Kinder Morgan reports first net loss of the year

Houston pipeline giant Kinder Morgan posted its first quarterly loss of the year on Wednesday as the downturn continues to ripple through pipelines businesses.

Kinder Morgan’s reported loss of $227 million for the third quarter compares to a $186 million profit during the same time last year, as well as a $333 million gain for the second quarter of this year. Kinder Morgan’s revenues of $3.33 billion dipped from $3.71 billion last year. The numbers represented the company’s first quarterly loss since the end of 2015.

Co-founder and Executive Chairman Rich Kinder said the company successfully focused on debt reduction during much of the third quarter. After previously reducing its dividend payments to investors during the downturn, Kinder said the tentative plan is to “substantially” increase the dividend back up again, but that it’s too early to provide the timing.

Kinder Morgan attributed a big chunk of the quarterly loss to its struggling CO2 pipeline and injection business for carbon dioxide that’s used to help enhance oil production. The low oil prices hurt that business.

Despite increasing protests regarding new pipeline projects in North America, Kinder emphasized that natural gas pipelines will play a key role in reducing carbon emissions now that natural gas has surpassed coal as the nation’s largest supplier of electricity generation.

“While the protesters get the headlines, it is still possible to build new infrastructure,” Kinder said.

Kinder Morgan President and Chief Executive Steve Kean said construction is now slated to begin Nov. 1 on the $2 billion Elba Liquefaction Project at the Elba Island liquefied natural gas terminal in Georgia. Kinder Morgan is getting into the LNG export business.

Also, a final decision is expected by Dec. 19 on the $5.4 billion Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline expansion project in Canada, Kean said.