US Williams posts $14m net loss in Q4 on outage, lower NGL margins

20 February 2014 00:13 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Williams reported a net loss of $14m in Q4 2013 due to the outage at the company’s Geismar, Louisiana olefins plant and a decrease in natural gas liquids (NGL) margins, the US producer announced on Wednesday.

Also hurting the company’s Q4 bottom line was a $99m tax expense on undistributed foreign earnings related to the planned dropdown of Williams’s Canadian operations to subsidiary Williams Partners, which is expected to close by the end of February, Williams said in a news release.

The Q4 net loss compares with a $149m net profit in the year-prior period.

The Geismar plant has been down since a 13 June explosion that killed two people and injured 80. The plant, which had been in the midst of a turnaround at the time of the accident, is scheduled to restart in April with a capacity of 885,000 tonnes/year, Williams has said.

The nearly seven months of lost production affected Williams’s year-end numbers as well, as net income fell nearly 50% to $430m for 2013 from $859m the year before.

The company also said that the 2012 numbers were inflated a bit by the $207m income in Q1 2012 associated with the sale of some of the company’s former Venezuela operations.

"In the face of the past year's challenges presented by the continued decline in NGL margins and the significant and tragic Geismar incident, we continued to focus on significantly growing our fee-based revenues,” said Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams. “This growth was steady throughout 2013, and we expect it to grow even faster in 2014 and 2015 as we deliver on major projects for our customers in a safe and reliable manner.”

Armstrong said that the in-service date for its joint-venture Bluegrass Pipeline project is moving to mid to late 2016 “to better align with the needs of producers”.

“We continue to engage in ongoing discussions with potential customers regarding commitments to this large-scale, integrated solution that connects Marcellus-Utica natural gas liquids to diverse domestic markets, fractionation, storage and export facilities in the Gulf Coast,” the CEO said.


By Jeremy Pafford