May 9, 2022 [businesswire] – NuStar Energy L.P. (NYSE: NS) today announced solid results for the first quarter of 2022 fueled by strong volumes in its Permian Crude System and its refined products and crude oil pipelines.
“I am pleased to report that we have once again delivered solid results that demonstrate the strength and resilience of our assets,” said NuStar President and CEO Brad Barron.
Last Friday, NuStar closed on its divestiture of the Point Tupper terminal facility in Canada for $60 million in proceeds, which it plans to utilize to build its financial flexibility and strengthen its balance sheet. Barron noted that the quarter’s results include a non-cash charge related to this divestiture.
“As a result of this non-cash charge, NuStar reported net income of $12 million for the first quarter of 2022, or a $0.22 net loss per unit, compared to net income of $42 million, or $0.05 per unit for the first quarter of 2021. On an adjusted basis, excluding the effect of the non-cash charge, NuStar reported net income of $57 million, or $0.19 per unit, in the first quarter of 2022, up $15 million or 36 percent, over net income of $42 million in the first quarter of 2021.”
NuStar also reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $173 million for the first quarter of 2022, compared to first quarter of 2021 EBITDA of $169 million, a two percent increase.
“On an ‘apples-to-apples’ basis, excluding the contribution of the Eastern U.S. terminals we sold in October, our first quarter 2022 adjusted EBITDA was up $12 million, a seven percent increase over the first quarter of 2021,” Barron noted.
Distributable cash flow (DCF) available to common limited partners was $91 million for the first quarter of 2022, a 13 percent increase over DCF of $81 million in the first quarter of 2021. The distribution coverage ratio to common limited partners was a strong 2.06 times for the first quarter of 2022.
Permian Crude System Continues to Outpace Production Growth of Permian Basin
NuStar’s Permian Crude System’s volumes averaged 510,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2022, comparable to fourth quarter 2021 volumes and an increase of 27 percent over the first quarter of 2021.
“Our well-positioned Permian Crude System, located in some of the most active counties of the basin, continues to outpace the production growth of the Permian Basin as a whole,” said Barron. “Although U.S. oil production has been slow to respond to the recent run-up in crude prices due to a variety of factors, including supply chain challenges, we continue to work closely with our top-tier producers, and we are encouraged by their drilling plans for the rest of 2022. So we continue to expect to exit 2022 between 560,000 to 570,000 barrels per day, about 10 percent above our 2021 exit, mainly driven by our private producers.”
Barron commented that throughputs on NuStar’s Corpus Christi Crude System averaged around 340,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of about six percent compared to the first quarter of 2021.
Crude and Refined Product Demand Continues to Strengthen
Barron stated that NuStar saw strong improvement across its pipeline systems, with throughput up 16 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the first quarter of 2021.
“We saw even stronger improvement to throughputs on our crude pipelines, which were up 19 percent in the first quarter of 2022 over the first quarter of 2021,” said Barron.
Barron added that NuStar’s refined products pipeline throughput was up 11 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021.
“Our refined products pipelines continue to deliver consistent and strong results, reflecting the strength of our assets and our position in the markets we serve across the mid-Continent and throughout Texas,” said Barron. “In addition, our Northern Mexico refined products supply pipelines are performing well, with volumes now above our average for 2021 and with first quarter 2022 throughput up 27 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021.”
Solid Quarterly Performance Across Business
Barron noted that first quarter 2022 operating income for NuStar’s Pipeline Segment was $96 million, compared to $79 million in the first quarter of 2021. EBITDA in the Pipeline Segment was $141 million, up by about $17 million, or 13 percent, compared to $124 million in the first quarter of 2021. He also noted that operating income and EBITDA for NuStar’s Fuels Marketing Segment for the first quarter of 2022 was $7 million, up $4 million from the first quarter of 2021, largely due to stronger bunker fuel margins.
“Due to the non-cash impairment associated with the divestiture of the Point Tupper Terminal facility, NuStar’s Storage Segment reported an operating loss of $15 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to operating income of $27 million in the fourth quarter of 2021,” Barron said. “However, on an ‘apples-to-apples’ basis, our adjusted EBITDA for our Storage Segment for the first quarter of 2022 was $50 million, up by about $4 million or seven percent, over fourth quarter 2021 EBITDA of $46 million.”
West Coast Renewable Fuels Network Continues to Grow
Barron once again highlighted the growth of NuStar’s West Coast Renewable Fuels Network, which plays an integral role in facilitating the low-carbon renewable fuels that significantly reduce emissions from transportation.
Barron noted that in the first quarter of 2022, NuStar’s West Coast storage assets generated about 29 percent of its total storage segment revenue.
“We expect our West Coast network’s revenue to continue to grow in 2022, as we complete two more projects at our Stockton terminal that will add renewable diesel storage capacity and expand our ethanol transportation solutions, which will increase the significant role NuStar plays in facilitating the West Coast’s transition to low-carbon renewable fuels,” said Barron.
Updated 2022 Capital Outlook
Barron touched upon an optimization initiative that was kicked off earlier this year with the goal of making meaningful reductions in NuStar’s expenses and capital spending to increase the company’s free cash flow in 2022 and beyond.
He noted that while it is still early in the optimization process, he is pleased that NuStar has already identified over $50 million in reductions across 2022 and 2023.
“We are focused on reducing expenses, and we are also working hard to high-grade every dollar of our strategic capital spending, which means assuring that we only execute projects that meet or beat our 2022 hurdles and that are lean, efficient and effective,” said Barron. “In fact, we have been able to reduce our planned strategic capital spending for 2022 to between $115 to $145 million this year, which at the midpoint is $15 million less than we previously announced.”
Barron also gave an update on the allocation of NuStar’s planned strategic capital spending.
“We now expect to allocate $60 million to growing our Permian system, which is scalable with our producers’ throughput volume needs, and about $10 million to expand our West Coast Renewable Fuels Network,” said Barron. “In addition, we continue to expect to spend $35 to $45 million on reliability capital this year. And, of course, we also continue to expect to self-fund all of our spending from internally generated cash flows again this year.”
“We have continued to make substantial progress on improving our debt metrics, with a debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 3.92 times at the end of the first quarter of 2022, compared to 4.39 times at the end of the first quarter of 2021 and 3.99 times at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021,” said Barron. “We had $889 million available on our $1.0 billion unsecured revolving credit facility at the end of the first quarter of 2022.
“We expect to generate full-year 2022 net income in the range of $200 to $230 million, and continue to expect to generate full-year 2022 adjusted EBITDA in the range of $700-750 million, which at the midpoint, represents seven percent growth over 2021, when adjusted for the sale of the Eastern U.S. and Point Tupper terminals.
“And finally, I am very pleased by how well NuStar has performed throughout the volatility created in the energy sector by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The consequences of this invasion are still unfolding throughout the globe. But it has underscored the importance of U.S. energy independence. Today, the U.S. exports more energy than we import, and that is largely the result of U.S. shale production. And I am very proud of the role NuStar plays in on our nation’s energy independence and security and the important work our employees do every day to supply the energy that powers and protects our lives,” Barron concluded.
Conference Call Details
A conference call with management is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. CT on Thursday, May 5, 2022. The partnership plans to discuss the first quarter 2022 earnings results, which will be released earlier that day. Investors interested in listening to the discussion may dial toll-free 844/889-7787, passcode 4754807. International callers may access the discussion by dialing 661/378-9931, passcode 4754807. The partnership intends to have a playback available following the discussion, which may be accessed by dialing toll-free 855/859-2056, passcode 4754807. International callers may access the playback by dialing 404/537-3406, passcode 4754807. The playback will be available until 12:00 p.m. CT on June 5, 2022.
Investors interested in listening to the live discussion or a replay via the internet may access the discussion directly at https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/viq5tqzk or by logging on to NuStar Energy L.P.’s website at www.nustarenergy.com.
NuStar Energy L.P., a publicly traded master limited partnership based in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the largest independent liquids terminal and pipeline operators in the nation. NuStar currently has approximately 10,000 miles of pipeline and 63 terminal and storage facilities that store and distribute crude oil, refined products, renewable fuels, ammonia and specialty liquids. The partnership’s combined system has approximately 49 million barrels of storage capacity, and NuStar has operations in the United States and Mexico. For more information, visit NuStar Energy L.P.’s website at www.nustarenergy.com and its Sustainability page at https://sustainability.nustarenergy.com/.
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