|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
An increase in interest rates may also cause a corresponding decline in demand for equity securities in general, and in particular, for yield-based equity securities such as our common units. A reduction in demand for our common units may cause their trading price to decline.
Our pipeline integrity program as well as compliance with pipeline safety laws and regulations may impose significant costs and liabilities on us.
If we were to incur material costs in connection with our pipeline integrity program or pipeline safety laws and regulations, those costs could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The DOT requires pipeline operators to develop integrity management programs to comprehensively evaluate their pipelines, and take measures to protect pipeline segments located in HCAs. The majority of the costs to comply with this integrity management rule are associated with pipeline integrity testing and any repairs found to be necessary as a result of such testing. Changes such as advances of in-line inspection tools, identification of additional threats to a pipeline’s integrity and changes to the amount of pipe determined to be located in HCAs can have a significant impact on the costs to perform integrity testing and repairs. We will continue our pipeline integrity testing programs to assess and maintain the integrity of our pipelines. The results of these tests could cause us to incur significant and unanticipated capital and operating expenditures for repairs or upgrades deemed necessary to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of our pipelines.
In total, our pipeline integrity costs for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 were $91.1 million, $103.7 million and $92.7 million, respectively. Of these annual totals, we charged $52.3 million, $55.8 million and $54.7 million to operating costs and expenses during the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. The remaining annual pipeline integrity costs were capitalized and treated as sustaining capital projects. We expect the cost of our pipeline integrity program, regardless of whether such costs are capitalized or expensed, to approximate $138 million for 2018.
For additional information regarding the pipeline safety regulations, the Pipeline Safety Act and the SAFE PIPES Act, see “Regulatory Matters – Safety Matters – Pipeline Safety” included under Part I, Item 1 and 2 of this annual report.
Environmental, health and safety costs and liabilities, and changing environmental, health and safety regulation, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations are subject to various environmental, health and safety requirements and potential liabilities under extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations. Further, we cannot ensure that existing environmental, health and safety regulations will not be revised or that new regulations will not be adopted or become applicable to us. Governmental authorities have the power to enforce compliance with applicable regulations and permits and to subject violators to civil and criminal penalties, including substantial fines, injunctions or both. Certain environmental laws, including the CERCLA and analogous state laws and regulations, may impose strict, joint and several liability for costs required to clean-up and restore sites where hazardous substances or hydrocarbons have been disposed or otherwise released. Moreover, third parties, including neighboring landowners, may also have the right to pursue legal actions to enforce compliance or to recover for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the release of hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or other waste products into the environment. Failure to comply with these requirements may expose us to fines, penalties and/or interruptions in our operations that could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
In addition, future environmental, health and safety law developments, such as stricter laws, regulations, permits or enforcement policies, could significantly increase some costs of our operations. Areas of potential future environmental, health and safety law development include the following items.