ONEOK Partners Announces Fourth-quarter and Full-year 2015 Financial Results

- Fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA increased 8 percent compared with the fourth quarter 2014;

- Fourth-quarter 2015 net income of 58 cents per unit, before noncash impairment charges of 91 cents per unit, and a net loss of 33 cents per unit including the noncash charges;

- Fourth-quarter 2015 distribution coverage ratio of 1.03 times; maintains expectation to report coverage of 1.0 times or better for 2016;

- Partnership's fee-based earnings expected to increase to approximately 85 percent in 2016;

- Expects no public debt or equity needs until well into 2017;

- The natural gas gathering and processing segment's average fee rate increased to 55 cents in the fourth quarter 2015, compared with 36 cents in the fourth quarter 2014;

- 2015 NGL volumes gathered and fractionated increased 44 and 6 percent, respectively, compared with 2014;

- 2015 natural gas volumes gathered and processed increased approximately 12 and 10 percent, respectively, compared with 2014; and

- Results include noncash impairment charges totaling $264.3 million primarily related to investments in the coal-bed methane area of the Powder River Basin.

Feb 22, 2016, 16:20 ET from ONEOK Partners, L.P.

TULSA, Okla., Feb. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ONEOK Partners, L.P. (NYSE: OKS) today announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 financial results.

FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR 2015 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS



Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

ONEOK Partners

2015


2014


2015


2014


(Millions of dollars, except per unit and coverage ratio amounts)









Net income attributable to ONEOK Partners (a)

$

7.2



$

263.2



$

589.5



$

910.3


Net income (loss) per limited partner unit (a)

$

(0.33)



$

0.67



$

0.73



$

2.33


Adjusted EBITDA (b)

$

450.2



$

415.5



$

1,565.5



$

1,558.6


DCF (b)

$

339.8



$

306.0



$

1,136.7



$

1,169.5


Cash distribution coverage ratio (b)

1.03



1.06



0.86



1.10


(a) Amounts include noncash impairment charges of $264.3 million, or 91 cents per unit, in the fourth quarter 2015; and $76.4 million, or 31 cents per unit, in the third quarter 2014.

(b) Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA); distributable cash flow (DCF); and cash distribution coverage ratio are non-GAAP measures. Reconciliations to relevant GAAP measures are attached to this news release.

"ONEOK Partners' uniquely positioned assets continue to capture natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) volume growth across our integrated businesses, helping us to achieve higher adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter and full-year 2015," said Terry K. Spencer, president and chief executive officer of ONEOK Partners. "Our 2015 adjusted EBITDA slightly increased compared with 2014 and has increased 24 percent since 2013. We also were able to deliver distribution coverage of greater than 1.0 times in the fourth quarter 2015.

"Our natural gas liquids segment finished the year with NGL volumes gathered increasing 44 percent, compared with 2014, and our natural gas pipelines segment continues to deliver consistent fee-based earnings," continued Spencer. "The natural gas gathering and processing segment achieved its highest volumes ever in the fourth quarter, led by our position in the Williston Basin, and realized significant success related to contract restructuring in the region. Our average fourth-quarter fee rate in the segment increased more than 50 percent compared with the fourth quarter 2014.

"Lower commodity prices have created challenges and we have responded by reducing risk in our business and by driving cost savings and capital-spending reductions across our operations," added Spencer. "Reduced costs from service providers due to market conditions in 2015 also contributed to decreased operating costs and maintenance capital expenditures for the year.

"Contract restructuring in the Williston Basin and strategic capital-growth projects in our fee-based natural gas pipelines segment are prime examples of how we're working to reduce commodity risk in our business," said Spencer.

"We expect to achieve our 2016 financial guidance expectations," added Spencer. "The partnership's proactive approach to securing financial liquidity, reducing capital expenditures and increasing fee-based earnings, and continued volume growth from completed growth projects and acquisitions have positioned us well for 2016."

FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR 2015 FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

Fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 results were impacted positively by higher NGL volumes gathered and fractionated and higher natural gas volumes gathered and processed, compared with 2014 results, as well as increased fee-based earnings in the natural gas gathering and processing segment from successful contract restructuring efforts.

Unplanned outages related to ice storms in the Mid-Continent resulted in an approximately $4 million negative impact in the fourth quarter 2015 and sustained low commodity prices continued to impact the partnership throughout the year.


Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

ONEOK Partners

2015


2014


2015


2014


(Millions of dollars)









Operating income

$

241.9



$

300.9



$

998.1



$

1,148.8


Operating costs

$

185.3



$

188.0



$

692.2



$

669.7


Depreciation and amortization

$

92.6



$

79.2



352.2



$

291.2


Impairment of long-lived assets

$

(83.7)





$

(83.7)




Equity in net earnings from investments

$

32.1



$

34.3



125.3



$

117.4


Impairment of equity investments

$

(180.6)





$

(180.6)



$

(76.4)


Capital expenditures

$

257.2



$

573.0



$

1,186.1



$

1,746.0


Fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 operating income reflect:

  • Higher NGL fee-based exchange-services volumes primarily from eight new natural gas processing plants connected in 2015;
  • Increases in the partnership's NGL transportation business, primarily from the West Texas LPG pipeline system in the Permian Basin;
  • Higher natural gas volumes gathered and processed; and
  • Higher average fee rates from contract restructuring in the natural gas gathering and processing segment; partially offset by
  • Lower net realized NGL, natural gas and condensate prices; and
  • Noncash impairment charges primarily related to investments in the coal-bed methane area of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.

Operating costs decreased in the fourth quarter 2015, compared with the same period in 2014, due primarily to lower materials, supplies and outside services expenses related to weaker market conditions in 2015. Operating costs increased for the full-year 2015 compared with 2014 due primarily to completed capital-growth projects and acquisitions in the partnership's natural gas gathering and processing and natural gas liquids segments.

Depreciation and amortization increased in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015, compared with 2014, due to the growth of operations related to completed capital-growth projects and acquisitions.

Equity in net earnings from investments increased for the full-year 2015, compared with 2014, due primarily to higher NGL volumes delivered to the Overland Pass Pipeline from the Bakken NGL Pipeline in 2015.

EARNINGS PRESENTATION AND KEY STATISTICS:

Additional financial and operating information that will be discussed on the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 conference call is accessible on ONEOK Partners' website, www.oneokpartners.com, or by selecting the links below.

> View earnings presentation

> View earnings tables

ONEOK PARTNERS HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Maintaining the expectation to report distribution coverage of 1.0 times or better for 2016;
  • Maintaining 2016 adjusted EBITDA guidance of approximately $1.88 billion and DCF guidance of approximately $1.39 billion provided on Dec. 21, 2015;
  • Completing in November the 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) Lonesome Creek natural gas processing plant in the Williston Basin, which is expected to process approximately 100 MMcf/d by the first quarter 2016;
  • Completing three additional compressor stations in the Williston Basin, bringing the total for the year to six compressor stations, adding a total of 300 MMcf/d of compression capacity to the system;
  • Completing more than 820 new Williston Basin well connects in 2015, compared with original guidance of approximately 700;
  • Raising net proceeds of approximately $749 million in August through a private placement of 21.5 million common units to ONEOK and a registered direct offering of 3.3 million common units to funds managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. ONEOK also contributed approximately $15.3 million to maintain its 2 percent general partner interest;
  • Entering into a $1 billion three-year unsecured term loan agreement in January 2016, which enhances the partnership's liquidity position and is expected to eliminate the need to access public debt and equity markets until well into 2017;
  • Extending in January 2016 the term of the partnership's $2.4 billion credit agreement by one year, to January 2020, and having $1.8 billion of capacity available under the agreement as of Dec. 31, 2015; and
  • Declaring in January 2016 a fourth-quarter 2015 distribution of 79 cents per unit, or $3.16 per unit on an annualized basis.

BUSINESS-SEGMENT RESULTS:

Key financial and operating statistics are listed in the tables.

Natural Gas Liquids Segment

The natural gas liquids segment benefited from volume growth of NGLs gathered and fractionated during the fourth quarter and full-year 2015. NGLs transported on gathering lines increased more than 30 percent in the fourth quarter 2015 and nearly 44 percent for the full-year 2015, compared with the same periods in 2014, primarily due to increased Permian Basin volumes transported on the West Texas LPG pipeline system and increased volumes from eight new natural gas processing plants connected to ONEOK Partners' system in 2015, including the fourth-quarter completion of Lonesome Creek. NGLs fractionated increased approximately 8 and 6 percent in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 periods, respectively, compared with the same periods in 2014.


Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

Natural Gas Liquids Segment

2015


2014


2015


2014


(Millions of dollars)









Operating income

$

217.7



$

179.5



$

767.3



$

689.0


Operating costs

$

80.4



$

78.2



$

314.5



$

296.4


Depreciation and amortization

$

40.7



$

34.3



$

158.7



$

124.1


Impairment of long-lived assets

$

(10.0)



$



$

(10.0)



$


Equity in net earnings from investments

$

11.1



$

13.7



$

38.7



$

27.3


The increase in fourth-quarter 2015 operating income, compared with the fourth quarter 2014, primarily reflects:

  • A $63.1 million increase in fee-based exchange-services, resulting primarily from increased volumes from recently connected natural gas processing plants in the Williston Basin, Powder River Basin and Mid-Continent region, decreased ethane rejection in the Rocky Mountain region and the impact of minimum volume obligations;
  • A $14.7 million increase in the partnership's transportation business, primarily from the West Texas LPG pipeline system in the Permian Basin; offset partially by
  • A $21.5 million decrease primarily from narrower NGL location and product price differentials and decreased marketing activities.

The increase in operating income for the full-year 2015, compared with 2014, primarily reflects:

  • A $191.0 million increase in fee-based exchange-services, resulting primarily from increased volumes from recently connected natural gas processing plants and higher revenues from customers with minimum volume obligations;
  • An $81.8 million increase in the segment's transportation business, primarily from higher volumes on the West Texas LPG pipeline system; and
  • A $23.8 million increase resulting from decreased ethane rejection in the Williston Basin, offset partially by higher ethane rejection in the Mid-Continent region; offset partially by
  • A $118.4 million decrease in optimization, marketing and differentials-based activities due primarily to narrower NGL location and product price differentials. A portion of the decrease relates to the increased demand for propane in the first quarter 2014; and
  • A $29.9 million decrease from lower isomerization volumes.

Operating costs increased in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 periods, compared with 2014, due primarily to a $29.2 million increase from the West Texas LPG pipeline system acquisition.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 periods, compared with the same periods in 2014, due to completed capital-growth projects and acquisitions.

Equity in net earnings from investments decreased slightly in the fourth-quarter 2015 compared with the fourth quarter 2014 due to the timing of minimum volume commitment payments on the Overland Pass Pipeline in 2014. Full-year 2015 equity in net earnings from investments increased, compared with 2014, due primarily to higher volumes delivered to the Overland Pass Pipeline from the Bakken NGL Pipeline.

Natural Gas Pipelines Segment

The natural gas pipelines segment maintains primarily fee-based operations, with continued growth in the Permian Basin as the partnership continues construction of the Roadrunner Gas Transmission Pipeline joint venture and the WesTex Transmission Pipeline expansion. The first phase of the Roadrunner Gas Transmission Pipeline is expected to be complete in the first quarter 2016 and is fully subscribed under 25-year firm fee-based (take-or-pay) commitments.

The segment expects its earnings to remain more than 95 percent fee-based in 2016, with approximately 92 percent of its transportation capacity and 76 percent of its natural gas storage capacity expected to be contracted for the year.

Variances in financial performance between 2015 results and 2014 results were primarily a reflection of significantly higher weather-related seasonal demand resulting in higher natural gas prices during the first quarter 2014.


Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

Natural Gas Pipelines Segment

2015


2014


2015


2014


(Millions of dollars)









Operating income

$

46.1



$

52.3



$

153.0



$

181.0


Operating costs

$

26.7



$

28.2



$

105.7



$

111.0


Depreciation and amortization

$

11.0



$

10.7



$

43.5



$

43.3


Equity in net earnings from investments

$

16.6



$

16.1



$

68.7



$

69.8


Fourth-quarter 2015 operating income decreased, compared with the fourth quarter 2014, which primarily reflects:

  • A $10.4 million decrease due primarily to lower short-term natural gas storage services; offset partially by
  • A $2.7 million increase from higher transportation revenues primarily due to increased firm transportation.

The decrease in operating income for the full-year 2015, compared with 2014, primarily reflects:

  • A $24.3 million decrease from lower short-term natural gas storage services, due primarily to increased weather-related seasonal demand associated with severely cold weather in the first quarter 2014;
  • A $10.0 million decrease from lower net retained fuel due to lower natural gas prices and lower natural gas volumes retained; and
  • A $5.0 million decrease from lower park-and-loan services on the segment's interstate pipelines as a result of weather-related seasonal demand due to severely cold weather in the first quarter 2014; offset partially by
  • An $8.6 million increase due to higher transportation revenues, primarily from increased rates on intrastate pipelines and higher rates on Viking Gas Transmission, offset partially by decreased interruptible transportation revenues from lower natural gas volumes transported.

Operating costs decreased for the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 periods, compared with 2014, primarily as a result of lower costs for materials, supplies and outside services.

Natural Gas Gathering and Processing Segment

Completed capital-growth projects in the Williston Basin continue to drive volume growth in the natural gas gathering and processing segment. Full-year 2015 natural gas volumes gathered increased nearly 12 percent, and natural gas volumes processed increased approximately 10 percent, compared with 2014. Fourth-quarter natural gas volumes gathered and processed increased approximately 8 and 4 percent, respectively, compared with the fourth quarter 2014.

Due to successful contract restructuring efforts, the segment's fourth-quarter 2015 average fee rate increased to 55 cents, a more than 50 percent increase compared with the same period in 2014. Additionally, nearly 80 percent of the operating income impact realized in the fourth quarter from lower commodity prices was offset by higher average fee rates.


Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

Natural Gas Gathering and Processing Segment

2015


2014


2015


2014


(Millions of dollars)









Operating income

$

(21.7)



$

71.7



$

78.2



$

280.6


Operating costs

$

78.5



$

69.2



$

272.4



$

257.7


Depreciation and amortization

$

41.0



$

34.2



$

150.0



$

123.8


Impairment of long-lived assets

$

(73.7)



$



$

(73.7)



$


Equity in net earnings from investments

$

4.4



$

4.4



$

17.9



$

20.3


Impairment of equity investments

$

(180.6)



$



$

(180.6)



$

(76.4)


Fourth-quarter 2015 operating income decreased, compared with the fourth quarter 2014, which primarily reflects:

  • A $73.7 million decrease due to noncash impairment charges primarily related to assets in the dry natural gas area of the Powder River Basin;
  • A $56.4 million decrease due primarily to lower net realized NGL, natural gas and condensate prices; and
  • A $5.8 million decrease due primarily to decreased ethane rejection in the Williston Basin to maintain downstream NGL product specifications; offset partially by
  • A $43.7 million increase due primarily to contract restructuring resulting in higher average fee rates and a lower percentage of proceeds retained from the sale of commodities under percent of proceeds (POP) with fee contracts; and
  • A $12.3 million increase due primarily to natural gas volume growth in the Williston Basin, offset partially by decreased natural gas volumes in the Cana-Woodford Shale.

Operating income for the full-year 2015 decreased, compared with 2014, which primarily reflects:

  • A $209.7 million decrease due primarily to lower net realized NGL, natural gas and condensate prices;
  • A $73.7 million decrease due to a noncash impairment charges related primarily to assets in the dry natural gas area of the Powder River Basin; and
  • A $10.4 million decrease due primarily to decreased ethane rejection to maintain downstream NGL product specifications; offset partially by
  • A $91.6 million increase due primarily to contract restructuring resulting in higher average fee rates and a lower percentage of proceeds retained from the sale of commodities under POP with fee contracts; and
  • A $38.1 million increase due primarily to natural gas volume growth in the Williston Basin, offset partially by unplanned operational outages in the Williston Basin and decreased natural gas volumes in the Cana-Woodford Shale.

Operating costs and depreciation and amortization expense increased in the fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 periods, compared with the same periods in 2014, due primarily to completed capital-growth projects.

Equity in net earnings from investments decreased in 2015, compared with 2014, due to a $180.6 million noncash impairment charge in the fourth quarter 2015 related to ONEOK Partners' equity investments primarily in the dry natural gas area of the Powder River Basin. In 2014, the segment recorded a $76.4 million noncash impairment charge related to an investment in the same area.

The following table contains equity-volume information for the periods indicated:


Three Months Ended


Years Ended


December 31,


December 31,

Equity-Volume Information (a)

2015


2014


2015


2014









NGL sales (MBbl/d)

20.5



16.2



20.9



16.5


Condensate sales (MBbl/d)

2.4



3.2



2.8



3.1


Residue natural gas sales (BBtu/d)

120.3



143.9



136.2



118.2


(a) - Includes volumes for consolidated entities only.








Although the partnership's business is predominately fee based, the natural gas gathering and processing segment is exposed to commodity price risk as a result of percent-of-proceeds (POP) with fee contracts, where the segment receives commodities, or equity volumes, as a portion of its compensation for services. In 2015, the partnership restructured a portion of its POP with fee contracts to include significantly higher fees, which it expects will reduce equity volumes and the related commodity price exposure.

The partnership executes hedges to reduce its commodity price risk. NGLs hedged reflect propane, normal butane, iso-butane and natural gasoline only. The ethane component of the natural gas gathering and processing segment's equity NGL volume is not expected to significantly impact the results of operations.

The following tables set forth hedging information for the natural gas gathering and processing segment's forecasted equity volumes for the periods indicated:


Year Ending December 31, 2016


Volumes
Hedged


Average Price


Percentage
Hedged

NGLs - excluding ethane (MBbl/d) - Conway/Mont Belvieu

7.9


$

0.48

/ gallon


80%

Condensate (MBbl/d) - WTI-NYMEX

1.7


$

59.24

/ Bbl


57%

Natural gas (BBtu/d) - NYMEX and basis

74.1


$

2.96

/ MMBtu


83%



Year Ending December 31, 2017


Volumes
Hedged


Average Price


Percentage
Hedged

NGLs - excluding ethane (MBbl/d) - Conway/Mont Belvieu

1.0


$

0.40

/ gallon


9%

Condensate (MBbl/d) - WTI-NYMEX

1.5


$

43.65

/ Bbl


49%

Natural gas (BBtu/d) - NYMEX and basis

50.6


$

2.62

/ MMBtu


48%

All of the natural gas gathering and processing segment's commodity price sensitivities are estimated as a hypothetical change in the price of natural gas, NGLs and crude oil as of Dec. 31, 2015, excluding the effects of hedging and assuming normal operating conditions. Condensate sales are based on the price of crude oil.

The natural gas gathering and processing segment estimates the following sensitivities, including the effects of hedging and assuming normal operating conditions, for the year ending Dec. 31, 2016:

  • a $1.00-per-barrel change in the price of crude oil would change 12-month operating income by approximately $0.7 million;
  • a 1-cent-per-gallon change in the composite price of NGLs would change 12-month operating income by approximately $0.6 million; and
  • a 10-cent-per-MMBtu change in the price of residue natural gas would change 12-month operating income by approximately $0.5 million.

These estimates do not include any effects on demand for ONEOK Partners' services or natural gas processing plant operations that might be caused by, or arise in conjunction with, price changes. For example, a change in the gross processing spread may cause a change in the amount of ethane extracted from the natural gas stream affecting natural gas gathering and processing earnings for certain contracts.

EARNINGS CONFERENCE CALL AND WEBCAST:

ONEOK Partners and ONEOK executive management will conduct a joint conference call at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (10 a.m. Central Standard Time) on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. The call also will be carried live on ONEOK Partners' and ONEOK's websites.

To participate in the telephone conference call, dial 888-503-8169, pass-code 7469339, or log on to www.oneokpartners.com or www.oneok.com.

If you are unable to participate in the conference call or the webcast, the replay will be available on ONEOK Partners' website, www.oneokpartners.com, and ONEOK's website, www.oneok.com, for 30 days.  A recording will be available by phone for seven days.  The playback call may be accessed at 888-203-1112, pass-code 7469339.

LINKS TO EARNINGS TABLES AND PRESENTATION:

Tables:
http://www.oneokpartners.com/~/media/ONEOKPartners/EarningsTables/2015/OKS_Q4_2015_earnings_9JKSP41.ashx

Presentation:
http://www.oneokpartners.com/~/media/ONEOKPartners/EarningsTables/2015/OKS_Q4_2015_EarningsPresentation_KD93d73.ashx

NON-GAAP (GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES) FINANCIAL MEASURES:

ONEOK Partners has disclosed in this news release adjusted EBITDA, DCF, distributable cash flow to limited partners per limited partner unit and cash distribution coverage ratio, which are non-GAAP financial metrics, used to measure the partnership's financial performance and are defined as follows:

  • Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income adjusted for interest expense, depreciation and amortization, impairment charges, income taxes and allowance for equity funds used during construction and certain other noncash items;
  • DCF is defined as adjusted EBITDA, computed as described above, less interest expense, maintenance capital expenditures and equity earnings from investments, excluding noncash impairment charges, adjusted for cash distributions received and certain other items;
  • Distributable cash flow to limited partners per limited partner unit is computed as DCF less distributions declared to the general partner in the period, divided by the weighted-average number of units outstanding in the period; and
  • Cash distribution coverage ratio is defined as distributable cash flow to limited partners per limited partner unit divided by the distribution declared per limited partner unit for the period.

The partnership believes the non-GAAP financial measures described above are useful to investors because they are used by many companies in its industry to measure financial performance and are commonly employed by financial analysts and others to evaluate the financial performance of the partnership and to compare the financial performance of the partnership with the performance of other publicly traded partnerships within its industry.

Adjusted EBITDA, DCF, distributable cash flow to limited partners and cash distribution coverage ratio per limited partner unit should not be considered alternatives to net income, earnings per unit or any other measure of financial performance presented in accordance with GAAP.

These non-GAAP financial measures exclude some, but not all, items that affect net income. Additionally, these calculations may not be comparable with similarly titled measures of other companies. Furthermore, these non-GAAP measures should not be viewed as indicative of the actual amount of cash that is available for distributions or that is planned to be distributed in a given period, nor do they equate to available cash as defined in the partnership agreement.

ONEOK Partners, L.P. (pronounced ONE-OAK) (NYSE: OKS) is one of the largest publicly traded master limited partnerships in the United States and owns one of the nation's premier natural gas liquids (NGL) systems, connecting NGL supply in the Mid-Continent, Permian and Rocky Mountain regions with key market centers and is a leader in the gathering, processing, storage and transportation of natural gas in the U.S. Its general partner is a wholly owned subsidiary of ONEOK, Inc. (NYSE: OKE), a pure-play publicly traded general partner, which owns 41.2 percent of the overall partnership interest, as of Dec. 31, 2015.

For more information, visit the website at www.oneokpartners.com.

For the latest news about ONEOK Partners, follow us on Twitter @ONEOKPartners.

Some of the statements contained and incorporated in this news release are forward-looking statements as defined under federal securities laws.  The forward-looking statements relate to our anticipated financial performance (including projected operating income, net income, capital expenditures, cash flow and projected levels of distributions, and coverage ratio), liquidity, management's plans and objectives for our future growth projects and other future operations (including plans to construct additional natural gas and natural gas liquids pipelines and processing facilities and related cost estimates), our business prospects, the outcome of regulatory and legal proceedings, market conditions and other matters.  We make these forward-looking statements in reliance on the safe harbor protections provided under federal securities legislation and other applicable laws.  The following discussion is intended to identify important factors that could cause future outcomes to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements include the items identified in the preceding paragraph, the information concerning possible or assumed future results of our operations and other statements contained or incorporated in this news release identified by words such as "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe," "should," "goal," "forecast," "guidance," "could," "may," "continue," "might," "potential," "scheduled" and other words and terms of similar meaning.

One should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.  Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by forward-looking statements.  Those factors may affect our operations, markets, products, services and prices.  In addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with the forward-looking statements, factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statement include, among others, the following:

  • the effects of weather and other natural phenomena, including climate change, on our operations, demand for our services and energy prices;
  • competition from other United States and foreign energy suppliers and transporters, as well as alternative forms of energy, including, but not limited to, solar power, wind power, geothermal energy and biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel;
  • the capital intensive nature of our businesses;
  • the profitability of assets or businesses acquired or constructed by us;
  • our ability to make cost-saving changes in operations;
  • risks of marketing, trading and hedging activities, including the risks of changes in energy prices or the financial condition of our counterparties;
  • the uncertainty of estimates, including accruals and costs of environmental remediation;
  • the timing and extent of changes in energy commodity prices;
  • the effects of changes in governmental policies and regulatory actions, including changes with respect to income and other taxes, pipeline safety, environmental compliance, climate change initiatives and authorized rates of recovery of natural gas and natural gas transportation costs;
  • the impact on drilling and production by factors beyond our control, including the demand for natural gas and crude oil; producers' desire and ability to obtain necessary permits; reserve performance; and capacity constraints on the pipelines that transport crude oil, natural gas and NGLs from producing areas and our facilities;
  • difficulties or delays experienced by trucks, railroads or pipelines in delivering products to or from our terminals or pipelines;
  • changes in demand for the use of natural gas, NGLs and crude oil because of market conditions caused by concerns about climate change;
  • conflicts of interest between us, our general partner, ONEOK Partners GP, and related parties of ONEOK Partners GP;
  • the impact of unforeseen changes in interest rates, equity markets, inflation rates, economic recession and other external factors over which we have no control;
  • our indebtedness could make us vulnerable to general adverse economic and industry conditions, limit our ability to borrow additional funds and/or place us at competitive disadvantages compared with our competitors that have less debt or have other adverse consequences;
  • actions by rating agencies concerning the credit ratings of us or the parent of our general partner;
  • the results of administrative proceedings and litigation, regulatory actions, rule changes and receipt of expected clearances involving any local, state or federal regulatory body, including the FERC, the National Transportation Safety Board, the PHMSA, the EPA and CFTC;
  • our ability to access capital at competitive rates or on terms acceptable to us;
  • risks associated with adequate supply to our gathering, processing, fractionation and pipeline facilities, including production declines that outpace new drilling or extended periods of ethane rejection;
  • the risk that material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting could emerge or that minor problems could become significant;
  • the impact and outcome of pending and future litigation;
  • the ability to market pipeline capacity on favorable terms, including the effects of:
    • future demand for and prices of natural gas, NGLs and crude oil;
    • competitive conditions in the overall energy market;
    • availability of supplies of Canadian and United States natural gas and crude oil; and
    • availability of additional storage capacity;
  • performance of contractual obligations by our customers, service providers, contractors and shippers;
  • the timely receipt of approval by applicable governmental entities for construction and operation of our pipeline and other projects and required regulatory clearances;
  • our ability to acquire all necessary permits, consents or other approvals in a timely manner, to promptly obtain all necessary materials and supplies required for construction, and to construct gathering, processing, storage, fractionation and transportation facilities without labor or contractor problems;
  • the mechanical integrity of facilities operated;
  • demand for our services in the proximity of our facilities;
  • our ability to control operating costs;
  • acts of nature, sabotage, terrorism or other similar acts that cause damage to our facilities or our suppliers' or shippers' facilities;
  • economic climate and growth in the geographic areas in which we do business;
  • the risk of a prolonged slowdown in growth or decline in the United States or international economies, including liquidity risks in United States or foreign credit markets;
  • the impact of recently issued and future accounting updates and other changes in accounting policies;
  • the possibility of future terrorist attacks or the possibility or occurrence of an outbreak of, or changes in, hostilities or changes in the political conditions in the Middle East and elsewhere;
  • the risk of increased costs for insurance premiums, security or other items as a consequence of terrorist attacks;
  • risks associated with pending or possible acquisitions and dispositions, including our ability to finance or integrate any such acquisitions and any regulatory delay or conditions imposed by regulatory bodies in connection with any such acquisitions and dispositions;
  • the impact of uncontracted capacity in our assets being greater or less than expected;
  • the ability to recover operating costs and amounts equivalent to income taxes, costs of property, plant and equipment and regulatory assets in our state and FERC-regulated rates;
  • the composition and quality of the natural gas and NGLs we gather and process in our plants and transport on our pipelines;
  • the efficiency of our plants in processing natural gas and extracting and fractionating NGLs;
  • the impact of potential impairment charges;
  • the risk inherent in the use of information systems in our respective businesses, implementation of new software and hardware, and the impact on the timeliness of information for financial reporting;
  • our ability to control construction costs and completion schedules of our pipelines and other projects; and
  • the risk factors listed in the reports we have filed and may file with the SEC, which are incorporated by reference.

These factors are not necessarily all of the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Other factors could also have material adverse effects on our future results.  These and other risks are described in greater detail in Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, in our most recent Annual Report on form 10-K and in our other filings that we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov and our website at www.oneokpartners.com.  All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these factors.  Any such forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and, other than as required under securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or change in circumstances, expectations or otherwise.

Analyst Contact:

T.D. Eureste

918-588-7167

Media Contact:

Brad Borror

918-588-7582

 

SOURCE ONEOK Partners, L.P.



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