10-K 1 nsh201610-k.htm 10-K Document

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
[X]  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016
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 1-32940
nustargpholdingsllclogo16a02.jpg
NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
85-0470977
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
19003 IH-10 West
 
78257
San Antonio, Texas
 
(Zip Code)
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
 
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code (210) 918-2000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act: Units representing limited liability company membership interests listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Securities registered pursuant to 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 [X] 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 [X]
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 [X] 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 [X] 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. [X]
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 (Check one):
Large accelerated filer [X]
Accelerated filer [    ]
Non-accelerated filer [    ]  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Smaller reporting company [    ]
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes [    ] No [X]
The aggregate market value of units held by non-affiliates was approximately $866 million based on the last sales price quoted as of June 30, 2016, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter.
The number of units outstanding as of January 31, 2017 was 42,951,749.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the proxy statement for the registrant’s 2017 annual meeting of unitholders, expected to be filed within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Form 10-K, are incorporated by reference into PART III herein.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
Items 1., 1A. and 2.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1B.
 
 
 
Item 3.
 
 
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
Item X.
 
Item 5.
 
 
 
Item 6.
 
 
 
Item 7.
 
 
 
Item 7A.
 
 
 
Item 8.
 
 
 
Item 9.
 
 
 
Item 9A.
 
 
 
Item 9B.
 
Item 10.
 
 
 
Item 11.
 
 
 
Item 12.
 
 
 
Item 13.
 
 
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
 
 
Item 16.
 
 
 
 


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PART I
Unless otherwise indicated, the terms “NuStar GP Holdings,” “we,” “our” and “us” are used in this report to refer to NuStar GP Holdings, LLC, to one or more of our consolidated subsidiaries or to all of them taken as a whole.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
In this Form 10-K, we make certain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding our plans, strategies, objectives, expectations, estimates, predictions, projections, assumptions, intentions and resources. While these forward-looking statements, and any assumptions upon which they are based, are made in good faith and reflect our current judgment regarding the direction of our business, actual results will almost always vary, sometimes materially, from any estimates, predictions, projections, assumptions or other future performance suggested in this report. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “estimates,” “forecasts,” “budgets,” “projects,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “may” and similar expressions. These statements reflect our current views with regard to future events and are subject to various risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Please read Item 1A. “Risk Factors” for a discussion of certain of those risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those described in any forward-looking statement. Other unknown or unpredictable factors could also have material adverse effects on our future results. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is as of the date of this Form 10-K. We do not intend to update these statements unless we are required by the securities laws to do so, and we undertake no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

ITEMS 1., 1A. and 2. BUSINESS, RISK FACTORS AND PROPERTIES

OVERVIEW

NuStar GP Holdings, LLC (NuStar GP Holdings), a Delaware limited liability company, was formed in June 2000. Our units are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “NSH.” Our principal executive offices are located at 19003 IH-10 West, San Antonio, Texas 78257 and our telephone number is (210) 918-2000.

Our only cash generating assets are our ownership interests in NuStar Energy L.P. (NuStar Energy), a publicly traded Delaware limited partnership (NYSE: NS). NuStar Energy is engaged in the transportation of petroleum products and anhydrous ammonia, the terminalling and storage of petroleum products and the marketing of petroleum products. NuStar Energy has terminal and storage facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, including St. Eustatius in the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom. As of December 31, 2016, we have an approximate 15% ownership in NuStar Energy, consisting of the following:
the general partner interest;
100% of the incentive distribution rights issued by NuStar Energy, which entitle us to receive increasing percentages of the cash distributed by NuStar Energy, currently at the maximum percentage of 23%; and
10,214,626 common units of NuStar Energy.

We strive to increase unitholder value by actively supporting NuStar Energy in executing its business strategy, which includes continued growth through expansion projects and strategic acquisitions. We may facilitate NuStar Energy’s growth through the use of our capital resources, which could involve capital contributions, loans or other forms of financial support.

NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement requires that it distribute all available cash to its common limited partners and general partner each quarter, defined in its partnership agreement generally as cash on hand at the end of the quarter, plus certain permitted borrowings made subsequent to the end of the quarter, less cash reserves determined by NuStar Energy’s board of directors. Similarly, we are required by our limited liability company agreement to distribute all of our available cash at the end of each quarter, less reserves established by our board of directors. However, unlike NuStar Energy, we do not have a general partner or incentive distribution rights. Therefore, all of our distributions are made on our units, which are our only class of securities outstanding.

Our internet website address is http://www.nustargpholdings.com. Information contained on our website is not part of this report. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with (or furnished to) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are available on our website, free of charge, as soon as

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reasonably practicable after we file or furnish such material (select the “Investors” link, then the “SEC Filings” link). We also post our corporate governance guidelines, code of business conduct and ethics, code of ethics for senior financial officers and the charters of our board’s committees on our website free of charge (select “Investors” link, then the “Corporate Governance” link).

Our governance documents are available in print to any unitholder that makes a written request to Corporate Secretary, NuStar GP Holdings, LLC, 19003 IH-10 West, San Antonio, Texas 78257 or corporatesecretary@nustarenergy.com.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

NuStar Energy’s Martin Terminal Acquisition. On December 21, 2016, NuStar Energy acquired crude oil and refined product storage assets in Corpus Christi, TX for $95.7 million, including $2.1 million of capital expenditure reimbursements, from Martin Operating Partnership L.P. The assets acquired include 900,000 barrels of crude oil storage capacity, 250,000 barrels of refined product storage capacity and exclusive use of the Port of Corpus Christi’s new crude oil dock.

Employee Transfer. On March 1, 2016, NuStar GP, LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary, transferred and assigned to NuStar Services Company LLC (NuStar Services Co), a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar Energy, all of NuStar GP, LLC’s employees and related benefit plans, programs, contracts and policies (the Employee Transfer). Please refer to Note 5 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a discussion of this transfer and our related party agreements, and Notes 14 and 15 for a discussion of the employee benefit plans and long-term incentive plan obligations transferred.


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ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The following chart depicts a summary of our organizational structure and relationship with NuStar Energy as of December 31, 2016:
nshorgstruct2016a01.jpg

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EMPLOYEES

NuStar Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, NuStar Services Co, provides administrative services to NuStar Energy. Employees of NuStar Services Co also provide services to us pursuant to the Amended GP Services Agreement (defined in Note 5 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data”). Our officers, who are also officers of NuStar GP, LLC, are dual employees of NuStar GP, LLC and NuStar Services Co. We believe that NuStar Services Co and NuStar GP, LLC each has satisfactory relationships with its employees.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY REGULATION

Our only cash generating assets are our indirect ownership interests in NuStar Energy. We have no independent operations.

PROPERTIES

Our only cash generating assets are our indirect ownership interests in NuStar Energy. We have no independent operations.

RISK FACTORS

RISKS INHERENT IN AN INVESTMENT IN US

Our only cash generating assets are our ownership interests in NuStar Energy. Our cash flows and ability to make distributions at current levels are, therefore, completely dependent upon the ability of NuStar Energy to make cash distributions at current levels to its partners, including us. If NuStar Energy does not make cash distributions at its current levels or reduces the level of cash distributions to its partners, we may not have sufficient cash to pay distributions at our current levels.
Our operating cash flows currently are completely dependent upon NuStar Energy making cash distributions at current levels to its partners, including us. The amount of cash that NuStar Energy can distribute to its partners each quarter principally depends upon the amount of cash it generates from its operations, which fluctuates from quarter to quarter based on, among other things:
throughput volumes transported in its pipelines;
storage contract renewals or throughput volumes in its terminals and storage facilities;
tariff rates and fees it charges and the revenue it realizes for its services;
demand for and supply of crude oil, refined products and anhydrous ammonia;
the effect of worldwide energy conservation measures;
its operating costs;
its costs to comply with environmental, health, safety and security laws and regulations;
weather conditions;
domestic and foreign governmental regulations and taxes;
prevailing economic conditions; and
the results of its marketing, trading and hedging activities, which fluctuate depending upon the relationship between refined product prices and prices of crude oil and other feedstocks.

In addition, the amount of cash that NuStar Energy will have available for distribution depends on other factors, including:
its debt service requirements and restrictions on distributions contained in its current or future debt agreements;
the sources of cash used to fund its acquisitions;
its capital expenditures;
fluctuations in its working capital needs;
its issuances of debt and equity securities and ability to access the capital markets; and
adjustments in cash reserves made by NuStar Energy’s general partner, in its discretion.

It is possible that one or more of the factors listed above may serve to reduce NuStar Energy’s available cash to such an extent that it could be rendered unable to pay distributions at the current level or at all in a given quarter. Furthermore, cash distributions to NuStar Energy unitholders depend primarily upon cash flows, and not solely on profitability, which is affected by non-cash items, and NuStar Energy may make cash distributions during periods in which it records net losses and may not make cash distributions during periods in which it records net income.


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In the future, we may not have sufficient cash to pay distributions at our current quarterly distribution level or to increase distributions.
Because our only source of operating cash flows consists of cash distributions from NuStar Energy, the amount of distributions we are able to make to our unitholders may fluctuate based on the level of distributions NuStar Energy makes to its unitholders, including us. We cannot assure you that NuStar Energy will continue to make quarterly distributions at its current level of $1.095 per common unit, or any other amount, or increase its quarterly distributions in the future. In addition, while we would expect to increase or decrease distributions to our unitholders if NuStar Energy increases or decreases distributions to us, the timing and amount of such changes in distributions, if any, will not necessarily be comparable to the timing and amount of any changes in distributions made by NuStar Energy to us. Our ability to distribute cash received from NuStar Energy to our unitholders is limited by a number of factors, including:
interest expense and principal payments on any indebtedness we may incur;
restrictions on distributions contained in any future debt agreements;
our general and administrative expenses, including expenses we incur as a public company;
expenses of our subsidiaries, including tax liabilities of our corporate subsidiaries;
reserves necessary for us to make the necessary capital contributions to maintain our general partner interest in NuStar Energy, as required by the partnership agreement of NuStar Energy upon the issuance of certain additional partnership securities by NuStar Energy; and
reserves our board of directors believes prudent for us to maintain for the proper conduct of our business or to provide for future distributions.

We cannot guarantee that in the future we will be able to pay distributions or that any distributions NuStar Energy pays to us will allow us to pay distributions at or above our current quarterly distribution of $0.545 per unit. The actual amount of cash that is available for distribution to our unitholders will depend on numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control or the control of NuStar Energy. Therefore, a reduction in the amount of cash distributed by NuStar Energy per common unit or on the incentive distribution rights, or an increase in our expenses, may result in our not being able to pay our current quarterly distribution of $0.545 per unit.

NuStar Energy’s common unitholders, excluding the owner of NuStar Energy’s general partner, have the right to remove NuStar Energy’s general partner by a simple majority vote, which would cause us to divest our general partner interest and incentive distribution rights in NuStar Energy in exchange for cash or common units of NuStar Energy and cause us to lose our ability to manage NuStar Energy.
We currently manage NuStar Energy through Riverwalk Logistics, L.P., NuStar Energy’s general partner and our indirect, wholly owned subsidiary. NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement, however, gives common unitholders of NuStar Energy the right to remove the general partner of NuStar Energy upon the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of outstanding NuStar Energy common units, excluding the common units owned by us. As of December 31, 2016, we owned 10,214,626 common units representing limited partner interests in NuStar Energy, and the public unitholders owned the remaining 68,401,602 outstanding common units representing limited partner interests. If Riverwalk Logistics, L.P. were removed as the general partner of NuStar Energy, it would receive cash or common units in exchange for its general partner interest and its incentive distribution rights and would lose its ability to manage NuStar Energy. While the common units or cash that Riverwalk Logistics, L.P. would receive are intended under the terms of NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement to fully compensate it in the event it is removed as general partner, these common units or the investments made with the cash over time may not provide us with as much distributable cash, or be as valuable, as the general partner interest and incentive distribution rights had we retained them.

NuStar Energy’s general partner, with our consent, may limit or modify the incentive distributions we are entitled to receive in order to facilitate the growth strategy of NuStar Energy. Our board of directors can give this consent without a vote of our unitholders.
We indirectly own NuStar Energy’s general partner, which owns the incentive distribution rights in NuStar Energy that entitle us to receive increasing percentages, up to a maximum of 23%, of any cash distributed by NuStar Energy to common unitholders as it exceeds a distribution of $0.60 per NuStar Energy common unit in any quarter. A substantial portion of the cash flows we receive from NuStar Energy are provided by these incentive distributions. Our limited liability company agreement provides that our board of directors may consent to the elimination, reduction or modification of the incentive distribution rights without our unitholders’ approval if our board determines that the elimination, reduction or modification will not adversely affect our unitholders in any material respect.


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Restrictions in our credit facility limit our ability to make distributions to our unitholders. Our credit facility matures in June 2017.
Our credit facility contains covenants limiting our ability to incur indebtedness, grant liens, engage in transactions with affiliates and make distributions to our unitholders. The credit facility also contains covenants requiring NuStar Energy to maintain certain financial ratios. Our and NuStar Energy’s ability to comply with any restrictions and covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions. If we or NuStar Energy are unable to comply with these restrictions and covenants, any indebtedness under our credit facility may become immediately due and payable, and our lenders’ commitment to make loans to us under our credit facility may terminate. We might not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments.

Our payment of principal and interest on any future indebtedness will reduce our cash available for distribution on our units. Our credit facility limits our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders during an event of default or if an event of default would result from the distribution.

In addition, this and any future levels of indebtedness may:
adversely affect our ability to obtain additional financing for future operations or capital needs;
limit our ability to pursue acquisitions and other business opportunities; or
make our results of operations more susceptible to adverse economic or operating conditions.

Our revolving credit facility matures in June 2017. It is possible that our lenders may not agree to renew our credit facility or may only agree to renew it on substantially less favorable terms. If our credit facility is renewed on substantially less favorable terms, or if our credit facility is not renewed and we must enter into alternative financing arrangements, various limitations in these financing agreements may reduce our ability to incur additional indebtedness, to engage in some transactions or to capitalize on business opportunities. In the event we are unable to obtain adequate financing and NuStar Energy issues additional units, we may not be able to make contributions to NuStar Energy necessary to maintain our general partner interest.

Our ability to sell our ownership interests in NuStar Energy may be limited by securities laws restrictions and liquidity constraints.
All of the units of NuStar Energy that we own are unregistered, restricted securities within the meaning of Rule 144 under the Securities Act of 1933. Unless we exercise our registration rights with respect to these units, we are limited to selling into the market in any three-month period an amount of NuStar Energy common units that does not exceed the greater of 1% of the total number of common units outstanding or the average weekly reported trading volume of the common units for the four calendar weeks prior to the sale. We face contractual limitations on our ability to sell our general partner interest and incentive distribution rights, and the market for such interests is illiquid.

The market price of our units may be volatile, which could cause you to lose all or part of your investment.
The market price of our units could be subject to significant fluctuations due to a variety of factors outside of our control, and the equity markets in general are subject to volatility that may be unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our units. In addition, potential investors may be deterred from investing in our units for various reasons, including the very limited number of publicly traded entities whose assets consist almost exclusively of partnership interests in a publicly traded partnership. The lack of liquidity may also contribute to significant fluctuations in the market price of our units and limit the number of investors who are able to buy our units.

The market price of our units could be adversely affected by sales of substantial amounts of our units into public markets, including sales by our existing unitholders.
Sales by us or any of our existing unitholders, including William E. Greehey, Chairman of the Boards of Directors of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC, of a substantial number of our units in the public markets, or the perception that such sales might occur, could have a material adverse effect on the price of our units or could impair our ability to obtain capital through an offering of equity securities. As of December 31, 2016, Mr. Greehey beneficially owned 20.95% of our outstanding units.

Distributions on our incentive distribution rights in NuStar Energy are more uncertain than distributions on the common units we hold.
Our indirect ownership of the incentive distribution rights in NuStar Energy entitles us to receive our pro rata share of specified percentages of cash distributions on common units made by NuStar Energy with respect to any particular quarter only in the event that NuStar Energy distributes more than $0.60 per common unit for such quarter. As a result, the holders of NuStar Energy’s common units have a priority over the holders of NuStar Energy’s incentive distribution rights to the extent of cash distributions by NuStar Energy up to and including $0.60 per common unit for any quarter.


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Our incentive distribution rights entitle us to receive increasing percentages, up to 23%, of all cash distributed by NuStar Energy on its common units. Because the incentive distribution rights currently participate at the maximum 23% target cash distribution level in all distributions made by NuStar Energy at or above the current distribution level with respect to its common units, future growth in distributions we receive from NuStar Energy will not result from an increase in the target cash distribution level associated with the incentive distribution rights.

Furthermore, a decrease in the amount of distributions by NuStar Energy to less than $0.66 per common unit per quarter would reduce our percentage of the incremental cash distributions above $0.60 per common unit per quarter from 23% to 8%. As a result, any such reduction in quarterly cash distributions from NuStar Energy on its common units would have the effect of disproportionately reducing the amount of all distributions that we receive from NuStar Energy based on our ownership interest in the incentive distribution rights in NuStar Energy as compared to cash distributions we receive from NuStar Energy on our general partner interest in NuStar Energy and our NuStar Energy common units.

If NuStar Energy’s general partner is not fully reimbursed or indemnified for obligations and liabilities it incurs in managing the business and affairs of NuStar Energy, it may not be able to satisfy its obligations and its cash flows will be reduced.
The general partner of NuStar Energy and its affiliates may make expenditures on behalf of NuStar Energy for which they will seek reimbursement from NuStar Energy. In addition, under Delaware law, the general partner, in its capacity as the general partner of NuStar Energy, has unlimited liability for the obligations of NuStar Energy, such as its debts and environmental liabilities, except for those contractual obligations of NuStar Energy that are expressly made without recourse to the general partner. To the extent Riverwalk Logistics, L.P. incurs obligations on behalf of NuStar Energy, it is entitled to be reimbursed or indemnified by NuStar Energy. If NuStar Energy does not reimburse or indemnify its general partner, Riverwalk Logistics, L.P. may be unable to satisfy these liabilities or obligations, which would reduce its cash flows. In turn, Riverwalk Logistics, L.P. would have less cash to distribute to us.

If distributions on our units are not paid with respect to any fiscal quarter, our unitholders will not be entitled to receive such payments in the future.
Our distributions to our unitholders are not cumulative. Consequently, if distributions on our units are not paid with respect to any fiscal quarter at the current distribution rate, our unitholders will not be entitled to receive such payments in the future.

Our cash distribution policy limits our growth because we do not retain earnings to reinvest in any acquisitions or growth capital expenditures, and NuStar Energy’s distribution policy may limit NuStar Energy’s growth.
Because we distribute all of our available cash, our growth may not be as fast as businesses that reinvest their available cash to expand ongoing operations. In fact, our growth currently is completely dependent upon NuStar Energy’s ability to increase its quarterly distributions because our only cash-generating assets are indirect ownership interests in NuStar Energy. If we issue additional units or incur debt to fund acquisitions and growth capital expenditures, the payment of distributions on those additional units or interest on that debt could increase the risk that we will be unable to maintain or increase our current per unit distribution level.

Consistent with the terms of its partnership agreement, NuStar Energy distributes to its common unitholders and its general partner its available cash each quarter. In determining the amount of cash available for distribution, NuStar Energy sets aside cash reserves, which it uses to fund its growth capital expenditures. Additionally, it historically has relied upon external financing sources, including commercial borrowings and other debt and equity issuances, to fund its acquisition capital expenditures. Accordingly, to the extent NuStar Energy does not have sufficient cash reserves or is unable to finance growth externally, its cash distribution policy will significantly impair its ability to grow. In addition, to the extent NuStar Energy issues additional units in connection with any acquisitions or growth capital expenditures, the payment of distributions on those additional units may increase the risk that NuStar Energy will be unable to maintain or increase its per unit distribution level, which in turn may impact the available cash that we have to distribute to our unitholders. The incurrence of additional debt to finance its growth strategy would result in increased interest expense to NuStar Energy, which in turn may impact the available cash that we have to distribute to our unitholders.

If in the future we cease to manage NuStar Energy, we may be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which would cause us either to have to register as an investment company, obtain exemptive relief from the SEC or modify our organizational structure or our contract rights.
If we cease to manage NuStar Energy as a consequence of Riverwalk Logistics, L.P.’s removal or withdrawal as NuStar Energy’s general partner or otherwise, and are deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 because of our ownership of NuStar Energy partnership interests, we would either have to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, obtain exemptive relief from the SEC or modify our organizational structure or our contract rights to fall outside the definition of an investment company. Registering as an investment company could, among

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other things, materially limit our ability to engage in transactions with affiliates, including the sale and purchase of certain securities or other property to or from our affiliates and restrict our ability to borrow funds or engage in other transactions involving leverage.

An increase in interest rates may cause the market price of our units to decline.
As interest rates rise, the ability of investors to obtain higher risk-adjusted rates of return by purchasing government-backed debt securities may cause a corresponding decline in demand for riskier investments generally, including yield-based equity investments, such as limited liability company membership interests. Reduced demand for our units resulting from investors seeking other more favorable investment opportunities may cause the market price of our units to decline.

We may issue an unlimited number of additional securities without the consent of our unitholders, which will dilute each unitholder’s ownership interest in us and may increase the risk that we will be unable to maintain or increase our per unit distribution level.
At any time we may issue an unlimited number of additional securities without the approval of our unitholders on terms and conditions determined by our board of directors. The issuance by us of additional units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects:
our unitholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;
the amount of cash available for distribution on each unit may decrease;
the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding unit may be diminished;
the ratio of taxable income to distributions may increase; and
the market price of the units may decline.

NuStar Energy may issue additional NuStar Energy units, which may increase the risk that NuStar Energy will not have sufficient available cash to maintain or increase its per unit cash distribution level and that we will have to make a capital contribution to NuStar Energy.
NuStar Energy may issue additional NuStar Energy units, including units that rank senior to the NuStar Energy common units, preferred units and incentive distribution rights as to quarterly cash distributions, on the terms and conditions established by its general partner. Additionally, we are required to make additional capital contributions to NuStar Energy upon certain issuances by NuStar Energy of additional units in order to maintain our general partner interest in NuStar Energy. Furthermore, to the extent NuStar Energy issues units that are senior to the NuStar Energy common units and the incentive distribution rights, such as the preferred units, their issuance will render more uncertain the payment of distributions on the common units and the incentive distribution rights. Neither the common units nor the incentive distribution rights are entitled to any arrearages from prior quarters; however, the NuStar Energy preferred units are cumulative and must be paid in full before distributions on the NuStar Energy common units and incentive distribution rights can be paid. The payment of distributions on any additional NuStar Energy units may increase the risk that NuStar Energy will be unable to maintain or increase its per unit cash distribution level and the requirement that we make capital contributions to NuStar Energy to maintain our general partner interest may impact the available cash that we have to distribute to our unitholders.

Anti-takeover provisions in our limited liability company agreement may make an acquisition of us complicated and the removal and replacement of our directors and executive officers difficult.
Our limited liability company agreement contains the following provisions that may delay or prevent a change in control. These provisions may also make it difficult for unitholders to remove and replace our board of directors and executive officers.

Section 203. Our limited liability company agreement effectively adopts Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL). Section 203 of the DGCL, as it applies to us, prevents an interested unitholder, defined as a person who owns 15% or more of our outstanding units, from engaging in business combinations with us for three years following the time such person becomes an interested unitholder. Section 203 broadly defines “business combination” to encompass a wide variety of transactions with or caused by an interested unitholder, including mergers, asset sales and other transactions in which the interested unitholder receives a benefit on other than a pro rata basis with other unitholders. This provision of our limited liability company agreement could have an anti-takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by our board of directors, including discouraging takeover attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for our units.

Limited Voting Rights. Our limited liability company agreement provides that if any person or group other than our affiliates acquires beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units, that person or group loses voting rights on all of its units. This loss of voting rights does not apply to any person or group that acquires all of its units from our affiliates or any transferees of that person or group approved by our board of directors or to any person or group who acquires the units with the prior approval of our board of directors.


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Staggered Board. In addition, our limited liability company agreement divides our board of directors into two classes serving staggered two-year terms and permits the board to be divided into three classes serving staggered three-year terms upon the election of a fifth director to our board. This provision, when coupled with the provision of our limited liability company agreement authorizing only the board of directors to fill vacant or newly created directorships or increase the size of the board of directors and the provision providing that directors may only be removed at a meeting of unitholders and cannot be done by written consent, may deter a unitholder from gaining control of our board of directors by removing incumbent directors or increasing the number of directorships and simultaneously filling the vacancies or newly created directorships with its own nominees.

These provisions may delay or prevent a third party from acquiring us and any such delay or prevention could cause the market price of our units to decline.

Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions.
Under certain circumstances, our unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under Section 18-607 of the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act (the Delaware Act), we may not make a distribution to our unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Liabilities to members on account of their membership interests and liabilities that are nonrecourse to the limited liability company are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.

Delaware law provides that, for a period of three years from the date of an impermissible distribution, members who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Delaware law will be liable to us for the repayment of the distribution amount. Likewise, upon the winding up of our limited liability company, in the event that (a) we do not distribute assets in the following order: (1) to creditors in satisfaction of their liabilities; (2) to members and former members in satisfaction of liabilities for distributions owed under our limited liability company agreement; (3) to members for the return of their contributions; and finally (4) to the members in the proportions in which the members share in distributions and (b) a member knows at the time that the distribution violated the Delaware Act, then such member will be liable to repay the distribution for a period of three years (subject to certain exceptions) from the impermissible distribution under Section 18-804 of the Delaware Act.

A purchaser of common units will be liable for the obligations of the transferor to make contributions to us that are known to such purchaser at the time it became a member and for unknown obligations, if the liabilities could be determined from our limited liability company agreement.

NuStar Energy’s unitholders may not have limited liability if a court finds that limited partner actions constitute control of NuStar Energy’s business and may, therefore, become liable for certain of NuStar Energy’s obligations, which may have an impact on the cash we have available to make distributions.
Under Delaware law, unitholders could be held liable for NuStar Energy’s obligations to the same extent as a general partner if a court determined that actions of a unitholder constituted participation in the “control” of NuStar Energy’s business.

Under Delaware law, the general partner generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, such as its debts and environmental liabilities, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to the general partner. In addition, Section 17-607 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act provides that, under some circumstances, a limited partner may be liable to NuStar Energy for the amount of a distribution for a period of three years from the date of the distribution.

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately or prevent fraud, which could have a material and adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.
We are required to disclose material changes made in our internal controls over financial reporting on a quarterly basis and we are required to assess the effectiveness of our controls annually. Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable and timely financial reports, to prevent fraud, and to operate successfully as a publicly traded limited liability company. We may be unable to maintain effective controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future or to comply with our obligations under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. For example, Section 404 requires us, among other things, annually to review and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Any failure to maintain effective internal controls or to improve our internal controls could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations.

Given the difficulties inherent in the design and operation of internal controls over financial reporting, we can provide no assurance as to our, or our independent registered public accounting firm’s, future conclusions about the effectiveness of our

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internal controls, and we may incur significant costs in our efforts to comply with Section 404. Any failure to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting will subject us to regulatory scrutiny and a loss of confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

RISKS RELATED TO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Although we manage NuStar Energy through our indirect ownership of its general partner, NuStar Energy’s general partner owes fiduciary duties to NuStar Energy and NuStar Energy’s unitholders, which may conflict with our interests.
Conflicts of interest exist and may arise in the future as a result of the relationships between us and our affiliates, including NuStar Energy’s general partner, on the one hand, and NuStar Energy and its limited partners, on the other hand. The directors and officers of NuStar GP, LLC have fiduciary duties to manage NuStar Energy’s business in a manner beneficial to us, its owner. At the same time, NuStar GP, LLC has a fiduciary duty to manage NuStar Energy in a manner beneficial to NuStar Energy and its unitholders. The board of directors of NuStar GP, LLC or its conflicts committee will resolve any such conflict and have broad latitude to consider the interests of all parties to the conflict. Our independent directors will not be the same as the independent directors who serve on the conflicts committee of NuStar GP, LLC. The resolution of these conflicts may not always be in our best interest or that of our unitholders. For example, conflicts of interest may arise in the following situations:
the allocation of shared overhead expenses to NuStar Energy and us;
the determination and timing of the amount of cash to be distributed to NuStar Energy’s partners and the amount of cash to be reserved for the future conduct of NuStar Energy’s business;
any proposal by NuStar GP, LLC to eliminate, reduce or modify the incentive distribution rights;
the decision whether NuStar Energy should make acquisitions, and on what terms;
the determination of whether NuStar Energy should use cash on hand, borrow or issue equity to raise cash to finance acquisitions or expansion capital projects, repay indebtedness, meet working capital needs, pay distributions to NuStar Energy’s partners or otherwise; and
any decision we make in the future to engage in business activities independent of, or in competition with, NuStar Energy.

Our limited liability company agreement limits and modifies our directors’ fiduciary duties and the fiduciary duties of our officers and directors may conflict with those of the general partner of NuStar Energy’s general partner’s officers and directors.
Our limited liability company agreement contains provisions that modify and limit our directors’ fiduciary duties to our unitholders. For example, our limited liability company agreement provides that:
our directors will not have any liability to us or our unitholders for decisions made in good faith, meaning they believed the decision was in our best interests; and
our board of directors will not be liable for monetary damages to us or our unitholders 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 board of directors acted in bad faith or engaged in fraud or willful misconduct or, in the case of a criminal matter, acted with knowledge that such conduct was unlawful.

Our directors and officers have fiduciary duties to manage our business in a manner beneficial to us and our unitholders. Simultaneously, two of our directors and all of our officers are also directors and officers of NuStar GP, LLC, the general partner of NuStar Energy’s general partner, and have fiduciary duties to manage the business of NuStar Energy in a manner beneficial to NuStar Energy and its unitholders. For instance, William E. Greehey is our Chairman of the Board as well as the Chairman of the Board of NuStar GP, LLC. Consequently, these directors and officers may encounter situations in which their fiduciary obligations to NuStar Energy, on the one hand, and us, on the other hand, are in conflict. The resolution of these conflicts may not always be in our best interest or that of our unitholders. Our executive officers, who are also the executive officers of NuStar GP, LLC, will allocate, in their reasonable and sole discretion, their time spent on our behalf and on behalf of NuStar Energy. These allocations may not be the result of arms-length negotiations between NuStar GP, LLC and us and, therefore, the allocations may not exactly match the actual time and overhead spent.



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RISKS RELATED TO NUSTAR ENERGY’S BUSINESS

Continued low crude oil prices could have an adverse impact on NuStar Energy’s results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions to its unitholders, including us.
Since late 2015, the price of crude oil has been depressed, which has caused most crude oil producers to reduce their capital spending and drilling activity and narrow their focus to assets in the most cost-advantaged regions. On the other hand, refiners have benefitted from lower crude prices, to the extent that lower feedstock price has been coupled with higher demand for certain refined products in some regional markets. While only a relatively small proportion of NuStar Energy’s total business is directly affected by the price of crude, a further protracted period of low crude oil prices and overall economic downturn could have a negative impact on its results of operations.

An extended period of reduced demand for or supply of crude oil and refined products could affect NuStar Energy’s results of operations and ability to make distributions to its unitholders, including us.
Although NuStar Energy enters into throughput and deficiency agreements to protect against near-term fluctuations, its business is ultimately dependent upon the long-term demand for and supply of the crude oil and refined products it transports in its pipelines and stores in its terminals. Any sustained decrease in demand for refined products in the markets NuStar Energy’s pipelines and terminals serve that extends beyond the expiration of its existing throughput and deficiency agreements could result in a significant reduction in throughputs in its pipelines and storage in its terminals, which would reduce its cash flows and ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us. Factors that could lead to a decrease in market demand include:
a recession or other adverse economic condition that results in lower spending by consumers on gasoline, diesel and travel;
higher fuel taxes or other governmental or regulatory actions that increase, directly or indirectly, the cost of gasoline;
an increase in automotive engine fuel economy, whether as a result of a shift by consumers to more fuel-efficient vehicles or technological advances by manufacturers;
the increased use of alternative fuel sources;
an increase in the market price of crude oil that leads to higher refined product prices, which may reduce demand for refined products and drive demand for alternative products. Market prices for crude oil and refined products, including fuel oil, are subject to wide fluctuation in response to changes in global and regional supply that are beyond NuStar Energy’s control, and increases in the price of crude oil may result in a lower demand for refined products that NuStar Energy transports, stores and markets, including fuel oil; and
a decrease in corn acres planted for ethanol, which may reduce demand for anhydrous ammonia.

Similarly, any sustained decrease in the supply of crude oil and refined products in markets NuStar Energy serves could result in a significant reduction in throughputs in its pipelines and storage in its terminals, which would reduce its cash flows and its ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us. Factors that could lead to a decrease in supply to its pipelines and terminals include:
prolonged periods of low prices for crude oil and refined products, which could lead to a decrease in exploration and development activity and reduced production in markets served by NuStar Energy’s pipelines and storage terminals;
changes in the regulatory environment, governmental policies or taxation that directly or indirectly delay production or increase the cost of production of refined products; and
actions taken by foreign oil and gas producing nations that impact prices for crude oil and refined products.

NuStar Energy’s inability to develop and execute growth projects and acquire new assets could limit its ability to maintain and grow quarterly distributions to its unitholders, including us.
NuStar Energy’s ability to maintain and grow its distributions to unitholders, including us, depends on the growth of NuStar Energy’s existing businesses and strategic acquisitions. Decisions regarding new growth projects rely on numerous estimates, including, among other factors, predictions of future demand for NuStar Energy’s services, future supply shifts, crude oil production estimates, commodity price environments, economic conditions and potential changes in the financial condition of NuStar Energy’s customers. NuStar Energy’s predictions of such factors could cause it to forego certain investments and to lose opportunities to competitors who make investments based on different predictions. If NuStar Energy is unable to acquire new assets, due either to high prices or a lack of attractive synergistic targets, its future growth will be limited. In addition, NuStar Energy’s future growth will be limited if it is unable to develop additional expansion projects, implement business development opportunities and finance such activities on economically acceptable terms, which could adversely impact its results of operations and cash flows and, accordingly, result in reduced distributions to unitholders, including us, over time.


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Failure to complete capital projects as planned could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Delays or cost increases related to capital spending programs involving construction of new facilities (or improvements and repairs to NuStar Energy’s existing facilities) could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s ability to achieve forecasted operating results. Although NuStar Energy evaluates and monitors each capital spending project and tries to anticipate difficulties that may arise, such delays or cost increases may arise as a result of factors that are beyond its control, including:
non-performance or delay by, or disputes with, counterparties, vendors, suppliers, contractors or subcontractors involved with a project;
denial or delay in issuing requisite regulatory approvals and/or permits;
protests and other activist interference with planned or in-process projects;
unplanned increases in the cost of construction materials or labor;
disruptions in transportation of modular components and/or construction materials;
severe adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or other events (such as equipment malfunctions, explosions, fires or spills) affecting NuStar Energy’s facilities, or those of vendors and suppliers;
shortages of sufficiently skilled labor, or labor disagreements resulting in unplanned work stoppages; or
market-related increases in a project’s debt or equity financing costs.

NuStar Energy will incur financing costs during the planning and construction phases of its projects; however, the operating cash flows it expects these projects to generate will not materialize until sometime after the projects are completed, if at all. Additionally, NuStar Energy’s forecasted operating results from capital spending projects are based upon its projections of future market fundamentals that are not within its control, including changes in general economic conditions, the supply and demand of crude oil and refined products, availability to its customers of attractively priced alternative solutions for storage, transportation or supplies of crude oil and refined products and overall customer demand.

If NuStar Energy is unable to retain current customers, renew existing contracts and maintain utilization of its pipeline and storage assets or is unable to attract new customers and enter into new contracts, in either case at current or more favorable rates, NuStar Energy’s revenue and cash flows could be reduced to levels that could adversely affect its ability to make quarterly distributions to its unitholders, including us.
NuStar Energy’s revenue and cash flows are generated primarily from its customers’ payments of fees under throughput contracts and storage agreements. Failure by NuStar Energy to renew or enter into new contracts or its storage customers’ material reduction of their utilization under existing contracts could result from many factors, including:
continued low crude oil prices;
a material decrease in the supply or price of crude oil;
a material decrease in demand for refined products in the markets served by NuStar Energy’s pipelines and terminals;
competition for customers from companies with comparable assets and capabilities;
scheduled turnarounds or unscheduled maintenance at refineries NuStar Energy serves;
operational problems or catastrophic events affecting NuStar Energy’s assets or a refinery it serves;
environmental proceedings or other litigation that compel the cessation of all or a portion of the operations at NuStar Energy’s assets or a refinery it serves;
increasingly stringent environmental, health, safety and security regulations;
a decision by NuStar Energy’s current customers to redirect refined products transported in NuStar Energy’s pipelines to markets not served by NuStar Energy’s pipelines or to transport crude oil or refined products by means other than NuStar Energy’s pipelines; or
a decision by NuStar Energy’s current customers to sell one or more of the refineries NuStar Energy serves to a purchaser that elects not to use NuStar Energy’s pipelines and terminals.

Competing midstream service providers, including certain major energy and chemical companies, possess, or have greater financial resources to acquire, assets better suited to meet customer demand, which could undermine NuStar Energy’s ability to obtain and retain customers or reduce utilization of its leased assets, which could reduce NuStar Energy’s revenues and cash flows, thereby reducing its ability to make its quarterly distributions to unitholders, including us.
NuStar Energy’s competitors include major energy and chemical companies, some of which have greater financial resources, more pipelines or storage terminals, greater capacity pipelines or storage terminals and greater access to supply than NuStar Energy does. Certain of its competitors also may have advantages in competing for acquisitions or other new business opportunities because of their financial resources and synergies in operations. As a consequence of increased competition in the industry, some of NuStar Energy’s customers may be reluctant to renew or enter into long-term contracts or contracts that provide for minimum throughput amounts in the future. NuStar Energy’s inability to renew or replace current contracts as they expire, to enter into contracts for newly acquired, constructed or expanded assets and to respond appropriately to changing

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market conditions could have a negative effect on NuStar Energy’s revenue, cash flows and ability to make quarterly distributions to its unitholders, including us.

NuStar Energys future financial and operating flexibility may be adversely affected by its significant leverage, any future downgrades of its credit ratings, restrictions in its debt agreements and conditions in the financial markets.
As of December 31, 2016, NuStar Energy’s consolidated debt was $3.1 billion. NuStar Energy also may be required to post cash collateral under certain of its hedging arrangements, which it expects to fund with borrowings under its revolving credit agreement. In addition to any potential direct financial impact of NuStar Energy’s debt, it is possible that any material increase to NuStar Energy’s debt or other negative financial factors may be viewed negatively by credit rating agencies, which could result in ratings downgrades and increased costs for NuStar Energy to access the capital markets. Any downgrades in NuStar Energy’s credit ratings in the future could result in increases to the interest rates on borrowings under NuStar Energy’s credit facilities and its 7.65% senior notes due 2018, significantly increase NuStar Energy’s capital costs, reduce its liquidity and adversely affect its ability to raise capital in the future.

NuStar Energy’s revolving credit agreement contains restrictive covenants, such as limitations on indebtedness, liens, mergers, asset transfers and certain investing activities. In addition, the revolving credit agreement requires NuStar Energy to maintain, as of the end of each rolling period (consisting of any period of four consecutive fiscal quarters) a consolidated debt coverage ratio (consolidated debt to consolidated EBITDA, each as defined in the revolving credit agreement) not to exceed 5.00-to-1.00. Failure to comply with any of the revolving credit agreement restrictive covenants or this coverage ratio will result in a default and could result in acceleration of its obligations under this agreement and possibly other indebtedness.

NuStar Energy’s accounts receivable securitization program contains various customary affirmative and negative covenants and default, indemnification and termination provisions. In addition, the related receivables financing agreement pursuant to which NuStar Energy is initial servicer and performance guarantor provides for acceleration of amounts owed upon the occurrence of certain specified events.

NuStar Energy’s debt service obligations, restrictive covenants and maturities resulting from its leverage may adversely affect NuStar Energy’s ability to finance future operations, pursue acquisitions, fund its capital needs and pay cash distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us. In addition, this leverage may make NuStar Energy’s results of operations more susceptible to adverse economic or operating conditions. For example, during an event of default under certain of NuStar Energy’s debt agreements, NuStar Energy would be prohibited from making cash distributions to its unitholders, including us. Also, if any of NuStar Energy’s lenders files for bankruptcy or experiences severe financial hardship, they may not honor their pro rata share of NuStar Energy’s borrowing requests under the revolving credit agreement, which may significantly reduce its available borrowing capacity and, as a result, materially adversely affect NuStar Energy’s financial condition and ability to pay distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us.

Increases in interest rates could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s business and the trading price of NuStar Energy’s units.
NuStar Energy has significant exposure to increases in interest rates. As of December 31, 2016, NuStar Energy had approximately $3.1 billion of consolidated debt, of which $1.8 billion was at fixed interest rates and $1.3 billion was at variable interest rates. In addition, prior ratings downgrades on NuStar Energy’s existing indebtedness caused interest rates under its revolving credit agreement and its senior notes due 2018 to increase effective January 2013, and future downgrades may cause interest rates on NuStar Energy’s variable interest rate debt to increase further. Additionally, at December 31, 2016, NuStar Energy had $600.0 million aggregate notional amount of interest rate swap arrangements, which increase its exposure to variable interest rates. As a result, NuStar Energy’s results of operations, cash flows and financial position could be materially adversely affected by significant changes in interest rates. In addition, NuStar Energy historically has funded its strategic capital expenditures and acquisitions from external sources, primarily borrowings under its revolving credit agreement or funds raised through debt or equity offerings. An increase in interest rates may negatively impact NuStar Energy’s ability to access the capital markets at economically attractive rates.

Furthermore, the market price of master limited partnership units such as NuStar Energy’s, like other yield-oriented securities, may be affected by, among other factors, implied distribution yield. The distribution yield is often used by investors to compare and rank yield-oriented securities for investment decision-making purposes. Therefore, increases or decreases in interest rates may affect whether or not certain investors decide to invest in NuStar Energy’s units, and a rising interest rate environment could have an adverse impact on its unit price and ability to issue additional equity or incur debt to expand or for other purposes or make cash distributions at intended levels.




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Depending on conditions in the credit and capital markets at a given time, NuStar Energy may not be able to obtain funding on acceptable terms or at all, which may hinder or prevent it from meeting its future capital needs.
The domestic and global financial markets and economic conditions are from time to time disrupted and volatile due to a variety of factors, including low consumer confidence, high unemployment, geoeconomic and geopolitical issues, weak economic conditions and uncertainty in the financial services sector. In addition, there are fewer investors and lenders willing to invest in the debt and equity capital markets in issuances by master limited partnerships, such as NuStar Energy, than there are for more traditionally structured corporations. As a result, NuStar Energy’s cost of raising capital in the debt and equity capital markets could increase substantially or the availability of funds from these markets could diminish. The cost of obtaining funds from the credit markets may increase as many lenders and institutional investors increase interest rates, enact tighter lending standards, refuse to refinance existing debt on similar terms or at all and reduce, or in some cases cease to provide, funding to borrowers.

In addition, lending counterparties under NuStar Energy’s existing revolving credit facility and other debt instruments may be unwilling or unable to meet their funding obligations. Due to these factors, NuStar Energy cannot be certain that new debt or equity financing will be available on acceptable terms. If funding is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, NuStar Energy may be unable to execute its growth strategy, complete future acquisitions or construction projects or take advantage of other business opportunities, any of which could have a material adverse effect on its revenues and results of operations.

NuStar Energy’s operations are subject to operational hazards and interruptions, and NuStar Energy cannot insure against and/or predict all potential losses and liabilities that might result therefrom.
NuStar Energy’s operations and those of its customers and suppliers are subject to operational hazards and unforeseen interruptions such as natural disasters, adverse weather, accidents, fires, explosions, hazardous materials releases, mechanical failures and other events beyond its control. These events might result in a loss of life or equipment, injury or extensive property damage, as well as an interruption in NuStar Energy’s operations or those of its customers or suppliers. In the event any of NuStar Energy’s facilities, or those of its customers or suppliers, suffer significant damage or are forced to shut down for a significant period of time, it may have a material adverse effect on NuStar Energy’s earnings, its other results of operations and its financial condition as a whole.

As a result of market conditions, premiums and deductibles for certain of NuStar Energy’s insurance policies have increased substantially and could escalate further; therefore, NuStar Energy may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance of the type and amount it desires at reasonable rates. Certain insurance coverage could become subject to broad exclusions, become unavailable altogether or become available only for reduced amounts of coverage and at higher rates. For example, NuStar Energy’s insurance carriers require broad exclusions for losses due to terrorist acts. If NuStar Energy were to incur a significant liability for which it is not fully insured, such a liability could have a material adverse effect on NuStar Energy’s financial position and its ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us, and to meet its debt service requirements.

NuStar Energy could be subject to damages or lose customers due to failure to maintain certain quality specifications or other claims related to the operation of its assets and the services it provides to its customers.
Certain of the products NuStar Energy stores and transports are produced to precise customer specifications. If NuStar Energy fails to maintain the quality and purity of the products it receives and/or a product fails to perform in a manner consistent with the quality specifications required by the customer, the customer could seek replacement of the product or damages for costs incurred as a result of the product failing to perform as guaranteed. NuStar Energy also could face other claims by its customers if its assets do not operate as expected by its customers or its services otherwise do not meet its customers’ expectations. A successful claim or series of claims against NuStar Energy could result in unforeseen expenditures and a loss of one or more customers.

NuStar Energy is exposed to counterparty credit risk. Nonpayment and nonperformance by NuStar Energy’s customers, vendors or derivative counterparties could reduce its revenues, increase its expenses and otherwise have a negative impact on its ability to conduct its business, operating results, cash flows and ability to make distributions to its unitholders, including us.
Weak economic conditions and widespread financial stress could reduce the liquidity of NuStar Energy’s customers, vendors or counterparties, making it more difficult for them to meet their obligations to NuStar Energy. NuStar Energy is therefore subject to risks of loss resulting from nonpayment or nonperformance by its customers to whom it extends credit. In addition, nonperformance by vendors who have committed to provide NuStar Energy with critical products or services could raise its costs or interfere with its ability to successfully conduct its business. Furthermore, nonpayment by the counterparties to any of NuStar Energy’s outstanding derivatives could expose NuStar Energy to additional interest rate or commodity price risk. Any substantial increase in the nonpayment and nonperformance by NuStar Energy’s customers, vendors or counterparties could

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have a material adverse effect on its results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us.

Potential future acquisitions and expansions, if any, may increase substantially the level of NuStar Energy’s indebtedness and contingent liabilities or otherwise change its capital structure, and NuStar Energy may be unable to integrate acquisitions and expansions effectively into its existing operations.
From time to time, NuStar Energy evaluates and acquires assets and businesses that it believes complement or diversify its existing assets and operations. Acquisitions may require NuStar Energy to raise a substantial amount of equity or incur a substantial amount of indebtedness. If NuStar Energy consummates any future material acquisitions, its capitalization and results of operations may change significantly, and unitholders will not have the opportunity to evaluate the economic, financial and other relevant information that NuStar Energy will consider in connection with any future acquisitions.

Acquisitions and business expansions involve numerous risks, including difficulties in the assimilation of the assets and operations of the acquired businesses, inefficiencies and difficulties that arise because of unfamiliarity with new assets and the businesses associated with them and with new geographic areas. Further, unexpected costs and challenges may arise whenever businesses with different operations or management are combined. Successful business combinations will require NuStar Energy’s management and other personnel to devote significant amounts of time to integrating the acquired businesses with NuStar Energy’s existing operations. These efforts may temporarily distract their attention from day-to-day business, the development or acquisition of new properties and other business opportunities. If NuStar Energy does not successfully integrate any past or future acquisitions, or if there is any significant delay in achieving such integration, NuStar Energy’s business and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Moreover, part of NuStar Energy’s business strategy includes acquiring additional assets that complement NuStar Energy’s existing asset base and distribution capabilities or provide entry into new markets. NuStar Energy may not be able to identify suitable acquisitions, or it may not be able to purchase or finance any acquisitions on terms that it finds acceptable. Additionally, NuStar Energy competes against other companies for acquisitions, and NuStar Energy may not be successful in the acquisition of any assets or businesses appropriate for its growth strategy.

NuStar Energy does not own all of the land on which its pipelines and facilities have been constructed, and NuStar Energy is therefore subject to the possibility of increased costs or the inability to retain necessary land use.
NuStar Energy obtains the rights to construct and operate its pipelines, storage terminals and other facilities on land owned by third parties and governmental agencies. Many of these rights-of-way or other property rights are perpetual in duration while others are for a specific period of time. In addition, some of NuStar Energy’s facilities are located on leased premises. Its loss of property rights, through its inability to renew right-of-way contracts or leases or otherwise, could adversely affect its operations and cash flows available for distribution to unitholders, including us.

In addition, the construction of additions to NuStar Energy’s existing assets may require it to obtain new rights-of-way or property rights prior to construction. NuStar Energy may be unable to obtain such rights-of-way or other property rights to connect new supplies to its existing pipelines, storage terminals or other facilities or to capitalize on other attractive expansion opportunities. Additionally, it may become more expensive for NuStar Energy to obtain new rights-of-way or other property rights or to renew existing rights-of-way or property rights. If the cost of obtaining new or renewing existing rights-of-way or other property rights increases, it may adversely affect NuStar Energy’s operations and cash flows available for distribution to unitholders, including us.

NuStar Energy may be unable to obtain or renew permits necessary for its operations, which could inhibit its ability to do business.
NuStar Energy’s facilities operate under a number of federal, state and local permits, licenses and approvals with terms and conditions containing a significant number of prescriptive limits and performance standards in order to operate. These limits and standards require a significant amount of monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting in order to demonstrate compliance with the underlying permit, license or approval. Noncompliance or incomplete documentation of NuStar Energy’s compliance status may result in the imposition of fines, penalties and injunctive relief. In addition, public protest and responsive government intervention have recently made it more difficult for some energy companies to acquire the permits required to complete planned infrastructure projects. A decision by a government agency to deny or delay issuing a new or renewed permit, license or approval, or to revoke or substantially modify an existing permit, license or approval, could have a material adverse effect on NuStar Energy’s ability to continue operations and on its financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions to its unitholders, including us.


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NuStar Energy may have liabilities from its assets that preexist NuStar Energy’s acquisition of those assets, but that may not be covered by indemnification rights NuStar Energy may have against the sellers of the assets.
In some cases, NuStar Energy may have indemnified the previous owners and operators of acquired assets. Some of NuStar Energy’s assets have been used for many years to transport and store crude oil and refined products, and releases may have occurred in the past that could require costly future remediation. If a significant release or event occurred in the past, the liability for which was not retained by the seller, or for which indemnification from the seller is not available, it could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s financial position and results of operations. Conversely, if future releases or other liabilities arise from assets NuStar Energy has sold, NuStar Energy could incur costs related to those liabilities if the buyer possesses valid indemnification rights against it with respect to those assets.

Climate change legislation and other regulatory initiatives may decrease demand for the products NuStar Energy stores, transports and sells and increase NuStar Energy’s operating costs.
In response to scientific studies asserting that emissions of certain “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide and methane may be contributing to warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, the U.S. Congress, European Union and other political bodies have considered legislation or regulation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Passage of climate change legislation or other regulatory initiatives in areas in which NuStar Energy conducts business, could result in changes to the demand for the products NuStar Energy stores, transports and sells, and could increase the costs of NuStar Energy’s operations, including costs to operate and maintain its facilities, install new emission controls on its facilities, acquire allowances to authorize its greenhouse gas emissions, pay any taxes related to its greenhouse gas emissions or administer and manage a greenhouse gas emissions program. Even though NuStar Energy attempts to mitigate such lost revenues or increased costs through the contracts it signs with its customers, NuStar Energy may be unable to recover those revenues or mitigate the increased costs, and any such recovery may depend on events beyond its control, including the outcome of future rate proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the FERC), the Surface Transportation Board (STB) or other regulators and the provisions of any final legislation or regulations. Reductions in NuStar Energy’s revenues or increases in its expenses as a result of climate control or other initiatives could have adverse effects on NuStar Energy’s business, financial position, results of operations and prospects.

NuStar Energy operates a global business that exposes it to additional risks.
NuStar Energy operates a global business and a significant portion of its revenues come from its business outside of the United States. Its operations outside the United States may be affected by changes in trade protection laws, policies and measures, and other regulatory requirements affecting trade and investment, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the United Kingdom Bribery Act and other foreign laws prohibiting corrupt payments, as well as import and export regulations. Additionally, the decision by the United Kingdom to exit the European Union could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s operations in the United Kingdom and in Europe; however, the nature and magnitude of any such effects are not yet apparent. NuStar Energy also has assets in certain emerging markets, and the developing nature of these markets presents a number of risks. Deterioration of social, political, labor or economic conditions, including the increasing threat of terrorist organizations and drug cartels, in a country or region where NuStar Energy does business as well as difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations may adversely affect its operations or financial results.

NuStar Energy’s operations are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations, in the U.S. and in the other countries in which it operates, relating to environmental, health, safety and security that could require NuStar Energy to make substantial expenditures.
NuStar Energy’s operations are subject to increasingly stringent federal, state and local environmental, health, safety and security laws and regulations. Transporting, storing and distributing hazardous materials, including petroleum products, entails the risk that these products may be released into the environment, potentially causing substantial expenditures for a response action, significant government penalties, liability to government agencies including for damages to natural resources, personal injury or property damages to private parties and significant business interruption. Further, certain of NuStar Energy’s pipeline facilities may be subject to the pipeline integrity and safety regulations of various federal and state regulatory agencies. In recent years, increased regulatory focus on pipeline integrity and safety has resulted in various proposed or adopted regulations. The implementation of these regulations, and the adoption of future regulations, could require NuStar Energy to make additional capital expenditures, including to install new or modified safety measures, or to conduct new or more extensive maintenance programs.

Current and future legislative action and regulatory initiatives could also result in changes to operating permits, material changes in operations, increased capital expenditures and operating costs, increased costs of the goods NuStar Energy transports and decreased demand for products it handles that cannot be assessed with certainty at this time. NuStar Energy may be required to make expenditures to modify operations or install pollution control equipment or release prevention and containment systems that could materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition, results of operations and

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liquidity if these expenditures, as with all costs, are not ultimately reflected in the tariffs and other fees it receives for its services.

NuStar Energy owns or leases a number of properties that were used to transport, store or distribute products for many years before NuStar Energy acquired them; therefore, such properties were operated by third parties whose handling, disposal or release of products and wastes was not under NuStar Energy’s control. Environmental laws and regulations could impose obligations to conduct assessment or remediation efforts at NuStar Energy’s facilities, third-party sites where it takes wastes for disposal, or where wastes have migrated. Environmental laws and regulations also may impose joint and several liability on NuStar Energy for the conduct of third parties or for actions that complied with applicable requirements when taken, regardless of negligence or fault.

If NuStar Energy were to incur a significant liability pursuant to environmental, health, safety or security laws or regulations, such a liability could have a material adverse effect on its financial position and its ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us, and its ability to meet its debt service requirements.

NuStar Energy’s interstate common carrier pipelines are subject to regulation by the FERC.
The FERC regulates the tariff rates and terms and conditions of service for interstate oil movements on NuStar Energy’s common carrier pipelines. FERC regulations require that these rates must be just and reasonable and that the pipeline not engage in undue discrimination or undue preference with respect to any shipper. Under the Interstate Commerce Act, the FERC or shippers may challenge NuStar Energy’s pipeline tariff filings, including rates and terms and conditions of service. Further, other than for rates set under market-based rate authority, if a new rate is challenged by protest and investigated by the FERC, the FERC may suspend collection of such new rate for up to seven months. If such new rate is found to be unjust and unreasonable, the FERC may order refunds of amounts collected in excess of amounts generated by the just and reasonable rate determined by the FERC. A successful rate challenge could result in a common carrier paying refunds together with interest for the period that the rate was in effect. In addition, shippers may challenge by complaint tariff rates and terms and conditions of service even after the rates and terms and conditions of service are in effect. If the FERC, in response to such a complaint or on its own initiative, initiates an investigation of rates that are already in effect, the FERC may order a carrier to change its rates prospectively. If existing rates are challenged and are determined by the FERC to be in excess of a just and reasonable level, a shipper may obtain reparations for damages sustained during the two years prior to the date the shipper filed a complaint.

NuStar Energy uses various FERC-authorized rate change methodologies for its interstate pipelines, including indexing, cost-of-service rates, market-based rates and settlement rates. Typically, NuStar Energy adjusts its rates annually in accordance with FERC indexing methodology, which currently allows a pipeline to change its rates within prescribed ceiling levels that are tied to an inflation index. For the five-year period beginning July 1, 2011, the index was measured by the year-over-year change in the Bureau of Labor’s producer price index for finished goods, plus 2.65%. For the five-year period beginning July 1, 2016, the current index is measured by the year-over-year change in the Bureau of Labor’s producer price index for finished goods, plus 1.23%. FERC’s determination of the index for the period beginning July 1, 2016 is on appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit), and the index for the five-year period beginning July 1, 2016 is therefore subject to change. Further, some of NuStar Energy’s newer projects that involved an open season include negotiated indexation rate caps.

In October 2016, the FERC initiated an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) to determine whether to require oil pipeline companies to file cost and revenue data for each of the company’s systems, with the definition of such systems also part of the ANOPR. Among other things, the ANOPR also proposed that index rate adjustments be capped or prohibited under certain circumstances and that ceiling rates be capped under certain circumstances.

These methodologies and the rulings of the D.C. Circuit could result in changes in NuStar Energy’s revenue that do not fully reflect changes in costs it incurs to operate and maintain its pipelines. For example, NuStar Energy’s costs could increase more quickly or by a greater amount than the negotiated or, if adopted, FERC-mandated indexation rate cap.

The reporting of system-based cost and revenue data, if adopted, could lead to an increase in rate litigation at the FERC. Generally, shippers may protest rate increases made within the ceiling levels, but such protests must show that the portion of the rate increase resulting from application of the index is substantially in excess of the pipeline’s change in costs from the previous year. However, if the index results in a negative adjustment, NuStar Energy is required to reduce any rates that exceed the new maximum allowable rate. In addition, changes in the index might not be large enough to fully reflect actual increases in NuStar Energy’s costs. If the FERC’s rate-making methodologies change, any such change or new methodologies could result in rates that generate lower revenues and cash flow and could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us, and to meet its debt service requirements. Additionally, competition constrains

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NuStar Energy’s rates in various markets. As a result, NuStar Energy may from time to time be forced to reduce some of its rates to remain competitive.

Changes to FERC rate-making principles could have an adverse impact on NuStar Energy’s ability to recover the full cost of operating its pipeline facilities and its ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us.
In May 2005, the FERC issued a statement of general policy stating it will permit pipelines to include in their costs of service a tax allowance to reflect actual or potential tax liability on their public utility income attributable to all partnership or limited liability company interests, if the ultimate owner of the interest has an actual or potential income tax liability on such income. Whether a pipeline’s owners have such actual or potential income tax liability will be reviewed by the FERC on a case-by-case basis. Although this policy is generally favorable for pipelines that are organized as pass-through entities, it still entails rate risk due to the case-by-case review requirement. This tax allowance policy and the FERC’s application of that policy were appealed to the D.C. Circuit, and, on May 29, 2007, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion upholding the FERC’s tax allowance policy.

In two proceedings involving SFPP, L.P., a refined products pipeline system, shippers again challenged the FERC’s income tax allowance policy, alleging that it is unlawful for a pipeline organized as a tax-pass-through entity to be afforded an income tax allowance and that the income tax allowance is unnecessary because an allowance for income taxes for such pipelines is recovered indirectly through the rate of return on equity. The FERC rejected these shipper arguments in multiple orders. Petitions for review of the FERC’s rulings on the income tax allowance were filed with the D.C. Circuit.

On July 1, 2016, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion granting the shippers’ petition for review of the FERC’s rulings on the income tax allowance, finding that the FERC had failed to demonstrate that there was no double recovery of taxes for partnerships that receive an income tax allowance in addition to the return they receive through the rate of return on equity. On this basis, the D.C. Circuit has remanded the issue back to the FERC and the FERC has established an industrywide Notice of Inquiry regarding this issue. Because the extent to which an interstate oil pipeline organized as a partnership is entitled to an income tax allowance is subject to a case-by-case review at the FERC and is a matter that remains under litigation and FERC review, the level of income tax allowance to which NuStar Energy would ultimately be entitled in a cost-of-service rate review is not certain. How the FERC’s income tax allowance policy is applied in practice to pipelines owned by publicly traded partnerships could impose limits on NuStar Energy’s ability to include a full income tax allowance in its cost of service.

The rates that NuStar Energy may charge on its interstate ammonia pipeline are subject to regulation by the STB.
NuStar Energy’s ammonia pipeline is subject to regulation under the Interstate Commerce Act by the STB. Under that regulation NuStar Energy’s ammonia pipeline’s rates, classifications, rules and practices related to the interstate transportation of anhydrous ammonia must be reasonable and, in providing interstate transportation, NuStar Energy’s ammonia pipeline may not subject a person, place, port or type of traffic to unreasonable discrimination.

Increases in natural gas and power prices could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s operating expenses and its ability to make distributions at current levels to its unitholders, including us.
Power costs constitute a significant portion of NuStar Energy’s operating expenses. For the year ended December 31, 2016, NuStar Energy’s power costs equaled approximately $43.1 million, or 9.6% of NuStar Energy’s operating expenses for the year. NuStar Energy uses mainly electric power at its pipeline pump stations and terminals, and such electric power is furnished by various utility companies that primarily use natural gas to generate electricity. Accordingly, NuStar Energy’s power costs typically fluctuate with natural gas prices, and increases in natural gas prices may cause NuStar Energy’s power costs to increase further. If natural gas prices increase, NuStar Energy’s cash flows may be adversely affected, which could adversely affect NuStar Energy’s ability to make distributions to its unitholders, including us.

Terrorist attacks (and cyberattacks) and the threat of future attacks worldwide, as well as continued hostilities in the Middle East or other sustained military campaigns, may adversely impact NuStar Energy’s results of operations.
Increased security measures taken by NuStar Energy as a precaution against possible terrorist and cyberattacks have resulted in increased costs to its business. Uncertainty surrounding continued hostilities in the Middle East or other sustained military campaigns may affect NuStar Energy’s operations in unpredictable ways, including disruptions of crude oil supplies and markets for refined products, instability in the financial markets that could restrict NuStar Energy’s ability to raise capital and the possibility that infrastructure facilities could be direct targets of, or indirect casualties of, an attack.

The United States Department of Homeland Security has identified pipelines and other energy infrastructure assets as ones that might be specific targets of terrorist organizations or breaches of cybersecurity. These potential targets might include NuStar Energy’s pipeline systems, storage facilities or operating systems and may affect its ability to operate or control its pipeline and storage assets. NuStar Energy’s systems and networks, as well as those of its customers, suppliers, vendors and counterparties, may become the target of cyberattacks or information security breaches, which in turn could result in the unauthorized release and misuse of confidential and proprietary information as well as disrupt its operations, damage its facilities or those of third

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parties or harm its reputation. Any failure or disruption of NuStar Energy’s systems could cause a substantial decrease in revenues, increased costs to respond or other financial loss, damage to reputation, increased regulation or litigation and/or inaccurate information reported from its operations. These developments may subject NuStar Energy’s operations to increased risks, as well as increased costs, and, depending on their ultimate magnitude, could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations and financial condition.

Hedging transactions may limit NuStar Energy’s potential gains or result in significant financial losses.
While intended to reduce the effects of volatile commodity prices, hedging transactions, depending on the hedging instrument used, may limit NuStar Energy’s potential gains if petroleum product prices were to rise substantially over the price established by the hedge. In addition, such transactions may expose NuStar Energy to the risk of financial loss in certain circumstances, including instances in which:
the counterparties to NuStar Energy’s hedging contracts fail to perform under the contracts; or
there is a change in the expected differential between the underlying price in the hedging agreement and the actual prices received.

The accounting standards regarding hedge accounting are complex and, even when NuStar Energy engages in hedging transactions that are effective economically, these transactions may not be considered effective for accounting purposes. Accordingly, NuStar Energy’s financial statements will reflect increased volatility due to these hedges, even when there is no underlying economic impact at that point. It is not possible for NuStar Energy to engage in a hedging transaction that completely mitigates its exposure to commodity prices, and NuStar Energy’s financial statements may reflect a gain or loss arising from an exposure to commodity prices for which NuStar Energy is unable to enter into an effective hedge.

NuStar Energy’s purchase and sale of crude oil and petroleum products may expose NuStar Energy to trading losses and hedging losses, and non-compliance with NuStar Energy’s related risk management policies could result in significant financial losses.
Although NuStar Energy’s marketing and trading of crude oil and petroleum products represents a small percentage of its overall business, these activities expose NuStar Energy to some commodity price volatility risk for the purchase and sale of crude oil and petroleum products, including distillates and fuel oil. NuStar Energy attempts to mitigate this volatility risk through hedging, but it is still exposed to basis risk and may be required to post cash collateral under its hedging arrangements. NuStar Energy also may be exposed to inventory and financial liquidity risk due to the inability to trade certain products or rising costs of carrying some inventories. Further, NuStar Energy’s marketing and trading activities, including any hedging activities, may cause volatility in NuStar Energy’s earnings. In addition, NuStar Energy will be exposed to credit risk in the event of non-performance by counterparties.

NuStar Energy’s risk management policies may not eliminate all price risk since open trading positions will expose it to price volatility, and there is a risk that NuStar Energy’s risk management policies will not be complied with. Although NuStar Energy has designed procedures to anticipate and detect non-compliance, there are no assurances these steps will detect and prevent all violations of NuStar Energy’s trading policies and procedures, particularly if deception and other intentional misconduct are involved.

As a result of the risks described above, the activities associated with NuStar Energy’s marketing and trading business may expose NuStar Energy to volatility in earnings and financial losses, which may adversely affect its financial condition and ability to make its quarterly distributions to its unitholders, including us.

TAX RISKS TO OUR UNITHOLDERS

If we or NuStar Energy were treated as a corporation for federal or state income tax purposes or we or NuStar Energy were otherwise subject to a material amount of entity-level taxation, then our cash available for distribution to our unitholders would be substantially reduced.
The anticipated after-tax benefit of an investment in our units depends largely on our being treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. We have not requested, and do not plan to request, a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) on this matter.

The value of our investment in NuStar Energy depends largely on NuStar Energy being treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

Despite the fact that we are a limited liability company and NuStar Energy is a limited partnership under Delaware law, we would each be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes unless each of us satisfies a “qualifying income” requirement. Based upon our current operations, we believe we and NuStar Energy each satisfy the qualifying income

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requirement. Failing to meet the qualifying income requirement or a change in current law could cause us or NuStar Energy to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject us or NuStar Energy to 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 and local income tax at varying rates. Distributions to unitholders who are treated as holders of corporate stock would generally be taxed again as corporate dividends (to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits), and no income, gains, losses, deductions or credits would flow through to unitholders. If NuStar Energy were treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, it would pay federal income tax on its taxable income at the corporate tax rate. Distributions to us would generally be taxed again as corporate distributions, and no income, gains, losses, deductions or credits would flow through to us. Because a tax would be imposed upon us or NuStar Energy as a corporation, our distributable cash flow would be substantially reduced.

Moreover, changes in current state law may subject us or NuStar Energy to entity-level taxation by individual states. Because of widespread state budget deficits and other reasons, several states are evaluating ways to subject entities treated as partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise and other forms of taxation. Imposition of any such taxes or an increase in the existing tax rates would substantially reduce the cash available for distribution to unitholders. Therefore, if we or NuStar Energy were treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or otherwise subjected to a material amount of entity-level taxation, there would be a material reduction in the anticipated cash flow and after-tax return to our unitholders, likely causing a substantial reduction in the value of our common units.

The tax treatment of publicly traded entities treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, or an investment in our or NuStar Energy units, could be subject to potential legislative, judicial or administrative changes or differing interpretations, possibly applied on a retroactive basis.
The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of publicly traded entities treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, including us or NuStar Energy, or an investment in our or NuStar Energy’s units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial changes or differing interpretations at any time. From time to time, members of Congress propose and consider such substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that affect such entities. Further, final Treasury regulations under Section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Code recently published in the Federal Register interpret the scope of qualifying income requirements for publicly traded partnerships by providing industry-specific guidance.

Any modification to the federal income tax laws may be applied retroactively and could make it more difficult or impossible for us or NuStar Energy to meet the exception for certain publicly traded entities to be treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes. We are unable to predict whether any of these changes or other proposals will ultimately be enacted, including as a result of fundamental tax reform. Any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our common units.

A successful IRS contest of the federal income tax positions we or NuStar Energy take may adversely impact the market for our or NuStar Energy’s units, and the costs of any contest will reduce cash available for distribution to our unitholders.
The IRS may adopt positions that differ from the positions we or NuStar Energy take, even positions taken with the advice of counsel. It may be necessary to resort to administrative or court proceedings to sustain some or all of the positions we or NuStar Energy take. A court may not agree with all of the positions we or NuStar Energy take. Any contest with the IRS may affect adversely the taxable income reported to our unitholders and the income taxes they are required to pay. As a result, any such contest with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our or NuStar Energy’s units and the prices at which they trade. In addition, the costs of any contest between NuStar Energy and the IRS will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to NuStar Energy unitholders and thus will be borne indirectly by us, as a unitholder and as the owner of the general partner of NuStar Energy, and by other unitholders of NuStar Energy.

Legislation applicable to partnership tax years beginning after 2017 alters the procedures for auditing large partnerships and for assessing and collecting taxes due (including penalties and interest) as a result of a partnership-level federal income tax audit. Under these rules, unless we are eligible to, and do, elect to issue revised Schedules K-1 to our partnership with respect to an audited and adjusted partnership tax return, the IRS may assess and collect taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) directly from us in the year in which the audit is completed. If we or NuStar Energy are required to pay taxes, penalties and interest as a result of audit adjustments, cash available for distribution to our unitholders may be substantially reduced. In addition, because payment would be due for the taxable year in which the audit is completed, unitholders during that taxable year would bear the expense of the adjustment even if they were not unitholders during the audited tax year. Also, the costs of any contest between us and the IRS will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to our unitholders and thus will be borne indirectly by our unitholders.


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Even if unitholders do not receive any cash distributions from us, they will be required to pay taxes on their respective share of our taxable income.
Unitholders will be required to pay federal income taxes and, in some cases, state and local income taxes on their respective share of our taxable income, whether or not the unitholders receive cash distributions from us. Unitholders may not receive cash distributions from us equal to their respective share of our taxable income or even equal to the actual tax liability that results from their respective share of our taxable income.

The sale or exchange of 50% or more of our capital and profits interests, within a twelve-month period, will result in our termination for federal income tax purposes.
We will be considered to have terminated 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 will be counted only once. Our termination for federal income tax purposes would, among other things, result in the closing of our taxable year for all unitholders, which would result in us filing two tax returns for one calendar year and could result in a significant deferral of depreciation deductions allowable in computing our taxable income. In the case of a unitholder reporting on a taxable year other than a calendar year, the closing of our taxable year may also result in more than twelve months of our taxable income or loss being includable in taxable income for the unitholder’s taxable year that includes our termination. Our termination would not affect our classification as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, but it would result in our being treated as a new partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes following the termination. If we were treated as a new partnership, we would be required to make new tax elections and could be subject to penalties if we were unable to determine that a termination occurred. The IRS has announced a relief procedure whereby if a publicly traded entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes that has technically terminated requests, and the IRS grants, special relief, among other things, the entity may be permitted to provide only a single Schedule K-1 to unitholders for the two short tax periods included in the year in which the termination occurs.

Tax gain or loss on the disposition of our units could be different than expected.
If a unitholder sells units, the selling unitholder will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and the unitholder’s tax basis in those units. Prior distributions to the selling unitholder in excess of the total net taxable income the unitholder was allocated for a unit, which decreased the unitholder’s tax basis in that unit, will, in effect, become taxable income to the selling unitholder if the unit is sold at a price greater than the unitholder’s tax basis in that unit, even if the price the unitholder receives is less than the units’ original cost. A substantial portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be ordinary income to the selling unitholder.

Tax-exempt entities and foreign persons face unique tax issues from owning units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.
Investment in units by tax-exempt entities, such as individual retirement accounts (known as IRAs) and non-United States persons raises issues unique to them. For example, virtually all of our income allocated to organizations 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-United States persons will be reduced by withholding taxes at the highest applicable effective tax rate, and non-United States persons will be required to file United States federal income tax returns and pay tax on their share of our taxable income.

We will treat each purchaser of our units as having the same tax benefits without regard to the units purchased. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of our units.
Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of units, we will adopt depreciation and amortization positions that may not conform with all aspects of existing Treasury regulations. A successful IRS challenge to those positions could adversely affect the amount of tax benefits available to unitholders. It also could affect the timing of these tax benefits or the amount of gain from a unitholder’s sale of units and could have a negative impact on the value of our units or result in audit adjustments to the unitholder’s tax returns.

Unitholders will likely be subject to state and local taxes and return filing requirements as a result of investing in our units.
In addition to federal income taxes, unitholders will likely be subject to other taxes, such as state and local income taxes, unincorporated business taxes and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that are imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we or NuStar Energy do business or own property. Unitholders will likely be required to file state and local income tax returns and pay state and local income taxes in some or all of these various jurisdictions. Further, unitholders may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements. We or NuStar Energy may own property or conduct business in other states or foreign countries in the future. It is each unitholder’s responsibility to file all federal, state and local tax returns.


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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 U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS recently issued final regulations pursuant to which a publicly traded entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes may use a similar monthly simplifying convention to allocate tax items among transferor and transferee unitholders although such tax items must be prorated on a daily basis and the regulations do not specifically authorize all aspects of the proration method we have currently adopted. If the IRS were to challenge our proration method, we may be required to change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among our unitholders.

We and NuStar Energy have adopted certain valuation methodologies in determining a unitholder’s allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction. The IRS may challenge these methods or the resulting allocations and such a challenge could adversely affect the value of our investment in NuStar Energy.
In determining the items of income, gain, loss and deduction allocable to our and NuStar Energy’s common unitholders, we and NuStar Energy must routinely determine the fair market value of our respective assets. Although we or NuStar Energy may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we and NuStar Energy make valuation estimates using a methodology based on the fair market value of our respective common units as a means to measure the fair market value of our respective assets. The IRS may challenge these valuation methods and the resulting allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction.

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

We expect that our ratio of taxable income to cash distributions will be higher than the ratio applicable to holders of common units in NuStar Energy.
We expect that our ratio of taxable income to cash distributions will be higher than the ratio applicable to holders of common units in NuStar Energy. Other holders of common units in NuStar Energy will receive remedial allocations of deductions from NuStar Energy. Any remedial allocations of deductions to us from NuStar Energy will be very limited. In addition, our ownership of NuStar Energy incentive distribution rights will cause more taxable income to be allocated to us from NuStar Energy. If NuStar Energy is successful in increasing its distributions over time, our income allocations from our NuStar Energy incentive distribution rights will increase, and, therefore, our ratio of taxable income to cash distributions will increase.

Items of our income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated among our unitholders to account for the difference between the fair market value and tax basis of our assets at the time of an offering.
Specified items of income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated to us from NuStar Energy and among our unitholders to account for the difference between the fair market value and tax basis of NuStar Energy’s assets and our assets at the time the assets were contributed to NuStar Energy (or its predecessors) or at any other offering. The effect of these allocations will be to allocate to us from NuStar Energy and to our unitholders, gains attributable to our share of the difference between the fair market value and the tax basis of NuStar Energy’s assets at these times (including gain attributable to our ownership of the incentive distribution rights). The effect of these allocations to a unitholder purchasing units will be essentially the same as if the tax basis of our and NuStar Energy’s assets were equal to their fair market values at the time of the purchase, with the result that a unitholder purchasing units will not bear the federal income tax burden associated with any existing difference between the fair market value and tax basis of our or NuStar Energy’s assets. The federal income tax burden associated with the difference between the fair market value and the tax basis of our assets immediately prior to purchasing units will be borne by our existing unitholders as of that time.

A unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan (e.g., a loan to a “short seller” to cover a short sale of units) may be considered as having disposed of those units. If so, the unitholder 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 there are no specific rules governing the federal income tax consequences of loaning an interest in an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, a unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan may be considered as having disposed of the loaned units. In that case, the unitholder 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, any of our income, gain, loss or deduction with respect to those units may

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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 for tax purposes and avoid the risk of gain recognition from a loan to a short seller are urged to consult a tax advisor to discuss whether it is advisable to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing their units.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are not currently a party to any material legal proceedings. We are insured against various business risks to the extent we believe is prudent; however, we cannot assure you that the nature and amount of such insurance will be adequate, in every case, to indemnify us against liabilities arising from future legal proceedings as a result of our ordinary business activity.

NuStar Energy is named as a defendant in litigation and is a party to other claims and legal proceedings relating to NuStar Energy’s normal business operations, including regulatory and environmental matters. Due to the inherent uncertainty of litigation, there can be no assurance that the resolution of any particular claim or proceeding would not have a material adverse effect on NuStar Energy’s results of operations, financial position or liquidity. NuStar Energy is insured against various business risks to the extent its management believes is prudent; however, NuStar Energy cannot be assured that the nature and amount of such insurance will be adequate, in every case, to protect it against liabilities arising from future legal proceedings as a result of its ordinary business activity.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY COMPLIANCE MATTERS

NuStar Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, Shore Terminals LLC (Shore), owns a refined product terminal in Portland, Oregon located adjacent to the Portland Harbor. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified portions of the Portland Harbor, including the portion adjacent to its terminal, as a federal “Superfund” site due to sediment contamination (the Site). As previously disclosed, Shore and more than 90 other parties have been identified as potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in connection with the Site. Shore has been working with the other PRPs to attempt to negotiate an agreed allocation of clean-up costs and settlement of natural resource damage claims. Although the PRP group as a whole is likely to incur significant costs in connection with the Site, NuStar Energy has determined that: (1) this matter will not likely be material to its business or financial condition or have a material effect on its consolidated financial position; (2) Shore’s allocation among the PRP group is likely to be de minimus and NuStar Energy believes it has sufficient insurance coverage to respond to this potential liability; and (3) NuStar Energy does not believe that this matter will result in an assessment of monetary sanctions against Shore.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.


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ITEM X. EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT
 
Set forth below is certain information concerning our executive officers, effective as of February 20, 2017.

Name
 
Age  
 
Position Held with NuStar GP Holdings, LLC
Bradley C. Barron
 
51
 
President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Mary Rose Brown
 
60
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Thomas R. Shoaf
 
58
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Jorge A. del Alamo
 
47
 
Senior Vice President and Controller
Amy L. Perry
 
48
 
Senior Vice President, General Counsel - Corporate & Commercial Law and Corporate Secretary
Karen M. Thompson
 
49
 
Senior Vice President, General Counsel - Litigation, Regulatory & Environmental

Mr. Barron became President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in January 2014. He served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC from February 2012 until his promotion in January 2014. From April 2007 to February 2012, he served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC. Mr. Barron also served as Secretary of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC from April 2007 to February 2009. He served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of NuStar GP Holdings from March 2006 until April 2007 and as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of NuStar GP, LLC from January 2006 until April 2007. He has been with NuStar GP, LLC since July 2003 and, prior to that, was with Valero Energy Corporation (Valero Energy) from January 2001 until July 2003.

Ms. Brown became Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in April 2013. She served as Executive Vice President - Administration of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC from February 2012 until her promotion in April 2013. Ms. Brown served as Senior Vice President - Administration of NuStar GP, LLC from April 2008 through February 2012. She served as Senior Vice President - Corporate Communications of NuStar GP, LLC from April 2007 through April 2008. Prior to her service to NuStar GP, LLC, Ms. Brown served as Senior Vice President - Corporate Communications for Valero Energy from September 1997 to April 2007.

Mr. Shoaf became Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in January 2014. He served as Senior Vice President and Controller of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC from February 2012 until his promotion in January 2014. Mr. Shoaf served as Vice President and Controller of NuStar GP Holdings from March 2006 to February 2012 and Vice President and Controller of NuStar GP, LLC from July 2005 to February 2012. He served as Vice President - Structured Finance for Valero Corporate Services Company, a subsidiary of Valero Energy, from 2001 until joining NuStar GP, LLC.

Mr. del Alamo became Senior Vice President and Controller of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in July 2014. Prior thereto, he served as Vice President and Controller of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC since January 2014. He served as Vice President and Assistant Controller of NuStar GP, LLC from July 2010 until his promotion in January 2014. From April 2008 to July 2010 he served as Assistant Controller of NuStar GP, LLC. Prior to his service at NuStar GP, LLC, Mr. del Alamo served as Director - Sarbanes Oxley Compliance for Valero Energy.

Ms. Perry became Senior Vice President, General Counsel - Corporate & Commercial Law and Corporate Secretary of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in January 2014. She served as Corporate Secretary of NuStar GP Holdings and Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of NuStar GP, LLC from February 2010 until her promotion in January 2014. From March 2006 to February 2010 she served as Assistant Secretary of NuStar GP Holdings and, from June 2005 to February 2010, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of NuStar GP, LLC. Prior to her service at NuStar GP, LLC, Ms. Perry served as Counsel to Valero Energy.

Ms. Thompson became Senior Vice President, General Counsel - Litigation, Regulatory & Environmental of NuStar GP Holdings and NuStar GP, LLC in January 2014. She served as Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of NuStar GP, LLC from February 2010 until her promotion in January 2014. From May 2007 to February 2010 she served as Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of NuStar GP, LLC. Prior to her service at NuStar GP, LLC, Ms. Thompson served as Managing Counsel to Valero Energy.


26


PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON UNITS, RELATED UNITHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our common units are listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NSH.” At the close of business on February 8, 2017, we had 11 holders of record of our units. The following table presents the high and low sales prices for our units during the periods presented (composite transactions as reported by the New York Stock Exchange) and the amount, record date and payment date of the quarterly cash distributions on our units with respect to such periods:
 
 
Price Range per Unit
 
Cash Distributions
 
High
 
Low
 
Amount per Common Unit
 
Record Date
 
Payment Date
Year 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4th Quarter
$
29.30

 
$
22.30

 
$
0.545

 
February 8, 2017
 
February 15, 2017
3rd Quarter
$
26.45

 
$
22.40

 
$
0.545

 
November 8, 2016
 
November 16, 2016
2nd Quarter
$
27.07

 
$
19.82

 
$
0.545

 
August 9, 2016
 
August 16, 2016
1st Quarter
$
23.18

 
$
12.86

 
$
0.545

 
May 9, 2016
 
May 17, 2016
Year 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4th Quarter
$
31.55

 
$
15.06

 
$
0.545

 
February 8, 2016
 
February 16, 2016
3rd Quarter
$
38.40

 
$
24.46

 
$
0.545

 
November 9, 2015
 
November 17, 2015
2nd Quarter
$
39.94

 
$
34.03

 
$
0.545

 
August 7, 2015
 
August 17, 2015
1st Quarter
$
39.53

 
$
30.77

 
$
0.545

 
May 8, 2015
 
May 18, 2015

We are required by our limited liability company agreement to distribute all of our available cash at the end of each quarter, less reserves established by our board of directors. All of our distributions are made on our common units, which is our only class of security outstanding. See Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further information regarding our distributions.
 

27


The following Performance Graph is not “soliciting material,” is not deemed filed with the SEC and is not to be incorporated by reference into any of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC’s filings under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, respectively. The stock or unit price performance included in this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock or unit price performance.

The following graph compares the cumulative 5-year total return provided to holders of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC’s units relative to the cumulative total returns of the NYSE Composite index and the Alerian MLP index. An investment of $100 (with reinvestment of all dividends) is assumed to have been made in our common units and in each of the indexes on December 31, 2011, and its relative performance is tracked through December 31, 2016.

nshcumretgraph22016.jpg
        
 
12/11
 
12/12
 
12/13
 
12/14
 
12/15
 
12/16
NuStar GP Holdings, LLC
100.00
 
88.97
 
97.76
 
127.30
 
83.58
 
126.36
NYSE Composite
100.00
 
115.99
 
146.47
 
156.36
 
149.97
 
167.87
Alerian MLP
100.00
 
109.12
 
146.52
 
164.94
 
117.53
 
142.52

28


ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The following table contains selected financial data derived from our audited financial statements.
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
Statement of Comprehensive Income (Loss) Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Equity in earnings (loss) of NuStar Energy L.P.
$
56,096

 
$
79,673

 
$
65,380

 
$
(6,741
)
 
$
(4,578
)
Net income (loss)
55,068

 
72,208

 
61,427

 
(11,034
)
 
2,128

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per unit
1.28

 
1.68

 
1.44

 
(0.26
)
 
0.05

Cash distributions per unit
2.18

 
2.18

 
2.18

 
2.18

 
2.11

Other Financial Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Distributions received from NuStar Energy L.P.
$
95,905

 
$
96,030

 
$
96,012

 
$
96,134

 
$
92,628

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
274,630

 
$
360,490

 
$
385,150

 
$
412,382

 
$
517,716

Total short-term debt
30,000

 
26,000

 
26,000

 
26,000

 
20,000

Members’ equity
243,788

 
287,070

 
310,836

 
349,986

 
412,822

 

29


ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following review of our results of operations and financial condition should be read in conjunction with “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information,” Items 1., 1A. and 2. “Business, Risk Factors and Properties,” and Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” included in this report.

OVERVIEW
NuStar GP Holdings, LLC (NuStar GP Holdings) (NYSE: NSH) is a publicly traded Delaware limited liability company. Unless otherwise indicated, the terms “NuStar GP Holdings,” “NSH,” “we,” “our” and “us” are used in this report to refer to NuStar GP Holdings, LLC, to one or more of our consolidated subsidiaries or to all of them taken as a whole. Our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations is presented in seven sections:
Overview
Results of Operations
Trends and Outlook
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Related Party Transactions
Critical Accounting Policies
New Accounting Pronouncements

Our only cash generating assets are our ownership interests in NuStar Energy L.P. (NuStar Energy), a publicly traded Delaware limited partnership (NYSE: NS). As of December 31, 2016, we have an approximate 15% ownership in NuStar Energy, consisting of the following:
the general partner interest;
100% of the incentive distribution rights issued by NuStar Energy, which entitle us to receive increasing percentages of the cash distributed by NuStar Energy, currently at the maximum percentage of 23%; and
10,214,626 common units of NuStar Energy.

We account for our ownership interest in NuStar Energy using the equity method. Therefore, our financial results reflect a portion of NuStar Energy’s net income based on our ownership interest. We have no separate operating activities apart from those conducted by NuStar Energy and therefore generate no revenues from operations.

NuStar Energy is engaged in the transportation of petroleum products and anhydrous ammonia, the terminalling and storage of petroleum products and the marketing of petroleum products. NuStar Energy has terminal and storage facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, including St. Eustatius in the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.

NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement requires that it distribute all available cash to its common limited partners and general partner each quarter, and this term is defined in its partnership agreement generally as cash on hand at the end of the quarter, plus certain permitted borrowings made subsequent to the end of the quarter, less cash reserves determined by NuStar Energy’s board of directors. Similarly, we are required by our limited liability company agreement to distribute all of our available cash at the end of each quarter, generally defined in our limited liability company agreement as cash on hand at the end of the quarter, less reserves established by our board of directors.

Recent Developments
Employee Transfer from NuStar GP, LLC. On March 1, 2016, NuStar GP, LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary, transferred and assigned to NuStar Services Company LLC (NuStar Services Co), a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar Energy, all of NuStar GP, LLC’s employees and related benefit plans, programs, contracts and policies (the Employee Transfer). Our officers, who are also officers of NuStar GP, LLC, are now dual employees of NuStar GP, LLC and NuStar Services Co. The Employee Transfer did not materially change our results of operations since NuStar Energy previously reimbursed us for nearly all of NuStar GP, LLC’s employee costs. However, as a result of the Employee Transfer, NuStar Services Co pays employee costs directly and sponsors the 2000 Long-Term Incentive Plan and other employee benefit plans. Please refer to Note 5 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for further discussion on the Employee Transfer.


30


NuStar Energy’s Acquisitions and Dispositions
Martin Terminal Acquisition. On December 21, 2016, NuStar Energy acquired crude oil and refined product storage assets in Corpus Christi, TX for $95.7 million, including $2.1 million of capital expenditure reimbursements, from Martin Operating Partnership L.P. The assets acquired include 900,000 barrels of crude oil storage capacity, 250,000 barrels of refined product storage capacity and exclusive use of the Port of Corpus Christi’s new crude oil dock.

Linden Acquisition. On January 2, 2015, NuStar Energy acquired full ownership of ST Linden Terminal, LLC, which owns a refined products terminal in Linden, NJ, for $142.5 million (the Linden Acquisition). Prior to the Linden acquisition, the terminal operated as a joint venture between NuStar Energy and Linden Holding Corp., with each party owning 50%.

2014 Asphalt Sale. On February 26, 2014, NuStar Energy sold its remaining 50% ownership interest in NuStar Asphalt LLC (the 2014 Asphalt Sale) to Lindsay Goldberg LLC, a private investment firm. Effective February 27, 2014, NuStar Asphalt LLC changed its name to Axeon Specialty Products LLC (Axeon).



31


RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
As discussed above, we account for our investment in NuStar Energy using the equity method. As a result, our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy, our only source of income, directly fluctuates with the amount of NuStar Energy’s distributions and results of operations. NuStar Energy’s distributions to its common limited partners determine the amount of our incentive distribution earnings, while NuStar Energy’s results of operations determine the amounts of earnings attributable to our general partner and common limited partner interests.
Year Ended December 31, 2016 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2015
Financial Highlights
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy
$
56,096

 
$
79,673

 
$
(23,577
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
General and administrative expenses
(3,046
)
 
(3,338
)
 
292

Other income (expense), net
3,021

 
(2,333
)
 
5,354

Interest expense, net
(1,069
)
 
(893
)
 
(176
)
Income before income tax benefit (expense)
55,002

 
73,109

 
(18,107
)
Income tax benefit (expense)
66

 
(901
)
 
967

Net income
$
55,068

 
$
72,208

 
$
(17,140
)
Basic and diluted net income per unit
$
1.28

 
$
1.68

 
$
(0.40
)

The following table summarizes NuStar Energy’s statement of income data:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
Revenues
$
1,756,682

 
$
2,084,040

 
$
(327,358
)
Cost of product sales
633,653

 
907,574

 
(273,921
)
Operating expenses
448,367

 
473,031

 
(24,664
)
Depreciation and amortization expense
208,217

 
201,719

 
6,498

Segment operating income
466,445

 
501,716

 
(35,271
)
General and administrative expenses
98,817

 
102,521

 
(3,704
)
Other depreciation and amortization expense
8,519

 
8,491

 
28

Operating income
$
359,109

 
$
390,704

 
$
(31,595
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income from continuing operations
$
150,003

 
$
305,946

 
$
(155,943
)
Income from discontinued operations, net of tax

 
774

 
(774
)
Net income
$
150,003

 
$
306,720

 
$
(156,717
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
1.27

 
$
3.30

 
$
(2.03
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash distributions per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
4.380

 
$
4.380

 
$





32


NuStar Energy’s net income decreased $156.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to the year ended December 31, 2015, primarily due to a $58.7 million impairment charge in 2016 on NuStar Energy’s term loan to Axeon Specialty Products and a $56.3 million gain associated with NuStar Energy’s Linden Acquisition in 2015. In addition, NuStar Energy’s segment operating income decreased $35.3 million, resulting mainly from reductions in operating income for its pipeline and fuels marketing segments.

Equity in Earnings of NuStar Energy
The following table summarizes our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy: 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
NuStar GP Holdings’ Equity in Earnings of NuStar Energy:
 
 
 
 
 
General partner interest
$
2,091

 
$
5,270

 
$
(3,179
)
General partner incentive distribution rights (IDRs)
43,407

 
43,220

 
187

General partner’s interest in earnings and incentive
distributions of NuStar Energy
45,498

 
48,490

 
(2,992
)
Common limited partner interest in earnings of NuStar Energy
13,482

 
34,067

 
(20,585
)
Amortization of step-up in basis related to
NuStar Energy’s assets and liabilities
(2,884
)
 
(2,884
)
 

Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy
$
56,096

 
$
79,673

 
$
(23,577
)

Our equity in earnings related to our general and common limited partner interests in NuStar Energy decreased $23.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to the year ended December 31, 2015, due to a decrease in NuStar Energy’s net income. However, our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy related to our IDRs increased slightly as a result of NuStar Energy’s issuances of common units in 2016. Our IDRs in NuStar Energy entitle us to an increasing amount of NuStar Energy’s cash distributions (please refer to Note 6 of the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a more detailed discussion of how NuStar Energy’s distributions are allocated).

Other Income (Expense), Net
For the year ended December 31, 2016, we recognized other income of $3.0 million, mainly due to gains of $2.4 million as a result of NuStar Energy’s issuances of common units in 2016. The gains represent the increase in the value of our proportionate share of NuStar Energy’s capital. For the year ended December 31, 2015, we recognized other expense of $2.3 million, due to losses of $2.3 million on the sale of NuStar Energy L.P. common limited partner units in connection with unit-based compensation plans we sponsored prior to the Employee Transfer.
Year Ended December 31, 2015 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2014
Financial Highlights
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
Change
Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy
$
79,673

 
$
65,380

 
$
14,293

 
 
 
 
 
 
General and administrative expenses
(3,338
)
 
(3,396
)
 
58

Other expense, net
(2,333
)
 
(1,458
)
 
(875
)
Interest expense, net
(893
)
 
(885
)
 
(8
)
Income before income tax (expense) benefit
73,109

 
59,641

 
13,468

Income tax (expense) benefit
(901
)
 
1,786

 
(2,687
)
Net income
$
72,208

 
$
61,427

 
$
10,781

Basic and diluted net income per unit
$
1.68

 
$
1.44

 
$
0.24



33



The following table summarizes NuStar Energy’s statement of income data:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
Change
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
Revenues
$
2,084,040

 
$
3,075,118

 
$
(991,078
)
Cost of product sales
907,574

 
1,967,528

 
(1,059,954
)
Operating expenses
473,031

 
472,925

 
106

Depreciation and amortization expense
201,719

 
181,555

 
20,164

Segment operating income
501,716

 
453,110

 
48,606

General and administrative expenses
102,521

 
96,056

 
6,465

Other depreciation and amortization expense
8,491

 
10,153

 
(1,662
)
Operating income
$
390,704

 
$
346,901

 
$
43,803

 
 
 
 
 
 
Income from continuing operations
$
305,946

 
$
214,169

 
$
91,777

Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax
774

 
(3,791
)
 
4,565

Net income
$
306,720

 
$
210,378

 
$
96,342

 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
3.30

 
$
2.10

 
$
1.20

 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash distributions per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
4.380

 
$
4.380

 
$


NuStar Energy’s net income increased $96.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared to the year ended
December 31, 2014, primarily due to an increase of $48.6 million in NuStar Energy’s segment operating income, resulting mainly from improvements in its pipeline and storage segments, and a $56.3 million gain associated with NuStar Energy’s
Linden Acquisition.

Equity in Earnings of NuStar Energy
The following table summarizes our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy:
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
2015
 
2014
 
Change
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
NuStar GP Holdings’ Equity in Earnings of NuStar Energy:
 
 
 
 
 
General partner interest
$
5,270

 
$
3,352

 
$
1,918

General partner incentive distribution rights
43,220

 
43,220

 

General partner’s interest in earnings and incentive
distributions of NuStar Energy
48,490

 
46,572

 
1,918

Common limited partner interest in earnings of NuStar Energy
34,067

 
21,692

 
12,375

Amortization of step-up in basis related to
NuStar Energy’s assets and liabilities
(2,884
)
 
(2,884
)
 

Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy
$
79,673

 
$
65,380

 
$
14,293


Our equity in earnings related to our general and limited partner interests in NuStar Energy increased $14.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, due to an increase in NuStar Energy’s net income.


34


TRENDS AND OUTLOOK
We expect our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy to increase or decrease consistent with NuStar Energy’s earnings.

NuStar Energy believes that the fact that it provides both storage and pipeline services, for crude and refined products, to customers in sectors across the energy industry, throughout the country and around the world, offers some insulation from the impact of market fluctuations on its results of operations. Since high crude oil prices have tended to benefit NuStar Energy’s producer customers, high prices have also correlated with increased demand for its crude oil pipeline services. On the other hand, depressed crude oil prices, when coupled with an industry expectation of higher prices in the future, or a contango market, has historically correlated with increased demand from trading companies for NuStar Energy’s storage services.

Because of the geographic diversity of NuStar Energy’s assets, its results of operations are not dependent on the regions or markets that have been hardest hit by depressed crude oil prices, the domestic shale play regions, which was demonstrated by the fact that, in 2016, revenue from NuStar Energy’s Eagle Ford pipeline and storage assets constituted only 12% of its total pipeline and storage segment revenue. Although NuStar Energy’s assets in the Eagle Ford region have experienced lower throughputs as production has slowed, the fact that NuStar Energy has minimum volume throughput contracts with large, creditworthy customers has minimized the negative impact of that slowdown on its results of operations.

In addition to the diversity of NuStar Energy’s customers, its assets, the services it offers and the markets it serves, NuStar Energy believes its contracts, many of which are long-term, take-or-pay arrangements for committed storage or throughput capacity, also help to blunt the impact of volatility of crude oil prices on its results of operations. In the locations at which NuStar Energy’s assets are integrated physically with the refineries the assets serve, NuStar Energy believes the results generated by those assets depend to a greater degree on the refinery’s continuing need to receive, store and transport the crude and refined products than on crude or refined product prices.

For 2017, NuStar Energy expects consistent volumes in its pipeline segment as any declines in crude oil pipelines are expected to be offset by higher volumes on its refined product pipelines. NuStar Energy is forecasting near minimum take-or-pay volumes on its South Texas Crude System, allowing for possible upside if production in the Eagle Ford region ramps up. NuStar Energy expects its storage segment to benefit in 2017 from favorable storage contract renewals and the Martin Terminal Acquisition. Earnings in NuStar Energy’s fuels marketing segment, as in any margin-based business, are subject to many factors that can increase or reduce margins, which may cause the segment’s actual results to vary significantly from NuStar Energy’s forecast.

NuStar Energy’s outlook for the partnership, both overall and for any of its segments, may change, as NuStar Energy bases its expectations on its continuing evaluation of a number of factors, many of which are outside its control. These factors include, but are not limited to, the state of the economy and the capital markets, changes to its customers’ refinery maintenance schedules and unplanned refinery downtime, supply of and demand for crude oil, refined products and anhydrous ammonia, demand for its transportation and storage services and changes in laws or regulations affecting its assets.



35


LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

General
Our cash flows consist of distributions from NuStar Energy on our partnership interests, including the incentive distribution rights that we own. Due to our ownership of NuStar Energy’s incentive distribution rights, our portion of NuStar Energy’s total distributions may exceed our ownership interest in NuStar Energy. Our primary cash requirements are for distributions to members, capital contributions to maintain our 2% general partner interest in NuStar Energy (as defined in NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement) in the event that NuStar Energy issues additional common units, debt service requirements, if any, and general and administrative expenses. In addition, because NuStar GP, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar GP Holdings, elected to be treated as a taxable entity in August 2006, we may be required to pay income taxes, which may exceed the amount of tax expense recorded in the consolidated financial statements. We expect to fund our cash requirements primarily with the quarterly cash distributions we receive from NuStar Energy and, if necessary, borrowings under our revolving credit facility.

Cash Distributions from NuStar Energy
NuStar Energy distributes all of its available cash to its common limited partners and general partner within 45 days following the end of each quarter based on the partnership interests outstanding as of a record date that is set after the end of each quarter. Available cash is generally defined as cash receipts less cash disbursements (including distributions to holders of NuStar Energy’s Preferred Units, as defined and further discussed under the Investment in NuStar Energy section below) and cash reserves established by us, in our sole discretion. The following table reflects the cash distributions earned for the periods shown with respect to our ownership interests in NuStar Energy and our incentive distribution rights:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit and Percentage Data)
Cash distributions per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
4.380

 
$
4.380

 
$
4.380

Total cash distributions by NuStar Energy to its general and common limited partners
$
393,882

 
$
392,204

 
$
392,204

Cash distributions we received from NuStar Energy:
 
 
 
 
 
General partner interest
$
7,877

 
$
7,844

 
$
7,844

General partner incentive distribution rights (IDRs)
43,407

 
43,220

 
43,220

Limited partner interest – common units
44,699

 
45,073

 
44,974

Total cash distributions to us
$
95,983

 
$
96,137

 
$
96,038

Distributions to us as a percentage of total cash distributions to NuStar Energy’s general and common limited partners
24.4
%
 
24.5
%
 
24.5
%

Cash Flows for the Years Ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014
For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, cash distributions received from NuStar Energy were used primarily to fund distributions to our unitholders.

Credit Facility
Borrowings under our revolving credit facility are used to fund capital contributions to NuStar Energy to maintain our 2% general partner interest when NuStar Energy issues additional common units and to meet other liquidity and capital resource requirements. Our revolving credit facility dated June 28, 2013, as most recently amended on June 16, 2016, will mature on June 27, 2017 and has a borrowing capacity of up to $50.0 million, of which up to $10.0 million may be available for letters of credit. Our obligations under our revolving credit facility are guaranteed by Riverwalk Holdings, LLC (Riverwalk), our wholly owned subsidiary. Riverwalk pledged 2,107,918 NuStar Energy common units that it owns to secure its guarantee.

As of December 31, 2016, we had outstanding borrowings of $30.0 million and availability of $20.0 million for borrowings under our revolving credit facility. Interest on our revolving credit facility is based upon, at our option, either an alternative base rate or a LIBOR-based rate. Our management believes that we are in compliance with the covenants of the revolving credit facility as of December 31, 2016. We are in discussions with the lenders to renew or replace our revolving credit facility. Please refer to Note 10 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a detailed discussion on our revolving credit facility.


36


Investment in NuStar Energy
Preferred Unit Offering. In the fourth quarter of 2016, NuStar Energy issued 9,060,000 of its 8.50% Series A Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units (the Preferred Units) representing limited partner interests at a price of $25.00 per unit. NuStar Energy used the net proceeds of $218.4 million from this issuance for general partnership purposes, including the funding of capital expenditures and to repay outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit agreement.

The Preferred Units rank senior to all of NuStar Energy’s other classes of equity securities, including our general partner and common limited partner interests, with respect to distribution rights and rights upon liquidation. Distributions on the Preferred Units are payable out of any legally available funds, accrue and are cumulative from the date of original issuance of the Preferred Units and are payable quarterly. The holders of the Preferred Units are entitled to receive quarterly distributions at an initial distribution rate of 8.50% per annum of the $25.00 liquidation preference per unit (equal to $2.125 per unit per annum). On and after December 15, 2021, distributions on the Preferred Units accumulate at a percentage of the $25.00 liquidation preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 6.766%.

Common Unit Offering. In 2016, NuStar Energy issued 595,050 common units representing limited partner interests at an average price of $47.39 per unit. NuStar Energy received net proceeds of $28.3 million, which includes our contribution of $0.6 million in order to maintain our 2.0% general partner interest. This issuance resulted in a gain of $2.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is included in “Other income (expense), net” on our consolidated statements of comprehensive income, and represents the increase in the value of our proportionate share of NuStar Energy’s capital.

Other Issuances of Common Units. In 2016, we recorded a gain of $0.3 million as a result of NuStar Energy’s issuance of common units in association with its unit-based compensation awards. The gain is included in “Other income (expense), net” on our consolidated statements of comprehensive income, and represents the increase in the value of our proportionate share of NuStar Energy’s capital.

Cash Distributions to Unitholders
Our limited liability company agreement requires that, within 50 days after the end of each quarter, we distribute all of our available cash to the holders of record of our units on the applicable record date. Available cash is defined generally as all cash on hand at the end of any calendar quarter, less the amount of cash reserves necessary or appropriate, as determined in good faith by our board of directors, to service debt we may incur, if any, and to fund general and administrative expenses, future distributions and other miscellaneous cash requirements. The following table reflects our cash distributions applicable to the period in which the distributions were earned:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
Cash distributions per unit
$
2.18

 
$
2.18

 
$
2.18

Total cash distributions
$
93,601

 
$
93,561

 
$
93,252


Contingencies
We are not currently a party to any material legal proceedings and have not recorded any accruals for loss contingencies. NuStar Energy is a party to claims and legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of its business, which it believes are not material to its financial position or results of operations. However, due to the inherent uncertainty of litigation, there can be no assurance that the resolution of any particular claim or proceeding would not have a material adverse effect on NuStar Energy’s results of operations and ability to pay distributions, which would impact our results of operations and ability to pay distributions.

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

Agreements with NuStar Energy
Prior to the Employee Transfer, pursuant to a services agreement between NuStar GP, LLC and NuStar Energy, NuStar Energy reimbursed NuStar GP, LLC for furnishing administrative and certain operating services necessary to conduct the business of NuStar Energy. In conjunction with the Employee Transfer, NuStar GP, LLC entered into an Amended and Restated Services Agreement with NuStar Services Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar Energy, effective March 1, 2016 (the Amended GP Services Agreement). The Amended GP Services Agreement provides that NuStar Services Co will furnish administrative services necessary to conduct our business, for an annual fee of $1.0 million, subject to certain adjustments for merit increases and changes in level of service. The Amended GP Services Agreement will terminate on March 1, 2020 and will automatically renew for successive two-year terms, unless terminated by either party. Please refer to Note 5 of the Notes to Consolidated

37


Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a more detailed discussion of agreements with NuStar Energy.

Employee Benefit Plans and Unit-Based Compensation
Prior to the Employee Transfer, we sponsored the following employee benefit and long-term incentive plans, among others:

The NuStar Thrift Plan;
The NuStar Excess Thrift Plan;
The NuStar Pension Plan;
The NuStar Excess Pension Plan;
The NuStar GP, LLC Retiree Welfare Benefits Plan; and
The 2000 Long-Term Incentive Plan.

Prior to the Employee Transfer, NuStar Energy reimbursed NuStar GP, LLC for expenses incurred related to employee benefit plans at cost, and for long-term incentive plan compensation expenses resulting from NS and NSH awards to employees and directors of NuStar GP, LLC. Our current liabilities related to the long-term incentive plans and employee benefits were included in “Accrued compensation expense” and our noncurrent liabilities for employee benefits were included in “Long-term liabilities” on our consolidated balance sheet. Subsequent to the Employee Transfer, our consolidated balance sheet no longer reflects employee-related liabilities or the corresponding receivables from NuStar Energy.

We continue to sponsor the 2006 Long-Term Incentive Plan, under which NuStar GP Holdings may award up to 2,000,000 (NSH) units, and retain the compensation expense related to these awards.

Please refer to Notes 14 and 15 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a more detailed discussion of the employee benefit and long-term incentive plans.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to select accounting policies and to make estimates and assumptions related thereto that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates. The accounting policies below are considered critical due to judgments made by management and the sensitivity of these estimates to deviations of actual results from management’s assumptions. The critical accounting policies should be read in conjunction with Note 2 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” which summarizes our significant accounting policies.

Investment in NuStar Energy
We evaluate our investment in NuStar Energy for impairment if and when there is evidence that we may not be able to recover the carrying amount of our investment or that NuStar Energy is unable to sustain an earnings capacity that justifies the carrying amount. If a decline in the value of our investment is determined to be other than temporary, then we would record an impairment loss in the current period based on the difference between the estimated current fair value of the investment and our carrying amount. In order to determine fair value, our management must make certain estimates and assumptions regarding NuStar Energy’s operations, including, among other things, an assessment of market conditions, projected cash flows, interest rates and growth rates that could significantly impact the fair value of our investment. Due to the significant subjectivity of the assumptions used to determine fair value, changes in market conditions and/or changes in assumptions could result in significant impairment charges in the future, thus affecting our earnings. We believe that the carrying amount of our investment in NuStar Energy as of December 31, 2016 is recoverable.

Unit-Based Compensation
Prior to the Employee Transfer, we accounted for awards of NS unit options, performance units and restricted units to employees and directors of NuStar GP, LLC and its affiliates at fair value, whereby a liability for the award was initially recorded and subsequent changes in the fair value were included in the determination of net income. The fair value of NS unit options was determined using the Black-Scholes model at each reporting date. The fair value of NS restricted units and performance units equaled the market price of NS common units at each reporting date. However, NS performance units were earned only upon NuStar Energy’s achievement of an objective performance measure. We recorded compensation expense each reporting period such that the cumulative compensation expense equaled the portion of the award’s current fair value that had vested. We recorded compensation expense related to NS unit options until such options were exercised, and we recorded compensation expense for NS restricted units and performance units until the date of vesting.


38


We account for awards of NSH restricted units and unit options granted to employees of NuStar GP, LLC and our directors based on the fair value of the awards at the grant date. The fair value of NSH unit options is determined using the Black-Scholes model at the grant date, and the fair value of the NSH restricted units equals the market price of NSH common units at the grant date. Compensation expense for NSH restricted units and unit options is recognized ratably over the vesting period based on the initial fair value determination.

We make certain assumptions to determine the fair value of NS and NSH unit options related to the expected life of the option, volatility of the related units, expected distribution yield and risk-free interest rate. Changes in these assumptions impact the amount of expense associated with the award and the amount of our liability.

Pension and Other Postretirement Benefit Obligations
Prior to the Employee Transfer, we had significant pension and postretirement benefit liabilities and costs that were developed from actuarial valuations. Inherent in these valuations were key assumptions including discount rates, expected long-term rates of return on plan assets, future compensation increases and health care cost trend rates. Changes in these assumptions were primarily influenced by factors outside our control. The expected return on plan assets for the pension and other postretirement benefit plans was based on the weighted averages of the expected long-term rates of return for each asset class of investments held in our plans as determined using historical data and the assumption that capital markets are informationally efficient.

NEW ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS
Please refer to Note 3 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” for a detailed discussion of new accounting pronouncements.

ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

Our only cash generating assets are our ownership interests in NuStar Energy, which we account for using the equity method. We have no material market risk other than those market risks affecting NuStar Energy, which could therefore affect the value of our investment. NuStar Energy is exposed to various market risks, including interest rate risk and commodity price risk. For a description of NuStar Energy’s market risks and how it manages its exposure to those risks, please see Item 7A. “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” contained in NuStar Energy’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016.


39


ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our management assessed the effectiveness of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016. In its evaluation, management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013). Based on this assessment, management believes that, as of December 31, 2016, our internal control over financial reporting was effective based on those criteria.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation.

The effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016 has been audited by KPMG LLP, the independent registered public accounting firm who audited our consolidated financial statements included in this Form 10-K. KPMG LLP’s attestation on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting appears on page 42.


40


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
The Board of Directors and Members
of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC:
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries (the Company) as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, members’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016. These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements based on our audits.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries’ internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), and our report dated February 23, 2017 expressed an unqualified opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
/s/    KPMG LLP
San Antonio, Texas
February 23, 2017


41


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
The Board of Directors and Members
of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC:
We have audited NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries’ (the Company’s) internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
In our opinion, NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by COSO.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), the consolidated balance sheets of NuStar GP Holdings, LLC and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, members’ equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016, and our report dated February 23, 2017 expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.
 
/s/    KPMG LLP
San Antonio, Texas
February 23, 2017




42


NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Unit Data)
 
 
December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
Assets
 
 
 
Current assets:
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
207

 
$
34

Receivable from related party

 
14,799

Income tax receivable
303

 
1,212

Other receivables

 
69

Prepaid expenses and other current assets
292

 
344

Total current assets
802

 
16,458

Investment in NuStar Energy L.P.
268,742

 
306,694

Long-term receivable from related party

 
32,080

Deferred income tax assets, net
5,086

 
5,258

Total assets
$
274,630

 
$
360,490

Liabilities and Members’ Equity
 
 
 
Current liabilities:
 
 
 
Short-term debt
$
30,000

 
$
26,000

Payable to related party
317

 

Accounts payable
1

 
636

Accrued compensation expense

 
8,990

Accrued liabilities
460

 
340

Deferred income tax liabilities, net

 
2,660

Taxes other than income tax
64

 
1,935

Total current liabilities
30,842

 
40,561

Long-term liabilities

 
32,859

Commitments and contingencies (Note 11)

 

Members’ equity (42,951,749 and 42,930,549 units outstanding as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively)
257,662

 
295,734

Accumulated other comprehensive loss
(13,874
)
 
(8,664
)
Total members’ equity
243,788

 
287,070

Total liabilities and members’ equity
$
274,630

 
$
360,490

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


43


NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Unit and Per Unit Data)
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy L.P.
$
56,096

 
$
79,673

 
$
65,380

 
 
 
 
 
 
General and administrative expenses
 
 
 
 
 
Third parties
(2,258
)
 
(3,338
)
 
(3,396
)
Related party
(788
)
 

 

Total general and administrative expenses
(3,046
)

(3,338
)
 
(3,396
)
Other income (expense), net
3,021

 
(2,333
)
 
(1,458
)
Interest expense, net
(1,069
)
 
(893
)
 
(885
)
Income before income tax benefit (expense)
55,002

 
73,109

 
59,641

Income tax benefit (expense)
66

 
(901
)
 
1,786

Net income
55,068

 
72,208

 
61,427

Other comprehensive (loss) income:
 
 
 
 
 
Share of NuStar Energy L.P.’s other comprehensive loss
(685
)
 
(3,107
)
 
(665
)
Pension and other postretirement benefit plan adjustments
(4,525
)
 
218

 
(14,051
)
Total other comprehensive loss
(5,210
)
 
(2,889
)
 
(14,716
)
Comprehensive income
$
49,858

 
$
69,319

 
$
46,711

Basic and diluted net income per unit
$
1.28

 
$
1.68

 
$
1.44

Weighted-average number of basic units outstanding
42,932,320

 
42,914,297

 
42,719,217

Weighted-average number of diluted units outstanding
42,932,320

 
42,914,297

 
42,742,202

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


44


NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(Thousands of Dollars)
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Cash Flows from Operating Activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Net income
$
55,068

 
$
72,208

 
$
61,427

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy L.P.
(56,096
)
 
(79,673
)
 
(65,380
)
Distributions of equity in earnings from NuStar Energy L.P.
56,096

 
79,673

 
65,380

Gain related to NuStar Energy L.P.’s issuance of common limited partner units
(2,408
)
 

 

(Gain) loss on sale of NuStar Energy L.P. common limited partner units in connection with unit-based compensation
(613
)
 
2,333

 
1,458

Unit-based compensation expense
661

 
239

 
129

Amortization of deferred debt costs
169

 
155

 
161

(Benefit) expense for deferred income tax
(75
)
 
952

 
(621
)
Changes in current assets and liabilities (Note 9)
(3,336
)
 
296

 
(2,270
)
(Increase) decrease in long-term receivable from related party
(898
)
 
363

 
(1,527
)
Increase (decrease) in long-term liabilities
1,183

 
(647
)
 
36

Net cash provided by operating activities
49,751

 
75,899

 
58,793

Cash Flows from Investing Activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Distributions in excess of equity in earnings from NuStar Energy L.P.
39,809

 
16,357

 
30,632

Investment in NuStar Energy L.P.
(842
)
 
(7,444
)
 
(19,340
)
Proceeds from sale of NuStar Energy L.P. common units in connection with unit-based compensation
1,319

 
5,935

 
17,059

Net cash provided by investing activities
40,286

 
14,848

 
28,351

Cash Flows from Financing Activities:
 
 
 
 
 
Proceeds from short-term debt borrowings
4,000

 

 
26,000

Repayment of short-term debt

 

 
(26,000
)
Distributions to unitholders
(93,590
)
 
(93,567
)
 
(93,098
)
Proceeds from the exercise of unit options

 

 
7,206

Other, net
(274
)
 
14

 
(15
)
Net cash used in financing activities
(89,864
)
 
(93,553
)
 
(85,907
)
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
173

 
(2,806
)
 
1,237

Cash and cash equivalents as of the beginning of the period
34

 
2,840

 
1,603

Cash and cash equivalents as of the end of the period
$
207

 
$
34

 
$
2,840

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

45


NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF MEMBERS’ EQUITY
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Unit Data)
 
 
Units
 
Members’
Equity
 
Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
(Loss) Income
 
Total
Balance as of January 1, 2014
42,656,281

 
$
341,045

 
$
8,941

 
$
349,986

Net income

 
61,427

 

 
61,427

Other comprehensive loss

 

 
(14,716
)
 
(14,716
)
Distributions to unitholders

 
(93,098
)
 

 
(93,098
)
Unit-based compensation
256,996

 
7,251

 

 
7,251

Other

 
(14
)
 

 
(14
)
Balance as of December 31, 2014
42,913,277

 
316,611

 
(5,775
)
 
310,836

Net income

 
72,208

 

 
72,208

Other comprehensive loss

 

 
(2,889
)
 
(2,889
)
Distributions to unitholders

 
(93,567
)
 

 
(93,567
)
Unit-based compensation
17,272

 
468

 

 
468

Other

 
14

 

 
14

Balance as of December 31, 2015
42,930,549

 
295,734

 
(8,664
)
 
287,070

Net income

 
55,068

 

 
55,068

Other comprehensive loss

 

 
(5,210
)
 
(5,210
)
Distributions to unitholders

 
(93,590
)
 

 
(93,590
)
Unit-based compensation
21,200

 
450

 

 
450

Balance as of December 31, 2016
42,951,749

 
$
257,662

 
$
(13,874
)
 
$
243,788

See Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


46


NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Years Ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014

1. ORGANIZATION

NuStar GP Holdings, LLC (NuStar GP Holdings) (NYSE: NSH) is a publicly held Delaware limited liability company. Unless otherwise indicated, the terms “NuStar GP Holdings,” “NSH,” “we,” “our” and “us” are used in this report to refer to NuStar GP Holdings, LLC, to one or more of our consolidated subsidiaries or to all of them taken as a whole.

Our unitholders have no liability under our limited liability company agreement, or for any of our debts, obligations or liabilities, in their capacity as unitholders.

We have no operations or sources of income or cash flows other than our investment in NuStar Energy L.P. (NuStar Energy or NS) (NYSE: NS). As of December 31, 2016, we have an approximate 15% ownership in NuStar Energy, consisting of the following:
the general partner interest;
100% of the incentive distribution rights issued by NuStar Energy, which entitle us to receive increasing percentages of the cash distributed by NuStar Energy, currently at the maximum percentage of 23%; and
10,214,626 common units of NuStar Energy.

NuStar Energy is a publicly held Delaware limited partnership engaged in the transportation of petroleum products and anhydrous ammonia, the terminalling and storage of petroleum products and the marketing of petroleum products. NuStar Energy has terminal and storage facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, including St. Eustatius in the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.

Employee Transfer from NuStar GP, LLC. On March 1, 2016, NuStar GP, LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary, transferred and assigned to NuStar Services Company LLC (NuStar Services Co), a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar Energy, all of NuStar GP, LLC’s employees and related benefit plans, programs, contracts and policies (the Employee Transfer). As a result of the Employee Transfer, NuStar Energy pays employee costs directly and sponsors the long-term incentive plan and other employee benefit plans. Please refer to Note 5 for a discussion of this transfer and our related party agreements and Notes 14 and 15 for a discussion of the employee benefit plans and long-term incentive plan obligations transferred.

2. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Consolidation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of NuStar GP Holdings and subsidiaries in which it has a controlling interest. Intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Use of Estimates
The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates. On an ongoing basis, management reviews their estimates based on currently available information. Management may revise estimates due to changes in facts and circumstances.

Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash equivalents are all highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less when acquired.
 
Investment in NuStar Energy
We account for our investment in NuStar Energy using the equity method. As the general partner, we exercise significant influence over NuStar Energy. We evaluate our investment in NuStar Energy for impairment when there is evidence that we may not be able to recover the carrying amount of our investment or that the investee is unable to sustain an earnings capacity that justifies the carrying amount. If a decline in the value of our investment is determined to be other than temporary, then we would record an impairment loss in the current period based on the difference between the estimated current fair value of the investment and our carrying amount. We believe that the carrying amount of our investment in NuStar Energy as of December 31, 2016 is recoverable.


47

NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


Accounting for Issuances of Units by NuStar Energy
We account for issuances of common units by NuStar Energy as if we had sold a proportionate share of our investment, such that we record any gain or loss in earnings.

Income Taxes
We are a limited liability company taxed as a partnership and generally are not subject to federal or state income taxes. Accordingly, our taxable income or loss, which may vary substantially from income or loss reported for financial reporting purposes, is generally included in the federal and state income tax returns of our unitholders. For transfers of publicly held units subsequent to our initial public offering, we have made an election permitted by Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) to adjust the common unit purchaser’s tax basis in our underlying assets to reflect the purchase price of the units. This results in an allocation of taxable income and expenses to the purchaser of the common units, including depreciation deductions and gains and losses on sales of assets, based upon the new unitholder’s purchase price for the common units.

On August 14, 2006, NuStar GP, LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary, elected to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes under Treasury Regulation §301.7701-3(a). We account for income taxes under the asset and liability method. Under this method, we recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. We measure deferred taxes using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the year those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled.

Income tax expense includes federal and state income and withholding taxes currently payable and deferred federal and state income taxes resulting from temporary differences between financial statement and tax bases of assets and liabilities when such differences exist. We, or certain of our subsidiaries, file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction and various state jurisdictions. For U.S. federal and state purposes, tax years subject to examination are 2012 through 2015, according to standard statutes of limitations.

We recognize a tax position if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained, based on the technical merits of the position, upon examination. We record uncertain tax positions in the financial statements at the largest amount of benefit that is more likely than not to be realized. We had no unrecognized tax benefits as of December 31, 2016 and 2015.

Unit-Based Compensation
We account for awards of NSH restricted units and unit options granted to employees of NuStar GP, LLC and our directors based on the fair value of the awards at the grant date. The fair value of NSH unit options is determined using the Black-Scholes model at the grant date, and the fair value of the NSH restricted units equals the market price of NSH common units at the grant date. Compensation expense for NSH restricted units and unit options is recognized ratably over the vesting period based on the initial fair value determination, and is included in “General and administrative expenses” on our consolidated statements of comprehensive income.

Prior to the Employee Transfer, we accounted for awards of NS unit options, performance units and restricted units to employees and directors of NuStar GP, LLC and its affiliates at fair value, whereby a liability for the award was initially recorded and subsequent changes in the fair value were included in the determination of net income. The fair value of NS unit options was determined using the Black-Scholes model at each reporting date. The fair value of NS restricted units and performance units equaled the market price of NS common units at each reporting date. However, NS performance units were earned only upon NuStar Energy’s achievement of an objective performance measure. We recorded compensation expense each reporting period such that the cumulative compensation expense equaled the portion of the award’s current fair value that had vested. We recorded compensation expense related to NS unit options until such options were exercised, and we recorded compensation expense for NS restricted units and performance units until the date of vesting. The liability for awards of NS unit options, performance units and restricted units were included in “Accrued compensation expense” on our consolidated balance sheet for the year ended December 31, 2015. Prior to the Employee Transfer, NuStar Energy reimbursed us for the expenses resulting from NS awards and NSH awards to employees providing services to NuStar Energy. Following the Employee Transfer, NuStar Energy retains the expenses resulting from NS awards and we retain the expenses resulting from NSH awards.

Distribution Equivalent Rights (DERs) paid with respect to outstanding, unvested NS units were expensed, whereas DERs with respect to outstanding, unvested NSH restricted units reduce equity, similar to cash distributions to unitholders. Forfeitures of our unit-based awards are recognized as an adjustment to compensation expense when they occur.



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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


Under these long-term incentive plans, certain awards provide that the grantee’s award vests immediately upon retirement. Compensation expense is recognized immediately if these awards are granted to retirement-eligible employees, as defined in each award. In addition, if, during a vesting period of a grant, the grantee will become retirement-eligible, then compensation expense associated with the grant is recognized from the grant date through the grantee’s retirement eligibility date.
Reclassifications
Certain previously reported amounts in the 2015 consolidated financial statements and notes have been reclassified to conform to 2016 presentation.

3. NEW ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS

Statement of Cash Flows
In August 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued amended guidance that clarifies how entities should present certain cash receipts and cash payments on the statement of cash flows, including but not limited to debt prepayment or debt extinguishment costs; contingent consideration payments made after a business combination; proceeds from the settlement of insurance claims and distributions received from equity method investees. The changes are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2017, and amendments should be applied retrospectively. We will adopt these provisions January 1, 2018, and we do not expect the guidance to have a material impact on our statements of cash flows or disclosures.

Unit-Based Payments
In March 2016, the FASB issued amended guidance that simplifies certain aspects of accounting for unit-based payments to employees, including the accounting for income taxes, forfeitures and statutory tax withholding requirements, as well as classification in the statement of cash flows. The changes are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2016, and early adoption is permitted. The new requirements should be applied prospectively, retrospectively or using a modified retrospective transition method depending on the area affected by the amended guidance. We adopted this amended guidance effective January 1, 2016, and none of the provisions had a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or disclosures.

Financial Instruments
In January 2016, the FASB issued new guidance that addresses certain aspects of recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of financial instruments. The changes are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2017, and amendments should be applied by means of a cumulative-effect adjustment to the balance sheet as of the beginning of the fiscal year of adoption. We will adopt these provisions January 1, 2018, and we do not expect the guidance to have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations or disclosures.

Deferred Taxes
In November 2015, the FASB issued amended guidance that requires deferred tax assets and liabilities to be classified as noncurrent on the balance sheet. The changes are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2016, using either a prospective or retrospective transition method, and early adoption is permitted. We adopted these provisions on a prospective basis on January 1, 2017, and it did not have an impact on our financial position, results of operations or disclosures.

Debt Issuance Costs
In April 2015, the FASB issued amended guidance for the presentation of debt issuance costs. Under the amended guidance, debt issuance costs will be presented on the balance sheet as a deduction from the carrying value of the associated debt liability. In August 2015, the FASB issued amended guidance that would allow debt issuance costs related to line-of-credit agreements to continue to be presented as an asset on the balance sheet. The changes are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2015, and retrospective application is required. Accordingly, we adopted the amended guidance on January 1, 2016, and it did not impact our financial position, results of operations or disclosures.

Consolidation
In February 2015, the FASB issued new consolidation guidance that modifies the criterion involved in a reporting organization’s evaluation of whether certain legal entities are subject to consolidation under the standard. The standard is effective for public companies for annual and interim reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2015, using one of two retrospective transition methods. Accordingly, we adopted the guidance on January 1, 2016, and it did not impact our financial position, results of operations or disclosures.


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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


4. INVESTMENT IN NUSTAR ENERGY

NuStar Energy’s Equity Issuances
Preferred Unit Offering. In the fourth quarter of 2016, NuStar Energy issued 9,060,000 of its 8.50% Series A Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Units (the Preferred Units) representing limited partner interests at a price of $25.00 per unit. NuStar Energy used the net proceeds of $218.4 million from this issuance for general partnership purposes, including the funding of capital expenditures and to repay outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit agreement.

The Preferred Units rank senior to all of NuStar Energy’s other classes of equity securities, including our general partner and common limited partner interests, with respect to distribution rights and rights upon liquidation. Distributions on the Preferred Units are payable out of any legally available funds, accrue and are cumulative from the date of original issuance of the Preferred Units and are payable quarterly. The holders of the Preferred Units are entitled to receive quarterly distributions at an initial distribution rate of 8.50% per annum of the $25.00 liquidation preference per unit (equal to $2.125 per unit per annum). On and after December 15, 2021, distributions on the Preferred Units accumulate at a percentage of the $25.00 liquidation preference equal to an annual floating rate of the three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 6.766%.

Common Unit Offering. In 2016, NuStar Energy issued 595,050 common units representing limited partner interests at an average price of $47.39 per unit. NuStar Energy received net proceeds of $28.3 million, which includes our contribution of $0.6 million in order to maintain our 2.0% general partner interest (as defined in NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement). This issuance resulted in a gain of $2.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is included in “Other income (expense), net” on our consolidated statements of comprehensive income, and represents the increase in the value of our proportionate share of NuStar Energy’s capital.

Other Issuances of Common Units. In 2016, we recorded a gain of $0.3 million as a result of NuStar Energy’s issuance of common units in association with its unit-based compensation awards. The gain is included in “Other income (expense), net” on our consolidated statements of comprehensive income, and represents the increase in the value of our proportionate share of NuStar Energy’s capital.

NuStar Energy’s Acquisitions and Dispositions
Martin Terminal Acquisition. On December 21, 2016, NuStar Energy acquired crude oil and refined product storage assets in Corpus Christi, TX for $95.7 million, including $2.1 million of capital expenditure reimbursements, from Martin Operating Partnership L.P. (the Martin Terminal Acquisition). The assets acquired include 900,000 barrels of crude oil storage capacity, 250,000 barrels of refined product storage capacity and exclusive use of the Port of Corpus Christi’s new crude oil dock.

Linden Acquisition. On January 2, 2015, NuStar Energy acquired full ownership of a refined products terminal in Linden, NJ for $142.5 million (the Linden Acquisition). Prior to the Linden Acquisition, the terminal operated as a joint venture between NuStar Energy and Linden Holding Corp, with each party owning 50%.

2014 Asphalt Sale. On February 26, 2014, NuStar Energy sold its remaining 50% ownership interest in NuStar Asphalt LLC (the 2014 Asphalt Sale) to Lindsay Goldberg LLC, a private investment firm. Effective February 27, 2014, NuStar Asphalt LLC changed its name to Axeon Specialty Products LLC (Axeon).



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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


Summary Financial Information
Condensed consolidated financial information reported by NuStar Energy is presented below:
 
December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
Balance Sheet Information:
 
 
 
Current assets
$
377,183

 
$
333,851

Property, plant and equipment, net
3,722,283

 
3,683,571

Goodwill
696,637

 
696,637

Other non-current assets
234,442

 
411,466

Total assets
$
5,030,545

 
$
5,125,525

Current liabilities
$
289,396

 
$
332,213

Long-term debt
3,014,364

 
3,055,612

Other non-current liabilities
115,168

 
127,856

Total liabilities
3,418,928

 
3,515,681

NuStar Energy partners’ equity
1,611,617

 
1,609,844

Total liabilities and partners’ equity
$
5,030,545

 
$
5,125,525

 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
Statement of Income Information:
 
 
 
 
 
Revenues
$
1,756,682

 
$
2,084,040

 
$
3,075,118

Operating income
$
359,109

 
$
390,704

 
$
346,901

 
 
 
 
 
 
Income from continuing operations
$
150,003

 
$
305,946

 
$
214,169

 Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax

 
774

 
(3,791
)
Net income
$
150,003

 
$
306,720

 
$
210,378


Other
Our investment in NuStar Energy reconciles to NuStar Energy’s total partners’ equity as follows:
 
December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Percentage Data)
NuStar Energy’s partners’ equity
$
1,611,617

 
$
1,609,844

Less NuStar Energy’s preferred limited partners’ equity
218,400

 

NuStar Energy’s partners’ equity, excluding preferred limited partners’ equity
1,393,217

 
1,609,844

NuStar GP Holdings’ ownership interest in NuStar Energy
14.7
%
 
14.9
%
NuStar GP Holdings’ share of NuStar Energy’s partners’ equity
204,803

 
239,867

Step-up in basis related to NuStar Energy’s assets and liabilities,
including equity method goodwill, and other
63,939

 
66,827

Investment in NuStar Energy
$
268,742

 
$
306,694

 
We do not own any NuStar Energy preferred limited partner units. Accordingly, we subtract NuStar Energy’s preferred limited partners’ equity from its total equity and apply our ownership percentage of NuStar Energy’s remaining equity when reconciling to our investment in NuStar Energy above.

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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


Valero Energy Corporation (Valero Energy) acquired us in connection with its December 31, 2001 acquisition of Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corporation (2001 Acquisition). The step-up in basis related to NuStar Energy’s assets and liabilities, including equity method goodwill, reflected in the table above relates to purchase accounting adjustments resulting from the 2001 Acquisition. The amount represents the unamortized excess of the fair value over carrying amount applicable to Valero Energy’s proportionate 73.6% interest in NuStar Energy’s identifiable assets and liabilities as of December 31, 2001, of which $81.8 million is being amortized as a reduction to equity in earnings of NuStar Energy over approximately 28 years. This amount also includes the portion of goodwill resulting from the 2001 Acquisition that was attributed to our investment in NuStar Energy. Since 26.4% of the equity interest in NuStar Energy was owned by public unitholders as of the date of the 2001 Acquisition, a significant portion of the total ownership interest in NuStar Energy was deemed to be held by the public according to GAAP, thereby preventing the adjustment of the reported financial statements of NuStar Energy.

The following table summarizes our equity in earnings of NuStar Energy:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
NuStar GP Holdings’ Equity in Earnings of NuStar Energy:
 
 
 
 
 
General partner interest
$
2,091

 
$
5,270

 
$
3,352

General partner incentive distribution rights
43,407

 
43,220

 
43,220

General partner’s interest in earnings and
incentive distributions of NuStar Energy
45,498

 
48,490

 
46,572

Common limited partner interest in earnings of NuStar Energy
13,482

 
34,067

 
21,692

Amortization of step-up in basis related to
NuStar Energy’s assets and liabilities
(2,884
)
 
(2,884
)
 
(2,884
)
Equity in earnings of NuStar Energy
$
56,096

 
$
79,673

 
$
65,380


5. RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

NuStar Energy
We manage NuStar Energy through our ownership of NuStar GP, LLC and Riverwalk Holdings, LLC, which own Riverwalk Logistics L.P., the general partner of NuStar Energy. Our officers are also officers of NuStar GP, LLC and are considered dual employees of ours and of NuStar Energy. The chairman of our board of directors, William E. Greehey, is also the chairman of the board of directors of NuStar GP, LLC. The board of directors of NuStar GP, LLC is responsible for overseeing NuStar GP, LLC’s role as the general partner of the general partner of NuStar Energy, and we, as the sole owner of NuStar GP, LLC, must also approve matters that have or would reasonably be expected to have a material effect on our interests as the sole owner of NuStar GP, LLC.

GP Services Agreement. Prior to the Employee Transfer, NuStar GP, LLC managed the operations of NuStar Energy under a services agreement effective January 1, 2008 pursuant to which employees of NuStar GP, LLC performed services for NuStar Energy’s U.S. operations. Employees of NuStar GP, LLC provided services to both NuStar Energy and NuStar GP Holdings; therefore, NuStar Energy reimbursed NuStar GP, LLC for all employee costs incurred prior to the Employee Transfer, other than the expenses allocated specifically to NuStar GP Holdings (the Holdco Administrative Services Expense). For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Holdco Administrative Services Expense totaled $0.2 million, $1.5 million and $1.7 million, respectively. The following table summarizes information pertaining to related party transactions reimbursed by NuStar Energy:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
Expenses for payroll, employee benefit plans and unit-based compensation
$
32,053

 
$
201,852

 
$
197,745

Other expenses
$
121

 
$
484

 
$
482


In conjunction with the Employee Transfer, NuStar GP, LLC entered into an Amended and Restated Services Agreement with NuStar Services Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of NuStar Energy, effective March 1, 2016 (the Amended GP Services Agreement). The Amended GP Services Agreement provides that NuStar Services Co will furnish administrative services

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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


necessary to conduct our business. We will compensate NuStar Services Co for these services through an annual fee of $1.0 million, subject to adjustment based on the annual merit increase percentage applicable to NuStar Services Co employees for the most recently completed fiscal year and for changes in level of service. The Amended GP Services Agreement will terminate on March 1, 2020 and will automatically renew for successive two-year terms, unless terminated by either party. We incurred administrative expenses related to the Amended GP Services Agreement of $0.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is reported in related party general and administrative expenses on the consolidated statements of comprehensive income.

Assignment and Assumption Agreement. Also on March 1, 2016 and in connection with the Employee Transfer, NuStar Services Co and NuStar GP, LLC entered into an Assignment and Assumption Agreement (the Assignment Agreement). Under the Assignment Agreement, NuStar GP, LLC assigned all of its employee benefit plans, programs, contracts, policies, and various of its other agreements and contracts with certain employees, affiliates and third-party service providers (collectively, the Assigned Programs) to NuStar Services Co. In addition, NuStar Services Co agreed to assume the sponsorship of and all obligations relating to the ongoing maintenance and administration of each of the plans and agreements in the Assigned Programs.

The following table summarizes the related party transactions and changes to amounts reported on our consolidated balance sheet as a result of the Employee Transfer on March 1, 2016 (thousands of dollars):
Decrease in related party receivable:
 
Current
$
16,014

Long-term
32,656

Decrease in related party receivable
$
48,670

 
 
Decreases to our consolidated balance sheet:
 
Current and long-term assets
$
(506
)
Current liabilities
10,933

Other long-term liabilities
34,042

Accumulated other comprehensive loss
4,201

Decreases to our consolidated balance sheet
$
48,670


Balance Sheet Items. We had a payable to NuStar Energy of $0.3 million as of December 31, 2016, mainly comprised of service fees and expenses paid on behalf of NuStar GP Holdings. As of December 31, 2015, we had a receivable from NuStar Energy of $14.8 million, mainly comprised of payroll, employee benefit plan expenses and unit-based compensation prior to the Employee Transfer, and none as of December 31, 2016. We also had a long-term receivable from NuStar Energy as of December 31, 2015 of $32.1 million, representing long-term employee benefit obligations prior to the Employee Transfer, and none as of December 31, 2016.

Non-Compete Agreement. On July 19, 2006, in connection with our initial public offering, we entered into a non-compete agreement with NuStar Energy (the Non-Compete Agreement). Under the Non-Compete Agreement, we will have a right of first refusal with respect to the potential acquisition of general partner and other equity interests in publicly traded partnerships under common ownership with the general partner interest. NuStar Energy has a right of first refusal with respect to the potential acquisition of assets that relate to the transportation, storage or terminalling of crude oil, feedstocks or refined petroleum products (including petrochemicals) in the United States and internationally. With respect to any other business opportunities, neither we nor NuStar Energy are prohibited from engaging in any business, even if we and NuStar Energy would have a conflict of interest with respect to such other business opportunity. The Non-Compete Agreement remains in effect for so long as we or any of our affiliates own 20% or more of NuStar GP, LLC or Riverwalk Logistics, L.P.

Axeon
As a result of the 2014 Asphalt Sale, we ceased reporting transactions between us and Axeon as related party transactions in our consolidated financial statements on February 26, 2014.

Axeon Services Agreement. NuStar GP, LLC and Axeon were a party to a services agreement, which provided that NuStar GP, LLC furnish certain administrative and other operating services necessary to conduct the business of Axeon for an annual fee totaling $10.0 million, subject to adjustment (the Axeon Services Agreement). The Axeon Services Agreement terminated on

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NUSTAR GP HOLDINGS, LLC
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS – (Continued)


June 30, 2014. The aggregate amount charged under the Axeon Services Agreement was $3.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2014.

6. DISTRIBUTIONS FROM NUSTAR ENERGY

NuStar Energy’s partnership agreement, as amended, determines the amount and priority of cash distributions that NuStar Energy’s unitholders and general partner may receive. We, as NuStar Energy’s general partner, are entitled to incentive distributions if the amount NuStar Energy distributes with respect to any quarter exceeds $0.60 per common unit, with the maximum percentage of 23% of the amount of any quarterly distribution in excess of $0.66 per common unit. We also receive a 2% distribution with respect to our general partner interest. The following table reflects the allocation of NuStar Energy’s cash distributions earned for the periods indicated among its general and common limited partners:
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Thousands of Dollars, Except Per Unit Data)
General partner interest
$
7,877

 
$
7,844

 
$
7,844

General partner incentive distribution rights
43,407

 
43,220

 
43,220

Total general partner distribution
51,284

 
51,064

 
51,064

Common limited partner distribution
44,699

 
45,073

 
44,974

Total distributions to NuStar GP Holdings
95,983

 
96,137

 
96,038

Public common limited partners’ distribution
297,899

 
296,067

 
296,166

Total cash distributions
$
393,882

 
$
392,204

 
$
392,204

Cash distributions per unit applicable to common limited partners
$
4.380

 
$
4.380

 
$
4.380


The following table summarizes information related to NuStar Energy’s quarterly cash distributions to its general and common limited partners:
Quarter Ended
 
Cash Distributions Per Common Unit
 
Total Cash Distributions
 
Record Date
 
Payment Date
 
 
 
 
(Thousands of Dollars)
 
 
 
 
December 31, 2016 (a)
 
$
1.095

 
$
98,971

 
February 8, 2017
 
February 13, 2017
September 30, 2016
 
$
1.095

 
$
98,809

 
November 8, 2016
 
November 14, 2016
June 30, 2016
 
$
1.095

 
$
98,051

 
August 9, 2016