Copano Energy’s Margins Grow With Eagle Ford Volumes

Copano Energy’s margins are growing as the company expands its footprint in the Eagle Ford Shale. Higher NGL prices along with increased throughput are the primary drivers for the increase.

Copano Energy is one of the most active midstream companies in the Eagle Ford Shale. The company operates assets and owns a 50% interest in an Eagle Ford Gathering Joint Venture with Kinder Morgan. In total, the company has plans to invest more than $500 million in more than 1 Bcf/d of pipeline and processing capacity. 

“We are making significant progress on our Eagle Ford Shale strategy as we complete and integrate the bulk of our 2011 projects, several of which have begun accepting volumes on a limited basis.

“We continue to see strong producer activity in the Eagle Ford Shale and when these projects are placed into full-service, they will have an immediate and positive impact on our distributable cash flow and distribution coverage,” Northcutt added.

The year-over-year increase resulted primarily from (i) a 9% increase in realized margins on service throughput compared to the third quarter of 2010 ($0.63 per MMBtu in 2011 compared to $0.58 per MMBtu in 2010) reflecting higher NGL prices and (ii) an increase in pipeline throughput associated with fee-based contracts in the Eagle Ford Shale and the north Barnett Shale Combo plays. During the third quarter of 2011, throughput volumes for the Eagle Ford Shale and the north Barnett Shale Combo plays increased 25% and 41%, respectively, from the second quarter of 2011. During the third quarter of 2011, weighted-average NGL prices on the Mont Belvieu index, based on Copano’s product mix for the period, were $59.43 per barrel compared to $40.16 per barrel during the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 48%. During the third quarter of 2011, natural gas prices on the Houston Ship Channel index averaged $4.23 per MMBtu compared to $4.33 per MMBtu during the third quarter of 2010, a decrease of 2%.

During the third quarter of 2011, the Texas segment provided gathering, transportation and processing services for an average of 765,744 MMBtu/d of natural gas compared to 590,116 MMBtu/d for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 30%. The Texas segment gathered an average of 463,321 MMBtu/d of natural gas during the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 45% over last year’s third quarter, primarily due to increased volumes from the Eagle Ford Shale and north Barnett Shale Combo plays.

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Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth E. DuBose

Kenneth DuBose is the past President of Cheyenne Minerals Inc., an independent oil and gas operator. He began his energy industry career with ARCO Oil & Gas. Mr. DuBose then directed development of natural gas storage projects with Tejas Power Corp. He was a founding member of U.S. Minerals, (acquired by Torch Energy in 1999) a provider of internet based education for America’s mineral owners. Mr. DuBose holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from Mississippi State University. He has served on various industry steering committees, non-profit boards, and is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the National Association of Royalty Owners, the American Association of Professional Landmen, as well as being a Registered Investment Advisor. He writes on topics of oil and gas investing, wealth management and personal finance, having appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Houston Business Journal, Financial Advisor and various radio and TV outlets.

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