|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
ECT stores chemicals and hydrocarbons, including naphtha, linear alkyl benzene and n-hexane, for distribution in Iran and for export to Asia and Europe. To our knowledge, ECT’s activities are in compliance with applicable U.S., European Union or United Nations sanctions laws. ECT pays routine and standard charges (i) to the Petrochemical Special Economic Zone Organization (“Petzone”) for the use of pipelines and (ii) to the National Petrochemical Company (“NPC”), which operates the berth. Petzone is a subsidiary of NPC, which is owned and controlled by the Government of Iran. As Oiltanking GmbH has no direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of ECT, we have no information regarding ECT’s intent to continue or not continue making the payments described above.
Oiltanking GmbH maintains an internal compliance program to ensure compliance with all applicable sanctions regimes, including sanctions laws maintained by the U.S., European Union and United Nations. Although the existence of the routine payments described above may be reportable under Section 13(r), Oiltanking GmbH has informed us that neither it, nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, has engaged in any conduct that would be sanctionable under any of these legal regimes.
An investment in our common units or debt securities involves certain risks. If any of the following key risks were to occur, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows, as well as our ability to maintain or increase distribution levels. In any such circumstance and others described below, the trading price of our securities could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Risks Relating to Our Business
Changes in demand for and prices and production of hydrocarbon products could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
We operate predominantly in the midstream energy industry, which includes gathering, transporting, processing, fractionating and storing natural gas, NGLs, crude oil, petrochemical and refined products. As such, changes in the prices of hydrocarbon products and in the relative price levels among hydrocarbon products could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Changes in prices may impact demand for hydrocarbon products, which in turn may impact production, demand and the volumes of products for which we provide services. In addition, decreases in demand may be caused by other factors, including prevailing economic conditions, reduced demand by consumers for the end products made with hydrocarbon products, increased competition, adverse weather conditions and government regulations affecting prices and production levels. We may also incur credit and price risk to the extent customers do not fulfill their obligations to us in connection with our marketing of natural gas, NGLs, propylene, refined products and/or crude oil and long-term take-or-pay agreements.
Crude oil and natural gas prices have been extremely volatile in recent years, and we expect that volatility to continue. For example, crude oil prices (based on WTI as measured by the NYMEX) ranged from a high of $61.43 per barrel to a low of $26.21 per barrel in the three year period ending December 31, 2017. Likewise, natural gas prices (based on Henry Hub as measured by the NYMEX) ranged from a high of $3.93 per MMBtu to a low of $1.64 per MMBtu over the same three year period.
Generally, prices of hydrocarbon products are subject to fluctuations in response to changes in supply, demand, market uncertainty and a variety of other uncontrollable factors, such as: (i) the level of domestic production and consumer product demand; (ii) the availability of imported oil and natural gas and actions taken by foreign crude oil and natural gas producing nations; (iii) the availability of transportation systems with adequate capacity; (iv) the availability of competitive fuels; (v) fluctuating and seasonal demand for crude oil, natural gas, NGLs and other hydrocarbon products, including demand for NGL products by the petrochemical, refining and heating industries; (vi) the impact of conservation efforts; (vii) governmental regulation and taxation of production; and (viii) prevailing economic conditions.