Copano Energy's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Copano Energy, L.L.C. (CPNO)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 9, 2012 10:00 AM ET


Doug Lawing – EVP, General Counsel and Secretary

Bruce Northcutt – President and CEO

Carl Luna – SVP and CFO


TJ Schultz – RBC Capital Markets

Michael Blum – Wells Fargo

Helen Ryoo – Barclays Capital

Selman Akyol – Stifel Nicolaus

Becca Followill – US Capital Advisors



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Copano Energy’s Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. During today’s presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be opened for your questions and instructions will be given at that time. Today’s conference is being recorded, August 9, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Doug Lawing, General Counsel. Please go ahead.

Doug Lawing

Good morning and thank you for joining us today for Copano’s conference call to review financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2012. Before we begin, I have a few housekeeping items. If you’d like to be on our email distribution list to receive future news releases, please call our Investor Relations firm DRG&E, their number is 713-529-6600. A replay of the call will be available later this morning. Information on how to access the replay is provided in the news release.

Please note that information reported on this call speaks only as of today, August 9, 2012. Therefore, time sensitive information may no longer be accurate as of the date of any replay. Our discussion today will include forward-looking statements that are based on management’s belief as well as on certain assumptions based on its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future development. Actual results are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and may vary materially from the forward-looking statement including guidance discussed on today’s call.

These risks are discussed in our annual and quarterly reports filed with SEC. Please note, that on this call, we will use the terms gross margin, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA and total distributable cash flow. These are non-GAAP financial measures and we’ve provided reconciliations to comparable GAAP measures in our news release. In addition, a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to net income for our operating segments can be found in the Investor Relations page of our website under events.

With that, I’ll turn the call over to Bruce Northcutt, our President and CEO.

Bruce Northcutt

Thank you, Doug, and good morning to everyone on the call. I’d like to begin this morning with a high level review of the second quarter followed by an update on our Eagle Ford Shale strategy, including the expansion projects that are currently underway. I’ll then turn it over to Carl to review our financial results for the quarter and to discuss the 2013 guidance included in our earnings release. Following Carl’s comment, I’ll introduce two new executives who joined Copano this past month and we’ll take your questions at the end.

In the second quarter, total distributable cash flow increased $6.2 million or 19% from the first quarter of 2012 to $39.5 million. This increase is primarily due to Texas segment gross margin improving by $3.8 million, driven by better performance at our Houston Central complex. With the modifications we completed in mid-April, the new cryo (inaudible) has been exceeding our original performance expectations, and for the quarter, our overall actual recovery rates at Houston Central including our lean oil plants were better than contractual rates.

In addition to better overall performance at Houston Central, total volumes from the Eagle Ford Shale increased 62,000 MMBtu per day or 14% from the first quarter of 2012. Increased rich gas volumes and the cryogenic modifications completed at Houston Central in April increased NGL production by over 12,400 barrels per day or 56% from the first quarter.

We continue to make good progress on our Eagle Ford Shale strategy and our current slated expansion projects are a key driver in the growth reflected in our 2013 guidance numbers. As I’ve said before, given the Eagle Ford’s reservoir size, gas quality and proximity to both natural gas and NGL market, we believe it is one of the best shale plays in the U.S. Due to the Eagle Ford’s reservoir characteristics and strong producer economics, we have continued to see little impact on rig count in the play even in the current pricing environment.

As an early mover, in the Eagle Ford, we have established a strong presence. Projects we’ve already placed in service as well as those in progress are supported by long-term contracts with some of the largest producers in the play. These contracts have greatly reduced our sensitivity to commodity price fluctuations by increasing our fee-based contract mix. Producer demand for additional Midstream services in the Eagle Ford remains strong and we continue to evaluate additional capital projects. While we worked hard to reduce our sensitivity to commodity prices, they remain in our overall company performance.

During the second quarter liquids prices fell significantly from first quarter averages with the largest decline in ethane and propane. Warmer than normal temperature this past winter led to higher than normal propane storage levels. As a result, propane has been competing directly with ethane as a cracker feedstock. In addition, ethane storage levels and prices were impacted by downtime at multiple crackers and fractionation facilities during the second quarter and early third quarters of 2012.

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