Kinder Morgan chairman denies skimping on maintenance

|About: Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI)|By:, SA News Editor

Kinder Morgan (KMI) was today's top gainer among energy stocks after billionaire CEO Richard Kinder held a conference call angrily defending his companies against criticism from 26-year-old analyst Kevin Kaiser, providing details of KMI's reported capital expenditures. (audio)

"What we did in reducing costs is not related to spending on the integrity of our pipelines," Kinder said to claims the company has cut maintenance work to boost cash distributed to investors in its partnerships.

He noted that a $222M variance between El Paso's (EPB) 2011 capex of $354M and its projected $132M in 2013 capex could be explained by the expensing of anomaly repairs and capex synergy among IT systems and mechanical equipment.

Kaiser isn't backing down: "I'm early, not wrong."

Today: KMI +4.4%, KMP +3.2%, KMR +2.9%, EPB +2.4%.