Why Environmentalists Should Lay Off the Pipeline Protests

David Fessler
by David Fessler, Energy & Infrastructure Strategist, The Oxford Club
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Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in our sister publication, Energy & Resources Digest. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already - it’s free.

Recently, I’ve gotten some feedback that has me a little puzzled. I’ve been accused of harboring a bias in my articles.

“Anti-Trump,” some have quipped.

“You should be married to Elon Musk,” another wrote.

Those responses came from articles I wrote about the demise of coal and the surge in popularity for electric vehicles and Tesla. Here are your answers: I generally avoid politics... and I’ve been happily married to my wife, Anne, for more than 27 years.

Full disclosure: On our farm, we get half of our electricity from the sun, and Anne drives a Tesla Model X. I’m an engineer, and yes, I think global warming is real.

But what I do here is write articles that I believe can make my readers money.

Right now, my paid subscribers are sitting on shares of two companies that have each chalked up triple-digit gains in less than a year.

Oh, and I’m the same “chump” who recommended Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) back in April 2013, when it was trading at $37.89 per share. Those subscribers are sitting on potential gains of nearly 900%.

No options tricks here. I’m talking about straight share appreciation.

What’s more, a half-dozen other stocks in my portfolio are poised to skyrocket. Some could easily see quadruple-digit gains in the next year or two.

Some of my favorite plays right now are in the oil and gas sectors. That’s because everybody else is running away from them.

I’ve always been a big fan of pipeline companies. Many, but not all, are organized as master limited partnerships, including TransCanada Corporation (NYSE: TRP).

Back in February 2015, I dissed Obama for dragging his feet on approving TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. (If you missed the article, you can click here to read it.)

Trump pledged on the campaign trail to get the Keystone pipeline project moving again. And soon after he took office, he invited TransCanada to reapply for the federal permits it needed.

Now the only thing standing in the way of TransCanada getting shovels in the ground is the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC). It has to approve TransCanada’s proposed route for the Keystone XL.

The NPSC will have public hearings in August. The commission will then rule on the proposal sometime in late 2017.

The proposed pipeline will carry 830,000 barrels of oil per day over 1,204 miles. The journey will start in Alberta, Canada, and end in Steele City, Nebraska.

There it will connect with the existing Keystone pipeline. The pipeline’s route weaves around several Native American reservations and crosses underneath 56 rivers and streams.

But one of the biggest fears is the potential for an undetected leak where the pipeline crosses the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers, where a spill would contaminate the region’s major source of drinking and farming water.

Opponents are also quick to point out the Keystone XL’s potential for pollution. However, they conveniently ignore the 2.4 million miles of pipeline already crisscrossing the country.

If these pipelines were significantly affecting our country’s ecosystem, citizens would be in an uproar.

But the truth is that much of our environmental pollutants come from a different pipe: the tailpipe at the back of most people’s cars.

If you want to get outraged about something, get outraged about that. Lobby to make auto manufacturers produce lower-polluting cars and trucks. Ban diesel fuel use entirely.

Whining about one more pipeline crossing America isn’t going to change much.

So leave TransCanada alone. It is one of the best pipeline companies in the business.

And please: Push your car around from now on. I’m getting tired of smelling the fumes.

Good investing,

Dave

P.S. Subscribers of my research service, Advanced Energy Strategistare sitting on triple-digit gains from two different companies in less than a year. Some could easily become quadruple-digit gainers before long.

There’s no time to waste. Click here to become a subscriber before these positions take off into the stratosphere.

Thoughts on this article? Leave a comment below.

Another Highly Profitable Energy Logistics Play

As Dave pointed out above, oil and gas pipelines aren’t nearly as environmentally destructive as cars and trucks are. They’re safer than just about any other energy transportation method. And they’re extremely profitable investments.

MPLX L.P. (NYSE: MPLX) is another example. The natural gas pipeline has brought gains of almost 17% to Advanced Energy Strategist subscribers since October.

Here’s Dave introducing the pick last fall...

Right now, the best pipeline operator in the business is MPLX L.P. MPLX operates and owns natural gas pipelines and processing plants.

MPLX is structured as an MLP. Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: MPC) formed it back in 2012.

In 2015, MarkWest Energy Partners and MPLX merged. At the time, MarkWest was the second-biggest processor of U.S. natural gas, and nearly all of its operations were in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

Now MPLX has two business units: Logistics and Storage, and Gathering and Processing. MPLX is getting most of its income from its Gathering and Processing segment.

Gathering and Processing is going to be huge for MPLX moving forward. And the Marcellus and Utica shales are driving this rampant growth.

By 2020, the two shales will be significant exporters of U.S. natural gas. And MPLX is building out its infrastructure to accommodate this.

MPLX expects to grow its processed and gathered volumes of natural gas by 15% and 20%, respectively, over 2015 volumes. It currently has 5.5 Bcf per day of processing capacity and 2.8 Bcf per day of gathering capacity.

The partnership recently began operation of its newly constructed pipeline in northeastern Ohio. The 50-mile Cornerstone Pipeline connects a tank farm in East Sparta with processing facilities in Harrison County.

Its customers range from small to large producers of natural gas. It has more than 150 customer contracts that are 10 to 15 years long.

These contracts have minimum volume protection, as well as inflation protection. Nearly every contract contains renewal provisions, too.

Immediately after the MPLX/MarkWest merger, units of the resulting MLP severely underperformed. But now distribution growth has returned, and I expect its growth to continue.

Throughout 2016, revenue moved higher. And adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for Q2, 2016, was up more than 400% compared to the same period a year before.

Distributable cash flow was up 360% over the same period. MPLX is committed to a double-digit growth in its distributions in 2017.

- Samuel Taube with David Fessler

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