|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L.P.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
The natural gas, NGLs and crude oil currently transported, gathered or processed at our facilities originate primarily from existing domestic resource basins, which naturally deplete over time. To offset this natural decline, our facilities need access to production from newly discovered properties. Many economic and business factors beyond our control can adversely affect the decision by producers to explore for and develop new reserves. These factors could include relatively low crude oil and natural gas prices, cost and availability of equipment and labor, regulatory changes, capital budget limitations, the lack of available capital or the probability of success in finding hydrocarbons. A decrease in exploration and development activities in the regions where our facilities and other energy logistics assets are located could result in a decrease in volumes handled by our assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Even if crude oil and natural gas reserves exist in the areas served by our assets, we may not be chosen by producers in these areas to gather, transport, process, fractionate, store or otherwise handle the hydrocarbons extracted. We compete with other companies, including producers of crude oil and natural gas, for any such production on the basis of many factors, including but not limited to geographic proximity to the production, costs of connection, available capacity, rates and access to markets.
We may incur credit risk to the extent counterparties do not fulfill their obligations to us in connection with our marketing of natural gas, NGLs, petrochemicals, refined products and crude oil and long-term contracts with minimum volume commitments or fixed demand charges. Risks of nonpayment and nonperformance by customers are a major consideration in our businesses, and our credit procedures and policies may not be adequate to sufficiently eliminate customer credit risk. Further, adverse economic conditions in our industry, such as those experienced in 2015 and 2016, increase the risk of nonpayment and nonperformance by customers, particularly customers that have sub-investment grade credit ratings or small-scale companies. We manage our exposure to credit risk through credit analysis, credit approvals, credit limits and monitoring procedures, and for certain transactions may utilize letters of credit, prepayments, net out agreements and guarantees. However, these procedures and policies do not fully eliminate customer credit risk.
Our primary markets are located in the Gulf Coast, Southwest, Rocky Mountain, Northeast and Midwest regions of the U.S. We have a concentration of trade receivable balances due from independent and major integrated oil and gas companies and other pipelines and wholesalers. These concentrations of market areas may affect our overall credit risk in that these energy industry customers may be similarly affected by changes in economic, regulatory or other factors.
In those situations where we are exposed to credit risk in our derivative instrument transactions, we analyze the counterparty’s financial condition prior to entering into an agreement, establish credit and/or margin limits and monitor the appropriateness of these limits on an ongoing basis. Generally, we do not require collateral for such transactions nor do we currently anticipate nonperformance by our material counterparties.
We participate as a named insured in EPCO’s insurance program, which provides us with property damage, business interruption and other insurance coverage, the scope and amounts of which we believe are customary and prudent for the nature and extent of our operations. While we believe EPCO maintains adequate insurance coverage on our behalf, insurance may not fully cover every type of damage, interruption or other loss that might occur. If we were to incur a significant loss for which we were not fully insured, it could have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
In addition, there may be timing differences between amounts we accrue related to property damage expense, amounts we are required to pay in connection with a loss, and amounts we subsequently receive from insurance carriers as reimbursements. Any event that materially interrupts the revenues generated by our consolidated operations, or other losses that require us to make material expenditures not reimbursed by insurance, could reduce our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders and, accordingly, adversely affect the market price of our common units.