10-K 1 form10-k.htm FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT form10-k.htm
 
 


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
þ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011

or

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from _____ to _____

Commission File Number: 001-33303
 
GRAPHIC
 
TARGA RESOURCES PARTNERS LP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
 
65-1295427
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
     
1000 Louisiana St, Suite 4300, Houston, Texas
 
77002
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
 
(713) 584-1000
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Units Representing Limited Partnership Interests
 
New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes R No £

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes £ No R

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes R No £

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes R No £

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. R

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 
Large accelerated filer R
Accelerated filer £
Non-accelerated filer £
Smaller reporting company £

(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes £ No R.
 
The aggregate market value of the Common Units representing limited partner interests held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $2,589.5 million on June 30, 2011 based on $35.60 per unit, the closing price of the Common Units as reported on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on such date.
 
As of February 17, 2012, there were 89,170,989 Common Units and 1,819,817 General Partner Units outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None
 
 
 


 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Targa Resources Partners LP’s (together with its subsidiaries, “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Partnership”) reports, filings and other public announcements may from time to time contain statements that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. Such statements are “forward-looking statements.” You can typically identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking words, such as “may,” “could,” “project,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “estimate,” “potential,” “plan,” “forecast” and other similar words.

All statements that are not statements of historical facts, including statements regarding our future financial position, business strategy, budgets, projected costs and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements reflect our intentions, plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside our control. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements include known and unknown risks. Known risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risks set forth in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Annual Report”) as well as the following risks and uncertainties:

·  
our ability to access the debt and equity markets, which will depend on general market conditions and the credit ratings for our debt obligations;

·  
the amount of collateral required to be posted from time to time in our transactions;

·  
our success in risk management activities, including the use of derivative financial instruments to hedge commodity risks;

·  
the level of creditworthiness of counterparties to transactions;

·  
changes in laws and regulations, particularly with regard to taxes, safety and protection of the environment;

·  
the timing and extent of changes in natural gas, natural gas liquids (“NGL”) and other commodity prices, interest rates and demand for our services;

·  
weather and other natural phenomena;

·  
industry changes, including the impact of consolidations and changes in competition;

·  
our ability to obtain necessary licenses, permits and other approvals;

·  
the level and success of oil and natural gas drilling around our assets and our success in connecting natural gas supplies to our gathering and processing systems and NGL supplies to our logistics and marketing facilities;

·  
our ability to grow through acquisitions or internal growth projects and the successful integration and future performance of such assets;

·  
general economic, market and business conditions; and

·  
the risks described elsewhere in this Annual Report and our reports and registration statements filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

Although we believe that the assumptions underlying our forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of the assumptions could be inaccurate, and, therefore, we cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements included in this Annual Report will prove to be accurate. Some of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements are more fully described in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report. Except as may be required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or advise of any change in any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 
As generally used in the energy industry and in this Annual Report, the identified terms have the following meanings:

Bbl
Barrels (equal to 42 gallons)
Btu
British thermal units, a measure of heating value
BBtu
Billion British thermal units
/d
Per day
/hr
Per hour
gal
U.S. gallons
GPM Gallons of recoverable hydrocarbons contained per million cubic feet of natural gas
LPG
Liquefied petroleum gas
MBbl
Thousand barrels
MMBbl
Million barrels
MMBtu
Million British thermal units
MMcf
Million cubic feet
NGL(s)
Natural gas liquid(s)
NYMEX
New York Mercantile Exchange
   
Price Index
 
Definitions
 
IF-NGPL MC
Inside FERC Gas Market Report, Natural Gas Pipeline, Mid-Continent
IF-PB
Inside FERC Gas Market Report, Permian Basin
IF-WAHA
Inside FERC Gas Market Report, West Texas WAHA
NY-WTI
NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil
OPIS-MB
Oil Price Information Service, Mont Belvieu, Texas
 
 

Item 1. Business.

Overview

Targa Resources Partners LP (NYSE:NGLS) is a publicly traded Delaware limited partnership formed in October 2006 by our parent, Targa Resources Corp. (“Targa” or “TRC”), to own, operate, acquire and develop a diversified portfolio of complementary midstream energy assets. We are a leading provider of midstream natural gas and natural gas liquid (“NGL”) services in the United States and are engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing and selling natural gas and storing, fractionating, treating, transporting, terminaling and selling NGLs, NGL products, refined petroleum products and crude oil. We operate in two primary divisions: (i) Natural Gas Gathering and Processing, consisting of two reportable segments—(a) Field Gathering and Processing and (b) Coastal Gathering and Processing; and (ii) Logistics and Marketing, consisting of two reportable segments—(a) Logistics Assets and (b) Marketing and Distribution.

Acquisitions from Targa.

From 2007 through 2010, we acquired most of our operating businesses in a series of acquisitions from Targa with an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.1 billion. The businesses include:

·  
In February 2007, we acquired certain natural gas gathering, processing and treating assets in the Fort Worth Basin / Bend Arch in North Texas and their operations, collectively referred to as the “North Texas System;”

·  
In October 2007, we acquired certain natural gas gathering, processing and treating assets in West Texas and their operations collectively referred to as “SAOU;”

·  
In October 2007, we acquired certain natural gas gathering, processing and treating assets in Southwest Louisiana and their operations collectively referred to as “LOU;”

·  
In September 2009, we acquired Targa’s NGL business consisting of fractionation facilities, storage and terminaling facilities, low sulfur natural gasoline treating facilities, pipeline transportation and distribution assets, propane storage, truck terminals and NGL transport assets and their operations collectively referred to as the Logistics and Marketing division or the “Downstream Business;”

·  
In April 2010, we acquired certain natural gas gathering and processing assets along with three offshore gathering systems which serve production from the Louisiana Gulf Coast and their operations collectively referred to as the “Coastal Straddles;”

·  
In April 2010, we acquired certain natural gas gathering and processing systems, processing plants and related assets in West Texas and their operations collectively referred to as the “Permian Business;”

·  
In August 2010, we acquired Targa’s 63% ownership interest in Versado Gas Processors, L.L.C. which conducts a natural gas gathering and processing business in New Mexico, collectively referred to as “Versado;” and

·  
In September 2010, we acquired Targa’s 77% ownership interest in Venice Energy Services Company, L.L.C., a joint venture that owns and operates a natural gas gathering and processing business in Louisiana consisting of a coastal straddle plant and their operations and a wholly-owned subsidiary that owns and operates an offshore gathering system and related assets (collectively, “VESCO”) that serve production from the Gulf of Mexico shelf and deepwater.

For a detailed description of these assets, please see “Our Business Operations”


Acquisitions from Third Parties.

While our growth through 2010 was primarily driven by the implementation of a dropdown strategy, we also have a record of successful third-party acquisitions. During 2011, we closed the following three acquisitions:

·  
On March 15, 2011, we acquired a refined petroleum products and crude oil storage and terminaling facility in Channelview, Texas on Carpenter's Bayou along the Houston Ship Channel (the "Channelview Terminal") for $29 million. The Channelview Terminal, with storage capacity of 544,000 barrels, can handle multiple grades of blend stocks, petroleum products and crude oil and has potential for expansion, as well as integration with our other logistics operations.

·  
On September 30, 2011 we acquired refined petroleum products and crude oil storage and terminaling facilities in two separate transactions. The facility on the Hylebos Waterway in the Port of Tacoma, Washington (the “Sound Terminal”) has 758,000 barrels of capacity and handles refined petroleum products, crude oil, LPGs and biofuels, including ethanol and biodiesel. The facility on the Patapsco River in Baltimore, Maryland (the “Baltimore Terminal”) has approximately 505,000 barrels of storage capacity. Both terminals contain blending and heating capabilities, and have tanker truck and barge loading and unloading infrastructure. Total consideration for both facilities was $127.5 million plus an additional $7.5 million for estimated working capital.

We have funded all acquisitions from Targa and third parties using earnings from operations, proceeds of equity offerings, borrowings under our credit facilities and note issuances. We expect that acquisitions of third-party businesses and assets will continue to be a significant component of our growth strategy.

Organic Growth Projects.

In addition to acquiring businesses and assets from Targa and third parties, we have successfully completed both large and small organic growth projects associated with our existing assets and expect to continue to do so in the future. These projects have involved growth capital expenditures of approximately $530 million since 2007 and include the following major projects active in 2011:

·  
Cedar Bayou Fractionator expansion project. We completed construction of 78 MBbl/d of additional fractionation capacity at our 88%-owned Cedar Bayou Fractionator (“CBF”) in Mont Belvieu, Texas at a cost of approximately $64 million. The expansion went online in the second quarter of 2011, and is supported by 10-year fee-based contracts with ONEOK Hydrocarbons, LP, Questar Gas Management Company and Majestic Energy Services, LLC that have certain guaranteed volume commitments or provisions for deficiency payments.

·  
North Texas expansion program. During 2011, we invested approximately $40 million to expand gathering and processing capability in our North Texas assets, particularly in the oily part of the Barnett Shale. This project provided both expanded capacity in the gathering system via new pipelines and a new compressor station as well expanded residue take away from the Chico Plant. In addition, expanded CO2 treating was added due to the higher CO2 content in the gas from the oily part of the Barnett Shale.

·  
SAOU expansion program. During 2011 we invested approximately $30 million to expand gathering and processing capability in our west Texas assets, particularly in the Wolfberry play. This expansion program also included expenditures to restart the 25 MMcf/d Conger processing plant, which went online during the second quarter of 2011.

We have the following major organic growth projects underway, which we estimate will require over $1 billion in growth capital expenditures through 2013:
 
·  
CBF expansion. A 100,000 Bbl/d expansion of fractionation capacity is underway at CBF. Substantially all of this additional capacity is currently contracted with long-term “frac-or-pay” firm capacity fractionating agreements. The expansion will be fully integrated with our existing Gulf Coast NGL storage, terminaling and delivery infrastructure, which includes an extensive network of connections to key petrochemical and industrial customers as well as our LPG export terminal at Galena Park, Texas on the Houston Ship Channel. We estimate that the total capital expenditures for the CBF expansion and related infrastructure enhancements at Mont Belvieu will be approximately $360 million and construction will be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
 
 
·  
International propane export project. In September 2011, we announced a $250 million expansion of our Mont Belvieu complex and our existing import/export marine terminal at Galena Park to provide export capability for 5,000 + Bbl/hr of fully refrigerated, low ethane propane. The expansion project, expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2013, will allow us to load three to four VLGC (very large gas carrier) class ships per month and is in addition to our existing capabilities to handle multiple MGC (medium gas carrier) export cargos of HD-5 grade propane, imports/exports of LPGs and petrochemicals and other spot ship and barge business.
 
·  
North Texas Longhorn project. We have ordered a new 200 MMcf/d cryogenic processing plant for our North Texas System to meet increasing production, continued producer activity and expected volumes from significant new acreage dedications in the liquids-rich, oily areas of the Barnett Shale. The new processing plant, which will be located in Wise County, Texas, is expected to be operational in mid-2013, subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to require a capital investment related to the plant and associated projects of approximately $150 million.
 
·  
Petroleum logistics terminal expansions. We currently estimate that we will invest approximately $60 million to expand the capacity and capability of the three refined petroleum products and crude oil terminals that we acquired in 2011.
 
·  
Benzene treating project. A new treater is under construction which will operate in conjunction with our existing LSNG facility at Mont Belvieu and is designed to reduce benzene content of natural gasoline to meet new, more stringent environmental standards. The treater has an estimated gross cost of approximately $40 million and an anticipated date of completion in the first quarter of 2012.
 
·  
SAOU/Permian expansion programs. During 2012, $45 million is projected to be spent at SAOU/Permian for additional compression and gathering and processing infrastructure, separate from the 2011 expansion project described above, to support the high level of drilling activity.
 
·  
North Texas expansion program. During 2012 $20 million is projected to be spent to expand the North Texas System gathering and processing capability. This spending is in addition to the North Texas Longhorn project.
 
·  
HD-5 Refrigeration Export project. We plan to invest approximately $13 million to enhance refrigeration capability used to export semi-refrigerated HD5 propane at our Galena Park facility. The project has an anticipated date of completion in the second quarter of 2012.
 
·  
Gulf Coast Fractionators expansion project. Gulf Coast Fractionators (“GCF”), a partnership with ConocoPhillips and Devon Energy Corporation in which we own a 38.8% interest, is expanding the capacity of its NGL fractionation facility in Mont Belvieu by 43 MBbl/d for an estimated gross cost of $90 million (our net cost is estimated to be $35 million). ConocoPhillips, as the operator, will manage the expansion project. The expansion is expected to be operational during the second quarter of 2012.
 
Our assets are not easily duplicated and are located in active producing areas and near key NGL markets and logistics centers.

Growth Drivers

We believe our near-term growth will be driven by significant organic growth investments as well as strong supply and demand fundamentals for our existing businesses. Over the longer term, we expect our growth will continue to be driven by shale plays and by the deployment of shale exploration and production technologies in both liquids-rich natural gas and crude oil resource plays.
 
Strong supply and demand fundamentals for our existing businesses.

We believe that the current strength of oil, condensate and NGL prices and of forecast prices for these energy commodities has caused producers in and around our natural gas gathering and processing areas of operation to focus their drilling programs on regions rich in these forms of hydrocarbons. Liquids rich gas is prevalent from the Wolfberry Trend and Canyon Sands plays, which are accessible by SAOU, the Wolfberry and Bone Springs plays, which are accessible by the Sand Hills system, and from “oilier” portions of the Barnett Shale natural gas play, especially portions of Montague, Cooke, Clay and Wise counties, which are accessible by the North Texas System.

Producer activity in areas rich in oil, condensate and NGLs is currently generating high demand for our fractionation services at the Mont Belvieu market hub. As a result, fractionation volumes have recently increased to near existing capacity. Until additional fractionation capacity comes on-line in 2013, there will be limited incremental supply of fractionation services in the area. These strong supply and demand fundamentals have resulted in long-term, “frac-or-pay” contracts for existing capacity and support the construction of new fractionation capacity, such as our CBF and GCF expansion projects. We are continuing to see rates for fractionation services increase.  The higher volumes of fractionated NGLs should also result in increased demand for other related fee-based services provided by our Downstream Business.

Active drilling and production activity from liquids-rich natural gas shale plays and similar crude oil resource plays.

We are actively pursuing natural gas gathering and processing and NGL fractionation opportunities associated with liquids-rich natural gas shale plays, such as portions of the Barnett Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale, and with even richer casinghead gas opportunities from active crude oil resource plays, such as the Wolfberry (and other named variants of Wolfcamp / Spraberry / Dean / other geologic cross-section combinations) and the Bone Springs / Avalon Shale plays. We believe that our leadership position in the Downstream Business, which includes our fractionation services, provides us with a competitive advantage relative to other gathering and processing companies without these capabilities.

Competitive Strengths and Strategies

We believe that we are well positioned to execute our business strategies due to the following competitive strengths:

Strategically located gathering and processing asset base.

Our gathering and processing businesses are predominantly located in active and growth oriented oil and gas producing basins. Activity in the Canyon Sands, Bone Springs, Wolfberry, and Barnett Shale plays is driven by oil, condensate and NGL production and currently favorable prices for those energy commodities. Increased drilling and production activities in these areas would likely increase the volumes of natural gas available to our gathering and processing systems.

Leading fractionation position.

We are one of the largest fractionators of NGLs in the Gulf Coast. Our primary fractionation assets are located in Mont Belvieu, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana, which are key market centers for NGLs and are located at the intersection of NGL infrastructure including mixed NGL supply pipelines, storage, takeaway pipelines and other transportation infrastructure. Our assets are also located near and connected to key consumers of NGL products including the petrochemical and industrial markets. The location and interconnectivity of the assets are not easily replicated, and we have sufficient additional capability to expand their capacity. Our management has extensive experience in operating these assets and in permitting and building new midstream assets.

Comprehensive package of midstream services.

We provide a comprehensive package of services to natural gas producers, including natural gas gathering, compression, treating, processing and selling natural gas and storing, fractionating, treating, transporting and selling NGLs, NGL products and refined petroleum products. These services are essential to gather, process and treat wellhead gas to meet pipeline standards and to extract NGLs for sale into petrochemical, industrial and commercial markets. We believe our ability to provide these integrated services provides an advantage in competing for new supplies of natural gas because we can provide substantially all of the services producers, marketers and others require for moving natural gas and NGLs from wellhead to market on a cost-effective basis. Additionally, due to the high cost of replicating assets in key strategic positions, the difficulty of permitting and constructing new midstream assets and the difficulty of developing the expertise necessary to operate them, the barriers to enter the midstream natural gas sector on a scale similar to ours are reasonably high.
 
 
High quality and efficient assets.

Our gathering and processing systems and logistics assets consist of high-quality, well-maintained facilities, resulting in low-cost, efficient operations. Advanced technologies have been implemented for processing plants (primarily cryogenic units utilizing centralized control systems), measurements (essentially all electronic and electronically linked to a central data base) and operations and maintenance to manage work orders and implement preventative maintenance schedules (computerized maintenance management systems). These applications have allowed proactive management of our operations resulting in lower costs and minimal downtime. We have established a reputation in the midstream industry as a reliable and cost-effective supplier of services to our customers and have a track record of safe and efficient operation of our facilities. We intend to continue to pursue new contracts, cost efficiencies and operating improvements of our assets. Such improvements in the past have included new production and acreage commitments, reducing fuel gas and flare volumes and improving facility capacity and NGL recoveries. We will also continue to optimize existing plant assets to improve and maximize capacity and throughput.

In addition to routine annual maintenance expenses, our maintenance capital expenditures have averaged approximately $58.9 million per year over the last three years. We believe that our assets are well-maintained and anticipate that a similar level of capital expenditures will be sufficient for us to continue to operate these assets in a prudent and cost-effective manner.

Large, diverse business mix with favorable contracts and increasing fee-based business.

We maintain gathering and processing positions in strategic oil and gas producing areas across multiple oil and gas basins and provide services under attractive contract terms to a diverse mix of customers across our areas of operations. Consequently, we are not dependent on any one oil and gas basin or customer. The gathering and processing contract portfolio has attractive rate and term characteristics. Our NGL Logistics and Marketing assets are typically located near key market hubs and near important NGL customers. They also serve must-run portions of the natural gas value chain, are primarily fee-based and have a diverse mix of customers. The logistics contract portfolio, largely fee-based, has attractive rate and term characteristics. Given the higher rates for logistics assets contracts that are being renewed (largely based on replacement cost economics), the new projects underway, the long-term nature of many of the renewed and new contracts and continuing strong supply and demand fundamentals for this business, we expect an increasing percentage of our cash flows to be fee-based.

Financial flexibility.

We have historically maintained strong financial metrics relative to our peer group, with financial results consistently above the peer group median. We also reduce the impact of commodity price volatility by hedging the commodity price risk associated with a portion of our expected natural gas, NGL and condensate equity volumes. Maintaining appropriate leverage liquidity and distribution coverage levels and mitigating commodity price volatility allow us to be flexible in our growth strategy and enable us to pursue strategic acquisitions and large growth projects.

Experienced and long-term focused management team.

The executive management team which formed Targa Resources Inc. in 2004 and continues to manage Targa today possesses over 200 years of combined experience working in the midstream natural gas and energy business. Other officers and key operational, commercial and financial employees provide significant experience in the industry and with our assets and businesses.
 
Attractive cash flow characteristics.

We believe our strategy, combined with our high-quality asset portfolio and strong industry fundamentals, allows us to generate attractive cash flows. Geographic, business and customer diversity enhances our cash flow profile. Our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing division has a favorable contract mix that is primarily percent-of-proceeds (the Field Gathering and Processing Segment) or hybrid or percent-of-liquids (the Coastal Gathering and Processing Segment) which, along with our long-term commodity hedging program and the nature of our contracts and assets, serves to mitigate the impact of commodity price movements on cash flow. In the Coastal Gathering and Processing Segment, we have increased volumes of higher GPM gas supplies under keep-whole contracts, which benefit from an environment of low gas prices relative to NGLs and crude oil.
 
 
We have hedged the commodity price risk associated with a portion of our expected natural gas and NGL equity volumes through 2013 and condensate equity volumes through 2014 by entering into financially settled derivative transactions including swaps and purchased puts (or floors). The primary purpose of our commodity risk management activities is to hedge our exposure to price risk and to mitigate the impact of fluctuations in commodity prices on cash flow. We have intentionally tailored our hedges to approximate specific NGL products and to approximate our actual NGL and residue natural gas delivery points. We intend to continue to manage our exposure to commodity prices by entering into similar hedge transactions as market conditions permit.

We also monitor and manage our inventory levels with a view to mitigating losses related to downward price exposure.

Asset base well-positioned for organic growth.

We believe our asset platform and strategic locations allow us to maintain and potentially grow our volumes and related cash flows as our supply areas continue to benefit from exploration and development. At current and recent historical prices, technology advances have resulted in increased domestic oil and liquids rich gas drilling and production activity. The location of our assets provides us with access to stable natural gas supplies and proximity to end-use markets and liquid market hubs while positioning us to capitalize on drilling and production activity in those areas. Our existing infrastructure has the capacity to handle some incremental increases in volumes without significant investments as well as opportunities to leverage existing assets with meaningful expansions. We believe that as domestic supply and demand for natural gas and NGLs, and services for each, grows over the long term, our infrastructure will increase in value, as such infrastructure takes on increasing importance in meeting that demand.

While we have set forth our strategies and competitive strengths above, our business involves numerous risks and uncertainties which may prevent us from executing our strategies or impact the amount of distributions to our unitholders. These risks include the adverse impact of changes in natural gas, NGL and condensate prices or in the supply of or demand for these commodities, and our inability to access sufficient additional production to replace natural declines in production. For a more complete description of the risks associated with an investment in us, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”

Targa has used us as a growth vehicle to pursue the acquisition and expansion of midstream natural gas, NGL and other complementary energy businesses and assets as evidenced by our acquisitions of businesses from Targa. However, Targa is not prohibited from competing with us and may evaluate acquisitions and dispositions that do not involve us. In addition, through our relationship with Targa, we have access to a significant pool of management talent, strong commercial relationships throughout the energy industry and access to Targa’s broad operational, commercial, technical, risk management and administrative infrastructure.

As of February 17, 2012, Targa and its Section 16 officers and directors have a significant interest in us through their ownership of a 14.9% limited partner interest and Targa’s 2% general partner interest. In addition, Targa owns incentive distribution rights that entitle Targa to receive an increasing percentage of quarterly distributions of available cash from our operating surplus after the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels have been achieved. We are a party to an Omnibus Agreement with Targa that governs our relationship regarding certain reimbursement and indemnification matters. See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Omnibus Agreement.”

We do not have any employees to carry out our operations. Targa employs 1,096 people. See “Employees.” Following the conveyance of assets to us by Targa in September 2010, substantially all of Targa’s general and administrative costs have been, and will continue to be, allocated to us, other than Targa’s direct costs of being a separate reporting company.
 
 
Our Challenges

We face a number of challenges in implementing our business strategy. For example:

·  
We have a substantial amount of indebtedness which may adversely affect our financial position.

·  
Our cash flow is affected by supply and demand for oil, natural gas and NGL products and by natural gas, NGL and condensate prices, and decreases in these prices could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

·  
Our long-term success depends on our ability to obtain new sources of supplies of natural gas and NGLs, which depends on certain factors beyond our control. Any decrease in supplies of natural gas or NGLs could adversely affect our business and operating results.

·  
If we do not make acquisitions or investments in new assets on economically acceptable terms or efficiently and effectively integrate new assets, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

·  
We are subject to regulatory, environmental, political, legal and economic risks, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

·  
Our growth strategy requires access to new capital. Tightened capital markets or increased competition for investment opportunities could impair our ability to grow.

·  
Our hedging activities may not be effective in reducing the variability of our cash flows and may, in certain circumstances, increase the variability of our cash flows.

·  
Our industry is highly competitive, and increased competitive pressure could adversely affect our business and operating results.

For a further discussion of these and other challenges we face, please read “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”

Our Business Operations

Our operations are reported in two divisions: (i) Natural Gas Gathering and Processing, consisting of two segments—(a) Field Gathering and Processing and (b) Coastal Gathering and Processing; and (ii) Logistics and Marketing, consisting of two segments—(a) Logistics Assets and (b) Marketing and Distribution.

Natural Gas Gathering and Processing Division

Our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing Division consists of gathering, compressing, dehydrating, treating, conditioning, processing, transporting and marketing natural gas. The gathering of natural gas consists of aggregating natural gas produced from various wells through small diameter gathering lines to processing plants. Natural gas has a widely varying composition depending on the field, the formation and the reservoir from which it is produced. The processing of natural gas consists of the extraction of imbedded NGLs and the removal of water vapor and other contaminants to form (i) a stream of marketable natural gas, commonly referred to as residue gas, and (ii) a stream of mixed NGLs, commonly referred to as “Mixed NGLs” or “Y-grade.” Once processed, the residue gas is transported to markets through pipelines that are either owned by the gatherers or processors or third parties. End users of residue gas include large commercial and industrial customers, as well as natural gas and electric utilities serving individual consumers. We sell our residue gas either directly to such end users or to marketers into intrastate or interstate pipelines, which are typically located in close proximity or with ready access to our facilities.

We continually seek new supplies of natural gas, both to offset the natural decline in production from connected wells and to increase throughput volumes. We obtain additional natural gas supply in our operating areas by contracting for production from new wells or by capturing existing production currently gathered by others. Competition for new natural gas supplies is based primarily on location of assets, commercial terms, service levels and access to markets. The commercial terms of natural gas gathering and processing arrangements are driven, in part, by capital costs, which are impacted by the proximity of systems to the supply source and by operating costs, which are impacted by operational efficiencies, facility design and economies of scale.
 
 
We believe our extensive asset base and scope of operations in the regions in which we operate provide us with significant opportunities to add both new and existing natural gas production to our systems. We believe our size and scope gives us a strong competitive position by placing us in close proximity to a large number of existing and new natural gas producing wells in our areas of operations, allowing us to generate economies of scale and to provide our customers with access to our existing facilities and to multiple end-use markets and market hubs. Additionally, we believe our ability to serve our customers’ needs across the natural gas and NGL value chain further augments our ability to attract new customers.

Field Gathering and Processing Segment

The Field Gathering and Processing segment gathers and processes natural gas from the Permian Basin in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico and the Fort Worth Basin, including the Barnett Shale, in North Texas. The natural gas processed in this segment is supplied through our gathering systems which, in aggregate, consist of approximately 10,400 miles of natural gas pipelines. The segment’s processing plants include nine owned and operated facilities. During 2011, we processed an average of approximately 612 MMcf/d of natural gas and produced an average of approximately 74 MBbl/d of NGLs.

We believe we are well positioned as a gatherer and processor in the Permian and Fort Worth Basins. We have a broad geographic scope, covering portions of 44 counties and approximately 18,100 square miles across these basins. We believe proximity to production and development provides us with a competitive advantage in capturing new supplies of natural gas because of our competitive costs to connect new wells and to process additional natural gas in our existing processing plants. Additionally, because we operate all of our plants in these regions, we are often able to redirect natural gas among two or more of our processing plants, allowing us to optimize processing efficiency and further improve the profitability of our operations.

The Field Gathering and Processing segment’s operations consist of the Permian Business, Versado, SAOU and the North Texas System, each as described below.

Permian Business. The Permian Business consists of the Sand Hills gathering and processing system and the West Seminole and Puckett gathering systems in West Texas. These systems consist of approximately 1,400 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines. These gathering systems are low-pressure gathering systems with significant compression assets. The Sand Hills refrigerated cryogenic processing plant has a gross processing capacity of 150 MMcf/d and residue gas connections to pipelines owned by affiliates of Enterprise Products Partners L.P., ONEOK, Inc. and El Paso Corporation.

Versado. Versado consists of the Saunders, Eunice and Monument gas processing plants and related gathering systems in Southeastern New Mexico. Versado consists of approximately 3,200 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines. The Saunders, Eunice and Monument refrigerated cryogenic processing plants have aggregate processing capacity of 280 MMcf/d (176.4 MMcf/d, net to our ownership interest). These plants have residue gas connections to pipelines owned by affiliates of El Paso Corporation, MidAmerican Energy Company and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. Our ownership in Versado is held through Versado Gas Processors, L.L.C., a joint venture that is 63% owned by us and 37% owned by Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

SAOU. Covering portions of 10 counties and approximately 4,000 square miles in West Texas, SAOU includes approximately 1,667 miles of pipelines in the Permian Basin that gather natural gas to the Mertzon, Sterling, and Conger processing plants. SAOU is connected to thousands of producing wells and over 950 central delivery points. SAOU has approximately 1,138 miles of low pressure gathering pipelines and approximately 528 miles of high-pressure gathering pipelines to deliver the natural gas to our processing plants. SAOU has 31 compressor stations to inject low pressure gas into the high-pressure pipelines. SAOU’s processing facilities include three currently operating refrigerated cryogenic processing plants—the Mertzon, Sterling, and Conger plants—which have an aggregate processing capacity of approximately 139 MMcf/d. These plants have residue gas connections to pipelines owned by affiliates of ONEOK Inc., El Paso Corporation, Enterprise Partners L.P., Atmos Energy Corporation, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. and Northern Natural Gas Company.
 
 
North Texas System. The North Texas System includes two interconnected gathering systems with approximately 4,200 miles of pipelines, covering portions of 15 counties and approximately 5,700 square miles, gathering wellhead natural gas for the Chico and Shackelford natural gas processing facilities. These plants have residue gas connections to pipelines owned by affiliates of Atmos Energy Corporation, Energy Transfer Fuel LP, and Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC.

The Chico gathering system consists of approximately 2,100 miles of primarily low-pressure gathering pipelines. Wellhead natural gas is either gathered for the Chico plant located in Wise County, Texas, and then compressed for processing, or it is compressed in the field at numerous compressor stations and then moved via one of several high-pressure gathering pipelines to the Chico plant. The plant has an aggregated processing capacity of 265 MMcf/d and an integrated fractionation capacity of 15 MBbl/d. The Shackelford gathering system consists of approximately 2,100 miles of intermediate-pressure gathering pipelines. The pipelines gather wellhead natural gas largely for the Shackelford plant in Albany, Texas. Natural gas gathered from the northern and eastern portions of the Shackelford Gathering System is typically compressed in the field at numerous compressor stations and then transported to the Chico plant for processing. The Shackelford plant has an aggregate processing capacity of 13 MMcf/d.

The following table lists the Field Gathering and Processing segment’s natural gas processing plants and related volumes for the year ended December 31, 2011:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gross
 
Gross Plant
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Processing
 
Natural Gas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capacity
 
Inlet Throughput
 
Gross NGL
 
Process
 
Operated/
Facility
 
% Owned
 
Location
 
(MMcf/d)
 
Volume (MMcf/d)
 
Production
 
Type (4)
 
Non-Operated
Permian Business
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sand Hills
    100  
Crane, TX
    150.0     122.5     15.2  
Cryo
 
Operated
Other Permian (1)
       
 
          11.8     0.5  
 
 
 
 
       
 
                   
 
 
 
Versado System
       
 
                   
 
 
 
Saunders (2)
    63  
Lea, NM
    70.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
Eunice (2)
    63  
Lea, NM
    120.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
Monument (2)
    63  
Lea, NM
    90.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
 
       
Area Total
    280.0     162.8     18.1  
 
 
 
SAOU
       
 
                   
 
 
 
Mertzon
    100  
Irion, TX
    52.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
Sterling
    100  
Sterling, TX
    62.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
Conger
    100  
Sterling, TX
    25.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
 
       
Area Total
    139.0     111.0     17.4  
 
 
 
North Texas System
       
 
                   
 
 
 
Chico (3)
    100  
Wise, TX
    265.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
Shackelford
    100  
Shackelford, TX
    13.0              
Cryo
 
Operated
 
       
Area Total
    278.0     203.5     22.9  
 
 
 
 
 
Segment System Total
    847.0     611.6     74.1  
 
 
 
_________
(1)  
Other Permian includes throughput other than plant inlet, primarily from compressor stations.
(2)  
These plants are part of our Versado joint venture, of which we own 63%; capacity and volumes represent 100% of ownership interest.
(3)  
The Chico plant has fractionation capacity of approximately 15 MBbl/d.
(4)  
Cryo – Cryogenic Processing.

Coastal Gathering and Processing Segment
 
Our Coastal Gathering and Processing segment assets are located in the onshore region of the Louisiana Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. With the strategic location of our assets in Louisiana, we have access to the Henry Hub, the largest natural gas hub in the U.S., and to a substantial NGL distribution system with access to markets throughout Louisiana and the southeast U.S. The Coastal Gathering and Processing segment’s assets consist of the Coastal Straddles and LOU, each as described below. For the year ended 2011, we processed an average of approximately 1,551 MMcf/d of plant natural gas inlet and produced an average of approximately 50 MBbl/d of NGLs.
 
 
Coastal Straddles. Coastal Straddles consists of three wholly owned and operated gas processing plants and seven partially owned plants, some of which are operated by us. The plants, having an aggregated processing capacity of approximately 8,230 MMcf/d, are generally situated on mainline natural gas pipelines near the coastline and process volumes of natural gas collected from multiple offshore gathering systems and pipelines throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Straddles also has ownership in three offshore gathering systems that are operated by us. The Pelican and Seahawk pipeline systems are non-FERC regulated gathering systems that have a combined length of approximately 175 miles, and a combined capacity of approximately 230 MMcf per day. These systems gather natural gas from the shallow waters of central Gulf of Mexico and supply a portion of the natural gas delivered to the Barracuda and Lowry processing facilities. Additionally, through our 77% ownership interest in VESCO, we operate the Venice Gathering System (“VGS”), an offshore gathering system regulated as an interstate pipeline by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). VGS is approximately 150 miles in length and has a nominal capacity of 320 MMcf per day. VGS gathers natural gas from the shallow waters of eastern Gulf of Mexico and supplies a portion of the natural gas to the Venice gas plant.

Coastal Straddles process natural gas produced from shallow water central and western Gulf of Mexico natural gas wells and from deep shelf and deepwater Gulf of Mexico production via connections to third-party pipelines or through pipelines owned by us. Coastal Straddles has access to markets across the U.S. through the interstate natural gas pipelines to which they are interconnected.

LOU. LOU consists of approximately 875 miles of gathering system pipelines, covering approximately 3,800 square miles in Southwest Louisiana. The gathering system is connected to numerous producing wells and/or central delivery points in the area between Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana. The gathering system is a high-pressure gathering system that delivers natural gas for processing to either the Acadia or Gillis plants via three main trunk lines. The processing facilities include the Gillis and Acadia processing plants, both of which are cryogenic plants. These processing plants have an aggregate processing capacity of approximately 260 MMcf/d. In addition, the Gillis plant has integrated fractionation with operating capacity of approximately 13 MBbl/d.

The following table lists the Coastal Gathering and Processing segment’s natural gas processing plants and related volumes for the year ended December 31, 2011:

           
Gross
 
Gross Plant
           
           
Processing
 
Natural Gas
           
           
Capacity
 
Inlet Throughput
 
Gross NGL
 
Process
 
Operated/
Facility
 
% Owned
 
Location
 
(MMcf/d)
 
Volume (MMcf/d)
 
Production
 
Type (4)
 
Non-operated
                             
Coastal Straddles (1)
                           
Barracuda
  100  
Cameron, LA
  190   126.2   3.3  
Cryo
 
Operated
Lowry
  100  
Cameron, LA
  265   125.5   2.8  
Cryo
 
Operated
Stingray
  100  
Cameron, LA
  300   135.3   3.1  
RA
 
Operated
Calumet (5)
  32.4  
St. Mary, LA
  1,650   99.7   2.6  
RA
 
Non-operated
Yscloskey (2)
  25.3  
St. Bernard, LA
  1,850   276.4   1.8  
RA
 
Operated
Bluewater (2)
  21.8  
Acadia, LA
  425   *   *  
Cryo
 
Non-operated
Terrebonne (2)
  4.8  
Terrebonne, LA
  950   22.6   0.6  
RA
 
Non-operated
Toca (2)
  10.7  
St. Bernard, LA
  1,150   51.5   1.2  
Cryo/RA
 
Non-operated
Sea Robin
  0.8  
Vermillion, LA
  700   17.4   0.5  
Cryo
 
Non-operated
VESCO
  76.8  
Plaquemines, LA
  750   498.5   25.8  
Cryo
 
Operated
Other (6)
              21.7   0.8        
       
Area Total
  8,230   1,374.8   42.5        
LOU
                           
Gillis (3)
  100  
Calcasieu, LA
  180          
Cryo
 
Operated
Acadia
  100  
Acadia, LA
  80          
Cryo
 
Operated
       
Area Total
  260   175.7   7.4        
   
Consolidated System Total
  8,490   1,550.5   49.9        
* Not available.
                           
________
(1)  
Coastal Straddles also includes three offshore gathering systems which have a combined length of approximately 330 miles.
(2)  
Our ownership is adjustable and subject to annual redetermination based on our proportionate share of owners production.
(3)  
The Gillis plant has fractionation capacity of approximately 13 MBbl/d.
(4)  
Cryo – Cryogenic Processing; RA – Refrigerated Absorption Processing.
(5)  
Plant shut-down January 2012.
(6)  
Other includes plants not owned by us.
 
Logistics and Marketing Division

Our Logistics and Marketing Division is also referred to as the Downstream Business. It includes the activities necessary to convert mixed NGLs into NGL products and provide certain value added services such as the fractionation, storage, terminaling, transportation, distribution and marketing of NGLs, as well as certain natural gas supply and marketing activities in support of our other businesses. Through fractionation, mixed NGLs are separated into their component parts (ethane, propane, butanes and natural gasoline). These component parts are delivered to end-users through pipelines, barges, trucks and rail cars. End-users of NGL products include petrochemical and refining companies and propane markets for heating, cooking or crop drying applications. Retail distributors often sell to end-use propane customers.

Logistics Assets Segment

This segment uses its platform of integrated assets to receive, fractionate, store, treat, transport and deliver NGLs typically under fee-based arrangements. For NGLs to be used by refineries, petrochemical manufacturers, propane distributors and other industrial end-users, they must be fractionated into their component products and delivered to various points throughout the U.S. Our logistics assets are generally connected to and supplied in part by our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing assets and are primarily located at Mont Belvieu and Galena Park near Houston, Texas and in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This segment also contains refined petroleum product and crude oil storage and terminaling.

Fractionation. After being extracted in the field, mixed NGLs, sometimes referred to as “Y-grade” or “raw NGL mix,” are typically transported to a centralized facility for fractionation where the mixed NGLs are separated into discrete NGL products: ethane-propane mix, ethane, propane, normal butane, iso-butane and natural gasoline. Mixed NGLs delivered from our Field and Coastal Gathering and Processing segments represent the largest single source of volumes processed by our NGL fractionators.

Our fractionation assets include ownership interests in three stand-alone fractionation facilities that are located on the Gulf Coast, two of which we operate, one at Mont Belvieu, Texas and the other at Lake Charles, Louisiana. We have an equity investment in the third fractionator, GCF, also located at Mont Belvieu. We are subject to a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, issued December 12, 1996, that, among other things, prevents us from participating in commercial decisions regarding rates paid by third parties for fractionation services at GCF. This restriction on our activity at GCF will terminate on December 12, 2016, twenty years after the date the consent order was issued. In addition to the three stand-alone facilities in the Logistics Assets segment, see the description of fractionation assets in the North Texas System and LOU in our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing division.

The majority of our NGL fractionation business is under fee-based arrangements. These fees are subject to adjustment for changes in certain fractionation expenses, including energy costs. The operating results of our NGL fractionation business are dependent upon the volume of mixed NGLs fractionated and the level of fractionation fees charged.

We believe that sufficient volumes of mixed NGLs will be available for fractionation in commercially viable quantities for the foreseeable future due to increases in NGL production expected from shale plays and other shale-technology driven resource plays in areas of the U.S. that include North Texas, South Texas, Permian Basin, Oklahoma and the Rockies and certain other basins accessed by pipelines to Mont Belvieu, as well as from conventional production of NGLs in areas such as the Permian Basin, Mid-Continent, East Texas, South Louisiana and shelf and deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Hydrocarbon dew point specifications implemented by individual natural gas pipelines and the policy statement enacted by FERC should result in volumes of mixed NGLs being available for fractionation because natural gas requires processing or conditioning to meet pipeline quality specifications. These requirements establish a base volume of mixed NGLs during periods when it might be otherwise uneconomical to process certain sources of natural gas. Furthermore, significant volumes of mixed NGLs are contractually committed to our NGL fractionation facilities.

Although competition for NGL fractionation services is primarily based on the fractionation fee, the ability of an NGL fractionator to obtain mixed NGLs and distribute NGL products is also an important competitive factor. This ability is a function of the existence of storage infrastructure and supply and market connectivity necessary to conduct such operations. We believe that the location, scope and capability of our logistics assets, including our transportation and distribution systems, give us access to both substantial sources of mixed NGLs and a large number of end-use markets.
 
 
We also have a natural gasoline hydrotreater at Mont Belvieu, Texas that removes sulfur from natural gasoline, allowing customers to meet new, more stringent environmental standards. The facility has a capacity of 30 MBbl/d and is supported by fee-based contracts with Marathon Petroleum Company LLC and Koch Supply and Trading LP that have certain guaranteed volume commitments or provisions for deficiency payments.

Modifications have been made to this process to also provide for benzene treating for Marathon’s account. This new process addition was started up in January 2012, which effectively reset Marathon’s term for five years beginning February 1, 2012. Similar to the hydrotreater, the benzene saturation process is supported by fee-based contracts that have certain guaranteed volume commitments or provisions for deficiency payments.

The following table details the Logistics Assets segment’s fractionation and treating facilities:

       
Maximum Gross
 
Gross Throughput
Facility
 
% Owned
 
Capacity (MBbl/d)
 
for 2011 (MBbl/d)
Operated Fractionation Facilities:
           
Lake Charles Fractionator (Lake Charles, LA)
    100.0     55.0     34.8
Cedar Bayou Fractionator (Mont Belvieu, TX)
    88.0     293.0     230.3
Targa LSNG Hydrotreater (Mont Belvieu, TX)
    100.0     30.0     15.3
Non-operated Fractionation Facilities:
                 
Gulf Coast Fractionator (Mont Belvieu, TX)
    38.8     109.0     92.0

Storage, Terminaling and Petroleum Logistics. In general, our storage assets provide warehousing of mixed NGLs, NGL products and petrochemical products in underground wells, which allows for the injection and withdrawal of such products at various times in order to meet supply and demand cycles. Similarly, our terminaling operations provide the inbound/outbound logistics and warehousing of mixed NGLs, NGL products and petrochemical products in above-ground storage tanks. Our underground storage and terminaling facilities serve single markets, such as propane, as well as multiple products and markets. For example, the Mont Belvieu and Galena Park facilities have extensive pipeline connections for mixed NGL supply and delivery of component NGLs. In addition, some of these facilities are connected to marine, rail and truck loading and unloading facilities that provide services and products to our customers. We provide long and short term storage and terminaling services and throughput capability to third-party customers for a fee.

Our newly acquired Petroleum Logistics business, which consists of storage and terminaling facilities in Texas (the Channelview Terminal), Maryland (the Baltimore Terminal) and Washington (the Sound Terminal), each currently primarily for the refined petroleum products and crude oil market, but potentially also including crude oil, LPGs and biofuels.

Across the Logistics Assets segment, we own or operate a total of 39 storage wells at our facilities with a net storage capacity of approximately 64 MMBbl, the usage of which may be limited by brine handling capacity, which is utilized to displace NGLs from storage.

We operate our storage and terminaling facilities based on the needs and requirements of our customers. We usually experience an increase in demand for storage and terminaling of mixed NGLs during the summer months when gas plants typically reach peak NGL production, refineries have excess NGL products and LPG imports are often highest. Demand for storage and terminaling at our propane facilities typically peaks during fall, winter and early spring. We have experienced significant demand growth for NGL (primarily propane) exports, and expect that trend to continue with our announced international grade propane exports project.

Our fractionation, storage and terminaling business is supported by approximately 940 miles of company-owned pipelines to transport mixed NGLs and specification products.


The following table details the Logistics Assets NGL storage facilities at December 31, 2011:

   
NGL Storage Facilities
 
           
Number of
   
Gross Storage
 
Facility
 
% Owned
 
County/Parish, State
 
Permitted Wells
   
Capacity (MMBbl)
 
Hackberry Storage (Lake Charles)
  100  
Cameron, LA
  12   (1)   20.0  
Mont Belvieu Storage
  100  
Chambers, TX
  20   (2)   43.0  
Easton Storage
  100  
Evangeline, LA
  1     0.8  
________
(1)  
Five of twelve owned wells leased to CITGO under long-term leases.
(2)  
We own 20 wells and operate 6 wells owned by Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC.

The following table details the Logistics Assets Terminal Facilities for the year ended December 31, 2011:
 
               
Throughput for 2011
(Million gallons)
     
Facility
 
% Owned
 
County/Parish, State
 
Description
Usable Storage
Capacity
(MMBbl)
 
Galena Park Terminal (1)
  100  
Harris, TX
 
NGL import/export terminal
  1,022.3   0.7  
Mont Belvieu Terminal
  100  
Chambers, TX
 
Transport and storage terminal
  2,554.8   48.9  
Hackberry Terminal
  100  
Cameron, LA
 
Storage terminal
  390.9   17.8  
Channelview Terminal (2)
  100  
Harris, TX
 
Transport and storage terminal
  101.6   0.5  
Baltimore Terminal
  100  
Baltimore, MD
 
Transport and storage terminal
  -   0.5  
Sound Terminal (3)
  100  
Pierce, WA
 
Transport and storage terminal
  46.7   0.8  
________
(1)  
Volumes reflect total import and export across the dock/terminal.
(2)  
Represents throughput for the 10 ½ months following the Channelview terminal acquisition on March 15, 2011.
(3)  
Represents throughput for the three months following the Sound Terminal acquisition on September 30, 2011.

Marketing and Distribution Segment

The Marketing and Distribution segment transports, distributes and markets NGLs via terminals and transportation assets across the U.S. We own or commercially manage terminal facilities in a number of states, including Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Nevada, California, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Jersey and Washington. The geographic diversity of our assets provide direct access to many NGL customers as well as markets via trucks, barges, rail cars and open-access regulated NGL pipelines owned by third parties. The Marketing and Distribution segment consists of (i) NGL Distribution and Marketing, (ii) Wholesale Marketing, (iii) Refinery Services, (iv) Commercial Transportation, (v) Natural Gas Marketing and (vi) Terminal Facilities, each as described below.

NGL Distribution and Marketing. We market our own NGL production and also purchase component NGL products from other NGL producers and marketers for resale. During the year ended December 31, 2011, our distribution and marketing services business sold an average of approximately 273 MBbl/d of NGLs.

We generally purchase mixed NGLs from producers at a monthly pricing index less applicable fractionation, transportation and marketing fees and resell these products to petrochemical manufacturers, refineries and other marketing and retail companies. This is primarily a physical settlement business in which we earn margins from purchasing and selling NGL products from producers under contract. We also earn margins by purchasing and reselling NGL products in the spot and forward physical markets. To effectively serve our Distribution and Marketing customers, we contract for and use many of the assets included in our Logistics Assets segment. We also market natural gas available to us from our Gathering and Processing segments, and purchase and resell natural gas in selected United States markets.

Wholesale Marketing. Our wholesale propane marketing operations primarily sell propane and related logistics services to major multi-state retailers, independent retailers and other end-users. Our propane supply primarily originates from both our refinery/gas supply contracts and our other owned or managed logistics and marketing assets. We generally sell propane at a fixed or posted price at the time of delivery and, in some circumstances, we earn margin on a net-back basis.

The wholesale propane marketing business is significantly impacted by weather-driven demand, particularly in the winter, which can impact the price of propane in the markets we serve and impact the ability to deliver propane to satisfy peak demand.
 
 
Refinery Services. In our refinery services business, we typically provide NGL balancing services via contractual arrangements with refiners to purchase and/or market propane and to supply butanes. We use our commercial transportation assets (discussed below) and contract for and use the storage, transportation and distribution assets included in our Logistics Assets segment to assist refinery customers in managing their NGL product demand and production schedules. This includes both feedstocks consumed in refinery processes and the excess NGLs produced by those same refining processes. Under typical net-back purchase contracts, we generally retain a portion of the resale price of NGL sales or receive a fixed minimum fee per gallon on products sold. Under net-back sales contracts, fees are earned for locating and supplying NGL feedstocks to the refineries based on a percentage of the cost to obtain such supply or a minimum fee per gallon.

Key factors impacting the results of our refinery services business include production volumes, prices of propane and butanes, as well as our ability to perform receipt, delivery and transportation services in order to meet refinery demand.

Commercial Transportation. Our NGL transportation and distribution infrastructure includes a wide range of assets supporting both third-party customers and the delivery requirements of our marketing and asset management business. We provide fee-based transportation services to refineries and petrochemical companies throughout the Gulf Coast area. Our assets are also deployed to serve our wholesale distribution terminals, fractionation facilities, underground storage facilities and pipeline injection terminals. These distribution assets provide a variety of ways to transport products to and from our customers.

Our transportation assets, as of December 31, 2011, include:

·  
approximately 565 railcars that we lease and manage;

·  
approximately 74 owned and leased transport tractors and approximately 100 company owned tank trailers;  and

·  
18 company-owned pressurized NGL barges.

Natural Gas Marketing. We also market natural gas available to us from the Gathering and Processing segments, and purchase and resell natural gas in selected United States markets.

The following table details the Marketing and Distribution segment’s Terminal Facilities:
 
               
Throughput for 2011
(Million gallons) (1)
     
Facility
 
% Owned
 
County/Parish, State
 
Description
Usable Storage
Capacity
(Million gallons)
 
Calvert City Terminal
  100  
Marshall, KY
 
Propane terminal
  24.0   0.1  
Greenville Terminal
  100  
Washington, MS
 
Marine propane terminal
  20.1   1.7  
Port Everglades Terminal
  100  
Broward, FL
 
Marine propane terminal
  12.0   1.7  
Tyler Terminal
  100  
Smith, TX
 
Propane terminal
  15.4   0.2  
Abilene Transport (2)
  100  
Taylor, TX
 
Raw NGL transport terminal
  13.2  
Less than 0.1
 
Bridgeport Transport (2)
  100  
Jack, TX
 
Raw NGL transport terminal
  37.2   0.1  
Gladewater Transport (2)
  100  
Gregg, TX
 
Raw NGL transport terminal
  25.7   0.2  
Hammond Transport
  100  
Tangipahoa, LA
 
Transport terminal
  31.0  
No storage
 
Chattanooga Terminal
  100  
Hamilton, TN
 
Propane terminal
  14.0   1.0  
Sparta Terminal
  100  
Sparta, NJ
 
Propane terminal
  10.7   0.2  
Hattiesburg Terminal (3)
  50  
Forrest, MS
 
Propane terminal
  138.4   269.6  
Winona Terminal
  100  
Flagstaff, AZ
 
Propane terminal
  7.2   0.3  
Sound Terminal (4)
  100  
Pierce, WA
 
Propane terminal
 
Less than 0.1
  0.2  
_______
(1)  
Throughputs include volumes related to exchange agreements and third-party storage agreements.
(2)  
Volumes reflect total transport and injection volumes.
(3)  
Throughput volume is based on total facility capacity.
(4)  
Operated by Logistics Assets segment; throughput volume is for three months following the Sound Terminal acquisition on September 30, 2011.
 
 
Operational Risks and Insurance

We are subject to all risks inherent in the midstream natural gas and petroleum logistics businesses. These risks include, but are not limited to, explosions, fires, mechanical failure, terrorist attacks, product spillage, weather, nature and inadequate maintenance of rights-of-way and could result in damage to or destruction of operating assets and other property, or could result in personal injury, loss of life or polluting the environment, as well as curtailment or suspension of operations at the affected facility. Targa maintains, on behalf of our self and our subsidiaries, general public liability, property, boiler and machinery and business interruption insurance in amounts that we consider to be appropriate for such risks. Such insurance is subject to deductibles that we consider reasonable and not excessive given the current insurance market environment. The costs associated with this insurance coverage increased significantly following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and then again following hurricanes Gustav and Ike and as a result of volatile conditions in the financial markets in 2008. Insurance premiums, deductibles and co-insurance requirements increased substantially, and terms were generally less favorable than terms that were obtained prior to these events.

The occurrence of a significant event not fully insured or indemnified against, or the failure of a party to meet its indemnification obligations, could materially and adversely affect our operations and financial condition. While we currently maintain levels and types of insurance that we believe to be prudent under current insurance industry market conditions, our inability to secure these levels and types of insurance in the future could negatively impact our business operations and financial stability, particularly if an uninsured loss were to occur. No assurance can be given that we will be able to maintain these levels of insurance in the future at rates considered commercially reasonable, particularly named windstorm coverage and contingent business interruption coverage for our onshore operations.

Significant Customer

The following table lists the percentage of our consolidated sales with our significant customer:

   
2011
 
2010
 
2009
 
% of consolidated revenues
             
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC
  12%   10%   15%  

We have agreements with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC (“CPC”), pursuant to which we supply a significant portion of CPC’s NGL feedstock needs for petrochemical plants in the Texas Gulf Coast area and a related services agreement, pursuant to which we provide storage and logistical services to CPC for feedstocks and products produced from the petrochemical plants. The services contract was renegotiated in 2008 with key components having a 10 year term. In September 2009, CPC and we executed with a new feedstock and storage agreement effective for a term of 5 years, which will renew annually following the end of the five year term unless terminated by either party. We believe that we are well positioned to retain CPC as a customer based on our long-standing history of customer service, the criticality of the service provided, the integrated nature of facilities and the difficulty and high cost associated with replicating our assets. In addition to these two agreements, we have fractionation agreements in place with CPC for Y-grade streams and butanes.

No other customer accounted for more than 10% of our consolidated revenues during these periods.

Competition

We face strong competition in acquiring new natural gas supplies. Competition for natural gas supplies is primarily based on the location of gathering and processing facilities, pricing arrangements, reputation, efficiency, flexibility, reliability and access to end-use markets or liquid marketing hubs. Competitors to our gathering and processing operations include other natural gas gatherers and processors, such as major interstate and intrastate pipeline companies, master limited partnerships and oil and gas producers. Our major competitors for natural gas supplies in our current operating regions include Atlas Gas Pipeline Company, Copano Energy, L.L.C. (“Copano”), WTG Gas Processing, L.P. (“WTG”), DCP Midstream Partners LP (“DCP”), Devon Energy Corp (“Devon”), Enbridge Inc., GulfSouth Pipeline Company, LP, Hanlon Gas Processing, Ltd., J W Operating Company, Louisiana Intrastate Gas and several other interstate pipeline companies. Many of our competitors have greater financial resources than we possess.
 
 
We also compete for NGL products to market through our NGL Logistics and Marketing division. Our competitors include major oil and gas producers who market NGL products for their own account and for others. Additionally, we compete with several other NGL marketing companies, including Enterprise Products Partners L.P., DCP, ONEOK and BP p.l.c.

Additionally, we face competition for mixed NGLs supplies at our fractionation facilities. Our competitors include large oil, natural gas and petrochemical companies. The fractionators in which we own an interest in the Mont Belvieu region compete for volumes of mixed NGLs with other fractionators also located at Mont Belvieu. Among the primary competitors are Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and ONEOK, Inc. In addition, certain producers fractionate mixed NGLs for their own account in captive facilities. The Mont Belvieu fractionators also compete on a more limited basis with fractionators in Conway, Kansas and a number of decentralized, smaller fractionation facilities in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. Our other fractionation facilities compete for mixed NGLs with the fractionators at Mont Belvieu as well as other fractionation facilities located in Louisiana. Our customers who are significant producers of mixed NGLs and NGL products or consumers of NGL products may develop their own fractionation facilities in lieu of using our services.

Regulation of Operations

Regulation of pipeline gathering and transportation services, natural gas sales and transportation of NGLs may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our products and services.

Regulation of Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines

VGS is regulated by FERC under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (“NGA”), and the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (“NGPA”). VGS operates under a FERC approved, open-access tariff that establishes rates and terms and conditions under which the system provides services to its customers. Pursuant to FERC’s jurisdiction, existing pipeline rates and/or terms and conditions of service may be challenged by customer complaint or by FERC and proposed rate changes or changes in the terms and conditions of service may be challenged by protest. Generally, FERC’s authority extends to: transportation of natural gas; rates and charges for natural gas transportation; certification and construction of new facilities; extension or abandonment of services and facilities; maintenance of accounts and records; commercial relationships and communications between pipelines and certain affiliates; terms and conditions of service and service contracts with customers; depreciation and amortization policies; and acquisition and disposition of facilities.

VGS holds a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by FERC permitting the construction, ownership, and operation of its interstate natural gas pipeline facilities and the provision of transportation services. This certificate authorization requires VGS to provide on a nondiscriminatory basis open-access services to all customers who qualify under its FERC gas tariff. FERC has the power to prescribe the accounting treatment of items for regulatory purposes. Thus, the books and records of VGS may be periodically audited by FERC.

The maximum recourse rates that may be charged by VGS for its services are established through FERC’s ratemaking process. Generally, the maximum filed recourse rates for interstate pipelines are based on the cost of service including recovery of and a return on the pipeline’s investment. Key determinants in the ratemaking process are costs of providing service, allowed rate of return and volume throughput and contractual capacity commitment assumptions. VGS is permitted to discount its firm and interruptible rates without further FERC authorization down to the variable cost of performing service, provided they do not “unduly discriminate.” The applicable recourse rates and terms and conditions for service are set forth in each pipeline’s FERC approved tariff. Rate design and the allocation of costs also can impact a pipeline’s profitability.

Gathering Pipeline Regulation

Our natural gas gathering operations are typically subject to ratable take and common purchaser statutes in the states in which we operate. The common purchaser statutes generally require gathering pipelines to purchase or take without undue discrimination as to source of supply or producer. These statutes are designed to prohibit discrimination in favor of one producer over another or one source of supply over another. The regulations under these statutes can have the effect of imposing some restrictions on our ability as an owner of gathering facilities to decide with whom it contracts to gather natural gas. The states in which we operate have adopted complaint-based regulation of natural gas gathering activities, which allows natural gas producers and shippers to file complaints with state regulators in an effort to resolve grievances relating to gathering access and rate discrimination. The rates we charge for gathering are deemed just and reasonable unless challenged in a complaint. We cannot predict whether such a complaint will be filed against us in the future. Failure to comply with state regulations can result in the imposition of administrative, civil and criminal penalties.
 
 
Section 1(b) of the NGA exempts natural gas gathering facilities from regulation as a natural gas company by FERC under the NGA. We believe that the natural gas pipelines in our gathering systems meet the traditional tests FERC has used to establish a pipeline’s status as a gatherer not subject to regulation as a natural gas company. However, the distinction between FERC regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services is the subject of substantial, on-going litigation, so the classification and regulation of our gathering facilities are subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts or Congress. Natural gas gathering may receive greater regulatory scrutiny at both the state and federal levels. Our natural gas gathering operations could be adversely affected should they be subject to more stringent application of state or federal regulation of rates and services. Additional rules and legislation pertaining to these matters are considered or adopted from time to time. We cannot predict what effect, if any, such changes might have on our operations, but the industry could be required to incur additional capital expenditures and increased costs depending on future legislative and regulatory changes.

In 2007, Texas enacted new laws regarding rates, competition and confidentiality for natural gas gathering and transmission pipelines (“Competition Statute”) and new informal complaint procedures for challenging determinations of lost and unaccounted for gas by gas gatherers, processors and transporters (“LUG Statute”). The Competition Statute gives the Railroad Commission of Texas (“RRC”) the ability to use either a cost-of-service method or a market-based method for setting rates for natural gas gathering and transportation pipelines in formal rate proceedings. This statute also gives the RRC specific authority to enforce its statutory duty to prevent discrimination in natural gas gathering and transportation, to enforce the requirement that parties participate in an informal complaint process and to punish purchasers, transporters, and gatherers for taking discriminatory actions against shippers and sellers. The Competition Bill also provides producers with the unilateral option to determine whether or not confidentiality provisions are included in a contract to which a producer is a party for the sale, transportation, or gathering of natural gas. The LUG Statute modifies the informal complaint process at the RRC with procedures unique to lost and unaccounted for gas issues. Such statute also extends the types of information that can be requested and provides the RRC with the authority to make determinations and issue orders in specific situations. We cannot predict what effect, if any, these statutes might have on our future operations in Texas.

Intrastate Pipeline Regulation

Though our natural gas intrastate pipelines are not subject to regulation by FERC as natural gas companies under the NGA, our intrastate pipelines may be subject to certain FERC-imposed reporting requirements depending on the volume of natural gas purchased or sold in a given year. See “—Other Federal Laws and Regulation Affecting Our Industry—FERC Market Transparency Rules.”

Our intrastate pipelines located in Texas are regulated by the RRC. Our Texas intrastate pipeline, Targa Intrastate Pipeline LLC (“Targa Intrastate”), owns the intrastate pipeline that transports natural gas from our Shackelford processing plant to an interconnect with Atmos Pipeline-Texas that in turn delivers gas to the West Texas Utilities Company’s Paint Creek Power Station. Targa Intrastate also owns a 1.65 mile, 10 inch diameter intrastate pipeline that transports natural gas from a third-party gathering system into the Chico System in Denton County, Texas. Targa Intrastate is a gas utility subject to regulation by the RRC and has a tariff on file with such agency.

Our Louisiana intrastate pipeline, Targa Louisiana Intrastate LLC (“TLI”) owns an approximately 60-mile intrastate pipeline system that receives all of the natural gas it transports within or at the boundary of the State of Louisiana. Because all such gas ultimately is consumed within Louisiana, and since the pipeline’s rates and terms of service are subject to regulation by the Office of Conservation of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”), the pipeline qualifies as a Hinshaw pipeline under Section 1(c) of the NGA and thus is exempt from most FERC regulation.

Texas and Louisiana have adopted complaint-based regulation of intrastate natural gas transportation activities, which allows natural gas producers and shippers to file complaints with state regulators in an effort to resolve grievances relating to pipeline access and rate discrimination. The rates we charge for intrastate transportation are deemed just and reasonable unless challenged in a complaint. We cannot predict whether such a complaint will be filed against us in the future. Failure to comply with state regulations can result in the imposition of administrative, civil and criminal penalties.
 
 
Regulation of NGL intrastate pipelines

Our intrastate NGL pipelines in Louisiana gather mixed NGLs streams that we own from processing plants in Louisiana and deliver such streams to the Gillis fractionators in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where the mixed NGLs streams are fractionated into various products. We deliver such refined petroleum products (ethane, propane, butanes and natural gasoline) out of our fractionator to and from Targa-owned storage, to other third-party facilities and to various third-party pipelines in Louisiana. These pipelines are not subject to FERC regulation or rate regulation by the DNR, but are regulated by United States Department of Transportation (“DOT”) safety regulations.

Natural Gas Processing

Our natural gas gathering and processing operations are not presently subject to FERC regulation.  However, starting in May 2009 we were required to report to FERC information regarding natural gas sale and purchase transactions for some of our operations depending on the volume of natural gas transacted during the prior calendar year. See “—Other Federal Laws and Regulation Affecting Our Industry—FERC Market Transparency Rules.” There can be no assurance that our processing operations will continue to be exempt from other FERC regulation in the future.

Availability, Terms and Cost of Pipeline Transportation

Our processing facilities and marketing of natural gas and NGLs are affected by the availability, terms and cost of pipeline transportation. The price and terms of access to pipeline transportation can be subject to extensive federal and, if a complaint is filed, state regulation. FERC is continually proposing and implementing new rules and regulations affecting the interstate transportation of natural gas, and to a lesser extent, the interstate transportation of NGLs. These initiatives also may indirectly affect the intrastate transportation of natural gas and NGLs under certain circumstances. We cannot predict the ultimate impact of these regulatory changes to our processing operations and our natural gas and NGL marketing operations. We do not believe that we would be affected by any such FERC action materially differently than other natural gas processors and natural gas and NGL marketers with whom we compete. The ability of our processing facilities and pipelines to deliver natural gas into third-party natural gas pipeline facilities is directly impacted by the gas quality specifications required by those pipelines. In 2006, FERC issued a policy statement on provisions governing gas quality and interchangeability in the tariffs of interstate gas pipeline companies and a separate order declining to set generic prescriptive national standards. FERC strongly encouraged all natural gas pipelines subject to its jurisdiction to adopt, as needed, gas quality and interchangeability standards in their FERC gas tariffs modeled on the interim guidelines issued by a group of industry representatives, headed by the Natural Gas Council (“NGC+ Work Group”), or to explain how and why their tariff provisions differ. We do not believe that the adoption of the NGC+ Work Group’s gas quality interim guidelines by a pipeline that either directly or indirectly interconnects with our facilities would materially affect our operations. We have no way to predict, however, whether FERC will approve of gas quality specifications that materially differ from the NGC+ Work Group’s interim guidelines for such an interconnecting pipeline.

Sales of Natural Gas and NGLs

The price at which we buy and sell natural gas and NGLs is currently not subject to federal rate regulation and, for the most part, is not subject to state regulation. However, with regard to our physical purchases and sales of these energy commodities and any related hedging activities that we undertake, we are required to observe anti-market manipulation laws and related regulations enforced by FERC and/or the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). See “—Other Federal Laws and Regulation Affecting Our Industry—Energy Policy Act of 2005.” Starting May 1, 2009, we were required to report to FERC information regarding natural gas sale and purchase transactions for some of our operations depending on the volume of natural gas transacted during the prior calendar year. See “—Other Federal Laws and Regulation Affecting Our Industry—FERC Market Transparency Rules.” Should we violate the anti-market manipulation laws and regulations, we could also be subject to related third-party damage claims by, among others, market participants, sellers, royalty owners and taxing authorities.
 
 
Other State and Local Regulation of Operations

Our business activities are subject to various state and local laws and regulations, as well as orders of regulatory bodies pursuant thereto, governing a wide variety of matters, including marketing, production, pricing, community right-to-know, protection of the environment, safety and other matters. For additional information regarding the potential impact of federal, state or local regulatory measures on our, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business.”

Interstate common carrier liquids pipeline regulation

Targa NGL Pipeline Company LLC (“Targa NGL”) has interstate NGL pipelines that are considered common carrier pipelines subject to regulation by FERC under the ICA. More specifically, Targa NGL owns a regulated twelve inch diameter pipeline that runs between Lake Charles, Louisiana and Mont Belvieu, Texas. This pipeline can move mixed NGLs and purity NGL products. Targa NGL also owns an eight inch diameter pipeline and a 20 inch diameter pipeline, each of which run between Mont Belvieu, Texas and Galena Park, Texas. The eight inch and the 20 inch pipelines are also regulated and are part of an extensive mixed NGL and purity NGL pipeline receipt and delivery system that provides services to domestic and foreign import and export customers. The ICA requires that we maintain tariffs on file with FERC for each of these pipelines. Those tariffs set forth the rates we charge for providing transportation services as well as the rules and regulations governing these services. The ICA requires, among other things, that rates on interstate common carrier pipelines be “just and reasonable” and non-discriminatory. All shippers on this pipeline are our subsidiaries.

Other Federal Laws and Regulation Affecting Our Industry

Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EPA Act of 2005”)

The EPA Act of 2005 is a comprehensive compilation of tax incentives, authorized appropriations for grants and guaranteed loans, and significant changes to the statutory policy that affects all segments of the energy industry. Among other matters, EPA Act of 2005 amends the NGA to add an anti-market manipulation provision which makes it unlawful for any entity to engage in prohibited behavior to be prescribed by FERC, and furthermore provides FERC with additional civil penalty authority. The EPA Act of 2005 provides FERC with the power to assess civil penalties of up to $1 million per day for violations of the NGA and $1 million per violation per day for violations of the NGPA. The civil penalty provisions are applicable to entities that engage in the sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce, including VGS. In 2006, FERC issued Order 670 to implement the anti-market manipulation provision of EPA Act of 2005. Order 670 makes it unlawful: (1) in connection with the purchase or sale of natural gas subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, or the purchase or sale of transportation services subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, for any entity, directly or indirectly, to use or employ any device, scheme or artifice to defraud; (2) to make any untrue statement of material fact or omit any statement necessary to make the statements made not misleading; or (3) to engage in any act or practice that operates as a fraud or deceit upon any person. Order 670 does not apply to activities that relate only to intrastate or other non-jurisdictional sales or gathering, but does apply to activities of gas pipelines and storage companies that provide interstate services, as well as otherwise non-jurisdictional entities to the extent the activities are conducted “in connection with” gas sales, purchases or transportation subject to FERC jurisdiction, which includes the annual reporting requirements under a final rule on the annual natural gas transaction reporting requirements, as amended by subsequent orders on rehearing (Order 704), and the quarterly reporting requirement under Order 735. The anti-market manipulation rule and enhanced civil penalty authority reflect an expansion of FERC’s NGA enforcement authority.

FERC Standards of Conduct for Transmission Providers

On October 16, 2008, FERC issued new standards of conduct for transmission providers (Order 717) to regulate the manner in which interstate natural gas pipelines may interact with their marketing affiliates based on an employee separation approach. A “Transmission Provider” includes an interstate natural gas pipeline that provides open access transportation pursuant to FERC’s regulations. Under these rules, a Transmission Provider’s transmission function employees (including the transmission function employees of any of its affiliates) must function independently from the Transmission Provider’s marketing function employees (including the marketing function employees of any of its affiliates). FERC clarified on October 15, 2009 in a rehearing order, Order 717-A, however, that if a Hinshaw pipeline affiliated with a Transmission Provider engages in off-system sales of gas that has been transported on the Transmission Provider’s affiliated pipeline, then the Transmission Provider and the Hinshaw pipeline (which is engaging in marketing functions) will be required to observe the Standards of Conduct by, among other things, having the marketing function employees function independently from the transmission function employees. Our only Hinshaw pipeline, TLI, does not engage in any off-system sales of gas that have been transported on an affiliated Transmission Provider, and we do not believe that our operations will be affected by the new standards of conduct. FERC further clarified Order 717-A in a rehearing order, Order 717-B, on November 16, 2009, in Order 717-C, on April 16, 2010, and in Order 717-D, on April 8, 2011. However, Orders 717-B, 717-C, and 717-D did not substantively alter the rules promulgated under Orders 717 and 717-A. Our only Transmission Provider, VGS, does not engage in any transactions with marketing affiliates, and we do not believe that our operations will be affected by the new standards of conduct.
 
 
FERC Market Transparency Rules

In 2007, FERC issued Order 704, whereby wholesale buyers and sellers of more than 2.2 BBtu of physical natural gas in the previous calendar year, including interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines, natural gas gatherers, natural gas processors and natural gas marketers, are now required to report, on May 1 of each year, beginning in 2009, aggregate volumes of natural gas purchased or sold at wholesale in the prior calendar year to the extent such transactions utilize, contribute to, or may contribute to the formation of price indices. It is the responsibility of the reporting entity to determine which transactions should be reported based on the guidance of Order 704 as clarified in orders on clarification and rehearing.

On November 20, 2008, FERC issued a final rule on daily scheduled flows and capacity posting requirements (Order 720). Under Order 720, as clarified in orders on clarification and rehearing certain non-interstate pipelines delivering, on an annual basis, more than an average of 50 million MMBtu of gas over the previous three calendar years, are required to post daily certain information regarding the pipeline’s capacity and scheduled flows for each receipt and delivery point that has a design capacity equal to or greater than 15,000 MMBtu/d and interstate pipelines are required to post information regarding the provision of no-notice service. In October 2011, Order 720, as clarified, was vacated by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit with respect to its application to non-interstate pipelines. In December 2011, the Fifth Circuit confirmed that Order 720, as clarified, remained applicable to interstate pipelines with respect to posting information regarding the provision of no-notice service. We take the position that, at this time, all of our entities are exempt from this rule as currently written.

On May 20, 2010, the FERC issued Order No. 735, which requires intrastate pipelines providing transportation services under Section 311 of the NGPA and “Hinshaw” pipelines operating under Section 1(c) of the NGA to report on a quarterly basis more detailed transportation and storage transaction information, including: rates charged by the pipeline under each contract; receipt and delivery points and zones or segments covered by each contract; the quantity of natural gas the shipper is entitled to transport, store, or deliver; the duration of the contract; and whether there is an affiliate relationship between the pipeline and the shipper. Order No. 735 further requires that such information must be supplied through a new electronic reporting system and will be posted on FERC’s website, and that such quarterly reports may not contain information redacted as privileged. The FERC promulgated this Rule after determining that such transactional information would help shippers make more informed purchasing decisions and would improve the ability of both shippers and the FERC to monitor actual transactions for evidence of market power or undue discrimination. Order No. 735 also extends the Commission’s periodic review of the rates charged by the subject pipelines from three years to five years. Order No. 735 became effective on April 1, 2011. On December 16, 2010, the Commission issued Order No. 735-A.  In Order No. 735-A, the Commission generally reaffirmed Order No. 735 requiring section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines to report on a quarterly basis storage and transportation transactions containing specific information for each transaction, aggregated by contract.  Order No. 735-A did grant rehearing of three requests, including removing the requirement that the quarterly reports include the contract end-date for interruptible transactions, eliminating the increased per-customer revenue reporting requirements, and extending the deadline for submitting the quarterly reports from 30 days to 60 days following the quarter end date.  As currently written, this rule does not apply to our Hinshaw pipelines.

Additional proposals and proceedings that might affect the natural gas industry are pending before Congress, FERC and the courts. We cannot predict the ultimate impact of these or the above regulatory changes to our natural gas operations. We do not believe that we would be affected by any such FERC action materially differently than other midstream natural gas companies with whom we compete.
 
Environmental and Operational Health and Safety Matters

General

Our operations are subject to stringent and complex federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment, health and safety aspects of our operations, or otherwise relating to environmental protection. As with the industry generally, compliance with current and anticipated environmental laws and regulations increases our overall cost of business, including our capital costs to construct, maintain and upgrade equipment and facilities. These laws and regulations may, among other things, require the acquisition of various permits to conduct regulated activities, require the installation of pollution control equipment or otherwise restrict the way we can handle or dispose of our wastes; limit or prohibit construction activities in sensitive areas such as wetlands, wilderness areas or areas inhabited by endangered or threatened species; impose specific health and safety criteria addressing worker protection, require investigatory and remedial action to mitigate pollution conditions caused by our operations or attributable to former operations; and enjoin some or all of the operations of facilities deemed in non-compliance with permits issued pursuant to such environmental laws and regulations. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in assessment of administrative, civil and criminal penalties, the imposition of removal or remedial obligations and the issuance of injunctions limiting or prohibiting our activities.

We have implemented programs and policies designed to keep our pipelines, plants and other facilities in compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations. The clear trend in environmental regulation, however, is to place more restrictions and limitations on activities that may affect the environment and thus, any changes in environmental laws and regulations or reinterpretation of enforcement policies that result in more stringent and costly waste handling, storage, transport, disposal or remediation requirements could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial position. We may be unable to pass on such increased compliance costs to our customers. Moreover, accidental releases or spills may occur in the course of our operations and we cannot assure you that we will not incur significant costs and liabilities as a result of such releases or spills, including any third-party claims for damage to property, natural resources or persons. While we believe that we are in substantial compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations and that continued compliance with current requirements would not have a material adverse effect on us, there is no assurance that the current conditions will continue in the future.

The following is a summary of the more significant existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations to which our business operations are subject and for which compliance may have a material adverse impact on our capital expenditures, results of operations or financial position.

Hazardous Substances and Waste

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, as amended (“CERCLA”), and comparable state laws impose liability without regard to fault or the legality of the original conduct, on certain classes of persons who are considered to be responsible for the release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment. These persons include current and prior owners or operators of the site where the release occurred and entities that disposed or arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances found at the site. Under CERCLA, these “responsible persons” may be subject to joint and several, strict liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances that have been released into the environment, for damages to natural resources and for the costs of certain health studies. CERCLA also authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and, in some instances, third parties to act in response to threats to the public health or the environment and to seek to recover from the responsible classes of persons the costs they incur. It is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the release of hazardous substances or other pollutants into the environment. We generate materials in the course of our operations that are regulated as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA or similar state statutes and, as a result, may be jointly and severally liable under CERCLA or such statutes for all or part of the costs required to clean up sites at which these hazardous substances have been released into the environment.

We also generate solid wastes, including hazardous wastes that are subject to the requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended (“RCRA”), and comparable state statutes. While RCRA regulates both solid and hazardous wastes, it imposes strict requirements on the generation, storage, treatment, transportation and disposal of hazardous wastes. In the course of our operations, we generate petroleum product wastes and ordinary industrial wastes such as paint wastes, waste solvents and waste compressor oils that are regulated as hazardous wastes. Certain materials generated in the exploration, development or production of crude oil and natural gas are excluded from RCRA’s hazardous waste regulations. However, it is possible that future changes in law or regulation could result in these wastes, including wastes currently generated during our operations, being designated as “hazardous wastes” and therefore subject to more rigorous and costly disposal requirements. Any such changes in the laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures and operating expenses as well as those of the oil and gas industry in general.
 
 
We currently own or lease and have in the past owned or leased properties that for many years have been used for midstream natural gas and NGL activities and refined petroleum product and crude oil storage and terminaling activities. Although we have utilized operating and disposal practices that were standard in the industry at the time, hydrocarbons or wastes may have been disposed of or released on or under the properties owned or leased by us or on or under the other locations where these hydrocarbons and wastes have been taken for treatment or disposal. In addition, certain of these properties have been operated by third parties whose treatment and disposal or release of hydrocarbons or wastes was not under our control. These properties and wastes disposed thereon may be subject to CERCLA, RCRA and analogous state laws. Under these laws, we could be required to remove or remediate previously disposed wastes (including wastes disposed of or released by prior owners or operators), to clean up contaminated property (including contaminated groundwater) and to perform remedial operations to prevent future contamination. We are not currently aware of any facts, events or conditions relating to such requirements that could materially impact our results of operations or financial condition.

Air Emissions

The federal Clean Air Act, as amended, and comparable state laws and regulations restrict the emission of air pollutants from many sources, including processing plants and compressor stations and also impose various monitoring and reporting requirements. These laws and regulations may require us to obtain pre-approval for the construction or modification of certain projects or facilities expected to produce or significantly increase air emissions, obtain and strictly comply with stringent air permit requirements or utilize specific equipment or technologies to control emissions. We are currently reviewing the air emissions monitoring systems at certain of our facilities. We may be required to incur capital expenditures in the next few years to implement various air emissions leak detection and monitoring programs as well as to install air pollution control equipment or non-ambient storage tanks as a result of our review or in connection with maintaining, amending or obtaining operating permits and approvals for air emissions. We currently believe, however, that such requirements will not have a material adverse affect on our operations. In addition, in July 2011, the EPA proposed a range of new regulations that would establish new air emission controls for oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing, including, among other things, a new source performance standard for volatile organic compounds that would apply to hydraulically fractured wells, compressors, pneumatic controllers, condensate and crude oil storage tanks, and natural gas processing plants. The EPA is under a court order to finalize these proposed regulations by April 3, 2012.

Climate Change

In December 2009, the EPA published its findings that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) present an endangerment to public health and the environment because emissions of such gases are, according to the EPA, contributing to warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on these findings, the EPA adopted two sets of regulations that restrict emissions of GHGs under existing provisions of the Clean Air Act, including one that regulates emissions of GHGs from motor vehicles and another that requires certain construction and operating permit reviews for emissions of GHGs from certain large stationary sources of emissions. The EPA adopted rules requiring the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from certain sources, including, among others, onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production facilities and onshore oil and natural gas processing, transmission, storage and distribution facilities in the United States on an annual basis. The EPA also assumed responsibility for issuing certain Clean Air Act permits for construction and Title V operating permits for GHG emissions in Texas in December 2010. As a result, those two permitting programs are now subject to dual sets of approvals at the state and federal levels. Effective January 2, 2011, operators in Texas with stationary sources emitting GHGs in excess of applicable regulatory thresholds must obtain separate Clean Air Act permits and/or Title V permits from each of the EPA, with respect to GHG emissions, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) with respect to all other regulated non-GHG emissions. We are monitoring GHG emissions from our operations in accordance with the GHG emissions reporting rule and believe that our monitoring activities are in substantial compliance with applicable reporting obligations.
 
 
Also, Congress has from time to time considered legislation to reduce emissions of GHGs, and almost one-half of the states already have taken legal measures to reduce emissions of GHGs, primarily through the planned development of GHG emission inventories and/or regional GHG cap and trade programs. The adoption of any legislation or regulations that requires reporting of GHGs or otherwise restricts emissions of GHGs from our equipment and operations could require us to incur significant added costs to reduce emissions of GHGs or could adversely affect demand for the natural gas and natural gas liquids we gather and process or fractionate. Finally, some scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere may produce climate change that could have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts, and floods and other climatic events; if such effects were to occur, they could have an adverse effect on our operations.

Water Discharges

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (“Clean Water Act” or “CWA”), and analogous state laws impose restrictions and strict controls regarding the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters. Pursuant to the CWA and analogous state laws, permits must be obtained to discharge pollutants into state waters or waters of the U.S. Any such discharge of pollutants into regulated waters must be performed in accordance with the terms of the permit issued by the EPA or the analogous state agency. Spill prevention, control and countermeasure requirements under federal law require appropriate containment berms and similar structures to help prevent the contamination of navigable waters in the event of a petroleum hydrocarbon tank spill, rupture or leak. In addition, the CWA and analogous state laws require individual permits or coverage under general permits for discharges of storm water runoff from certain types of facilities. These permits may require us to monitor and sample the storm water runoff. The CWA and analogous state laws can impose substantial civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance including spills and other nonauthorized discharges.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990, as amended (“OPA”), which amends the CWA, establishes strict liability for owners and operators of facilities that are the site of a release of oil into waters of the United States. OPA and its associated regulations impose a variety of requirements on responsible parties related to the prevention of oil spills and liability for damages resulting from such spills. A “responsible party” under OPA includes owners and operators of onshore facilities, such as our plants, and our pipelines. Under OPA, owners and operators of facilities that handle, store, or transport oil are required to develop and implement oil spill response plans, and establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to cover liabilities related to an oil spill for which such parties could be statutorily responsible. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with the CWA, OPA and analogous state laws.

Hydraulic Fracturing

It is customary to recover natural gas from deep shale formations through the use of hydraulic fracturing, combined with sophisticated horizontal drilling. Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of water, sand and chemical additives under pressure into rock formations to stimulate gas production. The process is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions but the EPA recently asserted federal regulatory authority over hydraulic fracturing involving diesel under the Safe Drinking Water Act. In addition, legislation has been introduced before Congress to provide for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, and to require disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. At the state level, several states have adopted or are considering legal requirements that could impose more stringent permitting, disclosure, and well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing activities. In the event that new or more stringent federal, state, or local legal restrictions relating to the hydraulic fracturing process are adopted in areas where our oil and natural gas exploration and production customers’ operate, those customers could incur potentially significant added costs to comply with such requirements and experience delays or curtailment in the pursuit of exploration, development, or production activities, which could reduce demand for our gathering, processing and fractionation services. In addition, several governmental reviews are either underway or being proposed that focus on environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing activities. The White House Council on Environmental Quality is coordinating an administration-wide review of hydraulic fracturing practices, and a committee of the United States House of Representatives has conducted an investigation of hydraulic fracturing practices. The EPA has commenced a study of the potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and groundwater, with initial results expected to be available by late 2012 and final results by 2014. Moreover, the EPA is developing effluent limitations for the treatment and discharge of wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing activities and plans to propose these standards by 2014. Other governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior, are evaluating various other aspects of hydraulic fracturing. These ongoing or proposed studies, depending on their degree of pursuit and any meaningful results obtained, could spur initiatives to further regulate hydraulic fracturing under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act or other regulatory mechanisms, which events could delay or curtail production of natural gas by exploration and production operators, some of which may be our customers, and thus reduce demand for our midstream services.
 
 
Endangered Species Act

The federal Endangered Species Act, as amended (“ESA”), restricts activities that may affect endangered or threatened species or their habitats. While some of our facilities may be located in areas that are designated as habitat for endangered or threatened species, we believe that we are in substantial compliance with the ESA. If endangered species are located in areas of the underlying properties where we wish to conduct development activities, such work could be prohibited or delayed or expensive mitigation may be required. Moreover, as a result of a settlement approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on September 9, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to make a determination on listing of more than 250 species as endangered or threatened under the ESA over the next six years, through the agency’s 2017 fiscal year. The designation of previously unprotected species as threatened or endangered in areas where we or our oil and natural gas exploration and production customers operate could cause us or our customers to incur increased costs arising from species protection measures and could result in delays or limitations in our customers’ performance of operations, which could reduce demand for our midstream services.

Pipeline Safety

The pipelines used by us to transport natural gas and transport NGLs are subject to regulation by the DOT under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, as amended (“NGPSA”), with respect to natural gas and the Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Safety Act of 1979, as amended (“HLPSA”), with respect to crude oil, NGLs and condensates. The NGPSA and HLPSA govern the design, installation, testing, construction, operation, replacement and management of natural gas and NGL pipeline facilities. Pursuant to these acts, the DOT has promulgated regulations governing pipeline wall thickness, design pressures, maximum operating pressures, pipeline patrols and leak surveys, minimum depth requirements, and emergency procedures, as well as other matters intended to ensure adequate protection for the public and to prevent accidents and failures. Where applicable, the NGPSA and HLPSA require any entity that owns or operates pipeline facilities to comply with the regulations under these acts, to permit access to and allow copying of records and to make certain reports and provide information as required by the Secretary of Transportation. We believe that our pipeline operations are in substantial compliance with applicable NGPSA and HLPSA requirements; however, due to the possibility of new or amended laws and regulations or reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations, future compliance with the NGPSA and HLPSA could result in increased costs.

Our pipelines are also subject to regulation by the DOT under the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which was amended by the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety Act of 2006 (“PIPES Act”). The DOT, through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) has established a series of rules, which require pipeline operators to develop and implement integrity management programs for gas transmission pipelines that, in the event of a failure, could affect “high consequence areas.” “High consequence areas” are currently defined as areas with specified population densities, buildings containing populations of limited mobility and areas where people gather that are located along the route of a pipeline. Similar rules are also in place for operators of hazardous liquid pipelines including lines transporting NGLs and condensates.

In addition, states have adopted regulations, similar to existing DOT regulations, for intrastate gathering and transmission lines. Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico have developed regulatory programs that parallel the federal regulatory scheme and are applicable to intrastate pipelines transporting natural gas and NGLs. We currently estimate an annual average cost of $2.7 million for years 2012 through 2014 to perform necessary integrity management program testing on our pipelines required by existing DOT and state regulations. This estimate does not include the costs, if any, of any repair, remediation, preventative or mitigating actions that may be determined to be necessary as a result of the testing program, which costs could be substantial. However, we do not expect that any such costs would be material to our financial condition or results of operations.

Moreover, changes to pipeline safety laws and regulations that result in more stringent or costly safety standards could have a significant adverse effect on us and similarly situated midstream operators. On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (“2011 Pipeline Safety Act”), which act requires increased safety measures for gas and hazardous liquids transportation pipelines. Among other things, the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate rules or standards relating to expanded integrity management requirements, automatic or remote-controlled valve use, excess flow valve use, and leak detection system installation. The 2011 Pipeline Safety Act also directs owners and operators of interstate and intrastate gas transmission pipelines to verify their records confirming the maximum allowable pressure of pipelines in certain class locations and high consequence areas, requires promulgation of regulations for conducting tests to confirm the material strength of pipe operating above 30% of specified minimum yield strength in high consequence areas, and increases the maximum penalty for violation of pipeline safety regulations from $1 million to $2 million. Also, in August 2011, PHMSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in which the agency is seeking public comment on a number of changes to regulations governing the safety of gas transmission pipelines and gathering lines, including, for example, (i) revising the definitions of “high consequence areas” and “gathering lines”; (ii) strengthening integrity management requirements as they apply to existing regulated operators and to currently exempt operators should certain exemptions be removed; (iii) strengthening requirements on the types of gas transmission pipeline integrity assessment methods that may be selected for use by operators; (iv) imposing gas transmission integrity management requirements on onshore gas gathering lines; (v) requiring the submission of annual, incident and safety-related conditions reports by operators of all gathering lines; and (vi) enhancing the current requirements for internal corrosion control of gathering lines. The safety enhancement requirements and other provisions of the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act as well as any adoption of the proposed PHMSA regulations applying more comprehensive or stringent pipeline safety standards could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue additional capital projects, or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, any or all of which tasks could result in our incurring increased operating costs that could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position.
 
 
Employee Health and Safety

We are subject to a number of federal and state laws and regulations, including the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, as amended (“OSHA”), and comparable state statutes, whose purpose is to protect the health and safety of workers, both generally and within the pipeline industry. In addition, the OSHA hazard communication standard, the EPA community right-to-know regulations under Title III of the Federal Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act and comparable state statutes require that information be maintained concerning hazardous materials used or produced in our operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and local government authorities and citizens. We and the entities in which we own an interest are also subject to OSHA Process Safety Management regulations, which are designed to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. These regulations apply to any process which involves a chemical at or above the specified thresholds or any process which involves flammable liquid or gas, pressurized tanks, caverns and wells in excess of 10,000 pounds at various locations. Flammable liquids stored in atmospheric tanks below their normal boiling point without the benefit of chilling or refrigeration are exempt. We have an internal program of inspection designed to monitor and enforce compliance with worker safety requirements. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with all applicable laws and regulations relating to worker health and safety.

Title to Properties and Rights-of-Way

Our real property falls into two categories: (1) parcels that we own in fee and (2) parcels in which our interest derives from leases, easements, rights-of-way, permits or licenses from landowners or governmental authorities permitting the use of such land for our operations. Portions of the land on which our plants and other major facilities are located are owned by us in fee title and we believe that we have satisfactory title to these lands. The remainder of the land on which our plant sites and major facilities are located is held by us pursuant to ground leases between us, as lessee, and the fee owner of the lands, as lessors. We and our predecessors have leased these lands for many years without any material challenge known to us relating to the title to the land upon which the assets are located, and we believe that we have satisfactory leasehold estates to such lands. We have no knowledge of any challenge to the underlying fee title of any material lease, easement, right-of-way, permit, lease or license; and we believe that we have satisfactory title to all of our material leases, easements, rights-of-way, permits, leases and licenses.

Targa may continue to hold record title to portions of certain assets until we make the appropriate filings in the jurisdictions in which such assets are located and obtain any consents and approvals that are not obtained prior to transfer. Such consents and approvals would include those required by federal and state agencies or political subdivisions. In some cases, Targa may, where required consents or approvals have not been obtained, temporarily hold record title to property as nominee for our benefit and in other cases may, on the basis of expense and difficulty associated with the conveyance of title, cause Targa to retain title, as nominee for our benefit, until a future date. We anticipate that there will be no material change in the tax treatment of our common units resulting from the holding by Targa of title to any part of such assets subject to future conveyance or as our nominee.

Employees

We do not have any employees. To carry out our operations, Targa employs 1,096 people who support primarily our operations. None of those employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Targa considers its employee relations to be good.

Financial Information by Reportable Segment

See “Segment Information” included under Note 20 to our “Consolidated Financial Statements” beginning on page F-1 of this Annual Report for a presentation of financial results by reportable segment and see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Results of Operations – By Segment” for a discussion of our financial results by segment.
 
Available Information

We make certain filings with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments and exhibits to those reports. We make such filings available free of charge through our website, http://www.targaresources.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with the SEC. The filings are also available through the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549 or by calling 1-800-SEC-0330. Also, these filings are available on the internet at http://www.sec.gov. Our press releases and recent analyst presentations are also available on our website.
 

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Limited partner interests are inherently different from capital stock of a corporation, although many of the business risks to which we are subject are similar to those that would be faced by a corporation engaged in similar businesses. The nature of our business activities subjects us to certain hazards and risks. You should consider carefully the following risk factors together with all of the other information contained in this report. If any of the following risks were actually to occur, then our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Business

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness which may adversely affect our financial position.

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2011, we had approximately $498.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility (the “Revolver”), approximately $92.5 million of letters of credit outstanding and approximately $509.5 million of additional borrowing capacity under our Revolver. In addition, we had $979.7 million outstanding under our senior unsecured notes. Our $1.1 billion Revolver allows us to request increases in commitments up to an additional $300 million. For the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, our consolidated interest expense was $107.7 million, $110.8 million and $159.8 million.

This substantial level of indebtedness increases the possibility that we may be unable to generate cash sufficient to pay, when due, the principal of, interest on or other amounts due in respect of indebtedness. This substantial indebtedness, combined with our lease and other financial obligations and contractual commitments, could have other important consequences to us, including the following:
 
·  
our ability to obtain additional financing, if necessary, for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions or other purposes may be impaired or such financing may not be available on favorable terms;
 
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satisfying our obligations with respect to indebtedness may be more difficult and any failure to comply with the obligations of any debt instruments could result in an event of default under the agreements governing such indebtedness;
 
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we will need a portion of cash flow to make interest payments on debt, reducing the funds that would otherwise be available for operations and future business opportunities;
 
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our debt level will make us more vulnerable to competitive pressures or a downturn in our business or the economy generally; and
 
·  
our debt level may limit flexibility in planning for, or responding to, changing business and economic conditions.
 
Our ability to service our debt will depend upon, among other things, our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. If our operating results are not sufficient to service our current or future indebtedness, we will be forced to take actions such as reducing or delaying business activities, acquisitions, investments or capital expenditures, selling assets, restructuring or refinancing debt, or seeking additional equity capital and may adversely affect our ability to make cash distributions. We may not be able to affect any of these actions on satisfactory terms, or at all.

Increases in interest rates could adversely affect our business.

We have significant exposure to increases in interest rates. As of December 31, 2011, our total indebtedness was $1,477.7 million, of which $979.7 million was at fixed interest rates and $498.0 million was at variable interest rates. A one percentage point increase in the interest rate on our variable interest rate debt would have increased our consolidated annual interest expense by approximately $5.0 million. As a result of this significant amount of variable interest rate debt, our financial condition could be adversely affected by significant increases in interest rates.

 
Despite current indebtedness levels, we may still be able to incur substantially more debt. This could increase the risks associated with our substantial leverage.

We may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. As of December 31, 2011, we had approximately $498.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our Revolver, approximately $92.5 million of letters of credit outstanding and approximately $509.5 million of additional borrowing capacity under our Revolver. We may be able to incur an additional $300 million of debt under our Revolver if we request and are able to obtain commitments for the additional $300 million available under our Revolver. Although our Revolver contains restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to a number of significant qualifications and exceptions, and any indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. If we incur additional debt, the risks associated with our substantial leverage would increase.

The terms of our Revolver and indentures may restrict our current and future operations, particularly our ability to respond to changes in business or to take certain actions.

The credit agreement governing our Revolver and the indentures governing our senior notes (other than our 11¼% senior notes due 2017) contain, and any future indebtedness we incur will likely contain, a number of restrictive covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions, including restrictions on our ability to engage in acts that may be in our best long-term interests. These agreements include covenants that, among other things, restrict our ability to:

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incur or guarantee additional indebtedness or issue preferred stock;

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pay distributions on our equity securities or redeem, repurchase or retire our equity securities or subordinated indebtedness;

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make investments;

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create restrictions on the payment of distributions to our equity holders;

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sell assets, including equity securities of our subsidiaries;

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engage in affiliate transactions,

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consolidate or merge;

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incur liens;

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prepay, redeem and repurchase certain debt, other than loans under the Revolver;

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make certain acquisitions;

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transfer assets;

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enter into sale and lease back transactions;

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make capital expenditures;

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amend debt and other material agreements; and

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change business activities conducted by us.

In addition, our Revolver requires us to satisfy and maintain specified financial ratios and other financial condition tests. Our ability to meet those financial ratios and tests can be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that we will meet those ratios and tests.

 
A breach of any of these covenants could result in an event of default under our Revolver and indentures, as applicable. Upon the occurrence of such an event of default, all amounts outstanding under the applicable debt agreements could be declared to be immediately due and payable and all applicable commitments to extend further credit could be terminated. If we are unable to repay the accelerated debt under our Revolver, the lenders under Revolver could proceed against the collateral granted to them to secure that indebtedness. We have pledged substantially all of our assets as collateral under our Revolver. If our indebtedness under our Revolver or indentures is accelerated, we cannot assure you that we will have sufficient assets to repay the indebtedness. The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in these debt agreements and any future financing agreements may adversely affect our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage in other business activities.

Our cash flow is affected by supply and demand for natural gas and NGL products and by natural gas, NGL and condensate prices, and decreases in these prices could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our operations can be affected by the level of natural gas and NGL prices and the relationship between these prices. The prices of oil, natural gas and NGLs have been volatile and we expect this volatility to continue. Our future cash flow may be materially adversely affected if we experience significant, prolonged pricing deterioration. The markets and prices for natural gas and NGLs depend upon factors beyond our control. These factors include demand for these commodities, which fluctuate with changes in market and economic conditions and other factors, including:

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the impact of seasonality and weather;

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general economic conditions and economic conditions impacting our primary markets;

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the economic conditions of our customers;

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the level of domestic crude oil and natural gas production and consumption;

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the availability of imported natural gas, liquefied natural gas, NGLs and crude oil;

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actions taken by foreign oil and gas producing nations;

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the availability of local, intrastate and interstate transportation systems and storage for residue natural gas and NGLs;

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the availability and marketing of competitive fuels and/or feedstocks;

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the impact of energy conservation efforts; and

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the extent of governmental regulation and taxation.

Our primary natural gas gathering and processing arrangements that expose us to commodity price risk are our percent-of-proceeds arrangements. For the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, our percent-of-proceeds arrangements accounted for approximately 40% and 38% of our gathered natural gas volume. Under these arrangements, we generally process natural gas from producers and remit to the producers an agreed percentage of the proceeds from the sale of residue gas and NGL products at market prices or a percentage of residue gas and NGL products at the tailgate of our processing facilities. In some percent-of-proceeds arrangements, we remit to the producer a percentage of an index-based price for residue gas and NGL products, less agreed adjustments, rather than remitting a portion of the actual sales proceeds. Under these types of arrangements, our revenues and cash flows increase or decrease, whichever is applicable, as the price of natural gas, NGLs and crude oil fluctuates. Please see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.”


Because of the natural decline in production in our operating regions and in other regions from which we source NGL supplies, our long-term success depends on our ability to obtain new sources of supplies of natural gas and NGLs, which depends on certain factors beyond our control. Any decrease in supplies of natural gas or NGLs could adversely affect our business and operating results.

Our gathering systems are connected to oil and natural gas wells from which production will naturally decline over time, which means that our cash flows associated with these sources of natural gas will likely also decline over time. Our logistics assets are similarly impacted by declines in NGL supplies in the regions in which we operate as well as other regions from which we source NGLs. To maintain or increase throughput levels on our gathering systems and the utilization rate at our processing plants and our treating and fractionation facilities, we must continually obtain new natural gas and NGL supplies. A material decrease in natural gas production from producing areas on which we rely, as a result of depressed commodity prices or otherwise, could result in a decline in the volume of natural gas that we process and NGL products delivered to our fractionation facilities. Our ability to obtain additional sources of natural gas and NGLs depends, in part, on the level of successful drilling and production activity near our gathering systems and, in part, on the level of successful drilling and production in other areas from which we source NGL supplies. We have no control over the level of such activity in the areas of our operations, the amount of reserves associated with the wells or the rate at which production from a well will decline. In addition, we have no control over producers or their drilling or production decisions, which are affected by, among other things, prevailing and projected energy prices, demand for hydrocarbons, the level of reserves, geological considerations, governmental regulations, availability of drilling rigs, other production and development costs and the availability and cost of capital.

Fluctuations in energy prices can greatly affect production rates and investments by third parties in the development of new oil and natural gas reserves. Drilling and production activity generally decreases as oil and natural gas prices decrease. Prices of oil and natural gas have been historically volatile, and we expect this volatility to continue. Consequently, even if new natural gas reserves are discovered in areas served by our assets, producers may choose not to develop those reserves. For example, current low prices for natural gas combined with relatively high levels of natural gas in storage could result in curtailment or shut-in of natural gas production. Reductions in exploration and production activity, competitor actions or shut-ins by producers in the areas in which we operate may prevent us from obtaining supplies of natural gas to replace the natural decline in volumes from existing wells, which could result in reduced volumes through our facilities, and reduced utilization of our gathering, treating, processing and fractionation assets.

If we do not make acquisitions or develop growth projects for expanding existing assets or constructing new midstream assets on economically acceptable terms or fail to efficiently and effectively integrate acquired or developed assets with our asset base, our future growth will be limited.

Our ability to grow depends, in part, on our ability to make acquisitions or develop growth projects that result in an increase in cash generated from operations per unit. We are unable to acquire businesses from Targa in order to grow because Targa’s only assets are the interests in us that Targa owns. As a result, we will need to focus on third-party acquisitions and organic growth. If we are unable to make accretive acquisitions or develop accretive growth projects because we are (1) unable to identify attractive acquisition candidates and negotiate acceptable acquisition agreements or develop growth projects economically, (2) unable to obtain financing for these acquisitions or projects on economically acceptable terms, or (3) unable to compete successfully for acquisitions or growth projects, then our future growth and ability to increase distributions will be limited.

Any acquisition or growth project involves potential risks, including, among other things:

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operating a significantly larger combined organization and adding new or expanded operations;

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difficulties in the assimilation of the assets and operations of the acquired businesses or growth projects , especially if the assets acquired are in a new business segment or geographic area;

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the risk that natural gas reserves expected to support the acquired assets may not be of the anticipated magnitude or may not be developed as anticipated;

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the failure to realize expected volumes, revenues, profitability or growth;

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the failure to realize any expected synergies and cost savings;
 
 
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coordinating geographically disparate organizations, systems and facilities.

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the assumption of unknown liabilities;

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limitations on rights to indemnity from the seller in an acquisition or contractors and suppliers in growth projects;

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inaccurate assumptions about the overall costs of equity or debt;

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the diversion of management’s and employees’ attention from other business concerns; and

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customer or key employee losses at the acquired businesses or to a competitor.

If these risks materialize, the acquired assets or growth project may inhibit our growth, fail to deliver expected benefits and add further unexpected costs. Challenges may arise whenever businesses with different operations or management are combined, and we may experience unanticipated delays in realizing the benefits of an acquisition or growth project. If we consummate any future acquisition or growth project, its capitalization and results of operations may change significantly and you may not have the opportunity to evaluate the economic, financial and other relevant information that we will consider in evaluating future acquisitions or growth projects.

Our acquisition and growth strategy is based, in part, on our expectation of ongoing divestitures of energy assets by industry participants and new opportunities created by industry expansion. A material decrease in such divestitures or in opportunities for economic commercial expansion would limit our opportunities for future acquisitions or growth projects and could adversely affect our operations and cash flows available for distribution to our unit holders.

Acquisitions may significantly increase our size and diversify the geographic areas in which we operate and growth projects may increase our concentration in a line of business or geographic region. We may not achieve the desired affect from any future acquisitions or growth project.

Our expansion or modification of existing assets or the construction of new assets may not result in revenue increases and is subject to regulatory, environmental, political, legal and economic risks, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

The construction of additions or modifications to our existing systems and the construction of new midstream assets involve numerous regulatory, environmental, political and legal uncertainties beyond our control and may require the expenditure of significant amounts of capital. If we undertake these projects, they may not be completed on schedule or at the budgeted cost or at all. Moreover, our revenues may not increase immediately upon the expenditure of funds on a particular project. For instance, if we build a new fractionation facility or gas processing plant, the construction may occur over an extended period of time and it will not receive any material increases in revenues until the project is completed. Moreover, we may construct facilities to capture anticipated future growth in production in a region in which such growth does not materialize. Since we are not engaged in the exploration for and development of natural gas and oil reserves, we do not possess reserve expertise and we often do not have access to third-party estimates of potential reserves in an area prior to constructing facilities in such area. To the extent we rely on estimates of future production in our decision to construct additions to our systems, such estimates may prove to be inaccurate because there are numerous uncertainties inherent in estimating quantities of future production. As a result, new facilities may not be able to attract enough throughput to achieve our expected investment return, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the construction of additions to our existing gathering and transportation assets may require us to obtain new rights-of-way prior to constructing new pipelines. We may be unable to obtain such rights-of-way to connect new natural gas supplies to our existing gathering lines or capitalize on other attractive expansion opportunities. Additionally, it may become more expensive for us to obtain new rights-of-way or to renew existing rights-of-way. If the cost of renewing or obtaining new rights-of-way increases, our cash flows could be adversely affected.


Our acquisition and growth strategy requires access to new capital. Tightened capital markets or increased competition for investment opportunities could impair our ability to grow through acquisitions or growth projects.

We continuously consider and enter into discussions regarding potential acquisitions and growth projects. Any limitations on our access to capital will impair our ability to execute this strategy. If the cost of such capital becomes too expensive, our ability to develop or acquire strategic and accretive assets will be limited. We may not be able to raise the necessary funds on satisfactory terms, if at all. The primary factors that influence our initial cost of equity include market conditions, fees we pay to underwriters and other offering costs, which include amounts we pay for legal and accounting services. The primary factors influencing our cost of borrowing include interest rates, credit spreads, covenants, underwriting or loan origination fees and similar charges we pay to lenders. These factors may impair our ability to execute our acquisition and growth strategy.

In addition, we are experiencing increased competition for the types of assets we contemplate purchasing or developing. Current economic conditions and competition for asset purchases and development opportunities could limit our ability to fully execute our acquisition and growth strategy.

Demand for propane is seasonal and requires increases in inventory to meet seasonal demand.

Weather conditions have a significant impact on the demand for propane because end users depend on propane principally for heating purposes. Warmer than normal temperatures in one or more regions in which we operate can significantly decrease the total volume of propane we sell. Lack of consumer demand for propane may also adversely affect the retailers we transact with our wholesale propane marketing operations, exposing us to their inability to satisfy their contractual obligations to us.

If we fail to balance our purchases of natural gas and our sales of residue gas and NGLs, our exposure to commodity price risk will increase.

We may not be successful in balancing our purchases of natural gas and our sales of residue gas and NGLs. In addition, a producer could fail to deliver promised volumes to us or deliver in excess of contracted volumes, or a purchaser could purchase less than contracted volumes. Any of these actions could cause an imbalance between our purchases and sales. If our purchases and sales are not balanced, we will face increased exposure to commodity price risks and could have increased volatility in our operating income.

Our hedging activities may not be effective in reducing the variability of our cash flows and may, in certain circumstances, increase the variability of our cash flows. Moreover, our hedges may not fully protect us against volatility in basis differentials. Finally, the percentage of our expected equity commodity volumes that are hedged decreases substantially over time.

We have entered into derivative transactions related to only a portion of our equity volumes. As a result, we will continue to have direct commodity price risk to the unhedged portion. Our actual future volumes may be significantly higher or lower than we estimated at the time we entered into the derivative transactions for that period. If the actual amount is higher than we estimated, we will have greater commodity price risk than we intended. If the actual amount is lower than the amount that is subject to our derivative financial instruments, we might be forced to satisfy all or a portion of our derivative transactions without the benefit of the cash flow from our sale of the underlying physical commodity. The percentages of our expected equity volumes that are covered by our hedges decrease over time. To the extent we hedge our commodity price risk, we may forego the benefits we would otherwise experience if commodity prices were to change in our favor. The derivative instruments we utilize for these hedges are based on posted market prices, which may be higher or lower than the actual natural gas, NGLs and condensate prices that we realize in our operations. These pricing differentials may be substantial and could materially impact the prices we ultimately realize. In addition, market and economic conditions may adversely affect our hedge counterparties’ ability to meet their obligations. Given volatility in the financial and commodity markets, we may experience defaults by our hedge counterparties in the future. As a result of these and other factors, our hedging activities may not be as effective as we intend in reducing the variability of our cash flows, and in certain circumstances may actually increase the variability of our cash flows. Please see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.”

 
If third-party pipelines and other facilities interconnected to our natural gas pipelines, terminals and processing facilities become partially or fully unavailable to transport natural gas and NGLs our revenues could be adversely affected.

We depend upon third-party pipelines, storage and other facilities that provide delivery options to and from our pipelines and processing facilities. Since we do not own or operate these pipelines or other facilities, their continuing operation in their current manner is not within our control. If any of these third-party facilities become partially or fully unavailable, or if the quality specifications for their facilities change so as to restrict our ability to utilize them, our revenues could be adversely affected.

Our industry is highly competitive, and increased competitive pressure could adversely affect our business and operating results.

We compete with similar enterprises in our respective areas of operation. Some of our competitors are large oil, natural gas and natural gas liquid companies that have greater financial resources and access to supplies of natural gas and NGLs than we do. Some of these competitors may expand or construct gathering, processing, storage, terminaling and transportation systems that would create additional competition for the services we provide to our customers. In addition, our customers who are significant producers of natural gas may develop their own gathering, processing, storage, terminaling and transportation systems in lieu of using ours. Our ability to renew or replace existing contracts with our customers at rates sufficient to maintain current revenues and cash flows could be adversely affected by the activities of our competitors and our customers. All of these competitive pressures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

We typically do not obtain independent evaluations of natural gas reserves dedicated to our gathering pipeline systems; therefore, volumes of natural gas on our systems in the future could be less than we anticipate.

We typically do not obtain independent evaluations of natural gas reserves connected to our gathering systems due to the unwillingness of producers to provide reserve information as well as the cost of such evaluations. Accordingly, we do not have independent estimates of total reserves dedicated to our gathering systems or the anticipated life of such reserves. If the total reserves or estimated life of the reserves connected to our gathering systems is less than we anticipate and we are unable to secure additional sources of natural gas, then the volumes of natural gas transported on our gathering systems in the future could be less than we anticipate. A decline in the volumes of natural gas on our systems could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

A reduction in demand for NGL products by the petrochemical, refining or other industries or by the fuel markets, or a significant increase in NGL product supply relative to this demand, could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The NGL products we produce have a variety of applications, including as heating fuels, petrochemical feedstocks and refining blend stocks. A reduction in demand for NGL products, whether because of general or industry specific economic conditions, new government regulations, global competition, reduced demand by consumers for products made with NGL products (for example, reduced petrochemical demand observed due to lower activity in the automobile and construction industries), increased competition from petroleum-based feedstocks due to pricing differences, mild winter weather for some NGL applications or other reasons, could result in a decline in the volume of NGL products we handle or reduce the fees we charge for our services. Also, increased supply of NGL products could reduce the value of NGLs handled by us and reduce the margins realized. Our NGL products and their demand are affected as follows:

Ethane. Ethane is typically supplied as purity ethane and as part of ethane-propane mix. Ethane is primarily used in the petrochemical industry as feedstock for ethylene, one of the basic building blocks for a wide range of plastics and other chemical products. Although ethane is typically extracted as part of the mixed NGL stream at gas processing plants, if natural gas prices increase significantly in relation to NGL product prices or if the demand for ethylene falls, it may be more profitable for natural gas processors to leave the ethane in the natural gas stream thereby reducing the volume of NGLs delivered for fractionation and marketing.

 
Propane. Propane is used as a petrochemical feedstock in the production of ethylene and propylene, as a heating, engine and industrial fuel, and in agricultural applications such as crop drying. Changes in demand for ethylene and propylene could adversely affect demand for propane. The demand for propane as a heating fuel is significantly affected by weather conditions. The volume of propane sold is at its highest during the six-month peak heating season of October through March. Demand for our propane may be reduced during periods of warmer-than-normal weather.

Normal Butane. Normal butane is used in the production of isobutane, as a refined petroleum product blending component, as a fuel gas either alone or in a mixture with propane, and in the production of ethylene and propylene. Changes in the composition of refined petroleum products resulting from governmental regulation, changes in feedstocks, products and economics, demand for heating fuel and for ethylene and propylene could adversely affect demand for normal butane.

Isobutane. Isobutane is predominantly used in refineries to produce alkylates to enhance octane levels. Accordingly, any action that reduces demand for motor gasoline or demand for isobutane to produce alkylates for octane enhancement might reduce demand for isobutane.

Natural Gasoline. Natural gasoline is used as a blending component for certain refined petroleum products and as a feedstock used in the production of ethylene and propylene. Changes in the mandated composition of motor gasoline resulting from governmental regulation, and in demand for ethylene and propylene, could adversely affect demand for natural gasoline.

NGLs and products produced from NGLs also compete with products from global markets. Any reduced demand or increased supply for ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane or natural gasoline in the markets we access for any of the reasons stated above could adversely affect demand for the services we provide as well as NGL prices, which would negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition.

We have significant relationships with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC as a customer for our marketing and refinery services. In some cases, these agreements are subject to renegotiation and termination rights.

For the years ended December 31, 2011, and 2010, approximately 12% and 10% of our consolidated revenues were derived from transactions with CPC. Under many of our CPC contracts where we purchase or market NGLs on CPC’s behalf, CPC may elect to terminate the contracts or renegotiate the price terms. To the extent CPC reduces the volumes of NGLs that it purchases from us or reduces the volumes of NGLs that we market on its behalf or to the extent the economic terms of such contracts are changed, our revenues and cash available for debt service could decline.

We do not own most of the land on which our pipelines and compression facilities are located, which could disrupt our operations.

We do not own most of the land on which our pipelines, terminals and compression facilities are located, and we are therefore subject to the possibility of more onerous terms and/or increased costs to retain necessary land use if we do not have valid rights-of-way or leases or if such rights-of-way or leases lapse or terminate. We sometimes obtain the rights to land owned by third parties and governmental agencies for a specific period of time. Our loss of these rights, through our inability to renew right-of-way contracts, leases or otherwise, could cause us to cease operations on the affected land, increase costs related to continuing operations elsewhere and reduce our revenue.

We may be unable to cause our majority-owned joint ventures to take or not to take certain actions unless some or all of our joint venture participants agree.

We participate in several majority-owned joint ventures whose corporate governance structures require at least a majority in interest vote to authorize many basic activities and require a greater voting interest (sometimes up to 100%) to authorize more significant activities. Examples of these more significant activities are large expenditures or contractual commitments, the construction or acquisition of assets, borrowing money or otherwise raising capital, making distributions, transactions with affiliates of a joint venture participant, litigation and transactions not in the ordinary course of business, among others. Without the concurrence of joint venture participants with enough voting interests, we may be unable to cause any of our joint ventures to take or not take certain actions, even though taking or preventing those actions may be in the best interest of us or the particular joint venture.

 
In addition, subject to certain conditions, any joint venture owner may sell, transfer or otherwise modify its ownership interest in a joint venture, whether in a transaction involving third parties or the other joint owners. Any such transaction could result in us partnering with different or additional parties.

Weather may limit our ability to operate our business and could adversely affect our operating results.

The weather in the areas in which we operate can cause disruptions and in some cases suspension of our operations. For example, unseasonably wet weather, extended periods of below freezing weather or hurricanes may cause disruptions or suspensions of our operations, which could adversely affect our operating results.

Our business involves many hazards and operational risks, some of which may not be insured or fully covered by insurance. If a significant accident or event occurs that is not fully insured, if we fail to recover all anticipated insurance proceeds for significant accidents or events for which we are insured, or if we fail to rebuild facilities damaged by such accidents or events, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected.

Our operations are subject to many hazards inherent in gathering, compressing, treating, processing and selling natural gas; storing, fractionation, treating, transportation and selling of NGLs and NGL products; and storing and terminaling refined petroleum products and crude oil including:

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damage to pipelines and plants, related equipment and surrounding properties caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires and other natural disasters, explosions and acts of terrorism;

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inadvertent damage from third parties, including from motor vehicles or construction, farm and utility equipment;

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leaks of natural gas, NGLs and other hydrocarbons or losses of natural gas or NGLs as a result of the malfunction of equipment or facilities;

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spills or other unauthorized releases of natural gas, NGLs, other hydrocarbons or waste materials that contaminate the environment, including soils, surface water and groundwater, and otherwise adversely impact natural resources; and

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other hazards that could also result in personal injury and loss of life, pollution and suspension of operations.

These risks could result in substantial losses due to personal injury, loss of life, severe damage to and destruction of property and equipment and pollution or other environmental damage and may result in curtailment or suspension of our related operations. A natural disaster or other hazard affecting the areas in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our operations. For example, in 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged gathering systems, processing facilities, NGL fractionators and pipelines along the Gulf Coast, including certain of our facilities, and curtailed or suspended the operations of various energy companies with assets in the region. The Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast was similarly impacted in September 2008 as a result of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. We are not fully insured against all risks inherent to our business. While we are insured for pollution resulting from environmental accidents that occur on a sudden and accidental basis, we may not be insured against all environmental accidents that might occur, some of which may result in toxic tort claims. If a significant accident or event occurs that is not fully insured, if we fail to recover all anticipated insurance proceeds for significant accidents or events for which we are insured, or if we fail to rebuild facilities damaged by such accidents or events, our operations and financial condition could be adversely affected. In addition, we may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance of the type and amount we desire at reasonable rates. As a result of market conditions, premiums and deductibles for certain of our insurance policies have increased substantially, and could escalate further. For example, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, insurance premiums, deductibles and co-insurance requirements increased substantially, and terms were generally less favorable than terms that could be obtained prior to such hurricanes. Insurance market conditions worsened as a result of the losses sustained from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in September 2008. As a result, we experienced further increases in deductibles and premiums, and further reductions in coverage and limits, with some coverage unavailable at any cost.



We may incur significant costs and liabilities resulting from performance of pipeline integrity programs and related repairs.

Pursuant to the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, as reauthorized and amended by the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006, the DOT, through the PHMSA, has adopted regulations requiring pipeline operators to develop integrity management programs for transmission pipelines located where a leak or rupture could do the most harm in “high consequence areas,” including high population areas, areas that are sources of drinking water, ecological resource areas that are unusually sensitive to environmental damage from a pipeline release and commercially navigable waterways, unless the operator effectively demonstrates by risk assessment that the pipeline could not affect the area. The regulations require operators of covered pipelines to:

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perform ongoing assessments of pipeline integrity;

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identify and characterize applicable threats to pipeline segments that could impact a high consequence area;

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improve data collection, integration and analysis;

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repair and remediate the pipeline as necessary; and

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implement preventive and mitigating actions.

In addition, states have adopted regulations similar to existing DOT regulations for intrastate gathering and transmission lines. We currently estimate that we will incur an aggregate cost of approximately $8.2 million between 2012 and 2014 to implement pipeline integrity management program testing along certain segments of our natural gas and NGL pipelines. This estimate does not include the costs, if any, of any repair, remediation, preventative or mitigating actions that may be determined to be necessary as a result of the testing program, which costs could be substantial. At this time, we cannot predict the ultimate cost of compliance with applicable pipeline integrity management regulations, as the cost will vary significantly depending on the number and extent of any repairs found to be necessary as a result of the pipeline integrity testing. We will continue our pipeline integrity testing programs to assess and maintain the integrity of our pipelines. The results of these tests could cause us to incur significant and unanticipated capital and operating expenditures for repairs or upgrades deemed necessary to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of our pipelines.

Moreover, changes to pipeline safety laws and regulations that result in more stringent or costly safety standards could have a significant adverse effect on us and similarly situated midstream operators. On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which, among other things, directs the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate rules or standards relating to expanded integrity management requirements, automatic or remote-controlled valve use, excess flow valve use, leak detection system installation and testing to confirm the material strength of pipe operating above 30% of specified minimum yield strength in high consequence areas. These safety enhancement requirements and other provisions of this act could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue additional capital projects, or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, any or all of which tasks could result in our incurring increased operating costs that could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

Unexpected volume changes due to production variability or to gathering, plant or pipeline system disruptions may increase our exposure to commodity price movements.

We sell processed natural gas to third parties at plant tailgates or at pipeline pooling points. Sales made to natural gas marketers and end-users may be interrupted by disruptions to volumes anywhere along the system. We attempt to balance sales with volumes supplied from processing operations, but unexpected volume variations due to production variability or to gathering, plant or pipeline system disruptions may expose us to volume imbalances which, in conjunction with movements in commodity prices, could materially impact our income from operations and cash flow.


We require a significant amount of cash to service our indebtedness. Our ability to generate cash depends on many factors beyond our control.

Our ability to make payments on and to refinance our indebtedness and to fund planned capital expenditures depends on our ability to generate cash in the future. This, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. We cannot assure you that we will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under our credit agreement or otherwise in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs. We may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness at or before maturity. We cannot assure you that we will be able to refinance any of our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

Failure to comply with existing or new environmental laws or regulations or an accidental release of hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or wastes into the environment may cause us to incur significant costs and liabilities.

Our operations are subject to stringent federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations governing the discharge of pollutants into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. These laws and regulations may impose numerous obligations that are applicable to our operations including acquisition of a permit before conducting regulated activities, restriction of types, quantities and concentration of materials that can be released into the environment; limitation or prohibition of construction and operating activities in environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, wilderness regions and other protected areas; requiring capital expenditures to comply with pollution control requirements, and imposition of substantial liabilities for pollution resulting from operations. Numerous governmental authorities, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (‘‘EPA’’) and analogous state agencies, have the power to enforce compliance with these laws and regulations and the permits issued under them, often requiring difficult and costly actions. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations or any newly adopted laws or regulations may trigger a variety of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement measures, including the assessment of monetary penalties or other sanctions, the imposition of remedial obligations and the issuance of orders enjoining future operations or imposing additional compliance requirements on such operations. Certain environmental laws impose strict, joint and several liability for costs required to clean up and restore sites where hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or waste products have been disposed or otherwise released. Moreover, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by noise, odor or the release of hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or waste products into the environment.

There is inherent risk of incurring environmental costs and liabilities in connection with our operations due to our handling of natural gas, NGLs and other petroleum products, because of air emissions and product-related discharges arising out of our operations, and as a result of historical industry operations and waste disposal practices. For example, an accidental release from one of our facilities could subject us to substantial liabilities arising from environmental cleanup and restoration costs, claims made by neighboring landowners and other third parties for personal injury, natural resource and property damages and fines or penalties for related violations of environmental laws or regulations. Moreover, stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could significantly increase our operational or compliance costs and the cost of any remediation that may become necessary. Additionally, environmental groups have, from time to time, advocated increased regulation on the issuance of drilling permits for new natural gas wells in areas where we operate, including the Barnett Shale area. The adoption of any laws, regulations or other legally enforceable mandates that result in more stringent air emission limitations or that restrict or prohibit the drilling of new natural gas wells for any extended period of time could increase our operating and compliance costs as well as reduce the rate of production of natural gas operators with whom we have a business relationship, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.

Increased regulation of hydraulic fracturing could result in reductions or delays in drilling and completing new oil and natural gas wells, which could adversely impact our revenues by decreasing the volumes of natural gas that we gather, process and fractionate.
 
Hydraulic fracturing is a process used by oil and gas exploration and production operators in the completion of certain oil and gas wells whereby water, sand and chemicals are injected under pressure into subsurface formations to stimulate gas and, to a lesser extent, oil production. The process is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions but the EPA has asserted federal regulatory authority over hydraulic fracturing involving diesel under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (“SDWA”) Underground Injection Control Program and has begun the process of drafting guidance documents related to this asserted regulatory authority. In addition, legislation has been introduced before Congress to provide for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing and to require disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Moreover, some states have adopted, and other states are considering adopting, regulations that could restrict hydraulic fracturing in certain circumstances. For example, Texas adopted a law in  June 2011 requiring disclosure to the Railroad Commission of Texas and the public of certain information regarding the constituents used in the hydraulic-fracturing process. Adoption of legislation or of any implementing regulations placing restrictions on hydraulic fracturing activities could impose operational delays, increased operating costs and additional regulatory burdens on exploration and production operators, which could reduce their production of natural gas and, in turn, adversely affect our revenues and results of operations by decreasing the volumes of natural gas that we gather, process and fractionate.

 
In addition, several governmental reviews are either underway or being proposed that focus on environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing practices. The White House Council on Environmental Quality is coordinating an administrative-wide review of hydraulic fracturing practices, and a committee of the United States House of Representatives has conducted an investigation of hydraulic fracturing practices. The EPA has commenced a study of the potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and groundwater, with initial results expected to be available by late 2012 and final results by 2014. Moreover, the EPA is developing effluent standards for the treatment and disposal of wastewater resulting from hydraulic fracturing activities and plans to propose those standards by 2014. Other governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of the Interior, are evaluating various other aspects of hydraulic fracturing. These ongoing or proposed studies, depending on their degree of pursuit and any meaningful results obtained, could spur initiatives to further regulate hydraulic fracturing under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act or other regulatory mechanisms, which events could delay or curtail production of natural gas by exploration and production operators, some of which are our customers, and thus reduce demand for our midstream services.

A change in the jurisdictional characterization of some of our assets by federal, state or local regulatory agencies or a change in policy by those agencies may result in increased regulation of our assets, which may cause our revenues to decline and operating expenses to increase.

Venice Gathering System, L.L.C. (“VGS”) is a wholly owned subsidiary of VESCO engaged in the business of transporting natural gas in interstate commerce, under authorization granted by and subject to the jurisdiction of FERC under the NGA. VGS owns and operates a natural gas gathering system extending from South Timbalier Block 135 to an onshore interconnection to a natural gas processing plant owned by VESCO. With the exception of our interest in VGS, our operations are generally exempt from FERC regulation under the NGA, but FERC regulation still affects our non-FERC jurisdictional businesses and the markets for products derived from these businesses. The NGA exempts natural gas gathering facilities from regulation by FERC as a natural gas company under the NGA. We believe that the natural gas pipelines in its gathering systems meet the traditional tests FERC has used to establish a pipeline’s status as a gatherer not subject to regulation as a natural gas company. However, the distinction between FERC regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services is the subject of substantial, on-going litigation, so the classification and regulation of our gathering facilities are subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts or Congress. In addition, the courts have determined that certain pipelines that would otherwise be subject to the ICA are exempt from regulation by FERC under the ICA as proprietary lines. The classification of a line as a proprietary line is a fact-based determination subject to FERC and court review. Accordingly, the classification and regulation of some of our gathering facilities and transportation pipelines may be subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts, or Congress.

While our natural gas gathering operations are generally exempt from FERC regulation under the NGA, its gas gathering operations may be subject to certain FERC reporting and posting requirements in a given year. FERC has issued a final rule (as amended by orders on rehearing and clarification), Order 704, requiring certain participants in the natural gas market, including intrastate pipelines, natural gas gatherers, natural gas marketers and natural gas processors, that engage in a minimum level of natural gas sales or purchases to submit annual reports regarding those transactions to FERC. It is the responsibility of the reporting entity to determine which individual transactions should be reported based on the guidance of Order No. 704. Order No. 704 also requires market participants to indicate whether they report prices to any index publishers and, if so, whether their reporting complies with FERC’s policy statement on price reporting.

In addition, FERC has issued a final rule, (as amended by orders on rehearing and clarification), Order 720, requiring major non-interstate pipelines, defined as certain non-interstate pipelines delivering, on an annual basis, more than an average of 50 million MMBtu of gas over the previous three calendar years, to post daily certain information regarding the pipeline’s capacity and scheduled flows for each receipt and delivery point that has design capacity equal to or greater than 15,000 MMBtu/d and requiring interstate pipelines to post information regarding the provision of no-notice service. In October 2011, Order 720, as clarified, was vacated by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit with respect to its application to non-interstate pipelines. In December 2011, the Fifth Circuit confirmed that Order 720, as clarified, remained applicable to interstate pipelines with respect to posting information regarding the provision of no-notice service. We take the position that at this time we and our subsidiaries are exempt from this rule.

 
In addition, FERC recently issued an order extending certain of the open-access requirements including the prohibition on buy/sell arrangements and shipper-must-have-title provisions to include Hinshaw pipelines to the extent such pipelines provide interstate service. However, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry on October 21, 2010, effectively suspending the recent ruling and requesting comments on whether and how holders of firm capacity on Section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines should be permitted to allow others to make use of their firm interstate capacity, including to what extent buy/sell transactions should be permitted. We have no way to predict with certainty whether and to what extent the Notice of Inquiry will result in a modification to the FERC’s previous ruling.

Other FERC regulations may indirectly impact our businesses and the markets for products derived from these businesses. FERC’s policies and practices across the range of our natural gas regulatory activities, including, for example, our policies on open access transportation, gas quality, ratemaking, capacity release and market center promotion, may indirectly affect the intrastate natural gas market. In recent years, FERC has pursued pro-competitive policies in its regulation of interstate natural gas pipelines. However, we cannot assure you that FERC will continue this approach as it considers matters such as pipeline rates and rules and policies that may affect rights of access to transportation capacity. For more information regarding the regulation of our operations, see “Item 1. Business—Regulation of Operations.”

Should we fail to comply with all applicable FERC administered statutes, rules, regulations and orders, we could be subject to substantial penalties and fines.

Under the Domenici-Barton Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EP Act 2005”), which is applicable to VGS, FERC has civil penalty authority under the NGA to impose penalties for current violations of up to $1 million per day for each violation and disgorgement of profits associated with any violation. While our systems other than VGS have not been regulated by FERC as a natural gas company under the NGA, FERC has adopted regulations that may subject certain of our otherwise non-FERC jurisdictional facilities to FERC annual reporting and daily scheduled flow and capacity posting requirements. Additional rules and legislation pertaining to those and other matters may be considered or adopted by FERC from time to time. Failure to comply with those regulations in the future could subject us to civil penalty liability. For more information regarding regulation of our operations, see “Item 1. Business—Regulation of Operations.”

The adoption of climate change legislation or regulations restricting emissions of GHGs could result in increased operating costs and reduced demand for the products and services we provide.

In December 2009, the EPA published its findings that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) present an endangerment to public health and the environment because emissions of such gases are, according to the EPA, contributing to warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on these findings, the EPA adopted two sets of rules regulating GHG emissions under existing provisions of the Clean Air Act, including one that requires a reduction in emissions of GHGs from motor vehicles and another that requires certain construction and operating permit reviews for GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources. The stationary source final rule addresses the permitting of GHG emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”) construction and Title V operating permit programs, pursuant to which these permit programs have been “tailored” to apply to certain stationary sources of GHG emissions in a multi-step process, with the largest sources first subject to permitting. Moreover, because the EPA assumed responsibility for issuing Clean Air Act PSD construction and Title V operating permits for GHG emissions in Texas in December 2010, those two permitting programs are now subject to dual sets of approvals at the state and federal levels. Effective January 2, 2011, operators in Texas with stationary sources emitting GHGs in excess of applicable regulatory thresholds must obtain separate PSD and/or Title V permits from each of the EPA, with respect to GHG emissions, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) with respect to all other regulated non-GHG emissions. Facilities required to obtain PSD permits for their GHG emissions will be required to reduce those emissions according to “best available control technology” standards for GHGs. In addition, the EPA adopted rules requiring the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from certain sources, including, among others, onshore and offshore oil and natural gas production facilities and onshore oil and natural gas processing, transmission, storage and distribution facilities on an annual basis, which includes certain of our operations.

 
In addition, the United States Congress has from time to time considered adopting legislation to reduce emissions of GHGs and almost half of the states have already taken legal measures to reduce emissions of GHGs primarily through the planned development of GHG emission inventories and/or regional GHG cap and trade programs. The adoption of legislation or regulatory programs to reduce emissions of GHGs could require us to incur increased operating costs or comply with new regulatory or reporting requirements. The division of PSD construction and Title V operating permit authority in Texas between the EPA and TCEQ may cause our Texas operations to experience added delays in obtaining permit coverages, which delays may be significant. Any such legislation or regulatory programs could also increase the cost of consuming, and thereby reduce demand for, the natural gas and NGLs we process or fractionate, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Finally, it should be noted that some scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere may produce climate changes that have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts, and floods and other climatic events. If any such effects were to occur, they could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Recently proposed rules regulating air emissions from oil and natural gas operations could cause us as well as natural gas exploration and production operators to incur increased capital expenditures and operating costs as well as cause us to experience reduced demand for our gathering, processing or fractionation services.
 
On July 28, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed rules that would establish new air emission controls for oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing operations. Specifically, EPA’s proposed rule package includes New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) to address emissions of sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), and a separate set of emission standards to address hazardous air pollutants frequently associated with oil and natural gas production and processing activities. The EPA’s proposal would require the reduction of VOC emissions from oil and natural gas production facilities by mandating the use of “green completions” for hydraulic fracturing, which requires the operator to recover rather than vent the gas and natural gas liquids that come to the surface during completion of the fracturing process. The proposed rules also would establish specific requirements regarding emissions from compressors, dehydrators, storage tanks and other production equipment. In addition, the rules combined with other federal and state rules that regulate air emissions that impact natural gas gathering and processing operations would establish new operating requirements for our business. The EPA will receive public comment and hold hearings regarding the proposed rules and must take final action on them by February 28, 2012. If finalized, these rules could require a number of modifications to our customer’s as well as our operations including the installation of new equipment. Compliance with such rules could result in significant costs as well as delays in well completions by our customers, including increased capital expenditures and operating costs, which may adversely impact our business. Moreover, the incurrence of such expenditures and costs by our exploration and production customers’ could result in reduced production by those customers and thus translate into reduced demand for our gathering, processing or fractionation services.
 
Pipeline safety legislation and regulations expanding integrity management programs or requiring the use of certain safety technologies could require us to use more comprehensive and stringent safety controls and subject us to increased capital and operating costs.
 
Congress is currently considering adopting legislation that would establish more stringent pipeline safety requirements. The proposed legislation, if adopted, could impose strengthened pipeline integrity management system requirements, including expanding those requirements to pipelines outside high consequence areas, as well as more stringent non-integrity pipeline measures such as the use of automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves on pipeline facilities. In addition, on May 5, 2011, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or “PHMSA” published a final rule expanding pipeline safety requirements including added reporting obligations and integrity management standards to certain rural low-stress hazardous liquid pipelines that were not previously regulated in such manner. Also, on August 25, 2011, PHMSA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in which the agency is seeking public comment on a number of changes to regulations governing the safety of gas transmission pipelines, gathering lines and related facilities including, among other things, whether PHMSA should: (i) re-define the term “gathering line,” (ii) require the submission of annual, incident and safety-related conditions reports by operators of all gathering lines, (iii) establish a new, risk-based regime of safety requirements for large-diameter, high pressure gas gathering lines in rural locations, (iv) enhance the requirements for internal corrosion control of gathering lines, and (v) apply its gas integrity management requirements to onshore gas gathering lines. The adoption of legislation or regulations that apply more comprehensive or stringent safety standards to gathering lines could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue added capital projects, or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, all of which could require us to incur increased operational costs that could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

 
The recent adoption of derivatives legislation by the United States Congress could have an adverse effect on our ability to use derivative instruments to reduce the effect of commodity price, interest rate and other risks associated with our business.

The United States Congress adopted comprehensive financial reform legislation that establishes federal oversight and regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives market and entities, such as us, that participate in that market. The new legislation, known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”), was signed into law by the President on July 21, 2010, and requires the CFTC and the SEC to promulgate rules and regulations implementing the new legislation. In its rulemaking under the Act, the CFTC issued regulations which set position limits for certain futures and option contracts in the major energy markets and for swaps that are their economic equivalents; provided, however certain bona fide hedging transactions or positions are exempt from these position limits. The financial reform legislation and subsequent rulemaking may require us to comply with margin requirements and with certain clearing and trade-execution requirements in connection with our derivative activities, although the application of those provisions to us is uncertain at this time. The financial reform legislation may also require counterparties to our derivative instruments to spin off some of their derivatives activities to a separate entity, which may not be as creditworthy as the current counterparty. The new legislation and any new regulations could significantly increase the cost of derivative contracts (including through requirements to post collateral which could adversely affect our available liquidity), materially alter the terms of derivative contracts, reduce the availability of derivatives to protect against risks we encounter, reduce our ability to monetize or restructure our existing derivative contracts, and increase our exposure to less creditworthy counterparties. If we reduce our use of derivatives as a result of the legislation and regulations, our results of operations may become more volatile and our cash flows may be less predictable, which could adversely affect our ability to plan for and fund capital expenditures. Finally, the legislation was intended, in part, to reduce the volatility of oil and natural gas prices, which some legislators attributed to speculative trading in derivatives and commodity instruments related to oil and natural gas. Our revenues could therefore be adversely affected if a consequence of the legislation and regulations is to lower commodity prices. Any of these consequences could have a material adverse effect on us, our financial condition, and our results of operations.

Our interstate common carrier liquids pipeline is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Targa NGL Pipeline Company LLC (“Targa NGL”), one of our subsidiaries, has interstate NGL pipelines that are considered common carrier pipelines subject to regulation by FERC under the ICA. More specifically, Targa NGL owns a twelve inch diameter pipeline that runs between Lake Charles, Louisiana and Mont Belvieu, Texas. This pipeline can move mixed NGL and purity NGL products. Targa NGL also owns an eight inch diameter pipeline and a 20 inch diameter pipeline each of which run between Mont Belvieu, Texas and Galena Park, Texas. The eight inch and the 20 inch pipelines are part of an extensive mixed NGL and purity NGL pipeline receipt and delivery system that provides services to domestic and foreign import and export customers. The Interstate Commerce Act (“ICA”) requires that we maintain tariffs on file with FERC for each of these pipelines. Those tariffs set forth the rates we charge for providing transportation services as well as the rules and regulations governing these services. The ICA requires, among other things, that rates on interstate common carrier pipelines be “just and reasonable” and nondiscriminatory. All shippers on these pipelines are our subsidiaries.

Terrorist attacks and the threat of terrorist attacks have resulted in increased costs to our business. Continued hostilities in the Middle East or other sustained military campaigns may adversely impact our results of operations.

The long-term impact of terrorist attacks, such as the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and the threat of future terrorist attacks on our industry in general and on us in particular is not known at this time. However, resulting regulatory requirements and/or related business decisions associated with security are likely to increase our costs.

Increased security measures taken by us as a precaution against possible terrorist attacks have resulted in increased costs to its business. Uncertainty surrounding continued hostilities in the Middle East or other sustained military campaigns may affect our operations in unpredictable ways, including disruptions of crude oil supplies and markets for our products, and the possibility that infrastructure facilities could be direct targets, or indirect casualties, of an act of terror.

 
Changes in the insurance markets attributable to terrorist attacks may make certain types of insurance more difficult for us to obtain. Moreover, the insurance that may be available to us may be significantly more expensive than our existing insurance coverage or coverage may be reduced or unavailable. Instability in the financial markets as a result of terrorism or war could also affect our ability to raise capital.

Risks Inherent in an Investment in Us

Cash distributions are not guaranteed and may fluctuate with our performance and the establishment of financial reserves.

Because distributions on the common units are dependent on the amount of cash we generate, distributions may fluctuate based on our performance. The actual amount of cash that is available to be distributed each quarter will depend on numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and the control of our general partner. Cash distributions are dependent primarily on cash flow, including cash flow from financial reserves and working capital borrowings and not solely on profitability, which is affected by non-cash items. Therefore, cash distributions might be made during periods when we record losses and might not be made during periods when we record profits.

In order to make cash distributions at our current distribution rate of $0.6025 per common unit per complete quarter or $2.41 per unit per year, we will require available cash of approximately $66.1 million per quarter or $264.2 million per year, based on common units outstanding as of February 17, 2012. We may not have sufficient available cash from operating surplus each quarter to enable us to make cash distributions at our current distribution rate under our cash distribution policy. The amount of cash we can distribute on our units principally depends upon the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which will fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on, among other things:

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the fees we charge and the margins we realize for our services;

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the prices of, levels of production of and demand for, natural gas and NGLs;

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the volume of natural gas we gather, treat, compress, process, transport and sell and the volume of NGLs we process or fractionate and sell;

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the relationship between natural gas and NGL prices;

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cash settlements of hedging positions;

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the level of competition from other midstream energy companies;

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the level of our operating and maintenance and general and administrative costs; and

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prevailing economic conditions.

In addition, the actual amount of cash we will have available for distribution will depend on other factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

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the level of capital expenditures we make;

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our ability to make borrowings under our credit facility to pay distributions;

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the cost of acquisitions;

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our debt service requirements and other liabilities;
 
 
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fluctuations in our working capital needs;

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general and administrative expenses, including expenses we incur as a result of being a public company;

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restrictions on distributions contained in our debt agreements; and

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the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner for the proper conduct of our business.

Targa controls our general partner, which has sole responsibility for conducting our business and managing our operations. Targa has conflicts of interest with us and may favor its own interests to your detriment.

Targa owns and controls our general partner. Some of our general partner’s directors and some of its executive officers, are directors or officers of Targa. Therefore, conflicts of interest may arise between Targa, including our general partner, on the one hand and us and our unitholders, on the other hand. In resolving these conflicts of interest, our general partner may favor its own interests over the interests of our unitholders. These conflicts include, among others, the following situations:

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neither our partnership agreement nor any other agreement requires Targa to pursue a business strategy that favors us. Targa’s directors and officers have a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the owners of Targa, which may be contrary to our interests; and

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our general partner is allowed to take into account the interests of parties other than us, such as Targa or its owners, in resolving conflicts of interest.

Targa is not limited in its ability to compete with us and is under no obligation to offer assets to us, which could limit our ability to acquire additional assets or businesses.

Neither our partnership agreement nor the Omnibus Agreement between us and Targa prohibits Targa from owning assets or engaging in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. In addition, Targa may acquire, construct or dispose of additional midstream or other assets in the future, without any obligation to offer us the opportunity to purchase or construct any of those assets. Targa is a large, established participant in the midstream energy business and has significantly greater resources and experience than we have, which factors may make it more difficult for us to compete with Targa with respect to commercial activities as well as for acquisition candidates. As a result, competition from Targa could adversely impact our results of operations and cash available for distribution.

The credit and business risk profile of our general partner and its owners could adversely affect our credit ratings and profile.

The credit and business risk profiles of the general partner and its owners may be factors in credit evaluations of a master limited partnership. This is because the general partner can exercise significant influence over the business activities of us, including its cash distribution and acquisition strategy and business risk profile. Another factor that may be considered is the financial condition of the general partner and its owners, including the degree of their financial leverage and their dependence on cash flow from us to service their indebtedness.

Targa, the owner of our general partner, is dependent on the cash distributions from its indirect general partner and limited partner equity interests in us to provide working capital. Any distributions by us to such entities will be made only after satisfying our then current obligations to our creditors. Our credit ratings and business risk profile could be adversely affected if the ratings and risk profiles of the entities that control our general partner were viewed as substantially lower or more risky than ours.
 
Our partnership agreement limits our general partner’s fiduciary duties to holders of our units and restricts the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken by our general partner that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duty.
 
The directors and officers of our general partner have a fiduciary duty to manage our general partner in a manner beneficial to its owner, Targa. Our partnership agreement contains provisions that reduce the standards to which our general partner would otherwise be held by state fiduciary duty laws. For example, our partnership agreement:

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permits our general partner to make a number of decisions in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner. This entitles our general partner to consider only the interests and factors that it desires and it has no duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of or factors affecting, us;

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provides that our general partner does not have any liability to us or our unitholders for decisions made in its capacity as a general partner so long as it acted in good faith, meaning it believed the decision was in the best interests of our partnership;

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generally provides that affiliated transactions and resolutions of conflicts of interest not approved by the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner acting in good faith and not involving a vote of unitholders must be on terms no less favorable to us than those generally being provided to or available from unrelated third parties or must be “fair and reasonable” to us, as determined by our general partner in good faith and that, in determining whether a transaction or resolution is “fair and reasonable,” our general partner may consider the totality of the relationships between the parties involved, including other transactions that may be particularly advantageous or beneficial to us;

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provides that our general partner and its officers and directors are not liable for monetary damages to us, our limited partners or assignees for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that the general partner or those other persons acted in bad faith or engaged in fraud or willful misconduct or, in the case of a criminal matter, acted with knowledge that the conduct was criminal; and

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provides that in resolving conflicts of interest, it is presumed that in making its decision the general partner acted in good faith and in any proceeding brought by or on behalf of any limited partner or us, the person bringing or prosecuting such proceeding will have the burden of overcoming such presumption.

Cost reimbursements due our general partner for services provided, which will be determined by our general partner, will be substantial and will reduce our cash available for distribution to you.

Pursuant to the Omnibus Agreement we entered into with Targa and our general partner, Targa receives reimbursement for the payment of operating expenses related to our operations and for the provision of various general and administrative services for our benefit. Payments for these services are substantial and reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to unitholders. See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.” In addition, under Delaware partnership law, our general partner has unlimited liability for our obligations, such as our debts and environmental liabilities, except for our contractual obligations that are expressly made without recourse to our general partner. To the extent our general partner incurs obligations on our behalf, we are obligated to reimburse or indemnify our general partner. If we are unable or unwilling to reimburse or indemnify our general partner, our general partner may take actions to cause us to make payments on these obligations and liabilities. Any such payments could reduce the amount of cash otherwise available for distribution to our unitholders.

Holders of our common units have limited voting rights and are not entitled to elect our general partner or its directors.

Unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, unitholders have only limited voting rights on matters affecting our business and, therefore, limited ability to influence management’s decisions regarding our business. Unitholders will not elect our general partner or our general partner’s board of directors and have no right to elect our general partner or our general partner’s board of directors on an annual or other continuing basis. The board of directors of our general partner is chosen by Targa. Furthermore, if the unitholders are dissatisfied with the performance of our general partner, they have little ability to remove our general partner. As a result of these limitations, the price at which the common units trade could be diminished because of the absence or reduction of a takeover premium in the trading price.


We may issue additional units without unitholder approval, which would dilute existing ownership interests.

Our partnership agreement does not limit the number of additional limited partner interests that we may issue at any time without the approval of our unitholders. The issuance by us of additional common units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects:

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our unitholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;

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the amount of cash available for distribution on each unit may decrease;

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the ratio of taxable income to distributions may increase;

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the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding unit may be diminished; and

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the market price of the common units may decline.

Affiliates of our general partner may sell common units in the public markets, which sales could have an adverse impact on the trading price of the common units.

As of February 17, 2012 Targa and its affiliates beneficially held 12,945,659 common units. The sale of these units in the public markets could have an adverse impact on the price of the common units or on any trading market that may develop.

Our general partner may elect to cause us to issue Class B units to it in connection with a resetting of the target distribution levels related to our general partner’s incentive distribution rights without the approval of the conflicts committee of our general partner or holders of our common units. This ability may result in lower distributions to holders of our common units in certain situations.

Our general partner has the right when it has received incentive distributions at the highest level to which it is entitled (48%) for each of the prior four consecutive fiscal quarters, to reset the initial cash target distribution levels at higher levels based on the distribution at the time of the exercise of the reset election. Following a reset election by our general partner, the minimum quarterly distribution amount will be reset to an amount equal to the average cash distribution amount per common unit for the two fiscal quarters immediately preceding the reset election (such amount is referred to as the “reset minimum quarterly distribution”) and the target distribution levels will be reset to correspondingly higher levels based on percentage increases above the reset minimum quarterly distribution amount.

In connection with resetting these target distribution levels, our general partner will be entitled to receive Class B units. The Class B units will be entitled to the same cash distributions per unit as our common units and will be convertible into an equal number of common units. The number of Class B units to be issued will be equal to that number of common units whose aggregate quarterly cash distributions equaled the average of the distributions to our general partner on the incentive distribution rights in the prior two quarters. We anticipate that our general partner would exercise this reset right in order to facilitate acquisitions or internal growth projects that would not be sufficiently accretive to cash distributions per common unit without such conversion; however, it is possible that our general partner could exercise this reset election at a time when it is experiencing or may be expected to experience, declines in the cash distributions it receives related to its incentive distribution rights and may therefore desire to be issued our Class B units, which are entitled to receive cash distributions from us on the same priority as our common units, rather than retain the right to receive incentive distributions based on the initial target distribution levels. As a result, a reset election may cause our common unitholders to experience dilution in the amount of cash distributions that they would have otherwise received had we not issued new Class B units to our general partner in connection with resetting the target distribution levels related to our general partner’s incentive distribution rights.

Increases in interest rates could adversely impact our unit price and our ability to issue additional equity to make acquisitions, for expansion capital expenditures or for other purposes.

As with other yield-oriented securities, our unit price is impacted by the level of our cash distributions and implied distribution yield. The distribution yield is often used by investors to compare and rank related yield-oriented securities for investment decision-making purposes. Therefore, changes in interest rates, either positive or negative, may affect the yield requirements of investors who invest in our units and a rising interest rate environment could have an adverse impact on our unit price and our ability to issue additional equity to make acquisitions, for expansion capital expenditures or for other purposes.

 
Our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of unitholders owning 20% or more of our common units.

Unitholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the partnership agreement provision providing that any units held by a person that owns 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, other than our general partner, its affiliates, their transferees and persons who acquired such units with the prior approval of the board of directors of our general partner, cannot vote on any matter. Our partnership agreement also contains provisions limiting the ability of unitholders to call meetings or to acquire information about our operations, as well as other provisions limiting the unitholders’ ability to influence the manner or direction of management.

Control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.

Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of the unitholders. Furthermore, our partnership agreement does not restrict the ability of the owners of our general partner from transferring all or a portion of their respective ownership interest in our general partner to a third party. The new owners of our general partner would then be in a position to replace the board of directors and officers of our general partner with its own choices and thereby influence the decisions taken by the board of directors and officers.

Our general partner has a limited call right that may require you to sell your units at an undesirable time or price.

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the common units, our general partner will have the right, but not the obligation, which it may assign to any of its affiliates or to us, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the common units held by unaffiliated persons at a price not less than their then-current market price. As a result, you may be required to sell your common units at an undesirable time or price and may not receive any return on your investment. You may also incur a tax liability upon a sale of your units. As of February 17, 2012, our general partner and its affiliates own approximately 14.5% of our aggregate outstanding common units.

Your liability may not be limited if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of our business.

A general partner of a partnership generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to the general partner. Our partnership is organized under Delaware law and we conduct business in Louisiana and Texas as well as other states. The limitations on the liability of holders of limited partner interests for the obligations of a limited partnership have not been clearly established in some of the states in which we do business. You could be liable for any and all of our obligations as if you were a general partner if a court or government agency determined that we were conducting business in a state but had not complied with that particular state’s partnership statute; or your right to act with other unitholders to remove or replace the general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement or to take other actions under our partnership agreement constitute “control” of our business.

Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions that were wrongfully distributed to them.

Under certain circumstances, unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under Section 17-607 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, we may not make a distribution to you if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Delaware law provides that for a period of three years from the date of the impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Delaware law will be liable to the limited partnership for the distribution amount. Substituted limited partners are liable for the obligations of the assignor to make contributions to the partnership that are known to the substituted limited partner at the time it became a limited partner and for unknown obligations if the liabilities could be determined from the partnership agreement. Liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interest and liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.


Tax Risks to Common Unitholders

Our tax treatment depends on our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, as well as our not being subject to a material amount of entity-level taxation by individual states. If the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), were to treat us as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or if we were to become subject to a material amount of entity-level taxation for state tax purposes, then our cash available for distribution to you would be substantially reduced.

The anticipated after-tax economic benefit of an investment in the common units depends largely on our being treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. In order to maintain our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, 90% or more of our gross income in each tax year must be qualifying income under Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). We have not requested and do not plan to request a ruling from the IRS with respect to our treatment as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

Despite the fact that we are a limited partnership under Delaware law, it is possible, under certain circumstances, for an entity such as us to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. Although we do not believe, based upon our current operations, that we will be so treated, a change in our business could cause us to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject us to federal income taxation as an entity.

If we were treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, we would pay federal income tax on our taxable income at the corporate tax rate, which is currently a maximum of 35% and would likely pay state income tax at varying rates. Distributions to you would generally be taxed again as corporate distributions and no income, gains, losses or deductions would flow through to you. Because a tax would be imposed upon us as a corporation, our cash available for distribution to you would be substantially reduced. Therefore, treatment of us as a corporation would result in a material reduction in the anticipated cash flow and after-tax return to the unitholders, likely causing a substantial reduction in the value of our common units.

Current law may change so as to cause us to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject us to entity-level taxation. At the federal level, legislation has been proposed in a prior session of Congress that would have eliminated partnership tax treatment for certain publicly traded partnerships. Although such legislation would not have applied to us as proposed, it could be reintroduced and amended prior to enactment in a manner that does apply to us. We are unable to predict whether any such change or other proposals will ultimately be enacted. Moreover, any modification to the federal income tax laws and interpretations thereof may or may not be applied retroactively. Any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our common units. At the state level, because of widespread state budget deficits and other reasons, several states are evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise and other forms of taxation. For example, we are required to pay Texas franchise tax at a maximum effective rate of 0.7% of our gross income apportioned to Texas in the prior year. Imposition of any such tax on us by any other state will reduce the cash available for distribution to you.

Our partnership agreement provides that if a law is enacted or existing law is modified or interpreted in a manner that subjects us to taxation as a corporation or otherwise subjects us to entity-level taxation for federal, state or local income tax purposes, the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution amounts may be adjusted to reflect the impact of that law on us.

We prorate our items of income, gain, loss and deduction between transferors and transferees of our units each month based upon the ownership of our units on the first day of each month, instead of on the basis of the date a particular unit is transferred. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among our unitholders.

We prorate our items of income, gain, loss and deduction between transferors and transferees of our units each month based upon the ownership of our units on the first day of each month, instead of on the basis of the date a particular unit is transferred. The use of this proration method may not be permitted under existing Treasury Regulations. Recently, however, the U.S. Treasury Department issued proposed Treasury Regulations that provide a safe harbor pursuant to which a publicly traded partnership may use a similar monthly simplifying convention to allocate tax items. Nonetheless, the proposed regulations do not specifically authorize the use of the proration method we have adopted. If the IRS were to challenge our proration method or new Treasury Regulations were issued, we may be required to change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among unitholders.

 
If the IRS contests the federal income tax positions we take, the market for our common units may be adversely affected and the cost of any contest will reduce our cash available for distribution to you.

We have not requested, and do not plan to request, a ruling from the IRS with respect to our treatment as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. The IRS may adopt positions that differ from the positions we take. It may be necessary to resort to administrative or court proceedings to sustain some or all of the positions we take. A court may not agree with some or all of the positions we take. Any contest with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our common units and the price at which they trade. In addition, our costs of any contest with the IRS will be borne indirectly by our unitholders and our general partner because the costs will reduce our cash available for distribution.

You may be required to pay taxes on your share of our income even if you do not receive any cash distributions from us.

Because our unitholders are treated as partners to whom we will allocate taxable income which could be different in amount than the cash we distribute, you may be required to pay federal income taxes and, in some cases, state and local income taxes on your share of our taxable income even if you receive no cash distributions from us. You may not receive cash distributions from us equal to your share of our taxable income or even equal to the actual tax liability resulting from that income.

Tax gain or loss on the disposition of our common units could be more or less than expected.

If you sell your common units, you will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and your tax basis in those common units. Because distributions in excess of your allocable share of our net taxable income decrease your tax basis in your common units, the amount, if any, of such prior excess distributions with respect to the units you sell will, in effect, become taxable income to you if you sell such units at a price greater than your tax basis in those units, even if the price you receive is less than your original cost. A substantial portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be ordinary income due to potential recapture items, including depreciation recapture. In addition, because the amount realized includes a unitholder’s share of our non-recourse liabilities, if you sell your units, you may incur a tax liability in excess of the amount of cash you receive from the sale.

Tax-exempt entities and non-U.S. persons face unique tax issues from owning our common units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.

Investment in the common units by tax-exempt entities, such as individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”), other retirement plans and non-U.S. persons raises issues unique to them. For example, virtually all of our income allocated to organizations that are exempt from federal income tax, including IRAs and other retirement plans, will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to them. Distributions to non-U.S. persons will be reduced by withholding taxes at the highest applicable effective tax rate and non-U.S. persons will be required to file federal tax returns and pay tax on their share of our taxable income. If you are a tax-exempt entity or a non-U.S. person, you should consult your tax advisor before investing in our common units.

We treat each purchaser of our common units as having the same tax benefits without regard to the actual common units purchased. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of the common units.

To maintain the uniformity of the economic and tax characteristics of our common units, we have adopted depreciation and amortization positions that may not conform to all aspects of existing Treasury Regulations and may result in audit adjustments to our unitholders’ tax returns. A successful IRS challenge to those positions could adversely affect the amount of tax benefits available to you. It also could affect the timing of these tax benefits or the amount of gain from the sale of common units and could have a negative impact on the value of our common units or result in audit adjustments to your tax returns.


A unitholder whose units are loaned to a “short seller” to cover a short sale of units may be considered as having disposed of those units. If so, he would no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan and may recognize gain or loss from the disposition.

Because a unitholder whose units are loaned to a “short seller” to cover a short sale of units may be considered as having disposed of the loaned units, he may no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan to the short seller, and the unitholder may recognize gain or loss from such disposition. Moreover, during the period of the loan to the short seller, any of our income, gain, loss or deduction with respect to those units may not be reportable by the unitholder and any cash distributions received by the unitholder as to those units could be fully taxable as ordinary income. Unitholders desiring to assure their status as partners and avoid the risk of gain recognition from a loan to a short seller are urged to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing their units.

We have adopted certain valuation methodologies that may result in a shift of income, gain, loss and deduction between the general partner and the unitholders. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of our common units.

When we issue additional units or engage in certain other transactions, we will determine the fair market value of our assets and allocate any unrealized gain or loss attributable to our assets to the capital accounts of our unitholders and our general partner. Our methodology may be viewed as understating the value of our assets. In that case, there may be a shift of income, gain, loss and deduction between certain unitholders and the general partner, which may be unfavorable to such unitholders. Moreover, under our valuation methods, subsequent purchasers of common units may have a greater portion of their Code Section 743(b) adjustment allocated to our tangible assets and a lesser portion allocated to our intangible assets. The IRS may challenge our valuation methods or our allocation of the Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to our tangible and intangible assets and allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction between the general partner and certain of our unitholders.

A successful IRS challenge to these methods or allocations could adversely affect the amount of taxable income or loss being allocated to our unitholders. It also could affect the amount of gain from our unitholders’ sale of common units and could have a negative impact on the value of our common units or result in audit adjustments to our unitholders’ tax returns without the benefit of additional deductions.

The sale or exchange of 50% or more of our capital and profits interests during any twelve-month period will result in the termination of our partnership for federal income tax purposes.

We will be considered to have technically terminated our partnership for federal income tax purposes if there is a sale or exchange of 50% or more of the total interests in our capital and profits within a twelve-month period. For purposes of determining whether the 50% threshold has been met, multiple sales of the same interest are counted only once. Our termination would, among other things, result in the closing of our taxable year for all unitholders, which would result in us filing two tax returns (and our unitholders receiving two Schedules K-1) for one fiscal year and could result in a deferral of depreciation deductions allowable in computing our taxable income. In the case of a unitholder reporting on a taxable year other than a fiscal year ending December 31, the closing of our taxable year may also result in more than twelve months of our taxable income or loss being includable in his taxable income for the year of termination. Our termination currently would not affect our classification as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, but instead, we would be treated as a new partnership for tax purposes. If treated as a new partnership, we must make new tax elections and could be subject to penalties if we are unable to determine in a timely manner that a termination occurred. The IRS has recently announced a relief procedure whereby if a publicly traded partnership that has technically terminated requests and the IRS grants special relief, the partnership may be permitted to provide only a single Schedule K-1 to unitholders for the tax year in which the technical termination occurs.

You may be subject to state and local taxes and return filing requirements in jurisdictions where you do not live as a result of investing in our common units.

In addition to federal income taxes, you may be subject to return filing requirements and other taxes, including state and local taxes, unincorporated business taxes and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that are imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we conduct business or own property, now or in the future, even if you do not live in any of those jurisdictions. Further, you may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those return filing requirements. We own assets and conduct business in the States of Texas and Louisiana as well as other states. Currently, Texas does not impose a personal income tax on individuals. As we make acquisitions or expand our business, we may own assets or conduct business in states that impose a personal income tax. It is your responsibility to file all U.S. federal, state and local tax returns.

 
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

A description of our properties is contained in “Item 1. Business” of this Annual Report.

Our principal executive offices are located at 1000 Louisiana Street, Suite 4300, Houston, Texas 77002 and our telephone number is 713-584-1000.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

Neither we nor Targa are a party to any legal proceedings other than legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business. We are a party to various administrative and regulatory proceedings that have arisen in the ordinary course of our business. See “Item 1. Business — Regulation of Operations” and “Item 1. Business — Environmental, Health and Safety Matters.”

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.



Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Unitholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Market Information

Our common units have been listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) since January 25, 2010 under the symbol “NGLS.” Previously, our common units were listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”) under the same symbol. The following table sets forth the high and low sales prices of the common units, as reported by the NYSE/NASDAQ, as well as the amount of cash distributions declared for the period January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2011.
 
               
Distribution per
 
Quarter Ended
 
High
   
Low
   
Common Unit
 
December 31, 2011
  $ 39.47     $ 30.01     $ 0.6025  
September 30, 2011
    36.40       28.83       0.5825  
June 30, 2011
    35.64       31.70       0.5700  
March 31, 2011
    35.25       30.51       0.5575  
December 31, 2010
    34.56       27.88       0.5475  
September 30, 2010
    27.10       24.75       0.5375  
June 30, 2010
    27.87       20.45       0.5275  
March 31, 2010
    27.00       21.17       0.5175  

As of February 17, 2012, there were approximately 65 unitholders of record of our common units. This number does not include unitholders whose units are held in trust by other entities. The actual number of unitholders is greater than the number of holders of record. There is no established trading market for the 1,819,817 general partner units held only by our general partner.

Distributions of Available Cash

General. Our partnership agreement requires that, within 45 days after the end of each quarter, we distribute all of our available cash to unitholders of record on the applicable record date, as determined by our general partner.

Definition of Available Cash. The term “available cash,” for any quarter, means all cash and cash equivalents on hand on the date of determination of available cash for that quarter less the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner to:

·  
provide for the proper conduct of our business;

·  
comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements; or

·  
provide funds for distribution to our unitholders and to our general partner for any one or more of the next four quarters.

Minimum Quarterly Distribution. We intend to make cash distributions to the holders of common units on a quarterly basis in an amount equal to at least the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.3375 per unit or $1.35 per unit on an annualized basis, to the extent we have sufficient cash from our operations after establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses, including payments to our general partner. However, there is no guarantee that we will pay the minimum quarterly distribution on the units in any quarter. Even if our cash distribution policy is not modified or revoked, the amount of distributions paid under our policy and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our general partner, taking into consideration the terms of our partnership agreement. The board of directors of our general partner has broad discretion to establish cash reserves that it determines are necessary or appropriate to properly conduct our business. These can include cash reserves for future capital and maintenance expenditures, reserves to stabilize distributions of cash to our unitholders, reserves to reduce debt or, as necessary, reserves to comply with the terms of any of our agreements or obligations. We will be prohibited from making any distributions to unitholders if it would cause an event of default or if an event of default exists under our credit agreement or indentures.

 
General Partner Interest. Our general partner is currently entitled to 2% of all quarterly distributions that we make prior to our liquidation. As of February 17, 2012 our general partner interest is represented by 1,819,817 general partner units. Our general partner has the right, but not the obligation, to contribute a proportional amount of capital to us to maintain its current general partner interest. The general partner’s 2% interest in these distributions will be reduced if we issue additional units in the future and our general partner does not contribute a proportional amount of capital to us to maintain its 2% general partner interest.

Incentive Distribution Rights. Our general partner also currently holds incentive distribution rights that entitle it to receive up to a maximum of 50% of the cash we distribute in excess of $0.50625 per unit per quarter. The maximum distribution of 50% includes distributions paid to our general partner on its general partner interest and assumes that our general partner maintains its general partner interest at 2%. The maximum distribution of 50% does not include any distributions that our general partner may receive on limited partner units that it owns.

The historical distributions paid by us are shown in “Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Distributions to our Unitholders.”

Equity Compensation Plans

For information on our equity compensation plans, please see Item 12 “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters – Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans” and Note 19 “Compensation Plans” to our consolidated financial statements beginning on page F-1 of this Form 10-K.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Equity Securities

None.

Repurchase of Equity by Targa Resources Partners LP or Affiliated Purchasers

None.


Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

The following table presents selected historical consolidated operating and financial data of Targa Resources Partners LP for the periods ended, and as of, the dates indicated. See “Basis of Presentation” included under Note 2 to “Consolidated Financial Statements” beginning on page F-1 of this Annual Report for information regarding retrospective adjustment of our financial information for the years 2007 through 2010 as a result of our acquisitions of entities under common control. The information in the table below should be read in conjunction with our “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Consolidated Financial Statements” contained in this Annual Report.

   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
   
2008
   
2007
 
   
(In millions, except per unit amounts)
 
Statement of operations data:
                             
Revenues
  $ 6,987.1     $ 5,467.0     $ 4,510.2     $ 8,030.1     $ 7,285.3  
Income from operations
    354.9       217.4       194.9       271.1       284.5  
Net income (loss)
    245.5       134.0       7.2       235.2       33.0  
Net income (loss) attributable to Targa Resources Partners LP
    204.5       109.1       (12.1 )     202.1       4.3  
Net income per limited partner unit -- basic and diluted
  $ 1.98       0.92       0.86       1.83       0.81  
Balance sheet data (at end of period):
                                       
Total assets
  $ 3,658.0     $ 3,186.4     $ 3,152.7     $ 3,348.6     $ 3,712.5  
Long-term allocated debt
    -       -       151.8       141.8       -  
Long-term affiliate debt
    -       -       764.8       1,484.4       1,367.6  
Long-term debt
    1,477.7       1,445.4       908.4       696.8       626.3  
Total owners' equity
    1,361.7       1,049.1       728.3       594.4       652.8  
Other:
                                       
Distributions declared per unit
  $ 2.31     $ 2.13     $ 2.07     $ 1.97     $ 1.24  


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our historical financial statements and notes included in Part IV of this Annual Report.

Overview

Targa Resources Partners LP is a publicly traded Delaware limited partnership formed in October 2006 by Targa Resources Corp. (“Targa” or “Parent”). In this Annual Report, unless the context requires otherwise, references to “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Partnership” are intended to mean the business and operations of Targa Resources Partners LP and its consolidated subsidiaries.

Targa Resources GP LLC (the “general partner”) is a Delaware limited liability company formed by Targa in October 2006 to own a 2% general partner interest in us. Its primary business purpose is to manage our affairs and operations. Targa Resources GP LLC is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Targa.

We acquired Targa’s ownership interests in the following assets, liabilities and operations on the dates indicated (collectively, the “dropdown transactions”):

·  
February 2007 – North Texas System;

·  
October 2007 –SAOU and LOU;

·  
September 2009 – Downstream Business;

·  
April 2010 – Permian Business and Straddle Assets;

·  
August 2010 – Versado; and

·  
September 2010 – Venice Operations.

For periods prior to the above acquisition dates, we refer to the operations, assets and liabilities of these acquisitions as our “predecessors.”

Our Operations

We are engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing and selling natural gas; storing, fractionating, treating, transporting and selling NGLs and NGL products; and storing and terminaling refined petroleum products and crude oil.

We report our operations in two divisions: (i) Natural Gas Gathering and Processing, consisting of two reportable segments – (a) Field Gathering and Processing and (b) Coastal Gathering and Processing; and (ii) Logistics and Marketing consisting of two reportable segments – (a) Logistics Assets and (b) Marketing and Distribution.  The financial results of our hedging activities are reported in Other.

Our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing division includes assets used in the gathering of natural gas produced from oil and gas wells and processing this raw natural gas into merchantable natural gas by extracting NGLs and removing impurities. The Field Gathering and Processing segment’s assets are located in North Texas and the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico. The Coastal Gathering and Processing segment’s assets are located in the onshore and near offshore regions of the Louisiana Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

Our Logistics and Marketing division is also referred to as our Downstream Business. Our Downstream Business includes all the activities necessary to convert raw NGLs into NGL products and provides certain value added services such as storing, terminaling, transporting, distributing and marketing of NGLs, refined petroleum products and crude oil. It also includes certain natural gas supply and marketing activities in support of our other operations.
 
 
Our Logistics Assets segment is involved in transporting, storing and fractionating mixed NGLs; storing, terminaling and transporting finished NGLs; and storing and terminaling refined petroleum products and crude oil. These assets are generally connected to, and supplied in part by, our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing segments and are predominantly located in Mont Belvieu, Texas and Southwestern Louisiana. This segment includes the activities associated with the 2011 acquisitions of refined petroleum products and crude oil storage and terminaling facilities. See “2011 Developments”.

Our Marketing and Distribution segment covers activities required to distribute and market raw and finished NGLs and all natural gas marketing activities. It includes: (1) marketing our own NGL production and purchasing NGL products in selected United States markets; (2) providing liquefied petroleum gas balancing services to refinery customers; (3) transporting, storing and selling propane and providing related propane logistics services to multi-state retailers, independent retailers and other end users; and (4) marketing natural gas available to us from our Natural Gas Gathering and Processing division and the purchase and resale of natural gas in selected United States markets.

Other contains the results of our commodity hedging activities.


Factors That Significantly Affect Our Results

Our results of operations are substantially impacted by the volumes that move through our gathering, processing and logistics assets, changes in commodity prices, our contract terms, the impact of our hedging activities and the cost to operate and support our assets.

Volumes. In our gathering and processing operations, plant inlet volumes and capacity utilization rates generally are driven by wellhead production, our competitive and contractual position on a regional basis and more broadly by the impact of prices for oil, natural gas and NGLs on exploration and production activity in the areas of our operations. The factors that impact the gathering and processing volumes also impact the total volumes that flow to our Downstream Business. In addition, fractionation volumes are also affected by the location of the resulting mixed NGLs, available pipeline capacity to transport NGLs to our fractionators, and our competitive and contractual position relative to other fractionators.

Commodity Prices. The following table presents selected annual and quarterly industry index prices for natural gas, selected NGL products and crude oil and for the periods presented:

Average Quarterly & Annual Prices
 
Natural Gas
$/MMBtu (1)
 
Illustrative Targa NGL $/gallon (2)
 
Crude Oil $/Bbl (3)
 
2011 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4th Quarter
  $ 3.54   $ 1.37   $ 91.88  
3rd Quarter
    4.20     1.37     89.54  
2nd Quarter
    4.32     1.36     102.34  
1st Quarter
    4.11     1.23     94.60  
2011 Average
  $ 4.04   $ 1.33   $ 94.59  
 
                   
2010 
                   
4th Quarter
  $ 3.80   $ 1.13   $ 85.26  
3rd Quarter
    4.38     0.94     76.21  
2nd Quarter
    4.09     1.00     78.05  
1st Quarter
    5.30     1.13     78.88  
2010 Average
  $ 4.39   $ 1.05   $ 79.60  
 
                   
2009 
                   
4th Quarter
  $ 4.16   $ 1.02   $ 76.13  
3rd Quarter
    3.39     0.80     68.24  
2nd Quarter
    3.51     0.70     59.79  
1st Quarter
    4.91     0.61     43.31  
2009 Average
  $ 3.99   $ 0.78   $ 61.87  
________
(1)  
Natural gas prices are based on average quarterly and annual prices from Henry Hub I-FERC commercial index prices.
(2)  
NGL prices are based on quarterly and annual averages of prices from Mont Belvieu Non-TET monthly commercial index prices. Illustrative Targa NGL contains 43% ethane, 30% propane, 11% natural gasoline, 6% isobutane and 10% normal butane.
(3)  
Crude oil prices are based on quarterly and annual averages of daily prices from West Texas Intermediate commercial index prices as measured on the NYMEX.
 

Contract Terms, Contract Mix and the Impact of Commodity Prices. Because of the significant volatility of natural gas and NGL prices, the contract mix of our natural gas gathering and processing segment can have a significant impact on our profitability, especially those that create exposure to changes in energy prices (“equity volumes”). Set forth below is a table summarizing the mix of our natural gas gathering and processing contracts for 2011 and the potential impacts of commodity prices on operating margins:

   
Percent of
Throughput
   
Contract Type
   
Impact of Commodity Prices
Percent-of-Proceeds/Percent-of-Liquids
 
40%
 
Decreases in natural gas and/or NGL prices generate decreases in operating margins.
Fee-Based
 
3%
 
No direct impact from commodity price movements.
Wellhead Purchases/Keep-whole
 
21%
 
Increases in natural gas prices relative to NGL prices generate decreases in operating margin.
Hybrid
 
36%
 
In periods of favorable processing economics (1), similar to percent-of-liquids or to wellhead purchases/keep-whole in some circumstances, if economically advantageous to the processor. In periods of unfavorable processing economics, similar to fee-based.
____________
(1)  
Favorable processing economics typically occur when processed NGLs can be sold, after allowing for processing costs, at a higher value than natural gas on a Btu equivalent basis.

Negotiated contract terms are based upon a variety of factors, including natural gas quality, geographic location, the competitive commodity and pricing environment at the time the contract is executed, and customer requirements. Our gathering and processing contract mix and, accordingly, our exposure to natural gas and NGL prices, may change as a result of producer preferences, competition, and changes in production as wells decline at different rates or are added, our expansion into regions where different types of contracts are more common as well as other market factors.
 
The contract terms and contract mix of our Downstream Business can also have a significant impact on our results of operations. During periods of low relative demand for available fractionation capacity, rates were low and frac-or-pay contracts were not readily available. Currently, demand for fractionation services is near existing industry capacity, rates have increased, contract lengths have increased and reservation fees are required. These fractionation contracts in the logistics assets segment are primarily fee-based arrangements while the marketing and distribution segment includes both fee-based and percent-of-proceeds contracts.
 
Impact of Our Commodity Price Hedging Activities. In an effort to reduce the variability of our cash flows, we have hedged the commodity price associated with a portion of our expected natural gas and NGL equity volumes through 2013 and condensate equity volumes through 2014 by entering into derivative financial instruments including swaps and purchased puts (or floors). With these arrangements, we have attempted to mitigate our exposure to commodity price movements with respect to our forecasted volumes for these periods. We actively manage the Downstream Business product inventory and other working capital levels to reduce exposure to changing NGL prices. For additional information regarding our hedging activities, see “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk — Commodity Price Risk.”

Operating Expenses. Variable costs such as fuel, utilities, power, service and repairs can impact our results as volumes fluctuate through our systems. Continued expansion of existing assets will also give rise to additional operating expenses, which will affect our results.

General and Administrative Expenses. Our Omnibus Agreement with Targa, our general partner and others addresses the reimbursement of costs incurred on our behalf and indemnification matters. Under the Omnibus Agreement (as amended), which runs through April 2013, Targa will provide general and administrative and other services to us associated with (1) our existing assets and any future Targa conveyances and (2) subject to mutual agreement, our future acquisitions from third parties. Since October 1, 2010, after the final conveyance of assets to us by Targa, substantially all of Targa’s general and administrative costs have been and will continue to be allocated to us, other than Targa’s direct costs of being a separate public reporting company.

The employees supporting our operations are employees of Targa Resources LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Targa. We reimburse Targa for the payment of certain operating expenses, including compensation and benefits of operating personnel assigned to our assets, and for the provision of various general and administrative services for our benefit. Targa performs centralized corporate functions for us, such as legal, accounting, treasury, insurance, risk management, health, safety, environmental, information technology, human resources, credit, payroll, internal audit, taxes, engineering and marketing.

 
General Trends and Outlook

We expect the midstream energy business environment to continue to be affected by the following key trends: demand for our services, commodity prices, volatile capital markets and increased regulation. These expectations are based on assumptions made by us and information currently available to us. To the extent our underlying assumptions about or interpretations of available information prove to be incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from our expected results.

Demand for Our Services. Fluctuations in energy prices can affect production rates and investments by third parties in the development of oil and natural gas reserves. Generally, drilling and production activity will increase as energy prices increase. We believe that the current strength of oil, condensate and NGL prices as compared to natural gas prices has caused producers in and around our natural gas gathering and processing areas of operation to focus their drilling programs on regions rich in liquid forms of hydrocarbons. This focus is reflected in increased drilling permits and higher rig counts in these areas, and we expect these activities to lead to higher inlet volumes in the Field Gathering and Processing segment over the next several years. While we expect demand for our NGL products to remain strong, a reduction in demand for NGL products or a significant increase in NGL product supply relative to this demand, could impact our business. Increases in demand for international grade propane, along with expansion in the petrochemical industry, which relies on ethane as a feedstock, point towards sustained demand for our terminaling and storage services in the Downstream Business. Producer activity in areas rich in oil, condensate and NGLs is currently generating increased demand for our fractionation services and for related fee-based services provided by our Downstream Business. While we expect development activity to remain robust with respect to oil and liquids rich gas development and production, currently depressed natural gas prices have resulted in reduced activity levels surrounding comparatively dry natural gas reserves, whether conventional or unconventional.

Commodity Prices. Current forward commodity prices as of December 31, 2011 show natural gas prices strengthening while NGL and crude oil prices weaken on an absolute price basis. Various industry commodity price forecasts based on fundamental analysis may differ significantly from forward market prices. Both are subject to change due to multiple factors. There has been and we believe there will continue to be significant volatility in commodity prices and in the relationships among NGL, crude oil and natural gas prices. In addition, the volatility and uncertainty of natural gas, crude oil and NGL prices impact drilling, completion and other investment decisions by producers and ultimately supply to our systems.

Our operating income generally improves in an environment of higher natural gas, NGL and condensate prices, primarily as a result of our percent-of-proceeds contracts. Our processing profitability is largely dependent upon pricing and market demand for natural gas, NGLs and condensate, which are beyond our control and have been volatile. Recent weak economic conditions have negatively affected the pricing and market demand for natural gas, NGLs and condensate, which caused a reduction in profitability of our processing operations. In a declining commodity price environment, without taking into account our hedges, we will realize a reduction in cash flows under our percent-of-proceeds contracts proportionate to average price declines. We have attempted to mitigate our exposure to commodity price movements by entering into hedging arrangements. For additional information regarding our hedging activities, see “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk—Commodity Price Risk.”
 
Volatile Capital Markets. We are dependent on our ability to access the equity and debt capital markets in order to fund acquisitions and expansion expenditures. Global financial markets have been, and are expected to continue to be, volatile and disrupted and weak economic conditions may cause a significant decline in commodity prices. As a result, we may be unable to raise equity or debt capital on satisfactory terms, or at all, which may negatively impact the timing and extent to which we execute growth plans. Prolonged periods of low commodity prices or volatile capital markets may impact our ability or willingness to enter into new hedges, fund organic growth, connect to new supplies of natural gas, execute acquisitions or implement expansion capital expenditures. 

Increased Regulation. Additional regulation in various areas has the potential to materially impact our operations and financial condition. For example, increased regulation of hydraulic fracturing used by producers may cause reductions in supplies of natural gas and of NGLs from producers. Please read “Risk Factors – Increased regulation of hydraulic fracturing could result in reductions or delays in drilling and completing new oil and natural gas wells, which could adversely impact our revenues by decreasing the volumes of natural gas that we gather, process and fractionate.” Similarly, the forthcoming rules and regulations of the CFTC may limit our ability or increase the cost to use derivatives, which could create more volatility and less predictability in our results of operations. Please read “Risk Factors—The recent adoption of derivatives legislation by the United States Congress could have an adverse effect on our ability to use derivative instruments to reduce the effect of commodity price, interest rate and other risks associated with our business.”

 
Distributions to our Unitholders

We intend to make cash distributions to our unitholders and our general partner of at least the minimum quarterly distribution rate of $0.3375 per common unit per quarter ($1.35 per common unit on an annualized basis). As of December 31, 2011, such annual minimum amounts would have been approximately $101.0 million. In every quarter since the fourth quarter of 2007, we have paid quarterly distributions greater than the minimum quarterly distribution rate.

For the year ended December 31, 2011 compared to 2010, total distributions increased by $61.3 million. For the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to 2009, total distributions increased by $49.7 million. The following table shows the distributions for 2011, 2010 and 2009:

     
Distributions Paid
       
 
For the Three
 
Limited Partners
   
General Partner
             
Date Paid
Months Ended
 
Common
   
Subordinated
   
Incentive
     2%    
Total
   
Distribution per limited partner unit
 
     
(In millions, except per unit amounts)
       
2011 
                                       
November 14, 2011
September 30, 2011
  $ 49.4     $ -     $ 8.8     $ 1.2     $ 59.4     $ 0.5825  
August 12, 2011
June 30, 2011
    48.3       -       7.8       1.2       57.3       0.5700  
May 13, 2011
March 31, 2011
    47.3       -       6.8       1.1       55.2       0.5575  
February 14, 2011
December 31, 2010
    46.4       -       6.0       1.1       53.5       0.5475  
                                                   
2010 
                                                 
 November 12, 2010
September 30, 2010
  $ 40.6     $ -     $ 4.6     $ 0.9     $ 46.1     $ 0.5375  
August 13, 2010
June 30, 2010
    35.9       -       3.5       0.8       40.2       0.5275  
May 14, 2010
March 31, 2010
    35.2       -       2.8       0.8       38.8       0.5175  
February 12, 2010
December 31, 2009
    35.2       -       2.8       0.8       38.8       0.5175  
                                                   
2009 
                                                 
November 14, 2009
September 30, 2009
  $ 31.9     $ -     $ 2.6     $ 0.7     $ 35.2     $ 0.5175  
August 14, 2009
June 30, 2009
    23.9       -       2.0       0.5       26.4       0.5175  
May 15, 2009
March 31, 2009
    18.0       5.9       1.9       0.5       26.3       0.5175  
February 13, 2009
December 31, 2008
    18.0       6.0       1.9       0.5       26.4       0.5175  
_______
(1)  
Subsequent Event. On January 12, 2012, we announced a cash distribution of $0.6025 per common unit on our outstanding common units for the three months ended December 31, 2011, which was paid on February 14, 2012. The distribution was $45.9 million to our non-affiliated common unit holders, and $7.8 million, $11.0 million and $1.3 million to Targa for its ownership of common units, incentive distribution rights and its 2% general partner interest in us.

How We Evaluate Our Operations

Our profitability is a function of the difference between: (i) the revenues we receive from our operations, including fee-based revenues from services and revenues from the natural gas, NGLs and condensate we sell, and (ii) the costs associated with conducting our operations, including the costs of wellhead natural gas and mixed NGLs that we purchase as well as operating and general and administrative costs and the impact of our commodity hedging activities. Because commodity price movements tend to impact both revenues and costs, increases or decreases in our revenues alone are not necessarily indicative of increases or decreases in our profitability. Our contract portfolio, the prevailing pricing environment for natural gas and NGLs and the volumes of natural gas and NGL throughput on our systems are important factors in determining our profitability. Our profitability is also affected by the NGL content in gathered wellhead natural gas, supply and demand for our products and services and changes in our customer mix.

 
Aside from commodity-based revenues, our profitability is also impacted by fee-based revenues. Our growth strategy, largely based on third-party acquisitions of businesses and assets as well as expansion of our existing facilities, emphasizes assets that generate fee-based revenues. Fixed fees for services such as storage and terminaling are more attractive to our investors because these revenues are not susceptible to changes in market prices for commodities or to changes in the efficiency of our operational environments.
 
Our management uses a variety of financial measures and operational measurements to analyze our performance. These include: (1) throughput volumes, facility efficiencies and fuel consumption, (2) operating expenses and (3) the following non-GAAP measures — gross margin, operating margin, adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow.
 
Throughput Volumes, Facility Efficiencies and Fuel Consumption. Our profitability is impacted by our ability to add new sources of natural gas supply to offset the natural decline of existing volumes from natural gas wells that are connected to our gathering and processing systems. This is achieved by connecting new wells and adding new volumes in existing areas of production, as well as by capturing natural gas supplies currently gathered by third parties. Similarly, our profitability is impacted by our ability to add new sources of mixed NGL supply, typically connected by third-party transportation, to our Downstream Business’ fractionation facilities. We fractionate NGLs generated by our gathering and processing plants, as well as by contracting for mixed NGL supply from third-party gathering, fractionation and exporting facilities.
 
In addition, we seek to increase operating margin by limiting volume losses and reducing fuel consumption by increasing compression efficiency. With our gathering systems’ extensive use of remote monitoring capabilities, we monitor the volumes of natural gas received at the wellhead or central delivery points along our gathering systems, the volume of natural gas received at our processing plant inlets and the volumes of NGLs and residue natural gas recovered by our processing plants. We also monitor the volumes of NGLs received, stored, fractionated and delivered across our logistics assets. This information is tracked through our processing plants and Downstream Business facilities to determine customer settlements for sales and volume related fees for service and helps us increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.
 
As part of monitoring the efficiency of our operations, we measure the difference between the volume of natural gas received at the wellhead or central delivery points on our gathering systems and the volume received at the inlet of our processing plants as an indicator of fuel consumption and line loss. We also track the difference between the volume of natural gas received at the inlet of the processing plant and the NGLs and residue gas produced at the outlet of such plant to monitor the fuel consumption and recoveries of the facilities. Similar tracking is performed for our logistics assets. These volume, recovery and fuel consumption measurements are an important part of our operational efficiency analysis.
 
Operating Expenses. Operating expenses are costs associated with the operation of a specific asset. Labor, contract services, repair and maintenance, utilities and ad valorem taxes comprise the most significant portion of our operating expenses. These expenses, other than fuel and power, generally remain relatively stable and independent of the volumes through our systems but fluctuate depending on the scope of the activities performed during a specific period.
 
Gross Margin. We define gross margin as revenues less purchases. It is impacted by volumes and commodity prices as well as by our contract mix and hedging program. We define Natural Gas Gathering and Processing gross margin as total operating revenues from the sales of natural gas and NGLs plus service fee revenues, less product purchases, which consist primarily of producer payments and other natural gas purchases. Logistics Assets gross margin consists primarily of service fee revenue. Gross margin for Marketing and Distribution equals total revenue from service fees and NGL sales, less cost of sales, which consists primarily of NGL purchases, transportation costs and changes in inventory valuation. The gross margin impacts of cash flow hedge settlements are reported in Other.
 
Operating Margin. Operating margin is an important performance measure of the core profitability of our operations. We define operating margin as gross margin less operating expenses. Natural gas and NGL sales revenue includes settlement gains and losses on commodity hedges.
 
 
Gross margin and operating margin are non-GAAP measures. The GAAP measure most directly comparable to gross margin and operating margin is net income. Gross margin and operating margin are not alternatives to GAAP net income and have important limitations as analytical tools. Investors should not consider gross margin and operating margin in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Because gross margin and operating margin exclude some, but not all, items that affect net income and are defined differently by different companies in our industry, our definition of gross margin and operating margin may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, thereby diminishing their utility.

Management reviews business segment gross margin and operating margin monthly as a core internal management process. We believe that investors benefit from having access to the same financial measures that our management uses in evaluating our operating results. Gross margin and operating margin provide useful information to investors because they are used as supplemental financial measures by us and by external users of our financial statements, including investors and commercial banks, to assess:

·  
the financial performance of our assets without regard to financing methods, capital structure or historical cost basis;

·  
our operating performance and return on capital as compared to other companies in the midstream energy sector, without regard to financing or capital structure; and

·  
the viability of acquisitions and capital expenditure projects and the overall rates of return on alternative investment opportunities.

Management compensates for the limitations of gross margin and operating margin as analytical tools by reviewing the comparable GAAP measures, understanding the differences between the measures and incorporating these insights into its decision-making processes.

Adjusted EBITDA. We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, gains or losses on debt repurchases and non-cash risk management activities related to derivative instruments. Adjusted EBITDA is used as a supplemental financial measure by us and by external users of our financial statements such as investors, commercial banks and others.

The economic substance behind our use of Adjusted EBITDA is to measure the ability of our assets to generate cash sufficient to pay interest costs, support our indebtedness and make distributions to our investors.

The GAAP measures most directly comparable to Adjusted EBITDA are net cash provided by operating activities and net income. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as an alternative to GAAP net cash provided by operating activities or GAAP net income. Adjusted EBITDA is not a presentation made in accordance with GAAP and has important limitations as an analytical tool. Investors should not consider Adjusted EBITDA in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Because Adjusted EBITDA excludes some, but not all, items that affect net income and net cash provided by operating activities and is defined differently by different companies in our industry, our definition of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.

Management compensates for the limitations of Adjusted EBITDA as an analytical tool by reviewing the comparable GAAP measures, understanding the differences between the measures and incorporating these insights into its decision-making processes.

Distributable Cash Flow. We define distributable cash flow as net income attributable to Targa Resources Partners LP plus depreciation and amortization, deferred taxes and amortization of debt issue costs included in interest expense, adjusted for non-cash losses (gains) on mark-to-market derivative contracts and debt repurchases, less maintenance capital expenditures (net of any reimbursements of project costs). The impact of noncontrolling interests is included in this measure.

 
Distributable cash flow is a significant performance metric used by us and by external users of our financial statements, such as investors, commercial banks and research analysts, to compare basic cash flows generated by us (prior to the establishment of any retained cash reserves by the board of directors of our general partner) to the cash distributions we expect to pay our unitholders. Using this metric, management and external users of our financial statements can quickly compute the coverage ratio of estimated cash flows to planned cash distributions. Distributable cash flow is also an important financial measure for our unitholders since it serves as an indicator of our success in providing a cash return on investment. Specifically, this financial measure indicates to investors whether or not we are generating cash flow at a level that can sustain or support an increase in our quarterly distribution rates. Distributable cash flow is also a quantitative standard used throughout the investment community with respect to publicly-traded partnerships and limited liability companies because the value of a unit of such an entity is generally determined by the unit’s yield (which in turn is based on the amount of cash distributions the entity pays to a unitholder).

The GAAP measure most directly comparable to distributable cash flow is net income attributable to Targa Resources Partners LP. Distributable cash flow should not be considered as an alternative to GAAP net income attributable to Targa Resources Partners LP. Distributable cash flow is not a presentation made in accordance with GAAP and has important limitations as an analytical tool. Investors should not consider distributable cash flow in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Because distributable cash flow excludes some, but not all, items that affect net income and is defined differently by different companies in our industry, our definition of distributable cash flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies, thereby diminishing its utility.

Management compensates for the limitations of distributable cash flow as an analytical tool by reviewing the comparable GAAP measure, understanding the differences between the measures and incorporating these insights into its decision making processes.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The following tables reconcile the non-GAAP financial measures used by management to their most directly comparable GAAP measures for the periods indicated:
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Reconciliation of gross margin and operating margin to net income:
 
(In millions)
 
Gross margin
  $ 948.1     $ 771.3     $ 710.9  
Operating expenses
    (287.0 )     (258.6 )     (234.4 )
Operating margin
    661.1       512.7       476.5  
Depreciation and amortization expenses
    (178.2 )     (176.2 )     (166.7 )
General and administrative expenses
    (127.8 )     (122.4 )     (118.5 )
Other operating income (loss)
    -       3.3       3.6  
Interest expense, net
    (107.7 )     (110.8 )     (159.8 )
Income tax expense
    (4.3 )     (4.0 )     (1.2 )
Gain (loss) on sale of assets
    (0.2 )     -       -  
Gain (loss) on debt repurchases
    -       -       (1.5 )
Other, net  (1)
    2.6       31.4       (25.2 )
Net income
  $ 245.5     $ 134.0     $ 7.2  
__________
(1)  
Includes gain on mark-to-market derivatives, equity earnings, insurance claims, and other income (expense).
 
 
   
2011
   
2010
   
2009
 
Reconciliation of net cash provided by operating activities to Adjusted EBITDA:
   (In millions)  
Net cash provided by operating activities
  $ 400.9     $ 367.9     $ 422.9  
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
    (41.0 )     (24.9 )     (19.3 )
Interest expense, net (1)
    95.3       74.8       48.2  
Gain (loss) on debt repurchases
    -       -       (1.5 )
Current income tax expense
    3.5       2.8       0.3  
Other (2)
    7.9       (11.4 )     (13.9 )
Changes in operating assets and liabilities which used (provided) cash:
                       
Accounts receivable and other assets
    150.3       71.2       57.0  
Accounts payable and other liabilities
    (126.1 )     (84.3 )     (93.1 )
Adjusted EBITDA
  $ 490.8     $ 396.1     $ 400.6  
_________
(1)  
Net of amortization of debt issuance costs, discount and premium included in interest expense of: $12.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011; $6.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, and $3.9 for the year ended December 31, 2009. Excludes affiliate and allocated interest expense.