|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
For additional information regarding our issuance of common units and related registration statements, see Note 9 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Part II, Item 8 of this annual report.
Restricted cash represents amounts held in segregated bank accounts by our clearing brokers as margin in support of our commodity derivative instruments portfolio and related physical purchases and sales of natural gas, NGLs, crude oil and refined products. Additional cash may be restricted to maintain our commodity derivative instruments portfolio as prices fluctuate or margin requirements change.
At December 31, 2017 and 2016, our restricted cash amounts were $65.2 million and $354.5 million, respectively. The balance of restricted cash decreased since December 31, 2016 primarily due to the settlement of derivative instruments related to contango positions during 2017. For information regarding our derivative instruments and hedging activities, see Note 14 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Part II, Item 8 of this annual report.
As of February 1, 2018, the investment-grade credit ratings of EPO’s long-term senior unsecured debt securities were BBB+ from Standard and Poor’s, Baa1 from Moody’s and BBB+ from Fitch Ratings. In addition, the credit ratings of EPO’s short-term senior unsecured debt securities were A-2 from Standard and Poor’s, P-2 from Moody’s and F-2 from Fitch Ratings.
EPO’s credit ratings reflect only the view of a rating agency and should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any of our securities. A credit rating can be revised upward or downward or withdrawn at any time by a rating agency, if it determines that circumstances warrant such a change. A credit rating from one rating agency should be evaluated independently of credit ratings from other rating agencies.
Cash Flows from Operating, Investing and Financing Activities
The following table summarizes our consolidated cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities for the years indicated (dollars in millions). For additional information regarding our cash flow amounts, please refer to the Statements of Consolidated Cash Flows included under Part II, Item 8 of this annual report.
Net cash flows provided by operating activities are largely dependent on earnings from our consolidated business activities. We operate 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.