Both have caused increased competition in certain pipeline markets and resulted in lower basis spreads in many locations. In addition, these new supply sources have narrowed seasonal gas price differentials, thus, impacting natural gas towards spreads and have also dramatically reduced the overall price of gas to levels not seen in years.
Although gas price spreads between time periods have improved short-term and have positively impacted park and lending this year, they narrowed when looking at the future price curves.
Revenues from contract renewals can also be impacted by these current market conditions. In the near term, we have, on average, approximately $100 million of contract renewals each year, which represents less than 10% of annual historic revenues. Our current weighted average contract life for transportation contracts is about 6 years, and approximately 96% of annual revenues in 2011 were derived from firm contracts.
We have historically done a good job of recontracting our firm capacity at reasonable rates and terms. However, the fact remains that revenues from contract renewals can't be impacted by these market conditions. Most of the contract negotiations for 2012 are complete. And on average, across all contracts, things came in relatively flat to 2011.However, when considering the factors discussed above, uncertainty for future contract renewals remains. There are a number of factors when considering -- that we consider before recommending to our Board of Directors that a distribution be declared. These factors include, among other things: an assessment of the earnings from our existing business and growth projects; our current and expected market, economic and regulatory environment; future financing requirements for new projects; and our financial position. Simply stated, under current market conditions, we do not believe it is prudent to increase the distribution this quarter. Our focus is to strengthen our financial position and complete our announced growth projects on time and on budget, while allowing time for the market fundamentals to improve. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com