Kinder Morgan Earnings More Than Triple on Expansion

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, the biggest U.S. pipeline company, said first-quarter profit more than tripled as it expanded its interstate pipeline network.

Net income increased to $783 million from $206 million in the same quarter of 2012, Houston-based Kinder Morgan said in a statement today. After payments to parent company Kinder Morgan Inc., Kinder Morgan earned 97 cents per unit, compared with a 33-cent loss a year ago. Revenue rose to $2.7 billion from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

Profit from gas pipelines rose 78 percent to $497 million, boosted by the purchase of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and half of the El Paso Natural Gas Co. from its parent. Gas shipments rose to 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas during the quarter from

1.4 trillion cubic feet a year ago.

“Everything points to the continued development of natural gas supplies in the United States, which drives demand for midstream infrastructure to connect the additional supplies to markets,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Kinder said in the statement.

Kinder Morgan Inc. acquired the pipelines when it bought El Paso Corp. in May, creating the biggest so-called midstream company in the U.S. Kinder Morgan also closed earlier than expected on the second half of the El Paso Natural Gas acquisition, Elvira Scotto, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in New York, wrote in an April 12 note. The March 1 purchase may add $38 million to Kinder Morgan’s first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, deductions and amortization, according to the note.

Kinder Morgan agreed to buy Copano Energy LLC in January for $3.2 billion in stock. That deal, along with further purchases from its parent, will help Kinder Morgan maintain its growth for the rest of the year, Scotto wrote.

The company announced earnings after the close of regular trading in New York. The shares fell 0.8 percent to $89.26 at the close.