Spectra Energy Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Spectra Energy (SE)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 02, 2012 9:00 am ET

Executives

John R. Arensdorf - Chief Communications Officer

Gregory L. Ebel - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

John Patrick Reddy - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Craig Shere - Tuohy Brothers Investment Research, Inc.

Christopher P. Sighinolfi - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

S. Ross Payne - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Nathan Judge - Atlantic Equities LLP

Faisel Khan - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Dennis Coleman - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, my name is Krista and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Spectra Energy Quarterly Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. Mr. Arensdorf, you may begin your conference.

John R. Arensdorf

Thanks, Krista, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to Spectra Energy's Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Review. Thanks for joining us today. Leading today's discussion will be Greg Ebel, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Pat Reddy, our Chief Financial Officer. Both Greg and Pat will discuss our quarterly results and provide more color around our strategic plans to enhance the value Spectra Energy delivers to its shareholders. We'll then open the lines for questions.

But before we begin, let me take a moment to remind you that some of the things we will discuss today concerns future company performance and include forward looking statements within the meanings of the securities laws. Actual results may materially differ from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. You should refer to the additional information contained in Spectra Energy's Form 10-K and in our other SEC filings concerning factors that could cause these results to be different from those contemplated in today's discussion.

In addition, today's discussion include certain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Reg G. A reconciliation of those measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures is available on our Investor Relations website at spectraenergy.com.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Greg.

Gregory L. Ebel

Thanks, John and good morning, everybody. As you've seen from our earnings release, Spectra Energy delivered second quarter ongoing results of $215 million or $0.33 per share. Like many in the sector, we felt the effects of weak commodity prices which were much lower than our original assumptions. Our Field Services segment experienced the most significant impact. However, lower propane prices also adversely affected our Empress plants in Western Canada. It was definitely a tough quarter for commodity prices. NGL prices dropped almost 40% from 2011. NYMEX natural gas average almost 50% lower and prices were weakened by a lower demand caused by petchem outages, slower economic conditions, record warm winter weather and exceptionally dry summer affecting crop drying expectations.

Recently, we have seen an uptick in commodity prices off the low point about 6 weeks ago. But I think it's fair to say that it would take an extraordinary increase in NGL prices for the rest of the 2012 to be at the average level we projected at the begin of the year.

Pat will provide more details around our commodity price expectations in just a few minutes but given the current and near-term commodity price environment, it's very unlikely we'll realize our $1.90 earnings per share target for 2012.

Now that said, looking beyond the quarter to the longer-term, the NGL fundamentals remain very positive for our business. Crude oil remains expensive relative to NGLs, new demand sources on the petrochemical front are set to come into service mid-decade. The infrastructure bottlenecks that restrict our volumes and Conway pricing relative to Mont Belvieu should dissipate over the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, propane should benefit from new export facilities starting late this year and early next. And we'll then have to assume that the abnormally warm winters and dry summers we've experienced are just that abnormal. All of these supports the long-term growth of the NGL business in North America and as a large producer of NGLs in the U.S., bodes very well for Spectra Energy's NGL business. Importantly, our fee-based businesses continue to perform in line with our expectations, and our expansion opportunities remains strong and growing.

And as we projected at the beginning of the year, we saw increased earnings from expansion projects at U.S. Transmission, Western Canada and Field Services during the second quarter. Our consistent fee-based earnings allowed us to deliver predictable steady dividend growth, regardless of the commodity cycles. And as we have indicated previously, we remain very confident in our ability to deliver at least an $0.08 increase in our annual dividend over the next several years.

In support of our growing dividend, we've had a solid roster of expansion projects, those are now in execution. They include about $4 billion in Spectra Energy-financed projects and more than $4 billion of DCP-financed expansion projects. We also have a robust pipeline of development projects providing additional opportunities to create ongoing shareholder value. All of these underlines our expectations of investing up to $20 billion through the end of the decade.

In the near term, our 2012 to '14 expansion projects are in execution and on track. And we're starting to see the benefits of projects going into service. I'll highlight a few of these. In Western Canada, we're in the homestretch to complete about $1.5 billion Horn River Montney investment program, a series of strategic expansion projects. The first phase of the Dawson processing plant is now in service, and construction of Phase 2 is underway and expected to be completed by early 2013. The T-North pipeline expansion project provides additional takeaway capacity from the Horn River and Montney areas, and is supported by long-term firm contracts with shippers. This project went into service in the second quarter. And our final project in this investment program is the Fort Nelson North plant, which we expect to go online late this year. Also on track to go on to service in late 2012 is our $200 million TEAM 2012 project, designed to move Marcellus supplies from South Western Pennsylvania to markets in the Northeast. The project's fully subscribed by Range Resources and Chesapeake Utilities. And the next phase of our team project is the TEAM 2014 project. We've reached binding agreements with 2 anchor shippers, Chevron and EQT, for the project's full capacity. And we submitted our FERC prefiling in July. We expect to begin construction in early 2014 for the targeted in-service date of late 2014.

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