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Announcement:

Moody's: North American gas pipelines adjust to changes from the Marcellus, see inflection point in demand

13 May 2014

New York, May 13, 2014 -- The enormous, rapid growth in production from the Marcellus shale formation in the northeastern US is rearranging how natural gas pipelines flow across much of North America, says Moody's Investors Service in the report "North American Natural Gas Pipelines: Retooling as Gas Flows Shift, New Demand Emerges from LNG and Power."

Moody's says that the impact from the Marcellus shale play has been regional, benefiting the pipelines in the East the most with organic growth opportunities. In the Midwest, however, Marcellus has proven to be a challenge for certain pipelines. West of the zone of Marcellus's influence, pipelines have seen their business models remain stable, says Moody's.

"After basis collapsed and excess capacity developed on some lines, we're finally starting to see demand beginning to materialize," says Mihoko Manabe, a Moody's Senior Vice President. "There's been an recent uptick in open seasons, turning into real committed projects that will bring revenues in a few years."

The latest round of projects involves changing what a pipeline was built to do, such as reversing the direction of flow or repurposing to transport liquids rather than gas. These target new demand such as LNG export terminals and gas-fired power facilities that are being built.

This hum of commercial activity demonstrates the major pipelines' good track record in navigating changing markets with new services, and their ability to manage any stranded asset risk posed by excess capacity and underutilization.

Compared to the billion-dollar greenfield pipeline projects in the beginning of the shale phenomenon several years ago, many recent projects have more manageable price tags in the tens-to-hundreds of million dollars. Project execution risk tends to be lower, now that many of them are of a brownfield re-tooling variety and can be completed in a couple of years. Since Marcellus production began ramping up in 2007, less gas is travelling over long distances on the traditional paths from production areas, the largest being the Gulf Coast and Western Canada, to major markets, mostly on the two coasts and around the Great Lakes. The declines have been met with a rise in shorter-haul paths from new supply areas or along new pipes, such as Marcellus to the Northeast and out of the Rockies.

"Shorter paths, however, are not necessarily a bad thing if the pipeline has found a new replacement market closer by," says Manabe. "With the Marcellus meeting more northeastern demand, Gulf Coast supplies are being routed to the Southeast, where the new demand for gas-fired power generation is the greatest. Massive demand for gas is building south of the border in Mexico, while Canada seeks to monetize its British Columbia shale gas as LNG exports in the next decade."

The Moody's report provides detailed analyses of a select peer group of pipelines in different regions across North America, describing how they are faring amidst the changing gas flow dynamics. These pipelines include: Spectra Energy subsidiary Texas Eastern Transmission L.P.; The Williams Companies' Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company and Northwest Pipeline GP; Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company and El Paso Natural Gas Company ; Boardwalk's Texas Gas Transmission; TransCanada's Canadian Mainline; Berkshire Hathaway Energy's Northern Natural Gas Company; Rockies Express Pipeline LLC; and NGPL PipeCo.

For more information, Moody's research subscribers can access this report at http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_169928.

***

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at [email protected] or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

Mihoko Manabe
Senior Vice President
Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

James Hempstead
Associate Managing Director
Infrastructure Finance
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's: North American gas pipelines adjust to changes from the Marcellus, see inflection point in demand
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