Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI) CEO Steve Kean Presents at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference (Transcript)

About: Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI)
by: SA Transcripts

Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE:KMI) Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference September 5, 2018 2:25 PM ET


Steve Kean - CEO


Christine Cho - Barclays

Steve Kean

[Call Starts Abruptly]… a number of businesses across North America, focused on North America energy midstream assets, large position in natural gas. You see up in the right, our overall segments, EBITDA budgeted for 2018 of $8.1 billion, 56% of that is in the Natural Gas Pipelines where we have the largest natural gas transmission, transportation as well as storage network in North America. And very much like this position, we are seeing a real growth in the natural gas business, something unlike in 30-plus years I have ever seen, which is 10% year-over-year growth in natural gas supply and demand, another big growth year expected in 2019. And that does a couple things. One is it creates the potential for projects and Christine alluded to two of them, two of our Permian pipeline projects, which I'll get to in a minute. And then also it fills up our existing infrastructure. So that helps improve our renewal rates, it helps improve utilization of existing previously unused capacity, et cetera. And so generally, a very good positive tailwind going on in natural gas right now. And we’re connected to all the main resource players, as well as the key markets, including the key export markets.

In Products Pipelines, we’re the largest independent transporter of petroleum products, about 2.1 million barrels a day. That’s 10,000 miles of pipe added to our gas position of 70,000 miles. Terminals, we’re the largest independent operator in North America. We’ve gradually migrated this business over to being primarily liquids-focused, primarily refined products focused, which gives us we think good margin opportunities and we’ve also built these assets up around primarily hub positions, where we get some opportunities for additional value-added services.

In CO2, we are the largest transporter of CO2 in North America and this is a business that’s been high returning for us. It’s been predictable in terms of production. We usually hit our production targets within about 1.5% of what we budgeted for. So a predictable business for us, good returns and we combine two important things here. One is, we’ve got access to a scarce resource that’s CO2 and there’s certain oil that can only be liberated by CO2. And then also we have a good EOR team, so a very good business for us.

So we think we’re a compelling investment thesis, $40 billion of market capitalization, investment grade rated debt, and I’ll get into our development there in just a moment, $7.5 billion of adjusted EBITDA. And we’ve outlined what our dividend growth is, we did that last year and showing $0.80 for this year, and then 25% dividend growth in each of the two following years, ‘19 and ‘20. And unusual in our sector, we also have a share buyback program, $2 billion of which we used about $500 million so far. And that’s over the same 2018 to 2020 time period and we’re delivering.

So over the last few years we've talked about focusing on de-levering the balance sheet, putting ourselves in position for credit upgrade and using our excess cash for de-levering, for investing in good opportunity projects and for good returning projects. And then if we have access returning that in the form of dividends which I just talked about but also share buybacks. We have with our announcement yesterday at KMI check that first box off. So we had as you may have seen in transaction that we announced earlier in the year to sell our Trans Mountain Pipeline project at KML, the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, the existing pipeline as well as the project for CAD$4.5 billion and we closed on that transaction, we had shareholders vote on Thursday, we closed on the transaction on Friday. And we announced yesterday what we were going to do with the proceeds. The proceeds go out to KML public shareholders and go out to KMI as the 70% shareholder on the same terms. It's going to be distributed as a return of capital that's a tax efficient way to distribute it to the shareholders and that will happen that we have -- because of a couple of technical points we have to go out for a proxy that -- the proxy is not on a shareholder vote. The shareholder vote is not on the use of proceeds. That decision has been made how they'll be distributed rather it's a on a reverse stock split as well as a reduction in stated capital which I can get into if anybody has questions on it.

When we go through that process, again the decision on how to distribute the proceeds and when is a management and Board decision and that decision has been made. We expected proceeds to be distributed in the first week of January of next year. Looking at it from a KMI standpoint, those proceeds will be used to de-lever. We announced yesterday a new target for our leverage where we have been at or below 5 times debt-to-EBITDA we announced the target of the mid-4s. And with this transaction, we'll be at 4.6. So we announced the new target and showed you how we were going to make it. This year we're making it. So we've gotten to a point where we should be eligible for an upgrade. We've done the work that we need to do on deleveraging the balance sheet. We may continue to de-lever further as we continue to fund the equity portion of our expansion projects, which we would expect to continue to do, particularly at our current equity values. And so we may gradually improve from there. But we don't need to do.

We are where we need to be and that allows us to turn our attention, not that we ever took our attention off of this of finding new projects, new opportunities to invest our capital and to the extent we exhaust those opportunities to find ways to return value to our shareholders. So that was a real milestone. It was years of work, we've reduced debt substantially over that period and we've taken leverage level from 5.6 times down to 4.6 times. So a significant progress there. And investing in high return projects return cash to shareholders, again we've described how we're going to do that from a dividend standpoint. We're having a great 2018. We're exceeding our leverage metrics target. We're doing well in all of our businesses. What we've set out to do, we've done. And we're turning a corner here with our announcement yesterday.

So we've continued to issue zero equity since 2015 and we expect to be able to do that for the foreseeable future. We've got a good dividend coverage ratio. We are -- we have a leverage target of around 4.5 times which we are meeting. And you see our debt maturities there and we have some debt maturing in February and debt maturing in December, and we'll use the proceeds from the Trans Mountain transaction to reduce that debt.

Overall, we've generated predictable fee-based cash flows and we’ve used our great footprint, our great network of assets which are fee-based and through fee-based structures as well as hedging of the commodity exposure that we have, 96% of our 2018 budgeted cash flow is completely independent of commodity prices. We’re a leader in each of the segments, as I showed you on the first page.

Critically important to us is being a safe operator as well as an efficient operator. We measure ourselves against industry benchmarks, and we perform consistently better on nearly all of those benchmarks 34 or 36, I believe is where we currently stand. And we do that while operating very efficiently. We treat the money as our investors’ money, not the management's money, that's the way we operate. We keep looking for ways to operate more efficiently and at lower cost.

We leverage the footprint for growth. We got about $6 billion of secured projects in the backlog. We continue to look to ways to add that. We've -- we think we're running at $2 billion to $3 billion per year of expansion capital projects, or maybe more, maybe less in any given year. But we think that's a reasonable run rate across our network. We continue to be very disciplined. I will show you some slides on the performance on the capital investments that we do make. We maintain financial flexibility, and we've been very aligned with you, with management and the Board owning a 15% ownership stake. We run the company like shareholders, because we are shareholders.

We're strongly positioned to benefit from natural gas. US production continues to grow, expected to grow over 40% over the next 10 years and from key basins which we are tied into. On the demand side, we've seen big growth from power. We're seeing growth in LNG and continue to see more. That's going to be the biggest growth area. Net exports to Mexico, of which we account for about two-thirds move across our pipeline systems. And then there's pet chem, industrial, other demand sources that we see. But the main point here is we're producing immense amount of natural gas, and we can grow it year-over-year and there is more of it to be produced. And what we're trying to do is find a way to get it from the places where it's produced and put it to the places where it needs to leave, either it’d be consumed or exported out of the country. And our network of assets is well positioned to participate in that as you see. We are attached to every major producing area with transmission assets, as well as some gathering and processing assets. And then we're well positioned for LNG exports to Mexico. Power demand, we're developing our own liquefaction facility at Elba Island, in Georgia. So very nicely positioned and levered to the overall natural gas story.

$6.3 billion of secured projects, of which about two-thirds as I mentioned, $4.2 billion is natural gas. Here you see a breakdown on it. It's the Elba liquefaction facility $1.2 billion, we expect to get that in service in the fourth quarter of this year, that’s the current projection. And then we'll continue to add units as we go through into 2019.

We provide a lot of expansions to support LNG exports so where we're not the developer of the liquefaction facility. We're providing the upstream infrastructure, midstream infrastructure, both transportation and storage to be able to serve those Permian takeaway projects which I'll have some more detail on.

In the Bakken, we're well positioned like our G&P position there and we’re expanding that position investing about $0.5 billion worth of capital in it. Marcellus, we have southbound projects that we’re at the tailwind of what was about a $2 billion set of projects to move gas from Marcellus and Utica down to the Gulf Coast. We have one more of those potentially to do that’s not in our backlog. And then I think you’ll see a step change in terms of the rate that’s required in order to be able to provide new export capacity. But our Tennessee system comes right through the Marcellus, it’s now reversed and flows south to Louisiana and we’re in a position to continue to provide outlets to the producers in that region.

We support power generation supply projects, various of those and then we’ve got $2.1 billion in other segments, of which about $1.4 billion is in EOR and then the rest is finishing out some projects in our liquids business segments. So, building out LNG, so there are a number of ways in which you can participate in LNG. You can be a developer, you can go out and develop projects and you can underwrite the liquefaction and go out and place those molecules in the global market or you can build and develop the facility and put that space all under capacity to someone who’s willing to take that risk and that opportunity and that’s what we did at Elba. So our participation there is we build, we own, we operate the facility and Shell takes the capacity and places the molecules in the international market. We’re not going to do the first one, we like doing the Elba model and that’s what we’re looking for as a potential on our Gulf LNG facility, which is currently a regas and is the last brownfield facility for potential development. But aside from all that, aside from direct participation in LNG, the really very low risk and high reward opportunity for us is in holding the upstream natural gas transportation and storage network that’s needed to serve third-party LNG facilities.

So what we’re doing is building the pipe, expanding the pipe and providing the storage service that LNG providers are going to need. And that’s easy for us. We know how to build pipelines. We know how to expand our pipeline network and it creates a very good opportunity for us. And so we’ve signed up about 4.5 Bcf of capacity and about $900 million worth of capital, very capital efficient way for us to participate in that market -- in that growing market.

Here’s our Elba facility. As I mentioned, expecting the first unit to come on in the fourth quarter. The -- we’re -- two projects here, it’s the liquefaction facility itself, which is about a $1.4 billion project, $745 million share and then the terminal facility which is $430 million, that’s a Kinder Morgan project. The in-service is again phased through the fourth quarter of this year through the third quarter of 2019 as these 10 modular units are placed into service. We have our certificate, of course we’re under construction well advanced in construction right now and closing in on completion of the first unit.

Permian production, so we have one announced FID’ed and in the backlog project today -- to-date, and that’s the Gulf Coast Express project and actually I’ll go to that first. So this is about a 450 mile pipe, starting in Waha and terminating in Agua Dulce, Texas where it interconnects with our Texas Intrastate system. So this will give Permian gas about 2 Bcf of Permian gas, the opportunity to access markets along the Texas coast, power, industrial and petchem but really importantly also markets in Mexico and access to the LNG facilities. We have this under -- fully under contract and project in October of 2019 in service. And really remarkable, I mean we barely had this thing FID’ed and we started working on another one. And that speaks to just the overall growth in Permian production and its need to find an outlet. And so as I'm sure all of you know, Permian gas is associated gas. In some cases it really has negative value. It needs to be move somewhere in order to untrap or unlock the oil that's there. And so there is a strong desire to get that gas out and get value for it. And so Permian is one of the lowest prices -- priced regions in North America, not the lowest but one of the lowest. And now the premium markets are in the Houston Ship Channel and in Southern Louisiana. And so we've got the pipe to get them from one place to the other and all within the State of Texas. So we don't have a -- we need an Army Corps of Engineers' permit, but we don't need the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit.

So a more rapid permitting environment, a more predictable construction environment, good value going to our producers, 2 Bcf of gas, hitting a 5 Bcf network today on our Texas Gulf Coast system which will create opportunities not only for our shippers but also create opportunities for us on that asset as we bring in incremental 2 Bcf of gas into our network.

So the next step would be the PHP pipeline project which we've made a couple of announcements about and said that we think we may have something to say here in the third quarter. And we've continued to make progress on that. We have good shipper commitments that have come in. We have some equity that's associated with those commitments coming in. But a great project that will bring an incremental 2 Bcf to our system. So a system that today runs at about 5 Bcf is going to see 4 Bcf coming into that network, which will create follow on opportunities for us and for our shippers. We connect them to the markets that's going to allow them to dispose off the natural gas that they're producing in association with the crude in West Texas. So we’re -- look, we're well along on this, we continue to make very good process. And as soon as we have it wrapped up, we'll announce it -- FID it and announce it.

Alright. So that's the Permian opportunity. Our liquids business. So we have -- I'll start with the lower right hand corner there. We participate in refined products export markets because we are -- we provide the dock space in the Houston Ship Channel, and you can see refined products exports have been increasing along our docks over the last several years, but we also have a large refined products pipeline business. This is not a fast growth business like natural gas is, but there is incremental growth that's happening every year and it's going to continue to grow marginally when you consider global consumption needs.

Our position in the Houston Ship Channel, again predominantly refined products position but connected by pipelines inbound and outbound. It's interconnected between and among our facilities by cross-channel pipelines. We have 12 barge docks, 11 ship docks. We're connected by train. We have a 9-bay truck rack. So this is an example of the kind of thing we're trying to build in our terminals business. A hub position in a critical market with lots of options for our customers, lots of options for us, lots of infrastructure that we're interconnected with, refineries, inbound and cross-country pipelines outbound as well as international export markets for the refined products. So we’ve built the premier clearing point for domestic and international markets, 43 million barrels of total capacity and a significant refined products position, really the dominant position in the Houston Ship Channel at this point.

Beyond the current backlog, there is continued need for energy infrastructure investment, $400 billion, more than $400 billion over the next 20 years in natural gas alone, looking at our opportunities what we're exposed to, particularly southbound capacity, additional southbound capacity to feed the Marcellus -- the growing Marcellus production, storage to support renewable power generation and LNG exports. Storage is going to be we believe -- although it's not showing up in storage spreads today, it's going to be increasingly valuable. As you look at the intermittent sources on which the power market is increasingly relying on in the form of renewable power, we believe the combination of our transportation assets and our storage assets allows us to sell really a different product to our market. And that product is deliverability. So in those markets like California, where the transition is to more and more renewable energy, they still need the reliable backup and they need if anything need more are peak deliverability than they did before, before they added all these renewables. So we think it's a good opportunity for us to continue to participate in renewable firming.

We also think there is going to be demand for storage that's associated with LNG export. So it's not going to be a real consistent necessarily everyday day-in and day-out movement of the commodity. And these are big numbers. And so from time-to-time, there's going to be a need for that storage, along with the normal need for seasonal storage, which is the bulk of US storage is geared toward that need, the difference between summer utilization and winter utilization. So we have a great storage position. We believe that should continue to see increased value over time.

Downstream conductivity for Permian volumes, we are working on that and I mentioned the two big projects but there is more to it than that. We have existing assets in the Permian Basin on EPNG also on NGPL which we own 50% of, and any bit of capacity that we can make available to Permian producers we sell. We've even sold capacity. We've been selling capacity at -- on good terms from Rockies assets which traditionally have served, there's been more Rockies export capacity than there has been production for a very long time. But now anything that gives people an opportunity to get out of the Permian is valuable and can be sold.

And so this speaks to something I think, again, it is important to us as we look at our base business even separating aside from projects and capital expansions and things like that that we might do in order to expand our network and our footprint, we benefit from the uplift that's associated with just seeing a 10% year-over-year increase in the amount of natural gas that's produced and used over the course of the year. Fills up existing capacity, makes renewal rates better. So participating and benefiting from it not only in terms of new projects but also in terms of what it does for our existing asset base.

The transportation for additional supply for LNG exports, again, that’s big and big for us. Haynesville 2.0, so a lot of activity returning to the Haynesville. We have some assets that are very well positioned there. And on gathering and processing, so we have a very nice position in the Bakken, our producer there is extremely successful and is developing additional production. We’re investing in that business.

Haynesville, we built out a fairly large network, had volumes come up and then go back down. Now they’re coming back up again and we can be very capital efficient in our investments there to meet the need for new production as it comes on. And we have a new owner of the acreage behind that asset that is interested in investing in it. Our Eagle Ford position in South Texas is -- Eagle Ford is more challenge basin. It’s recovering, but it’s recovering in the face of more export pipe than is currently needed. But it’s very much integrated into our natural gas network in Texas.

And then other assets like Copano, Oklahoma and some of our Rockies assets maybe not as core to our business, but good gathering and processing positions, particularly in the Haynesville, Eagle Ford and in the Bakken. So good opportunities for us to deploy additional capital, given everything that we’ve done over the last several years to improve our balance sheet to give people visibility on our dividends, to continue to find good projects to invest in. Notwithstanding all that, we continue to trade it at a discount to our peers. We think particularly by solving the issue on our overall leverage, putting ourselves in a position to be a BBB flat entity, finding good opportunities to continue to invest, resolving the uncertainty around the Trans Mountain situation in Canada in a favorable way to our shareholders at KML and KMI, we think, when you look at our trading relative to our peers that there’s room for upside there, and that’s what this chart is speaking to. If you look at the first two -- the top two rather, DCF yield and EBITDA multiple, those would imply 40% to 50% share price upside for KMI by themselves.

We’ve got a good dividend growth rate obviously and we have good dividend coverage, which we would expect to maintain. So going forward, we’re increasing the dividend. But we would expect for the very long-term to have a well-covered dividend, right? Have a well-covered dividend and a strong balance sheet and continue to find good projects to invest our capital in.

So we think of ourselves as a core holding in any portfolio, should be a core holding in any portfolio, diversified energy infrastructure, one of the 10 largest energy companies in the S&P 500, we’re core to the North American energy economy. And if you look at North American energy production, NGLs, natural gas, crude, refined products, it’s all growing, it's all growing right now. And all of it is growing in a place where it’s not necessarily being used and needs to be moved. And that’s where midstream infrastructure players like us come into play. Well positioned for growth with a $6.3 billion backlog, a good footprint to grow off of, good flexibility to be able to execute, have a healthy balance sheet, new EBITDA target, which we believe we have met and we’ve found good ways to deliver shareholder value.

We generate a lot of cash in this business, a lot of cash and our objective is to find the best ways to use that cash. As we put our balance sheet in a very healthy, strong position, we have the opportunity to continuing to invest in projects and then look for other ways to return value to shareholders. And then finally as I said, we're aligned with you, we're working for you.

So with that, I will take any questions you have. We have a separate breakout session in about 6 minutes too.

Question-and-Answer Session

Q - Christine Cho

Maybe I'll kick it off. For -- in the last couple of years, you’ve had to play defense. You had to de-lever and it kind of tights your hands in things like -- you could -- that you maybe would want to do. The DNA of Kinder in my opinion has been someone who's typically played offense; it’s been acquisitive in past years. Now that you're kind of at pretty much close to the targeted leverage, how should we think about are you guys still going to be playing defense or are you going to turn the corner and maybe be a little more playing offense. And what kind of opportunities would that entail?

Steve Kean

Sure, well first I would say, it sure felt like we were playing offense for the last 30 months. And I think it look a lot of active work and a lot of active management in order to be able to accomplish what we did on the balance sheet. I mean we high graded our backlog. We brought in partners where it made sense. We got promoted on those JVs to get us additional returns for our shareholders. We did some good divestiture transactions,, most recent one being last week. We did a lot of work to get ourselves in a position of strength. And so we never took the offense off the field. And during that time too, we didn't turn projects away. I mean we continued to look at projects and find good projects to do Gulf Coast Express the most recent example, hopefully Permian Highway the next example of that. We continue to find ways to do things. The place where we've historically played offense where we've been sidelined a little bit to your point Christine is that our relative trading multiple has not made our currency attractive in acquisitions. And we would like to be back in a position where we can do that. That's where about half of all the capital what we've deployed since the inception of the company has gone, has been in M&A. We've had hits and misses like everybody, but overall if you look at the track record we're good at it. We're able to take cost out, we're able to find synergies, commercial synergies, capital synergies and do things like position ourselves for what we're now seeing in natural gas which happened with the El Paso acquisition. And we saw this coming to some extent and we put ourselves in a position to do that. And yes, we like to be back in that position again. But we will not have an itchy trigger finger. I mean we are going to be disciplined, that's what's gotten us to this point to-date is we've been disciplined. And we will continue to be disciplined and we won't do something just to get a deal done that's marginally accretive or something. We're going to be looking for good opportunities. And we think that in time those good opportunities will be available and particularly as the value of our currency improves.

Christine Cho

Maybe also with the sale of Trans Mountain, your Canadian footprint has gotten a lot smaller and so has obviously your growth potential up there. How should we think about the remaining assets there? I mean do you think over longer term, it's something that you want to grow or is it something that maybe you want to potentially shrink?

Steve Kean

So our Canadian footprint will consist of the Cochin pipeline system and it also consists of our significant merchant terminal position in Edmonton. Those are attractive assets. We've been experiencing good renewal rates there. And a great bulk terminal facility in Vancouver Harbour which we are investing in now and we are growing. We just added another growth project to that. This is a business that we like and it's -- they're good midstream assets and we can certainly continue to invest in them and grow them, very low leverage on this entity. All of that to say, we don't have to do anything, except to continue to run and manage these assets. However, as we said, all alternatives will be considered. And if you look at some of the objective facts here, this is a small midstream company with attractive assets and with no debt on the balance sheet, alright? So about $200 million a year of EBITDA or so without any significant leverage, but the only leverage is the preferred shareholder interest which is -- gets 50% debt treatment for it.

So very low leverage, good set of midstream assets, continue to invest in, it can stay in that. But it is small, its original purpose was to take these assets and get the financing in place for TMX. That purpose no longer exists obviously.

It's a set of midstream assets and what we think is an attractive sellers’ market for those assets. There are plenty of midstream players including people with complementary positions to ours,, who we think will be interested. And we are going to explore that over the coming months. They're attractive to KMI. Now we have to work out the governance, make sure that that works out. But I would say that objectively, again, just talking about objective observations here, the multiple at which KMI trades and the multiple at which a set of midstream assets like these would trade, there is a dilutive effect there. And so whether KMI could make that number -- those numbers work, I think is very much an open question. But the fact that these are attractive assets in a good market for those assets, those are -- I think those are facts. And so over the coming months, we'll see how this particular process plays out, but we'll always be in a position of not having to say yes to anything. We can always say no, because the assets themselves will stand on their own.

Christine Cho

Great. So we are out of time for breakout. We will be in Liberty 3.