our general partner this quarter. On July 25, 2016 we announced a second quarter distribution of $0.3250 per unit which we paid on August 12 to unitholders of record on August 5.
Distributable cash flow for the quarter was $12.1 million, representing coverage of approximately 1 times our minimum quarterly distribution of $1.30 on an annual basis. Excluding sponsor support, second quarter EBITDA of $11.4 million came in just above the low-end of our guidance range as was the case in the first quarter.
Our refined products business was above our guidance range for the quarter, crude oil pipelines and storage was in line but our NGLs business came in approximately $3 million below the low end of the range due to the continued volume and margin pressure that Patrick discussed.
Our team has been working very hard at managing costs and growing our business, resulting in first and second quarter results within but at the low end of our quarterly guidance range. However, given the ongoing impact of lower oilfields service related volumes in our in NGL business, the impact of record warm weather in the first half of the year and low visibility regarding the timing of a sustained crude oil price recovery. We are revising our full year 2016 guidance to an adjusted EBITDA range of $42 million to $48 million and a distributable cash flow range of $32 million to $38 million.
As with the original guidance issued in January of this year, these forecasts are exclusive of any corporate overhead support received in the first half of the year and also excludes any additional potential corporate overhead support that could be received in the second half of the year. Given that we have earned $24 million of adjusted EBITDA before corporate overhead support in the first half of the year, we expect the range for the second half of the year to be between $18 million and $24million.
We continue to expect that our 2016 growth capital expenditures will trend towards the lower end of our previous guidance range of $25 million to $35 million, primarily driven by lower procurement and construction costs. From a credit perspective, we expect to remain at or below our long-term targeted debt to EBITDA ratio of 3.5 to 4 times and we expect to be able to fund our capital needs for 2016 with operating cash flows and availability on a revolving credit facility.
Second quarter continuing operations adjusted EBITDA for our crude oil pipelines and storage segment was $6.9 million, slightly higher than the $6.5 million we reported in the second quarter of 2015 and in line with our guidance range of $6 million to $8 million.
Throughput on our Silver Dollar Pipeline decreased year-over-year to an average of approximately 25,000 barrels per day, but this was unchanged from our first quarter average as volumes on the system seem to stabilize and are starting to increase so far in the third quarter.
Volumes for both our crude oil supply business and on our crude oil pipeline continue to be negatively impacted by lower production volumes from our anchor producers and other customers around our system and in our marketing regions. Offsetting these pressures this quarter with the benefits of our enhanced takeaway capabilities following a new interconnection agreement completed last year in which we connected our Silver Dollar system to Magellan’s Longhorn pipeline, providing direct access for the Midland Basin to end markets in Houston.
In doing so, we added a third takeaway option for our customers and our marketing team allowing our customers to sell their crude to the most attractive markets. Improved efficiencies in our trucking business lower costs and benefit to gross margin in our three crude oil supply regions, West Texas, South Texas, and the Texas Panhandle. Our crude oil storage business which includes 100% fee-based least storage in Cushing, Oklahoma continued to serve as a very important source of stable and consistent EBITDA for the partnership.
In our refined products terminals and storage business segment adjusted EBITDA for the quarter totaled $4 million, up from the $2.5 million reported in the second quarter of 2015 and also above the $2 million to $3 million guidance range previously provided. Terminals and storage throughput averaged approximately 59,000 barrels per day in the second quarter of 2016 down from approximately 61,000 barrels per day in the second quarter of 2015. But despite this modest volume decline, our gross margin and EBITDA increased slightly due to a full quarter contribution of butane blending at our North Little Rock terminal better storage and additive revenues and the timing of inventory sales.
In our NGLs business, segment adjusted EBITDA totaled $6.4 million, up from the $4.8 million reported in the second quarter of 2015 but below our guidance range of $9 million to $10 million. The year-over-year growth in our NGL segment was largely due to a favorable margin environment and lower costs offset by lower volumes in our cylinder exchange business. The early quarter impact of warm weather on our heating degree day sensitive businesses and continued pressure on our oilfield services related business.
While we have targeted significant reductions in our heating degree day exposure, most notably through the May 2015 acquisition of Southern Propane, our business was ultimately affected as the industry was faced with the warmest weather in decades. Second quarter NGL and refined product sales volumes decline year-over-year to 164,000 gallons per day. Looking ahead we expect another quarter of normal seasonal trough in our NGL segment EBITDA as well as volume reductions with our oilfield services customers.
Our balance sheet remains strong and as I mentioned earlier, we expect to remain at or below our long-term targeted debt to EBITDA of 3.5 to 4 times the remainder of this year. We exited the second quarter of 2016 with $159 million of debt, leading to a debt to EBITDA ratio of approximately 2.9 times, well below our covenant maximum of 4.5 times. Our conservative balance sheet position provides us with significant flexibility as we continue to target efficiencies, cost improvements in volume growth and as we pursue potential acquisitions.
With that, we’d like to open up the line for Q&A. Operator?
Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from line of TJ Schultz with RBC. Please go ahead with your questions.
Great, thanks. Hey, Patrick, Pat. So first with Devon selling the Southern Midland basin acreage, just wanted to get your thoughts on potential impact that has on your well.
Hi, Good morning TJ. We view that as a positive impact, TJ. That was the lower priority position for Devon and that actually transacted and went to a party that we know and I know very well. So we are aware of what their activity plans are on a go-forward and we anticipate that that will be a positive benefit for the Silver Dollar system going forward.
Okay. Thanks. And then just want to get a little bit more color on your guidance for that excess rate on Silver Dollar, I think you said 30,000 to 35,000 barrels a day. Are you assuming that full 30 connected wells what crude price are you assuming kind of over the next six months just any color you can provide to get kind of a comfort level on that exit rate?
Sure. It’s a great question. Really where we are with that TJ is that we’ve had a number of conversations with producers over the last couple of months. Certainly as we went into forecasting for the back half of the year, those wells will come online and we’re pretty confident in that given the back half of the year, what pricing looks like and that commitment the producers have on their end as well. So I don’t think that there’s necessarily a risk to the number of wells being connected. There will be some timing components to that they won’t all be completed at the same time. But they will be completed throughout the last six months of the year.
So again it’s nice to see the increased activity both from producer standpoint sentiment, some of those are drilled and uncompleted wells that are in inventory, but we have seen some rigs come back to the area with plans for producers to run those rigs over the course of the next 12 months, given drilling commitments and some other obligations that they have. So again I mean we’re cautiously optimistic our forecast takes into account the timing related components around when those wells will be connected. And again, I think we’ve got a pretty good view as to what that looks like for the back half of the year.
Okay, thanks. I guess just lastly, if you look at potential M&A, just kind of curious you’d consider water recycling or disposal assets in the Permian?
That is a great question. We have looked at some opportunities in that area. That would be a step out for us, but at the same time, there are some producers that we have relationships with, that have those type of assets. And we have looked at it but its too preliminary for us to say that that’s a business segment that we want to go after and grow aggressively in. But our team is actively evaluating what the opportunities would look like and what the potential for that business would be.
Okay, perfect. Thank you.
Our next question comes from the line of [indiscernible]. Please go ahead with your questions.
Hi, good morning. My first question is just around Silver Dollar again, when you mention the opportunities on the rolling contract that you talked about, today on your last call. Can you maybe just provide some additional color on how the competitive landscape for these contracts start [ph] looking, maybe if you can how much of an impact these could potentially have on your 30,000 to 35,000 barrels per day, crude oil volume exit rate for 2016 and looking into 2017?
Hi, good morning Perissa. So clarification on the question, when you talk about rolling contracts, are you talking about acreage that producers are selling to other producers.
I guess, just what you had mentioned on your last call you talked about the opportunities on rolling contracts for any acreage that’s not dedicated currently on Silver Dollar? Or maybe I’m misunderstanding, I don’t know, you can clarify that for me but…
Sure, sure. Sure, there’s actually two opportunity sets, some of that is production that is with other producer or – I'm sorry, other midstream providers and that really relates more to our crude oil supply and logistics segment and first purchasing that happens at typically on 30 day rolling contracts. And we have been successful in securing some of those production packages, recently in and around our Silver Dollar system. And then the other that I was referring to relates to acreage packages that have been sold, because there are a lower priority set from larger producers such of Devon, EOG, and others. And that creates opportunity because as it goes smaller independents becomes a higher focus area for those producers and that’s where you’re seeing some increase in activity which also will benefit the Silver Dollar pipeline system in and around our areas.
So it’s really both that you see the benefits that and again both of those are taken into consideration when you look at our forecast for the back half of this year which again would be pretty significant growth from where we are currently.
Okay, great. That’s helpful. And then just another one on the crude oil sales volume, there is a pretty large uptick quarter-over-quarter. Can you just discuss maybe how we should – I would expect that was mostly due to like increased pricing in Q2 versus Q1. But how should we expect that to trend in the back half of 2016 on the crude oil sales volumes?
So I think when you look at that Perissa, we are – I assume that you’re talking about just the volume growth related to the system or is it volume related to crude oil supply and logistics.
So you know how you have that crude oil sales volume in your press release, relates to just crude oil sales volumes.
More of a marketing piece or I just want to know like what cause the uptick between Q2 and Q1 and how should we expect that to trend going forward?
Sure. Well, I think it’s ties back to directly what we were just talking about which is the success that we had again with crude oil packages, and our crude oil supply and logistics segment that are in and around our area. Number 1, and then secondly it is the completion of some of these drilled and uncompleted wells coming online, in addition to the upticks that we’ve seen in growing activity in and around our area. So it’s really a culmination of all three of those that are driving that volume increase and we would expect that to continue in the back half, as we mentioned in our guidance.
Okay. Thanks for your clarification. And I guess my last one, is just on the refined products segment. There’s a lot of moving parts with the increased butane blending volumes in Q2 that you said. And you now winding down over the summer the North Little Rock terminal connection in Magellan and then the expected Q3 2016, in service date of the ethanol project. So can you just explain like break it down and explain how this will affect overall terminals throughput in the refined products segment moving forward for the back half of 2016?
Sure. It’s a great question. So both of those projects that we announced for the North Little Rock terminal is an example, our enhancements to that facility, they just increased the service offerings for our existing customers and for new customers. So albeit small we have been able to execute on a couple of new agreements by virtue of being able to offer a Mid-Continent connection. So that that obviously stabilizes volumes that are in the terminal today and hopefully we’ll grow that volume over time. But that terminal has a very large percentage of the market today.
So again I think it’s more about our ability to offer additional services, keep that volume in our facility and grow it where we can and the ethanol project that we mentioned the unit train project will help us do that as well. So I think the terminals really why there is some opportunity for growth, those are really more mature assets that are very stable in nature. So again we’ve taken that into account the back half guidance and we feel good about where that operation sits currently.
Okay, great. That’s it from me. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Great. Thank you.
Our next question comes from the line of Mike Gyure with Janney. Please go ahead with your questions.
Hey, good morning. Could you guys talk a little bit about your growth CapEx budget for the remainder of the year kind of where you’re thinking of spending the dollars there?
Yes, sure. Our growth CapEx budget is really unchanged from the guidance that we gave at the beginning of the year. So the range is 25 to 35, we’ve adjusted that slightly to say we expect to come in at the low end of the range and as – was the case when we initially issued the guidance it’s primarily related to the Silver Dollar pipeline, well connecting new customers and also new wells for existing customers. So with the price recovery and kind of timing of price recovery, we initially expected more of that growth CapEx to be skewed earlier in the year and now it looks like it's later in the year. But that is the largest driver and then we – and then we also have a little bit of growth CapEx in our other segments as well but it’s primarily related to the crude oil segment.
And one last thing, I would add to that Mike is that, when you look at it our team has done an excellent job on procurement. And so the capital projects that we have undertaken have actually come in under what we forecasted. And actually approved at the time of the project so we have seen a benefit and reduced construction costs through the downturn as well.
Okay. And then are you guys planning on doing anything in the NGL segment as far as cost cutting for the remainder of the year just on – just normal operating margin type.
Sure. It’s a great question, as we’ve mentioned on the last three calls now and we are always looking for ways to drive expenses out of the organization and reduce our cost structure. There are still some initiatives that are underway in the NGL segment. So we do see some things that we can capitalize on in the back half of the year. So again we would expect the cost structure to continue to improve there, but that’s really going to be more volume related and some of the margin pressure that you see within that segment currently that we’re combating. So we’ll continue to be keenly focused on that as well.
Great. Thank you.
Our next question comes from line of Lin Shen with HITE. Please proceed with your questions.
Hey, good morning, thanks for taking my question. I’m just wondering, I think your EBITDA guidance is reduced by about $5 million if you’re – is a midpoint. Are this reduce all related to the NGL segment or can you talk about little bit more detail about the guidance change by a different sectors?
Hi, Lin, good morning. Just at a high level and then I’ll let Pat going to the details but in a high level most of the reduced guidance or the revision is directly related to the NGL segment. And as we’ve highlighted it was really warm weather in Q1 and Q2. So our ability to make that back up in the back half of the year is challenged. And then we also have some concerns on volume and margin pressure in that segment and what that looks like in the back half of the year. So majority of the revision is in the NGL segment and then I’ll let Pat comment specifically beyond that.
Yes, Lin. I think the only thing I really add to that is that crude oil pipeline in storage segment was – was at the lower end of the guidance range in the first half of the year. So that had a slight impact on the revision as well, but as Patrick said it’s primarily related to NGLs.
Great. And also given the guidance change, should we think about any policy change for the GP support ongoing support.
I think, Lin, as we’ve commented on GP support, it’s a quarter-by-quarter analysis and discussion with our sponsor. But I think if you look back over the last three quarters they’ve been very committed to that strategy. And helping us pull the cost initiatives and other initiatives that we have underway forward. So again, we can’t comment on what will happen next quarter, but they’ve been very committed and very supportive and I would expect that to continue.
Great. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Matt Schmid with Stephens. Please proceed with your question.
Hi, good morning guys.
Good morning, Matt.
I guess just a quick one for me. On the NGL distribution sales segment, I mean – there’s a lot of seasonality in the business that could be a little bit tough, but probably what percentage of volumes in EBITDAs related to the oilfield services business?
I’m not sure. We have the exact percentage right here in front of us Matt. So we can certainly follow up with you on that, but it is the largest segment within our NGL segment.
Okay, okay. Well. Maybe I’ll follow up on that and that’s really all I had, most of mine have been answered. I appreciate all the color this morning.
Okay, great. Thank you, Matt.
Thank you. This concludes today’s question-and-answer session. I’d like to turn the floor back over to management for closing comments.
Great. We want to thank all of you for joining the call this morning for your continued support at JP Energy Partners. I would also like to thank all of the employees of JP Energy for their continued focused, dedication and efforts to make JP Energy, a safer, more efficient and more profitable company. And we want to thank everybody for their efforts. So thank you.
This concludes today's teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time and thank you for your participation.
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