Natural gas processor and distributor,
MarkWest Energy Partners LP
) raised its first-quarter 2013 cash distribution to 83 cents per
unit ($3.32 per unit annualized), representing an increase of
approximately 1.2% sequentially and 5.1% year over year.
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MarkWest's announcement is in sync with its goal of delivering
disciplined growth to unitholders. The partnership boasts a
consistent and improving financial policy with high distribution
coverage. MarkWest's new distribution is payable on May 15 to
unitholders of record as on May 7, 2013.
MarkWest is a Colo.-based master limited partnership (MLP). The
partnership gathers, processes and transports natural gas. It
also engages in the transportation, fractionation and storage of
natural gas liquids (NGLs) as well as the gathering and
transportation of crude oil. The customers of MarkWest include
major oil and gas companies, large and small independent energy
companies and oil refineries. The partnership conducts its
operations in four segments: Southwest, Northeast, Liberty and
We like MarkWest's high-quality and diverse portfolio of
midstream assets, which generate stable and recurring revenues
from long-term fee-based contracts. It is one of the largest
processors of natural gas in the Northeast and the largest
gatherer of natural gas in the prolific Carthage field in East
Texas. Additionally, MarkWest has a number of other gas gathering
and intrastate gas transmission assets in the Southwest,
primarily in Texas and Okla.
However, like other MLPs, the actual amount of cash distributed
to MarkWest unitholders may fluctuate and is directly exposed to
the partnership's future operating performance, which is
susceptible to movement in margins and throughput volumes.
MarkWest currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that
it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity
market over the next one to three months.
Three oil and gas production pipeline MLPs that are expected to
outperform the broader U.S. equity markets in the next one to
three months are
Atlas Pipeline Partners LP
Delek Logistics Partners LP
Energy Transfer Partners LP
). All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).