|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
The amount of cash EPO and its subsidiaries and joint ventures can distribute to us depends primarily on cash flows generated from their operations. These operating cash flows fluctuate based on, among other things, the: (i) volume of hydrocarbon products transported on their gathering and transmission pipelines; (ii) throughput volumes in their processing and treating operations; (iii) fees charged and the margins realized for their various storage, terminaling, processing and transportation services; (iv) price of natural gas, crude oil and NGLs; (v) relationships among natural gas, crude oil and NGL prices, including differentials between regional markets; (vi) fluctuations in their working capital needs; (vii) level of their operating costs; (viii) prevailing economic conditions; and (ix) level of competition encountered by their businesses. In addition, the actual amount of cash EPO and its subsidiaries and joint ventures will have available for distribution will depend on factors such as: (i) the level of sustaining capital expenditures incurred; (ii) their cash outlays for expansion (or growth) capital projects and acquisitions; and (iii) their debt service requirements and restrictions included in the provisions of existing and future indebtedness, organizational documents, applicable state business organization laws and other applicable laws and regulations. Because of these factors, we may not have sufficient available cash each quarter to continue paying distributions at our current levels.
Risks Relating to Our Partnership Structure
We may issue additional securities without the approval of our common unitholders.
At any time, we may issue an unlimited number of limited partner interests of any type (to parties other than our affiliates) without the approval of our unitholders. Our partnership agreement does not give our common unitholders the right to approve the issuance of equity securities, including equity securities ranking senior to our common units. The issuance of additional common units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects: (i) the ownership interest of a unitholder immediately prior to the issuance will decrease; (ii) the amount of cash available for distribution on each common unit may decrease; (iii) the ratio of taxable income to distributions may increase; (iv) the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding common unit may be diminished; and (v) the market price of our common units may decline.
We may not have sufficient operating cash flows to pay cash distributions at the current level following establishment of cash reserves and payments of fees and expenses.
Because cash distributions on our common units are dependent on the amount of cash we generate, distributions may fluctuate based on our performance and capital needs. We cannot guarantee that we will continue to pay distributions at the current level each quarter. The actual amount of cash that is available to be distributed each quarter will depend upon numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and the control of our general partner. These factors include, but are not limited to: (i) the volume of the products that we handle and the prices we receive for our services; (ii) the level of our operating costs; (iii) the level of competition in our business; (iv) prevailing economic conditions, including the price of and demand for crude oil, natural gas, NGLs and other products we transport, store and market; (v) the level of capital expenditures we make; (vi) the amount and cost of capital we can raise compared to the amount of our capital expenditures and debt service requirements; (vii) restrictions contained in our debt agreements; (viii) fluctuations in our working capital needs; (ix) weather volatility; (x) cash outlays for acquisitions, if any; and (xi) the amount, if any, of cash reserves required by our general partner in its sole discretion.
Furthermore, the amount of cash that we have available for distribution is not solely a function of profitability, which will be affected by non-cash items such as depreciation, amortization and provisions for asset impairments. Our cash flows are also impacted by borrowings under credit agreements and similar arrangements. As a result, we may be able to make cash distributions during periods when we record losses and may not be able to make cash distributions during periods when we record net income. An inability on our part to pay cash distributions to partners could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.