Midstream Natural Gas Pipeline & Storage Providers Facing Pressure as Landscape of Gas Supply Changes?

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The recent downturn of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP raises eyebrows and questions regarding the impact that the change in natural gas supply is having on midstream providers of transportation and storage services.  As a master limited partnership (MLP), Boardwalk announced that it was reducing its historical distribution to unit holders by nearly 80% coming out of a disappointing Q4 2013.  The cause of the disappointment according to analysts: “multiple challenges given reduced natural gas volatility, reduced storage demand, and less value in transporting natural gas to the Northeast,” which put pressure on its cash flow outlook. See Barron’s article. These factors can be attributed, in part, to new natural gas resources in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins where Boardwalk does not have infrastructure.  Whether this is indicative of the outlook for other MLPs or unique to Boardwalk remains to be seen.