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Williams Partners Starts Operations at Virginia Southside II


Williams Partners L.P. WPZ recently announced that the Virginia Southside II expansion project has initiated operations.

Virginia Southside II is the fifth of the five major expansion projects of the Transco pipeline system in 2017. With the announcement, all the expansion projects, including Gulf Trace, Hillabee Phase 1, Dalton, New York Bay and Virginia Southside II have been placed into service.

Following the commencement of operation by the projects, in 2017, the firm transportation capacity of Transco will likely get increased by more than 2.8 million dekatherms per day (Dth/d). Notably, after Virginia Southside II started operations on Dec 5, the design capacity of the Transco system jumped almost 25%.

The announcement reflects the energy infrastructure provider’s strong focus on Transco pipeline expansion that will likely provide sustainable and steady fee-based revenues over a length of time. Investors should know that the Transco pipeline is the largest interstate natural gas pipeline network in the nation.

Along with the announcement, Williams Partners said that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has authorized the Gulf Connector Expansion project on Nov 21. The Gulf Connector will likely expand the capacity of Transco in Texas and Louisiana by 475,000 Dth/d.

Tulsa, OK-based Williams Partners is a publicly traded master limited partnership with midstream infrastructure assets that are involved in transporting, gathering and processing natural gas and natural gas liquids.

The pricing chart of the partnership is impressive. Year to date, the stock has lost 4.4%, underperforming the industry’s 1.7% decline.

Williams Partners carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked players in the energy space are China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation SNP, Northern Oil and Gas, Inc. NOG and ExxonMobil Corporation XOM. All the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Headquartered in Beijing, China Petroleum is a leading integrated energy player. The company will likely witness year-over-year earnings growth of 59.1% in 2017.

Based in Minnetonka, MN, Northern Oil is an upstream energy player. The company’s 2017 revenues are estimated to grow almost 44%.

Headquartered in Irving, TX, ExxonMobil is the largest publicly traded energy firm. The company managed to beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, the average positive earnings surprise being 8.81%.

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