For the second time this year Kinder Morgen has decided to abandon a major pipeline project.
The first, the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline Expansion project, that would have brought tar sands heavy crude from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia, was sold to the Canadian federal government when environmental opposition was deemed too strong to overcome. Kinder Morgan said it expected cash proceeds from the Trans Mountain sale would total US$900 million.
The second concerns the Utica Marcellus Pipeline, one conceived in 2015 to transport natural gas liquids from shale plays in Pennsylvania to the Gulf coast in Texas. As with Trans Mountain the outcry from environmentalists convinced Kinder Morgan that other projects would be a better investment. Now the company will start working on reversing the flow of the 19,200-km Tennessee Gas Pipeline and is looking for producer commitments for the route between Appalachia and the Gulf Coast.
Despite the changes in direction, Kinder Morgan exceeded analyst expectations with its third-quarter results, reporting a net profit of US$693 million and announcing a quarterly dividend of US$0.20 per share. The net result compares with US$334 million booked in the third quarter of 2017. Cash flow also improved, rising 4 percent from Q3 2017 to US$1.1 billion, Kinder Morgan said.
Kinder Morgan CEO Steven Kean said "it's a function of a lack of opportunity on the one hand, but thankfully the emergence of a very good opportunity on the other."