Last year, the company shipped roughly half of US natural gas bound for export. The European Union’s attempt to reduce dependence on Russia has again focused attention on America’s abundance of cheap shale resources, which are still mostly sold domestically.
In fact, tapping them for export is suddenly a priority of the Biden Administration, which has promised to double US LNG bound for Europe by 2030 while shelving a climate rule for gas infrastructure.
Even in a best case, it will be mid-decade before planned export capacity actually enters service. But with Asian buyers also eager to lock in US LNG supplies, it’s definitely contract time in the energy patch. And that means Kinder as transporter of nearly half America’s natural gas.
The company is co-owner of the Elba Island LNG export facility in Georgia, one of only two on the US Atlantic Coast. But Kinder mainly stands to gain from transporting more gas to facilities owned by third parties, such as Sempra Energy’s (SRE) Cameron in Louisiana.
The KinderHawk system in the Haynesville shale region is both underutilized and critical to Cameron’s plans to boost its capacity 60 percent by 2027. While Kinder’s shares have returned 24.5 percent year to date, Sempra is up 29.2 percent. That suggests more upside from LNG.
The company has targeted nearly half its ongoing capital spending to supplying natural gas for generating electricity and LNG exports. Assets now under construction will boost annual EBITDA by about $180 million starting next year. That will combine with new cash flow from recent acquisitions, such as the Stagecoach gas system in the Northeast US that’s on track to add $120 million EBITDA this year.
Add it up and there’s plenty of fuel for dividend increases, stock buybacks and debt reduction. Even the long lagging CO2 unit stands to shine this year from higher oil prices and decarbonization initiatives. Yielding nearly 6 percent even before the May dividend increase, Kinder is a buy up to $22.