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MPLX Q4, full-year 2016 results boosted by record processing volumes

MPLX LP reported $133 million, or 17 cents per limited partner unit, in net income attributable to the partnership for the fourth quarter of 2016, a surge from the year-ago period's $18 million, or a loss of 14 cents per unit.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus GAAP EPS estimate for the fourth quarter was 21 cents.

Adjusted EBITDA attributable to MPLX amounted to $391 million, up from $298 million in the same quarter a year ago. Distributable cash flow also increased to $318 million, from $227 million in the prior-year quarter.

Distribution coverage ratio for the fourth quarter came in at 1.25x, amounting to $258 million in total distribution declared, compared to 1.20x, representing $189 million in total distribution declared, in the year-ago period.

Fourth-quarter total growth CapEx totaled $326 million, compared to $161 million in the prior-year quarter.

For full year 2016, net income attributable to MPLX rose to $233 million, from $156 million in 2015. Adjusted EBITDA attributable to the partnership saw a significant year-over-year growth to $1.42 billion in 2016, from $498 million a year ago, thanks to its purchase of MarkWest Energy Partners LP.

DCF also soared to $1.14 billion in 2016, from $399 million a year ago. However, distribution coverage ratio in 2016 was lower at 1.23x, representing $938 million in total distribution declared, compared to 2015's at 1.27x, representing $315 million in total distribution declared.

Total growth CapEx for the full year amounted to $1.20 billion, compared to $271 million a year ago.

MPLX cited the contribution of its gathering and processing segment, which yielded strong volume growth as processed gas volumes amounted to more than 5.7 Bcf/d in 2016, or a 13% year-over-year increase, setting a new record for MPLX.

In addition, the partnership amended and extended its agreements with its major customer, Range Resources Corp., under which MPLX would build an additional processing facility at the Houston complex in Pennsylvania in early 2018 and commission a new processing facility at the Harmon Creek complex, also in Pennsylvania, in mid- to late 2018.

The projects would support Range's long-term development plan for its rich-gas acreage, and in combination with other organic growth plans, would boost MPLX's processing capacity by 1.2 Bcf/d and fractionation capacity by 140,000 barrels per day by the end of 2018.

The partnership increased its 2017 forecast for organic growth CapEx to between $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion, adding capital to support Range Resources' development in the Northeast. About $1.0 billion to $1.3 billion of the expected organic growth CapEx would be used to support producer customers in the gathering and processing segment.