|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L.P.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Impairment Testing for Unconsolidated Affiliates
We evaluate our equity method investments for impairment to determine whether there are events or changes in circumstances that indicate there is a loss in value of the investment attributable to an other than temporary decline. Examples of such events or changes in circumstances include continuing operating losses of the entity and/or long-term negative changes in the entity’s industry. In the event we determine that the loss in value of an investment is an other than temporary decline, we record a non-cash impairment charge to equity earnings to adjust the carrying value of the investment to its estimated fair value. There were not any non-cash impairment charges related to our equity method investments during the years ended 2017, 2016 and 2015. See Note 6 for information regarding our equity method investments.
Inventories primarily consist of NGLs, petrochemicals, refined products, crude oil and natural gas volumes that are valued at the lower of cost or net realizable value. We capitalize, as a cost of inventory, shipping and handling charges (e.g., pipeline transportation and storage fees) and other related costs associated with purchased volumes. As volumes are sold and delivered out of inventory, the cost of these volumes (including freight-in charges that have been capitalized as part of inventory cost) are charged to operating costs and expenses. Shipping and handling fees associated with products we sell and deliver to customers are charged to operating costs and expenses as incurred. See Note 4 for additional information regarding our inventories.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment is recorded at cost. Expenditures for additions, improvements and other enhancements to property, plant and equipment are capitalized, and minor replacements, maintenance, and repairs that do not extend asset life or add value are charged to expense as incurred. When property, plant and equipment assets are retired or otherwise disposed of, the related cost and accumulated depreciation is removed from the accounts and any resulting gain or loss is included in results of operations for the respective period.
We capitalize interest costs incurred on funds used to construct property, plant and equipment while the asset is in its construction phase. The capitalized interest is recorded as part of the asset to which it relates and is amortized over the asset’s estimated useful life as a component of depreciation expense. When capitalized interest is recorded, it reduces interest expense from what it would be otherwise.
In general, depreciation is the systematic and rational allocation of an asset’s cost, less its residual value (if any), to the periods it benefits. The majority of our property, plant and equipment is depreciated using the straight-line method, which results in depreciation expense being incurred evenly over the life of an asset. Our estimate of depreciation expense incorporates management assumptions regarding the useful economic lives and residual values of our assets. With respect to midstream energy assets such as natural gas gathering systems that are reliant upon a specific natural resource basin for throughput volumes, the anticipated useful economic life of such assets may be limited by the estimated life of the associated natural resource basin from which the assets derive benefit. Our forecast of the remaining life for the applicable resource basins is based on several factors, including information published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Where appropriate, we use other depreciation methods (generally accelerated) for tax purposes.
Leasehold improvements are recorded as a component of property, plant and equipment. The cost of leasehold improvements is charged to earnings using the straight-line method over the shorter of (i) the remaining lease term or (ii) the estimated useful lives of the improvements. We consider renewal terms that are deemed reasonably assured when estimating remaining lease terms.
Our assumptions regarding the useful economic lives and residual values of our assets may change in response to new facts and circumstances, which would prospectively impact our depreciation expense amounts. Examples of such circumstances include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in laws and regulations that limit the estimated economic life of an asset; (ii) changes in technology that render an asset obsolete; (iii) changes in expected salvage values or (iv) significant changes in the forecast life of the applicable resource basins, if any.