S-3 1 d487613ds3.htm S-3 S-3
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 31, 2017

Registration No. 333-                    

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

Form S-3

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

NOBLE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   47-3011449
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)

1001 Noble Energy Way

Houston, Texas 77070

(281) 872-3100

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

John F. Bookout, IV

Chief Financial Officer

1001 Noble Energy Way

Houston, Texas 77070

(281) 872-3100

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

G. Michael O’Leary

Courtney Cochran Butler

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP

600 Travis, Suite 4200

Houston, Texas 77002

(713) 220-4200

 

 

APPROXIMATE DATE OF COMMENCEMENT OF PROPOSED SALE TO THE PUBLIC: From time to time after the effective date of this registration statement.

If the only securities being registered on this Form are being offered pursuant to dividend or interest reinvestment plans, please check the following box.  ☐

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, other than securities offered only in connection with dividend or interest reinvestment plans, check the following box.  ☒

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a registration statement pursuant to General Instruction I.D. or a post-effective amendment thereto that shall become effective upon filing with the Commission pursuant to Rule 462(e) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment to a registration statement filed pursuant to General Instruction I.D. filed to register additional securities or additional classes of securities pursuant to Rule 413(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

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

 

Large Accelerated filer    ☐     Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer    ☒       (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)   Smaller reporting company  
      Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☒

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of each class of
securities to be registered
 

Proposed

maximum

aggregate

offering price(1)

 

Amount of

registration fee(2)

Common Units Representing Limited Partner Interests

  $125,000,000.00   $15,562.50

 

 

(1) There are being registered hereunder a presently indeterminate number of common units representing limited partner interests in Noble Midstream Partners LP, which may be offered and sold in such amount as shall result in an aggregate offering price not to exceed $125,000,000.
(2) Calculated in accordance with Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act.

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell nor does it seek an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED OCTOBER 31, 2017

PROSPECTUS

 

LOGO

NOBLE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP

Common Units Representing Limited Partner Interests

 

 

We may from time to time, in one or more offerings, offer and sell common units representing limited partner interests in Noble Midstream Partners LP. The aggregate offering price of the common units sold by us under this prospectus will not exceed $125,000,000.

We may offer and sell these common units to or through one or more underwriters, dealers and agents, or directly to purchasers, on a continuous or delayed basis and in amounts, at prices and on terms to be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of each offering. This prospectus describes only the general terms of these common units and the general manner in which we will offer the common units. The specific terms of any common units we offer will be included in a supplement to this prospectus. The applicable prospectus supplement will describe the specific manner in which we will offer the common units, and also may add, update or change information contained in this prospectus.

You should carefully read this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement and the documents incorporated by reference herein and therein before you invest in our common units. This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of our common units unless it is accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

Our common units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, under the symbol “NBLX”.

 

 

INVESTING IN OUR COMMON UNITS INVOLVES RISKS. SEE THE “RISK FACTORS” ON PAGE 6 OF THIS PROSPECTUS AND ANY SIMILAR SECTION CONTAINED IN THE DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED HEREIN BY REFERENCE AND IN THE APPLICABLE PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT CONCERNING FACTORS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE INVESTING IN OUR COMMON UNITS.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The date of this prospectus is                     , 2017.


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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) using a “shelf” registration process. Under this shelf registration process, we may, over time, offer and sell the common units described in this prospectus in one or more offerings. This prospectus provides you with a general description of us and the common units we may offer. Each time that we offer and sell common units, we will provide a prospectus supplement to this prospectus that contains specific information about the specific terms of that offering. The prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus with respect to that offering. If there is any inconsistency between the information in this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement, you should rely on the prospectus supplement. Before purchasing any securities, you should carefully read both this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement, together with the additional information described under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information; Incorporation by Reference.”

We have not authorized any other person to provide you with different information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We will not make an offer to sell the common units in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement to this prospectus is accurate only as of the date on its respective cover, and that any information incorporated by reference is accurate only as of the date of the document incorporated by reference, unless we indicate otherwise. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.

This prospectus contains summaries of certain provisions contained in some of the documents described herein, but reference is made to the actual documents for complete information. All of the summaries are qualified in their entirety by reference to the actual documents. Copies of some of the documents referred to herein have been filed or will be filed or incorporated by reference as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and you may obtain copies of those documents as described below in the section entitled “Where You Can Find More Information; Incorporation by Reference”

When we refer to “our partnership,” “we,” “our,” “us” or like terms in this prospectus, we mean Noble Midstream Partners LP and its consolidated subsidiaries, unless otherwise specified. References in this prospectus to “our general partner” refer to Noble Midstream GP LLC, our general partner. References in this prospectus to “Noble” or our “Sponsor” refers to Noble Energy, Inc. When we refer to “you,” we mean the holders of the common units.

 

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ABOUT US

We are a growth-oriented Delaware master limited partnership formed in December 2014 by our parent, Noble, to own, operate, develop and acquire a wide range of domestic midstream infrastructure assets. We currently provide crude oil, natural gas, and water-related midstream services for Noble and third party customers through long-term, fixed-fee contracts. Our current areas of focus are in the Denver-Julesburg (DJ) Basin in Colorado and the Delaware Basin in Texas, where additional midstream assets are currently under construction.

Our operations are managed by Noble Midstream GP LLC, our general partner. Noble Midstream GP LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Noble, a publicly traded corporation (NYSE: NBL). Our principal executive offices are located at 1001 Noble Energy Way, Houston, Texas 77070, and our telephone number is (281) 872-3100. Our website is located at www.nblmidstream.com.

 

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION; INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. You may read and copy any document we file at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the operation of the public reference room. Our SEC filings are also available to the public at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. You may also access the information we file electronically with the SEC through our website at www.nblmidstream.com. We have not incorporated by reference into this prospectus the information included on, or linked from, our website (other than to the extent specified elsewhere herein), and you should not consider it to be a part of this prospectus. You may also inspect reports, proxy statements and other information about Noble Energy, Inc. at the offices of the NYSE, 20 Broad Street, New York, NY 10005.

We “incorporate by reference” information into this prospectus, which means that we disclose important information to you by referring you to another document filed separately with the SEC. The information incorporated by reference is deemed to be part of this prospectus, and information that we file later with the SEC will automatically update and supersede the previously filed information. We incorporate by reference the documents filed by Noble Midstream Partners LP that are listed below and any future filings made by Noble Midstream Partners LP with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), excluding information deemed to be furnished and not filed with the SEC, until all the securities are sold, prior to the termination of the offerings under this prospectus. You should not assume that the information in this prospectus is current as of any date other than the date on the cover page of this prospectus.

We incorporate by reference the documents listed below:

 

    our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016;

 

    our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended March 31, 2017, June 30, 2017 and September 30, 2017;

 

    our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed on January 26, 2017, April 7, 2017, June 7, 2017, June 26, 2017 and July 14, 2017; and

 

    the description of our common units included in our Form 8-A (File No. 001-37640), filed with the SEC on November 17, 2015.

Each of these documents is available from the SEC’s website and public reference rooms described above. You may also obtain copies of any of these documents without charge upon written or oral request by requesting them in writing or by telephone at:

Noble Midstream Partners LP

1001 Noble Energy Way

Houston, Texas 77070

(281) 872-3100

Exhibits to the filings will not be sent, however, unless those exhibits have specifically been incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Some of the information included in or incorporated by reference in this prospectus may contain forward looking statements. Forward-looking statements are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions or include the words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate” and other expressions that are predictions of, or indicate, future events and trends and that do not relate to historical matters. Our forward-looking statements may include statements about our business strategy, our industry, our future profitability, our expected capital expenditures and the impact of such expenditures on our performance, the costs of being a publicly traded partnership and our capital programs.

A forward-looking statement may include a statement of the assumptions or bases underlying the forward looking statement. While we believe that we have chosen these assumptions or bases in good faith and that they are reasonable, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. You should also understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors and should not consider the following list to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by such forward-looking statements include:

 

    the ability of Noble to meet its drilling and development plans;

 

    changes in general economic conditions;

 

    competitive conditions in our industry;

 

    actions taken by third-party operators, gatherers, processors and transporters;

 

    the demand for crude oil and natural gas gathering and processing services;

 

    our ability to successfully implement our business plan;

 

    our ability to complete internal growth projects on time and on budget;

 

    the price and availability of debt and equity financing;

 

    the availability and price of crude oil and natural gas to the consumer compared to the price of alternative and competing fuels;

 

    competition from the same and alternative energy sources;

 

    energy efficiency and technology trends;

 

    operating hazards and other risks incidental to our midstream services;

 

    natural disasters, weather-related delays, casualty losses and other matters beyond our control;

 

    interest rates;

 

    labor relations;

 

    defaults by Noble under our gathering and processing agreements;

 

    changes in availability and cost of capital;

 

    changes in our tax status;

 

    the effect of existing and future laws and government regulations; and

 

    the effects of future litigation.

We caution you that these forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control, incident to the gathering and compression business. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, environmental risks, drilling and completion and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in projecting future rates of production, cash flow and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures, and the other risks described under “Risk Factors” in this prospectus and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and our other reports filed with the SEC.

 

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Should one or more of the risks or uncertainties described in this prospectus or in any document incorporated by reference herein occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.

All forward-looking statements, expressed or implied, included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements, all of which are expressly qualified by the statements in this section, to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this prospectus.

 

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RISK FACTORS

Investment in the common units offered pursuant to this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement involves risks. Additionally, limited partner interests are inherently different from the capital stock of a corporation, although many of the business risks to which we are subject are similar to those that would be faced by a corporation engaged in similar business. You should carefully consider the risk factors incorporated by reference in this prospectus, including risk factors incorporated by reference herein from our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K we file after the date of this prospectus, and all other information contained or incorporated by reference into this prospectus, as updated by our subsequent filings under the Exchange Act and the risk factors and other information contained in the applicable prospectus supplement before acquiring any of the common units. The occurrence of any of these risks might cause you to lose all or part of your investment in the common units. Please also see “Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

Unless otherwise indicated to the contrary in an applicable prospectus supplement, we will use the net proceeds from the sale of the common units covered by this prospectus for general partnership purposes, which may include funding debt repayment, future acquisitions, capital expenditures and additions to working capital.

Any allocation of the net proceeds of an offering of common units to a specific purpose will be determined at the time of the offering and will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR COMMON UNITS

Our Common Units

Our common units represent limited partner interests in us. The holders of common units, along with the holders of subordinated units, are entitled to participate in partnership distributions and to exercise the rights and privileges provided to limited partners under our partnership agreement. Please read “Provisions of Our Partnership Agreement Relating to Cash Distributions.” For a general discussion of the expected federal income tax consequences of owning and disposing of our common units, see “Material Tax Consequences.” For a description of the rights and privileges of limited partners under our partnership agreement, including voting rights, please read “Our Partnership Agreement.”

Our common units are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “NBLX.”

Transfer of Common Units

By transfer of common units in accordance with our partnership agreement, each transferee of common units shall be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the common units transferred when such transfer and admission are reflected in our books and records. Each transferee:

 

    represents that the transferee has the capacity, power and authority to become bound by our partnership agreement;

 

    automatically agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions of, and is deemed to have executed, our partnership agreement; and

 

    gives the consents, waivers and approvals contained in our partnership agreement, such as the approval of all transactions and agreements entered into in connection with our formation and our initial public offering (“IPO”).

A transferee will become a substituted limited partner of our partnership for the transferred common units automatically upon the recording of the transfer on our books and records. Our general partner will cause any transfers to be recorded on our books and records from time to time as necessary to accurately reflect the transfers but no less frequently than quarterly.

We may, at our discretion, treat the nominee holder of a common unit as the absolute owner. In that case, the beneficial holder’s rights are limited solely to those that it has against the nominee holder as a result of any agreement between the beneficial owner and the nominee holder.

Common units are securities and are transferable according to the laws governing the transfer of securities. In addition to other rights acquired upon transfer, the transferor gives the transferee the right to become a substituted limited partner in our partnership for the transferred common units.

Until a common unit has been transferred on our books, we and the transfer agent may treat the record holder of the common unit as the absolute owner for all purposes, except as otherwise required by law or securities exchange regulations.

 

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PROVISIONS OF OUR PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT RELATING TO CASH DISTRIBUTIONS

Set forth below is a summary of the significant provisions of our partnership agreement that relate to cash distributions.

Distributions of Available Cash

General

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

Definition of Available Cash

Available cash generally means, for any quarter, all cash and cash equivalents on hand at the end of that quarter:

 

    less, the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner to:

 

    provide for the proper conduct of our business (including reserves for our future capital expenditures, future acquisitions and for anticipated future credit needs);

 

    comply with applicable law or any loan agreement, security agreement, mortgage, debt instrument or other agreement or obligation to which we or any of our subsidiaries is a party or by which we or such subsidiary is bound or we or such subsidiary’s assets are subject; or

 

    provide funds for distributions to our unitholders and to our general partner for any one or more of the next four quarters (provided that our general partner may not establish cash reserves for distributions pursuant to this bullet point if the effect of such reserves will prevent us from distributing the minimum quarterly distribution on all common units and any cumulative arrearages on such common units for the current quarter);

 

    plus, if our general partner so determines, all or any portion of the cash on hand on the date of determination of available cash for the quarter resulting from working capital borrowings made subsequent to the end of such quarter.

The purpose and effect of the last bullet point above is to allow our general partner, if it so decides, to use cash from working capital borrowings made after the end of the quarter but on or before the date of determination of available cash for that quarter to pay distributions to unitholders. Under our partnership agreement, working capital borrowings are generally borrowings incurred under a credit facility, commercial paper facility or similar financing arrangement that are used solely for working capital purposes or to pay distributions to our partners and with the intent of the borrower to repay such borrowings within twelve months with funds other than from additional working capital borrowings.

Intent to Distribute the Minimum Quarterly Distribution

Under our current cash distribution policy, we intend to make a minimum quarterly distribution to the holders of our common units and subordinated units of $0.3750 per unit, or $1.5000 per unit on an annualized basis, to the extent we have sufficient available cash after the establishment of cash reserves and the payment of costs and expenses, including reimbursements of expenses to our general partner. However, there is no guarantee that we will pay the minimum quarterly distribution on our units in any quarter. The amount of distributions paid under our cash distribution policy and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our general partner, taking into consideration the terms of our partnership agreement.

General Partner Interest

Our general partner owns a non-economic general partner interest in us, which does not entitle it to receive cash distributions. However, our general partner may in the future own common units or other equity securities in us that will entitle it to receive distributions.

 

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Incentive Distribution Rights

Noble currently holds incentive distribution rights that entitle it to receive increasing percentages, up to a maximum of 50%, of the available cash we distribute from operating surplus (as defined below) in excess of $0.4313 per unit per quarter. The maximum distribution of 50% does not include any distributions that Noble or its affiliates may receive on common units or subordinated units that it owns.

Operating Surplus and Capital Surplus

General

All cash distributed to unitholders is characterized as either being paid from “operating surplus” or “capital surplus.” We treat distributions of available cash from operating surplus differently than distributions of available cash from capital surplus.

Operating Surplus

We define operating surplus as:

 

    $45.0 million (as described below); plus

 

    all of our cash receipts after the closing of our IPO, excluding cash from interim capital transactions (as defined below) and the termination of hedge contracts, provided that cash receipts from the termination of a commodity hedge or interest rate hedge prior to its scheduled settlement or termination date shall be included in operating surplus in equal quarterly installments over the remaining scheduled life of such commodity hedge or interest rate hedge; plus

 

    working capital borrowings made after the end of a quarter but on or before the date of determination of operating surplus for that quarter; plus

 

    cash distributions (including incremental distributions on incentive distribution rights) paid in respect of equity issued, other than equity issued in our IPO, to finance all or a portion of expansion capital expenditures in respect of the period from the date that we enter into a binding obligation to commence the construction, development, replacement, improvement or expansion of a capital asset and ending on the earlier to occur of the date the capital asset commences commercial service and the date that it is abandoned or disposed of; less

 

    all of our operating expenditures (as defined below) after the closing of our IPO; less

 

    the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner to provide funds for future operating expenditures; less

 

    all working capital borrowings not repaid within twelve months after having been incurred, or repaid within such twelve-month period with the proceeds of additional working capital borrowings; less

 

    any cash loss realized on disposition of an investment capital expenditure (which is a capital expenditure other than a maintenance capital expenditure or an expansion capital expenditure).

As described above, operating surplus does not reflect actual cash on hand that is available for distribution to our unitholders and is not limited to cash generated by operations. For example, it includes a provision that will enable us, if we choose, to distribute as operating surplus up to $45.0 million of cash we receive in the future from non-operating sources such as asset sales, issuances of securities and long-term borrowings that would otherwise be distributed as capital surplus. In addition, the effect of including, as described above, certain cash distributions on equity interests in operating surplus is to increase operating surplus by the amount of any such cash distributions. As a result, we may also distribute as operating surplus up to the amount of any such cash that we receive from non-operating sources.

The proceeds of working capital borrowings increase operating surplus and repayments of working capital borrowings are generally operating expenditures (as described below) and thus reduce operating surplus when

 

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repayments are made. However, if working capital borrowings, which increase operating surplus, are not repaid during the twelve-month period following the borrowing, they will be deemed repaid at the end of such period, thus decreasing operating surplus at such time. When such working capital borrowings are in fact repaid, they will not be treated as a further reduction in operating surplus because operating surplus will have been previously reduced by the deemed repayment.

We define interim capital transactions as (i) borrowings, refinancings or refundings of indebtedness (other than working capital borrowings and items purchased on open account or for a deferred purchase price in the ordinary course of business) and sales of debt securities, (ii) issuances of equity securities, (iii) sales or other dispositions of assets, other than sales or other dispositions of inventory, accounts receivable and other assets in the ordinary course of business and sales or other dispositions of assets as part of normal asset retirements or replacements and (iv) capital contributions received.

We define operating expenditures as all of our cash expenditures, including, but not limited to, taxes, reimbursements of expenses of our general partner and its affiliates, officer, director and employee compensation, debt service payments, payments made in the ordinary course of business under interest rate hedge contracts and commodity hedge contracts (provided that payments made in connection with the termination of any interest rate hedge contract or commodity hedge contract prior to its scheduled settlement or termination date will be included in operating expenditures in equal quarterly installments over the remaining scheduled life of such interest rate hedge contract or commodity hedge contract and amounts paid in connection with the initial purchase of an interest rate hedge contract or a commodity hedge contract will be amortized over the life of such interest rate hedge contract or commodity hedge contract), estimated maintenance capital expenditures (as discussed in further detail below), and repayment of working capital borrowings; provided, however, that operating expenditures do not include:

 

    repayments of working capital borrowings where such borrowings have previously been deemed to have been repaid (as described above);

 

    payments (including prepayments and prepayment penalties) of principal of and premium on indebtedness other than working capital borrowings;

 

    actual maintenance capital expenditures;

 

    expansion capital expenditures;

 

    investment capital expenditures;

 

    payment of transaction expenses (including taxes) relating to interim capital transactions;

 

    distributions to our partners; or

 

    repurchases of partnership interests (excluding repurchases we make to satisfy obligations under employee benefit plans).

Capital Surplus

Capital surplus is defined in our partnership agreement as any distribution of available cash in excess of our cumulative operating surplus. Accordingly, except as described above, capital surplus would generally be generated by:

 

    borrowings other than working capital borrowings;

 

    sales of our equity and debt securities;

 

    sales or other dispositions of assets, other than inventory, accounts receivable and other assets sold in the ordinary course of business or as part of ordinary course retirement or replacement of assets; and

 

    capital contributions received.

 

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Characterization of Cash Distributions

All available cash distributed by us on any date from any source is treated as distributed from operating surplus until the sum of all available cash distributed by us since the closing of our IPO equals the operating surplus from the closing of our IPO through the end of the quarter immediately preceding that distribution. We anticipate that distributions from operating surplus generally will not represent a return of capital. However, operating surplus, as defined in our partnership agreement, includes certain components, including a $45.0 million cash basket, that represent non-operating sources of cash. Consequently, it is possible that all or a portion of specific distributions from operating surplus may represent a return of capital. Any available cash distributed by us in excess of our cumulative operating surplus is deemed to be capital surplus under our partnership agreement. Our partnership agreement treats a distribution of capital surplus as the repayment of the initial unit price from our IPO and as a return of capital. We do not anticipate that we will make any distributions from capital surplus.

Capital Expenditures

For purposes of determining operating surplus, maintenance capital expenditures are those capital expenditures required to maintain our long-term operating capacity and/or operating income, and expansion capital expenditures are those capital expenditures that we expect will expand our operating capacity or operating income over the long term. Examples of maintenance capital expenditures include capital expenditures associated with the replacement of equipment and well connections, or the construction, development or acquisition of other facilities, to replace expected reductions in hydrocarbons available for gathering, treating, transporting or otherwise handled by our facilities (which we refer to as operating capacity). Maintenance capital expenditures will also include interest (and related fees) on debt incurred and distributions on equity issued to finance all or any portion of the construction or development of a replacement asset that is paid in respect of the period that begins when we enter into a binding obligation to commence constructing or developing a replacement asset and ending on the earlier to occur of the date that any such replacement asset commences commercial service or the date that it is abandoned or disposed of. Capital expenditures made solely for investment purposes are not considered maintenance capital expenditures.

Because our maintenance capital expenditures can be irregular, the amount of our actual maintenance capital expenditures may differ substantially from period to period, which could cause similar fluctuations in the amounts of operating surplus, adjusted operating surplus and cash available for distribution to our unitholders if we subtracted actual maintenance capital expenditures from operating surplus.

Our partnership agreement requires that an estimate of the average quarterly maintenance capital expenditures necessary to maintain our operating capacity or operating income over the long term be subtracted from operating surplus each quarter as opposed to the actual amounts spent. The amount of estimated maintenance capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus for those periods is subject to review and change by our general partner at least once a year, provided that any change is approved by our special committee. The estimate is made at least annually and whenever an event occurs that is likely to result in a material adjustment to the amount of our maintenance capital expenditures, such as a major acquisition or the introduction of new governmental regulations that will impact our business. For purposes of calculating operating surplus, any adjustment to this estimate will be prospective only.

The use of estimated maintenance capital expenditures in calculating operating surplus will have the following effects:

 

    it will reduce the risk that maintenance capital expenditures in any one quarter will be large enough to render operating surplus less than the initial quarterly distribution to be paid on all the units for the quarter and subsequent quarters;

 

    it will increase our ability to distribute as operating surplus cash we receive from non-operating sources; and

 

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    it will be more difficult for us to raise our distribution above the minimum quarterly distribution and pay incentive distributions on the incentive distribution rights.

Expansion capital expenditures are cash expenditures to construct new midstream infrastructure and those expenditures incurred in order to extend the useful lives of our assets, reduce costs, increase revenues or increase system throughput or capacity from current levels, including well connections that increase existing system throughput. Examples of expansion capital expenditures include the construction, development or acquisition of additional gathering pipelines and centralized gathering facilities, in each case to the extent such capital expenditures are expected to expand our operating capacity, operating income or revenue. In the future, if we make acquisitions that increase system throughput or capacity, the associated capital expenditures may also be considered expansion capital expenditures.

Capital expenditures that are made in part for maintenance capital purposes and in part for expansion capital purposes are allocated as maintenance capital expenditures or expansion capital expenditures by our general partner.

Subordinated Units and Subordination Period

General

Our partnership agreement provides that, during the subordination period (which we define below), the common units have the right to receive distributions of available cash from operating surplus each quarter in an amount equal to $0.3750 per unit, which amount is defined in our partnership agreement as the minimum quarterly distribution, plus any arrearages in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units from prior quarters, before any distributions of available cash from operating surplus may be made on the subordinated units. Subordinated units are deemed “subordinated” because for a period of time, referred to as the “subordination period,” the subordinated units are not entitled to receive any distributions until the common units have received the minimum quarterly distribution plus any arrearages in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units from prior quarters. Furthermore, no arrearages will accrue or be payable on the subordinated units. The practical effect of the subordinated units is to increase the likelihood that, during the subordination period, there will be available cash to be distributed on the common units.

Subordination Period

The subordination period began on the closing date of our IPO and, except as described below, will extend until the first business day following the distribution of available cash in respect of any quarter beginning after September 31, 2019 that each of the following tests are met:

 

    distributions of available cash from operating surplus on each of the outstanding common units and subordinated units equaled or exceeded $1.5000 (the annualized minimum quarterly distribution), for each of the three consecutive, non-overlapping four-quarter periods immediately preceding that date;

 

    the adjusted operating surplus (as defined below) generated during each of the three consecutive, non-overlapping four-quarter periods immediately preceding that date equaled or exceeded the sum of $1.5000 (the annualized minimum quarterly distribution) on all of the outstanding common units and subordinated units during those periods on a fully diluted basis; and

 

    there are no arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units.

Early Termination of the Subordination Period

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the subordination period will automatically terminate on the first business day following the distribution of available cash in respect of any quarter, beginning with the quarter ending September 30, 2017, that each of the following tests are met:

 

    distributions of available cash from operating surplus on each of the outstanding common units and subordinated units equaled or exceeded $2.2500 (150% of the annualized minimum quarterly distribution), for the four-quarter period immediately preceding that date;

 

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    the adjusted operating surplus (as defined below) generated during the four-quarter period immediately preceding that date equaled or exceeded the sum of (i) $2.2500 (150% of the annualized minimum quarterly distribution) on all of the outstanding common units and subordinated units during that period on a fully diluted basis and (ii) the corresponding distributions on the incentive distribution rights; and

 

    there are no arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units.

Expiration of the Subordination Period

When the subordination period ends, each outstanding subordinated unit will convert into one common unit and will thereafter participate pro rata with the other common units in distributions of available cash.

Adjusted Operating Surplus

Adjusted operating surplus is intended to reflect the cash generated from operations during a particular period and therefore excludes net drawdowns of reserves of cash established in prior periods. Adjusted operating surplus for a period consists of:

 

    operating surplus generated with respect to that period (excluding any amounts attributable to the item described in the first bullet under the caption “—Operating Surplus and Capital Surplus—Operating Surplus” above); less

 

    any net increase in working capital borrowings with respect to that period; less

 

    any net decrease in cash reserves for operating expenditures with respect to that period not relating to an operating expenditure made with respect to that period; plus

 

    any net decrease in working capital borrowings with respect to that period; plus

 

    any net decrease made in subsequent periods to cash reserves for operating expenditures initially established with respect to that period to the extent such decrease results in a reduction in adjusted operating surplus in subsequent periods; plus

 

    any net increase in cash reserves for operating expenditures with respect to that period required by any debt instrument for the repayment of principal, interest or premium.

Distributions of Available Cash from Operating Surplus During the Subordination Period

We will make distributions of available cash from operating surplus for any quarter during the subordination period in the following manner:

 

    first, 100% to the common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each outstanding common unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter;

 

    second, 100% to the common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each outstanding common unit an amount equal to any arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units for any prior quarters during the subordination period;

 

    third, 100% to the subordinated unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each outstanding subordinated unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter; and

 

    thereafter, in the manner described in “—Incentive Distribution Rights” below.

The preceding discussion is based on the assumptions that we do not issue additional classes of equity securities.

 

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Distributions of Available Cash from Operating Surplus After the Subordination Period

We will make distributions of available cash from operating surplus for any quarter after the subordination period in the following manner:

 

    first, 100% to all common unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each outstanding common unit an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter; and

 

    thereafter, in the manner described in “—Incentive Distribution Rights” below.

The preceding discussion is based on the assumptions that we do not issue additional classes of equity securities.

Incentive Distribution Rights

Incentive distribution rights represent the right to receive an increasing percentage (15%, 25% and 50%) of quarterly distributions of available cash from operating surplus after the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels have been achieved. Noble holds the incentive distribution rights, but may transfer these rights separately from its ownership of the general partner.

If for any quarter:

 

    we have distributed available cash from operating surplus to the common unitholders and subordinated unitholders in an amount equal to the minimum quarterly distribution; and

 

    we have distributed available cash from operating surplus on outstanding common units in an amount necessary to eliminate any cumulative arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution;

then, we will distribute any additional available cash from operating surplus for that quarter among the unitholders and the holders of the incentive distribution rights in the following manner:

 

    first, 100% to all unitholders, pro rata, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.4313 per unit for that quarter (the “first target distribution”);

 

    second, 85% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 15% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.4688 per unit for that quarter (the “second target distribution”);

 

    third, 75% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 25% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives a total of $0.5625 per unit for that quarter (the “third target distribution”); and

 

    thereafter, 50% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 50% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

 

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Percentage Allocations of Available Cash from Operating Surplus

The following table illustrates the percentage allocations of available cash from operating surplus between the unitholders and our general partner based on the specified target distribution levels. The amounts set forth under “Marginal Percentage Interest in Distributions” are the percentage interests of Noble, as holder of our incentive distribution rights, and the unitholders in any available cash from operating surplus we distribute up to and including the corresponding amount in the column “Total Quarterly Distribution Per Unit Target Amount.” The percentage interests shown for our unitholders Noble for the minimum quarterly distribution are also applicable to quarterly distribution amounts that are less than the minimum quarterly distribution. The percentage interests set forth below assume that Noble has not transferred its incentive distribution rights and that there are no arrearages on common units.

 

     Total Quarterly
Distribution per Unit
     Marginal Percentage
Interest in Distributions
 
      Unitholders     IDR Holders  

Minimum Quarterly Distribution

     $  0.3750           100.0     0.0

First Target Distribution

     above $  0.3750        up to $  0.4313        100.0     0.0

Second Target Distribution

     above $  0.4313        up to $  0.4688        85.0     15.0

Third Target Distribution

     above $  0.4688        up to $  0.5625        75.0     25.0

Thereafter

     above $  0.5625           50.0     50.0

Noble’s Right to Reset Incentive Distribution Levels

Noble, as the initial holder of all our incentive distribution rights, has the right under our partnership agreement, subject to certain conditions, to elect to relinquish the right to receive incentive distribution payments based on the initial target distribution levels and to reset, at higher levels, the minimum quarterly distribution amount and target distribution levels upon which the incentive distribution payments to our general partner would be set. If Noble transfers all or a portion of the incentive distribution rights in the future, then the holder or holders of a majority of our incentive distribution rights will be entitled to exercise this right. The following discussion assumes that Noble holds all of the incentive distribution rights at the time that a reset election is made. Noble’s right to reset the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels upon which the incentive distributions payable to Noble are based may be exercised, without approval of our unitholders or the conflicts committee, at any time when there are no subordinated units outstanding, we have made cash distributions to the holders of the incentive distribution rights at the highest level of incentive distributions for each of the four consecutive fiscal quarters immediately preceding such time and the amount of each such distribution did not exceed adjusted operating surplus for such quarter. If Noble and its affiliates are not the holders of a majority of the incentive distribution rights at the time an election is made to reset the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels, then the proposed reset will be subject to the prior written concurrence of the general partner that the conditions described above have been satisfied. The reset minimum quarterly distribution amount and target distribution levels will be higher than the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels prior to the reset such that the holder of the incentive distribution rights will not receive any incentive distributions under the reset target distribution levels until cash distributions per unit following this event increase as described below. We anticipate that Noble would exercise this reset right in order to facilitate acquisitions or internal growth projects that would otherwise not be sufficiently accretive to cash distributions per common unit, taking into account the existing levels of incentive distribution payments being made.

In connection with the resetting of the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels and the corresponding relinquishment by Noble of incentive distribution payments based on the target distributions prior to the reset, Noble will be entitled to receive a number of newly issued common units based on a predetermined formula described below that takes into account the “cash parity” value of the average cash distributions related to the incentive distribution rights received by Noble for the two quarters immediately preceding the reset event as compared to the average cash distributions per common unit during that two-quarter period.

 

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The number of common units that Noble (or the then-holder of the incentive distribution rights, if other than our general partner) would be entitled to receive from us in connection with a resetting of the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels then in effect would be equal to the quotient determined by dividing (x) the average aggregate amount of cash distributions received by Noble or such holder in respect of its incentive distribution rights during the two consecutive fiscal quarters ended immediately prior to the date of such reset election by (y) the average of the aggregate amount of cash distributed per common unit during each of these two quarters.

Following a reset election, the minimum quarterly distribution amount will be reset to an amount equal to the average cash distribution amount per common unit for the two fiscal quarters immediately preceding the reset election (which amount we refer to as the “reset minimum quarterly distribution”) and the target distribution levels will be reset to be correspondingly higher such that we would distribute all of our available cash from operating surplus for each quarter thereafter as follows:

 

    first, 100% to all unitholders, pro rata, until each unitholder receives an amount equal to 115% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution for that quarter;

 

    second, 85% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 15% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives an amount per unit equal to 125% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter;

 

    third, 75% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 25% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until each unitholder receives an amount per unit equal to 150% of the reset minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter; and

 

    thereafter, 50% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 50% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

Noble will be entitled to cause the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution levels to be reset on more than one occasion, provided that it may not make a reset election except at a time when it has received incentive distributions for the immediately preceding four consecutive fiscal quarters based on the highest level of incentive distributions that it is entitled to receive under our partnership agreement.

Distributions from Capital Surplus

How Distributions from Capital Surplus will be Made

We will make distributions of available cash from capital surplus, if any, in the following manner:

 

    first, 100% to all unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each common unit that was issued in our IPO, an amount of available cash from capital surplus equal to the initial public offering price in our IPO;

 

    second, 100% to all unitholders, pro rata, until we distribute for each common unit, an amount of available cash from capital surplus equal to any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the outstanding common units; and

 

    thereafter, as if they were from operating surplus.

Effect of a Distribution from Capital Surplus

Our partnership agreement treats a distribution of capital surplus as the repayment of the initial unit price from our IPO, which is a return of capital. The initial public offering price less any distributions of capital surplus per unit and any distributions of cash in connection with dissolution and liquidation is referred to as the “unrecovered initial unit price.” Each time a distribution of capital surplus is made, the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels will be reduced in the same proportion as the corresponding reduction in the unrecovered initial unit price. Because distributions of capital surplus will reduce the minimum

 

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quarterly distribution after any of these distributions are made, the effects of distributions of capital surplus may make it easier for Noble to receive incentive distributions and for the subordinated units to convert into common units. However, any distribution of capital surplus before the unrecovered initial unit price is reduced to zero cannot be applied to the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution or any arrearages.

Once we distribute capital surplus on a unit issued in our IPO in an amount equal to the initial unit price, we will reduce the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels to zero. Then, after distributing an amount of capital surplus for each common unit equal to any unpaid arrearages of the minimum quarterly distributions on outstanding common units, we will then make all future distributions from operating surplus, with 50% being paid to the unitholders, pro rata, and 50% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

Adjustment to the Minimum Quarterly Distribution and Target Distribution Levels

In addition to adjusting the minimum quarterly distribution and target distribution levels to reflect a distribution of capital surplus, if we combine our units into fewer units or subdivide our units into a greater number of units, we will proportionately adjust:

 

    the minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    target distribution levels;

 

    the unrecovered initial unit price; and

 

    the arrearages per common unit in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units.

For example, if a two-for-one split of the common units should occur, the minimum quarterly distribution, the target distribution levels and the unrecovered initial unit price would each be reduced to 50% of its initial level and each subordinated unit would be split into two units. We will not make any adjustment by reason of the issuance of additional units for cash or property (including additional common units issued under any compensation or benefit plans).

In addition, if legislation is enacted or if the official interpretation of existing law is modified by a governmental authority, so that we become taxable as a corporation or otherwise subject to taxation as an entity for federal, state or local income tax purposes, our partnership agreement specifies that the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels for each quarter may be reduced by multiplying each distribution level by a fraction, the numerator of which is available cash for that quarter (reduced by the amount of the estimated tax liability for such quarter payable by reason of such legislation or interpretation) and the denominator of which is the sum of available cash for that quarter (reduced by the amount of the estimated tax liability for such quarter payable by reason of such legislation or interpretation) plus our general partner’s estimate of our aggregate liability for the quarter for such income taxes payable by reason of such legislation or interpretation. To the extent that the actual tax liability differs from the estimated tax liability for any quarter, the difference may be accounted for in subsequent quarters.

Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation

General

If we dissolve in accordance with our partnership agreement, we will sell or otherwise dispose of our assets in a process called liquidation. We will first apply the proceeds of liquidation to the payment of our creditors. We will distribute any remaining proceeds to the unitholders and our general partner, in accordance with their capital account balances, as adjusted to reflect any gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of our assets in liquidation.

 

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The allocations of gain and loss upon liquidation are intended, to the extent possible, to entitle the holders of outstanding common units to a preference over the holders of outstanding subordinated units upon our liquidation, to the extent required to permit common unitholders to receive their unrecovered initial unit price plus the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which liquidation occurs plus any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution on the common units. However, there may not be sufficient gain upon our liquidation to enable the holders of common units to fully recover all of these amounts, even though there may be cash available to distribute to the holders of subordinated units. Any further net gain recognized upon liquidation will be allocated in a manner that takes into account the incentive distribution rights.

Manner of Adjustments for Gain

The manner of the adjustment for gain is set forth in our partnership agreement. If our liquidation occurs before the end of the subordination period, we will allocate any gain to our limited partners in the following manner:

 

    first, to our general partner to the extent of any negative balance in its capital account;

 

    second, 100% to the common unitholders, pro rata, until the capital account for each common unit is equal to the sum of:

 

  (1) the unrecovered initial unit price;

 

  (2) the amount of the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which our liquidation occurs; and

 

  (3) any unpaid arrearages in payment of the minimum quarterly distribution;

 

    third, 100% to the subordinated unitholders, pro rata, until the capital account for each subordinated unit is equal to the sum of:

 

  (1) the unrecovered initial unit price; and

 

  (2) the amount of the minimum quarterly distribution for the quarter during which our liquidation occurs;

 

    fourth, 100% to all unitholders, pro rata, until we allocate under this paragraph an amount per unit equal to:

 

  (1) the sum of the excess of the first target distribution per unit over the minimum quarterly distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less

 

  (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions of available cash from operating surplus in excess of the minimum quarterly distribution per unit that we distributed 100% to the unitholders, pro rata, for each quarter of our existence;

 

    fifth, 85% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 15% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until we allocate under this paragraph an amount per unit equal to:

 

  (1) the sum of the excess of the second target distribution per unit over the first target distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less

 

  (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions of available cash from operating surplus in excess of the first target distribution per unit that we distributed 85% to the unitholders, pro rata, and 15% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights for each quarter of our existence;

 

    sixth, 75% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 25% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights, until we allocate under this paragraph an amount per unit equal to:

 

  (1) the sum of the excess of the third target distribution per unit over the second target distribution per unit for each quarter of our existence; less

 

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  (2) the cumulative amount per unit of any distributions of available cash from operating surplus in excess of the second target distribution per unit that we distributed 75% to the unitholders, pro rata, and 25% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights for each quarter of our existence; and

 

    thereafter, 50% to all unitholders, pro rata, and 50% to the holders of our incentive distribution rights.

The percentages set forth above are based on the assumption that we do not issue additional classes of equity securities.

If the liquidation occurs after the end of the subordination period, the distinction between common units and subordinated units will disappear, so that clause (3) of the second bullet point above and all of the fourth bullet point above will no longer be applicable.

Manner of Adjustments for Losses

If our liquidation occurs before the end of the subordination period, after making allocations of loss to the general partner and the unitholders in a manner intended to offset in reverse order the allocations of gains that have previously been allocated, we will generally allocate any loss to the holders of our incentive distribution rights and unitholders in the following manner:

 

    first, 100% to the holders of subordinated units in proportion to the positive balances in their capital accounts, until the capital accounts of the subordinated unitholders have been reduced to zero;

 

    second, 100% to the holders of common units in proportion to the positive balances in their capital accounts, until the capital accounts of the common unitholders have been reduced to zero; and

 

    thereafter, 100% to the general partner.

The percentages set forth above are based on the assumption that we do not issue additional classes of equity securities.

If the liquidation occurs after the end of the subordination period, the distinction between common units and subordinated units will disappear, so that all of the first bullet point above will no longer be applicable.

Adjustments to Capital Accounts

Our partnership agreement requires that we make adjustments to capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units. In this regard, our partnership agreement specifies that we allocate any unrealized and, for tax purposes, unrecognized gain resulting from the adjustments to the unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights in the same manner as we allocate gain upon liquidation. In the event that we make positive adjustments to the capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units, our partnership agreement requires that we generally allocate any later negative adjustments to the capital accounts resulting from the issuance of additional units or upon our liquidation in a manner that results, to the extent possible, in the partners’ capital account balances equaling the amount that they would have been if no earlier positive adjustments to the capital accounts had been made. In contrast to the allocations of gain, and except as provided above, we generally will allocate any unrealized and unrecognized loss resulting from the adjustments to capital accounts upon the issuance of additional units to the unitholders and the holders of our incentive distribution rights based on their relative percentage ownership of us. In this manner, prior to the end of the subordination period, we generally will allocate any such loss equally with respect to our common units and subordinated units. If we make negative adjustments to the capital accounts as a result of such loss, future positive adjustments resulting from the issuance of additional units will be allocated in a manner designed to reverse the prior negative adjustments, and special allocations will be made upon liquidation in a manner that results, to the extent possible, in our unitholders’ capital account balances equaling the amounts they would have been if no earlier adjustments for loss had been made.

 

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OUR PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

The following is a summary of the material provisions of our partnership agreement. We will provide prospective investors with a copy of our partnership agreement upon request at no charge.

We summarize the following provisions of our partnership agreement elsewhere in this prospectus:

 

    with regard to distributions of available cash, please read “Provisions of Our Partnership Agreement Relating to Cash Distributions”;

 

    with regard to the transfer of common units, please read “Description of Our Common Units—Transfer of Common Units”; and

 

    with regard to allocations of taxable income and taxable loss, please read “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences.”

Organization and Duration

Our partnership was organized on December 23, 2014 and will have a perpetual existence unless terminated pursuant to the terms of our partnership agreement.

Purpose

Under our partnership agreement, the purpose and nature of the business to be conducted by us is to engage directly or indirectly in any business activity that is approved by our general partner, in its sole discretion, and that lawfully may be conducted by a limited partnership organized pursuant to the Delaware Act; provided, however, that our general partner shall not cause us to engage, directly or indirectly, in any business activity that our general partner determines would be reasonably likely to cause us to be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxable as an entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Although our general partner has the ability to cause us and our subsidiaries to engage in activities other than those related to the midstream energy business, our general partner currently has no plans to do so and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or our limited partners, other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In general, our general partner is authorized to perform all acts it determines to be necessary or appropriate to carry out our purposes and to conduct our business.

Capital Contributions

Unitholders are not obligated to make additional capital contributions, except as described below under “—Limited Liability.”

Voting Rights

The following is a summary of the unitholder vote required for the matters specified below. Matters that require the approval of a “unit majority” require:

 

    during the subordination period, the approval of a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding those common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and a majority of the outstanding subordinated units, voting as separate classes; and

 

    after the subordination period, the approval of a majority of the outstanding common units.

Noble has the ability to ensure passage of, as well as the ability to ensure the defeat of, any amendment that requires a unit majority by virtue of their ownership of an aggregate 2,090,014 common units and 15,902,584 subordinated units, representing an aggregate 50.1% limited partner interest.

 

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In voting their common units and subordinated units, our general partner and its affiliates have no duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners, other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

 

Issuance of additional partnership interests

 

  

No approval rights.

 

Amendment of our partnership agreement   

Certain amendments may be made by the general partner without the approval of the unitholders. Other amendments generally require the approval of a unit majority. Please read “—Amendment of Our Partnership Agreement.”

 

Merger of our partnership or the sale of all or substantially all of our assets

 

  

Unit majority. Please read “—Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets.”

 

Dissolution of our partnership

 

  

Unit majority. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”

 

Continuation of our business upon dissolution   

Unit majority. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”

 

Withdrawal of the general partner   

Under most circumstances, the approval of unitholders holding at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, is required for the withdrawal of the general partner prior to the tenth anniversary of the closing of our IPO, in a manner which would cause a dissolution of our partnership. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”

 

Removal of the general partner   

Not less than 66  23% of the outstanding units, voting as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates, for cause. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”

 

Transfer of the general partner interest   

Our general partner may transfer all, but not less than all, of its general partner interest in us without a vote of our unitholders to an affiliate or another person in connection with its merger or consolidation with or into, or sale of all or substantially all of its assets to, such person. The approval of a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, is required in other circumstances for a transfer of the general partner interest to a third party prior to the tenth anniversary of the closing of our IPO. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Interest.”

 

Transfer of incentive distribution rights   

Noble may transfer any or all of its incentive distribution rights to an affiliate or another person without a vote of our unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights.”

 

Reset of incentive distribution levels   

No approval right.

 

Transfer of ownership interests in our general partner    No approval right. Please read “—Transfer of Ownership Interests in Our General Partner.”

 

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Limited Liability

Assuming that a limited partner does not participate in the control of our business within the meaning of the Delaware Act and that it otherwise acts in conformity with the provisions of our partnership agreement, its liability under the Delaware Act will be limited, subject to possible exceptions, to the amount of capital it is obligated to contribute to us for its common units plus its share of any undistributed profits and assets. If it were determined, however, that the right, or exercise of the right of, by the limited partners as a group to:

 

    remove or replace our general partner for cause;

 

    approve some amendments to our partnership agreement; or

 

    take other action under our partnership agreement;

constituted “participation in the control” of our business for the purposes of the Delaware Act, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the laws of Delaware, to the same extent as our general partner. This liability would extend to persons who transact business with us who reasonably believe that a limited partner is a general partner. Neither our partnership agreement nor the Delaware Act specifically provides for legal recourse against our general partner if a limited partner were to lose limited liability through any fault of our general partner. While this does not mean that a limited partner could not seek legal recourse, we know of no precedent for this type of a claim in Delaware case law.

Under the Delaware Act, a limited partnership may not make a distribution to a partner if, after the distribution, all liabilities of the limited partnership, other than liabilities to partners on account of their limited partner interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of the assets of the limited partnership, except that the fair value of property that is subject to a liability for which the recourse of creditors is limited is included in the assets of the limited partnership only to the extent that the fair value of that property exceeds that liability. For the purpose of determining the fair value of the assets of a limited partnership, the Delaware Act provides that the fair value of property subject to liability for which recourse of creditors is limited shall be included in the assets of the limited partnership only to the extent that the fair value of that property exceeds the nonrecourse liability. The Delaware Act provides that a limited partner who receives a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Act shall be liable to the limited partnership for the amount of the distribution for three years. Under the Delaware Act, a substituted limited partner of a limited partnership is liable for the obligations of its assignor to make contributions to the partnership, except that such person is not obligated for liabilities unknown to it at the time it became a limited partner and that could not be ascertained from the partnership agreement.

Our development companies conduct business in Colorado and Texas. We may have subsidiaries that conduct business in other states in the future. Maintenance of our limited liability as a partner or member of our subsidiaries may require compliance with legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which such subsidiaries conduct business, including qualifying such entities to do business in such locations.

Limitations on the liability of members or limited partners for the obligations of a limited liability company or limited partnership have not been clearly established in many jurisdictions. If, by virtue of our ownership interests in our development companies or otherwise, it were determined that we were conducting business in any state without compliance with the applicable limited partnership or limited liability company statute, or that the right or exercise of the right by the limited partners as a group to remove or replace our general partner for cause, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement, or to take other action under our partnership agreement constituted “participation in the control” of our business for purposes of the statutes of any relevant jurisdiction, then the limited partners could be held personally liable for our obligations under the law of that jurisdiction to the same extent as our general partner under the circumstances. We will operate in a manner that our general partner considers reasonable and necessary or appropriate to preserve the limited liability of the limited partners.

 

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Issuance of Additional Partnership Interests

Our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership interests for the consideration and on the terms and conditions determined by our general partner without the approval of the unitholders.

It is possible that we will fund acquisitions through the issuance of additional common units, subordinated units or other partnership interests. Holders of any additional common units we issue will be entitled to share equally with the then-existing common unitholders in our distributions. In addition, the issuance of additional common units or other partnership interests may dilute the value of the interests of the then-existing common unitholders in our net assets.

In accordance with Delaware law and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership interests that, as determined by our general partner, may have rights to distributions or special voting rights to which the common units are not entitled. In addition, our partnership agreement does not prohibit our current or future subsidiaries from issuing equity interests, which may effectively rank senior to the common units.

Our general partner has the right, which it may from time to time assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates, to purchase common units, subordinated units or other partnership interests or to make additional capital contributions to us whenever, and on the same terms that, we issue partnership interests to persons other than our general partner and its affiliates, to the extent necessary to maintain the percentage interest of our general partner and its affiliates, including such interest represented by common and subordinated units, that existed immediately prior to each issuance. The common unitholders will not have preemptive rights under our partnership agreement to acquire additional common units or other partnership interests.

Amendment of Our Partnership Agreement

General

Amendments to our partnership agreement may be proposed only by our general partner. However, our general partner has no duty or obligation to propose any amendment and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or our limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interests of us or the limited partners, other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In order to adopt a proposed amendment, other than the amendments discussed below, our general partner is required to seek written approval of the holders of the number of units required to approve the amendment or call a meeting of the limited partners to consider and vote upon the proposed amendment. Except as described below, an amendment must be approved by a unit majority.

Prohibited Amendments

No amendment may be made that would, among other actions:

 

    enlarge the obligations of any limited partner without its consent, unless such is deemed to have occurred as a result of an amendment approved by at least a majority of the type or class of limited partner interests so affected; or

 

    enlarge the obligations of, restrict in any way any action by or rights of, or reduce in any way the amounts distributable, reimbursable or otherwise payable by us to our general partner or any of its affiliates without its consent, which consent may be given or withheld at its option.

The provisions of our partnership agreement preventing the amendments having the effects described in any of the clauses above can be amended upon the approval of the holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units voting together as a single class (including units owned by our general partner and its affiliates). Noble owns an aggregate of 2,090,014 common units and 15,902,584 subordinated units, representing an aggregate 50.1% limited partner interest.

 

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No Unitholder Approval

Our general partner may generally make amendments to our partnership agreement without the approval of any limited partner to reflect:

 

    a change in our name, the location of our principal office, our registered agent or our registered office;

 

    the admission, substitution, withdrawal or removal of partners in accordance with our partnership agreement;

 

    a change that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to qualify or continue our qualification as a limited partnership or a partnership in which the limited partners have limited liability under the laws of any state or to ensure that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries will be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise taxed as an entity for federal income tax purposes;

 

    an amendment that is necessary, in the opinion of our counsel, to prevent us or our general partner or its directors, officers, agents or trustees, from in any manner, being subjected to the provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, or “plan asset” regulations adopted under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, each as amended, whether or not substantially similar to plan asset regulations currently applied or proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor;

 

    an amendment that (i) sets forth the designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties of any class or series of partnership interests or (ii) our general partner determines to be necessary, appropriate or advisable in connection with the authorization or issuance of additional partnership interests;

 

    any amendment expressly permitted in our partnership agreement to be made by our general partner acting alone;

 

    an amendment effected, necessitated or contemplated by a merger agreement or plan of conversion that has been approved under the terms of our partnership agreement;

 

    any amendment that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate to reflect and account for the formation by us of, or our investment in, any corporation, partnership or other entity, in connection with our conduct of activities permitted by our partnership agreement;

 

    a change in our fiscal year or taxable year and any other changes that our general partner determines to be necessary or appropriate as a result of such change;

 

    mergers with, conveyances to or conversions into another limited liability entity that is newly formed and has no assets, liabilities or operations at the time of the merger, conveyance or conversion other than those it receives by way of the merger, conveyance or conversion; or

 

    any other amendments substantially similar to any of the matters described in the clauses above.

In addition, our general partner may make amendments to our partnership agreement without the approval of any limited partner if our general partner determines that those amendments:

 

    do not adversely affect in any material respect the limited partners considered as a whole or any particular class of partnership interests as compared to other classes of partnership interests;

 

    are necessary or appropriate to satisfy any requirements, conditions or guidelines contained in any opinion, directive, order, ruling or regulation of any federal or state agency or judicial authority or contained in any federal or state statute;

 

    are necessary or appropriate to facilitate the trading of limited partner interests or to comply with any rule, regulation, guideline or requirement of any securities exchange on which the limited partner interests are or will be listed or admitted to trading;

 

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    are necessary or appropriate for any action taken by our general partner relating to splits or combinations of units under the provisions of our partnership agreement; or

 

    are required to effect the intent expressed in this prospectus or the intent of the provisions of our partnership agreement or are otherwise contemplated by our partnership agreement.

Opinion of Counsel and Unitholder Approval

For amendments that do not require unitholder approval, our general partner will not be required to obtain an opinion of counsel to the effect that an amendment will not affect the limited liability of any limited partner under Delaware law. No other amendments to our partnership agreement will become effective without the approval of holders of at least 90% of the outstanding units voting as a single class unless we first obtain such an opinion of counsel.

In addition to the above restrictions, any amendment that would have a material adverse effect on the rights or preferences of any type or class of partnership interests in relation to other classes of partnership interests will require the approval of at least a majority of the type or class of partnership interests so affected. Any amendment that would reduce the percentage of units required to take any action, other than to remove our general partner for cause or call a meeting of unitholders, must be approved by the written consent or the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than the percentage sought to be reduced. Any amendment that would increase the percentage of units required to remove our general partner for cause must be approved by the written consent or the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute not less than 90% of outstanding units. Any amendment that would increase the percentage of units required to call a meeting of unitholders must be approved by the written consent or the affirmative vote of limited partners whose aggregate outstanding units constitute at least a majority of the outstanding units.

Merger, Consolidation, Conversion, Sale or Other Disposition of Assets

A merger, consolidation or conversion of our partnership requires the prior consent of our general partner. However, our general partner has no duty or obligation to consent to any merger, consolidation or conversion and may decline to do so free of any duty or obligation whatsoever to us or the limited partners, including any duty to act in the best interest of us or the limited partners, other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

In addition, our partnership agreement generally prohibits our general partner, without the prior approval of the holders of a unit majority, from causing us to, among other things, sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets in a single transaction or a series of related transactions. Our general partner may, however, mortgage, pledge, hypothecate, or grant a security interest in all or substantially all of our assets without that approval. Our general partner may also sell any or all of our assets under a foreclosure or other realization upon those encumbrances without that approval. Finally, our general partner may consummate any merger with another limited liability entity without the prior approval of our unitholders if we are the surviving entity in the transaction, our general partner has received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, the transaction would not result in an amendment to our partnership agreement requiring unitholder approval, each of our units will be an identical unit of our partnership following the transaction and the partnership interests to be issued by us in such merger do not exceed 20% of our outstanding partnership interests immediately prior to the transaction.

If the conditions specified in our partnership agreement are satisfied, our general partner may convert us or any of our subsidiaries into a new limited liability entity or merge us or any of our subsidiaries into, or convey all of our assets to, a newly formed entity if the sole purpose of that conversion, merger or conveyance is to effect a mere change in our legal form into another limited liability entity, our general partner has received an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters, and our general partner determines that the governing

 

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instruments of the new entity provide the limited partners and our general partner with the same rights and obligations as contained in our partnership agreement. The unitholders are not entitled to dissenters’ rights of appraisal under our partnership agreement or applicable Delaware law in the event of a conversion, merger or consolidation, a sale of substantially all of our assets or any other similar transaction or event.

Termination and Dissolution

We will continue as a limited partnership until dissolved and terminated under our partnership agreement. We will dissolve upon:

 

    the withdrawal or removal of our general partner or any other event that results in its ceasing to be our general partner other than by reason of a transfer of its general partner interest in accordance with our partnership agreement or withdrawal or removal followed by approval and admission of a successor;

 

    the election of our general partner to dissolve us, if approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority;

 

    the entry of a decree of judicial dissolution of our partnership; or

 

    there being no limited partners, unless we are continued without dissolution in accordance with the Delaware Act.

Upon a dissolution under the first clause above, the holders of a unit majority may also elect, within specific time limitations, to continue our business on the same terms and conditions described in our partnership agreement by appointing as a successor general partner an entity approved by the holders of units representing a unit majority, subject to our receipt of an opinion of counsel to the effect that:

 

    the action would not result in the loss of limited liability of any limited partner; and

 

    neither our partnership nor any of our subsidiaries would be treated as an association taxable as a corporation or otherwise be taxable as an entity for federal income tax purposes upon the exercise of that right to continue (to the extent not already so treated or taxed).

Liquidation and Distribution of Proceeds

Upon our dissolution, unless we are continued as a new limited partnership, the liquidator authorized to wind up our affairs will, acting with all of the powers of our general partner that are necessary or appropriate to, liquidate our assets and apply the proceeds of the liquidation as described in “Provisions of Our Partnership Agreement Relating to Cash Distributions—Distributions of Cash Upon Liquidation.” The liquidator may defer liquidation or distribution of our assets for a reasonable period of time or distribute assets to partners in kind if it determines that a sale would be impractical or would cause undue loss to our partners.

Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner

Except as described below, our general partner has agreed not to withdraw voluntarily as our general partner prior to the tenth anniversary of the closing of our IPO, without obtaining the approval of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and by giving 90 days’ written notice and furnishing an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. On or after the tenth anniversary of the closing of our IPO, our general partner may withdraw as general partner without first obtaining approval of any unitholder by giving 90 days’ written notice, and that withdrawal will not constitute a violation of our partnership agreement. Notwithstanding the information above, our general partner may withdraw without unitholder approval upon 90 days’ written notice to the limited partners if at least 50% of the outstanding units are held or controlled by one person and its affiliates other than our general partner and its affiliates. In addition, our partnership agreement permits our general partner in some instances to sell or otherwise transfer all of its general partner interest in us without the approval of the unitholders. Please read “—Transfer of General Partner Interest” and “—Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights.”

 

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Upon voluntary withdrawal of our general partner by giving notice to the other partners, the holders of a unit majority may select a successor to that withdrawing general partner. If a successor is not elected, or is elected but an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters cannot be obtained, we will be dissolved, wound up and liquidated, unless within a specified period after that withdrawal, the holders of a unit majority agree to continue our business by appointing a successor general partner. Please read “—Termination and Dissolution.”

Our general partner may not be removed unless that removal is both (i) for cause and (ii) approved by the vote of the holders of not less than 66 23% of our outstanding units, voting together as a single class, including units held by our general partner and its affiliates, and we receive an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters. Any removal of our general partner is also subject to the approval of a successor general partner by the vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common units, voting as a separate class, and subordinated units, voting as a separate class. “Cause” is narrowly defined under our partnership agreement to mean that a court of competent jurisdiction has entered a final, non-appealable judgment finding the general partner liable to our partnership or any limited partner for actual fraud or willful misconduct in its capacity as our general partner. Cause does not include most cases of charges of poor management of the business. The ownership of more than 33 13% of the outstanding units by our general partner and its affiliates would give them the practical ability to prevent our general partner’s removal. Noble owns an aggregate of 2,090,014 common units and 15,902,584 subordinated units, representing an aggregate 50.1% limited partner interest.

In the event of removal of our general partner or withdrawal of our general partner where that withdrawal violates our partnership agreement, a successor general partner will have the option to purchase the general partner interest of the departing general partner for a cash payment equal to the fair market value of those interests. Under all other circumstances where our general partner withdraws, the departing general partner will have the option to require the successor general partner to purchase the general partner interest of the departing general partner for fair market value. In each case, this fair market value will be determined by agreement between the departing general partner and the successor general partner. If no agreement is reached, an independent investment banking firm or other independent expert selected by the departing general partner and the successor general partner will determine the fair market value. Or, if the departing general partner and the successor general partner cannot agree upon an expert, then an expert chosen by agreement of the experts selected by each of them will determine the fair market value.

If the option described above is not exercised by either the departing general partner or the successor general partner, the departing general partner will become a limited partner and its general partner interest will automatically convert into common units pursuant to a valuation of those interests as determined by an investment banking firm or other independent expert selected in the manner described in the preceding paragraph.

In addition, we will be required to reimburse the departing general partner for all amounts due the departing general partner, including, without limitation, all employee-related liabilities, including severance liabilities, incurred for the termination of any employees employed by the departing general partner or its affiliates for our benefit.

Transfer of General Partner Interest

Except for transfer by our general partner of all, but not less than all, of its general partner interest to (1) an affiliate of our general partner (other than an individual), or (2) another entity as part of the merger or consolidation of our general partner with or into such entity or the transfer by our general partner of all or substantially all of its assets to such entity, our general partner may not transfer all or any part of its general partner interest to another person prior to the tenth anniversary of the closing of our IPO without the approval of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding common units, excluding common units held by our general partner and its affiliates. As a condition of this transfer, the transferee must assume, among other things, the rights and duties of our general partner, agree to be bound by the provisions of our partnership agreement, and furnish an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability and tax matters.

 

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Our general partner and its affiliates may at any time transfer units to one or more persons, without unitholder approval, except that they may not transfer subordinated units to us.

Transfer of Ownership Interests in Our General Partner

At any time, Noble may sell or transfer all or part of its membership interest in our general partner, to an affiliate or third party without the approval of our unitholders.

Transfer of Incentive Distribution Rights

At any time, Noble may sell or transfer its incentive distribution rights to an affiliate or third party without the approval of the unitholders.

Change of Management Provisions

Our partnership agreement contains specific provisions that are intended to discourage a person or group from attempting to remove Noble Midstream GP LLC as our general partner or otherwise change our management. If any person or group other than our general partner and its 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 the units from our general partner or its affiliates and any transferees of that person or group who are notified by our general partner that they will not lose their voting rights or to any person or group who acquires the units with the prior approval of the board of directors of our general partner. Please read “—Withdrawal or Removal of Our General Partner.”

Limited Call Right

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the then-issued and outstanding limited partner interests of any class, our general partner will have the right, which it may assign in whole or in part to any of its affiliates or to us, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the limited partner interests of such class held by unaffiliated persons as of a record date to be selected by our general partner, on at least 10, but not more than 60, days’ written notice.

The purchase price in the event of this purchase is the greater of:

 

    the highest cash price paid by either our general partner or any of its affiliates for any limited partner interests of the class purchased within the 90 days preceding the date on which our general partner first mails notice of its election to purchase those limited partner interests; and

 

    the current market price calculated in accordance with our partnership agreement as of the date three business days before the date the notice is mailed.

As a result of our general partner’s right to purchase outstanding limited partner interests, a holder of limited partner interests may have his limited partner interests purchased at a price that may be lower than market prices at various times prior to such purchase or lower than a unitholder may anticipate the market price to be in the future. The tax consequences to a unitholder of the exercise of this limited call right are the same as a sale by that unitholder of his common units in the market. Please read “Material Federal Income Tax Consequences—Disposition of Common Units.”

Possible Redemption of Ineligible Holders

Non-Taxpaying Holders; Redemption

Our general partner may request proof of the U.S. federal income tax status of our limited partners. We may redeem the units held by any person who our general partner determines is not subject to U.S. federal income

 

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taxation on the income generated by the partnership or fails to comply with the procedures instituted by our general partner to obtain proof of such person’s federal income tax status. The redemption price in the case of such a redemption will be the average of the daily closing prices per unit for the 20 consecutive trading days immediately prior to the date set for redemption.

Non-Citizen Assignees; Redemption

Our general partner may request proof of the nationality, citizenship or other related status of our limited partners. We may redeem the units held by any person whose nationality, citizenship or other related status our general partner determines creates substantial risk of cancellation or forfeiture of any property that we have an interest in or who fails to comply with the procedures instituted by our general partner to obtain proof of nationality, citizenship or other related status. The redemption price in the case of such a redemption will be the average of the daily closing prices per unit for the 20 consecutive trading days immediately prior to the date set for redemption.

Meetings; Voting

Except as described below regarding a person or group owning 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, record holders of units on the record date will be entitled to notice of, and to vote at, meetings of our limited partners and to act upon matters for which approvals may be solicited.

Our general partner does not anticipate that any meeting of unitholders will be called in the foreseeable future. Any action that is required or permitted to be taken by the unitholders may be taken either at a meeting of the unitholders or, if authorized by our general partner, without a meeting if consents in writing describing the action so taken are signed by holders of the number of units that would be necessary to authorize or take that action at a meeting where all limited partners were present and voted. Meetings of the unitholders may be called by our general partner or by unitholders owning at least 20% of the outstanding units of the class for which a meeting is proposed. Unitholders may vote either in person or by proxy at meetings. The holders of a majority in voting power of the outstanding units of the class or classes for which a meeting has been called, represented in person or by proxy, will constitute a quorum unless any action by the unitholders requires approval by holders of a greater percentage of the units, in which case the quorum will be the greater percentage. For all matters presented to the limited partners at a meeting at which a quorum is present for which no minimum or other vote of the limited partners is specifically required pursuant to our partnership agreement, the rules and regulations of any national securities exchange on which the common units are admitted to trading, or applicable law or pursuant to any regulation applicable to us or our partnership interests, a majority of the votes cast by the limited partners holding outstanding units will be deemed to constitute the act of all limited partners (with abstentions and broker non-votes being deemed to not have been cast with respect to such matter). On any matter where a minimum or other vote of limited partners is provided by any provision of our partnership agreement or required by the rules or regulations of any national securities exchange on which the common units are admitted to trading, or applicable law or pursuant to any regulation applicable to us or our partners interests, such minimum or other vote will be the vote of the limited partners required to approve such matter (with the effect of abstentions and broker non-votes to be determined based on the vote of the limited partners required to approve such matter, provided that if the effect of abstentions and broker non-votes is not specified by the applicable rule, regulation or law, and there is no prevailing interpretation of such effect, then abstentions and broker non-votes will be deemed not to have been cast with respect to such matter). The general partner interest does not entitle our general partner to any vote other than its rights as general partner under our partnership agreement, will not be entitled to vote on any action required or permitted to be taken by the unitholders and will not count toward or be considered outstanding when calculating required votes, determining the presence of a quorum, or for similar purposes.

Each record holder of a unit has a vote according to its percentage interest in us, although additional limited partner interests having special voting rights could be issued. Please read “—Issuance of Additional Partnership

 

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Interests.” However, if at any time any person or group, other than our general partner and its affiliates, a direct transferee of our general partner and its affiliates or a transferee of such direct transferee, who is notified by our general partner that it will not lose its voting rights, acquires, in the aggregate, beneficial ownership of 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, that person or group will lose voting rights on all of its units and the units may not be voted on any matter and will not be considered to be outstanding when sending notices of a meeting of unitholders, calculating required votes, determining the presence of a quorum, or for other similar purposes. Common units held in nominee or street name account will be voted by the broker or other nominee in accordance with the instruction of the beneficial owner unless the arrangement between the beneficial owner and its nominee provides otherwise. Except as our partnership agreement otherwise provides, subordinated units will vote together with common units as a single class. Any notice, demand, request, report or proxy material required or permitted to be given or made to record holders of common units under our partnership agreement will be delivered to the record holder by us or by the transfer agent.

Status as Limited Partner

By transfer of common units in accordance with our partnership agreement, each transferee of common units shall be admitted as a limited partner with respect to the common units transferred when such transfer and admission is reflected in our register. Except as described under “—Limited Liability,” the common units will be fully paid, and unitholders will not be required to make additional contributions.

Indemnification

Under our partnership agreement, in most circumstances, we will indemnify the following persons, to the fullest extent permitted by law, from and against all losses, claims, damages or similar events:

 

    our general partner;

 

    any departing general partner;

 

    any person who is or was an affiliate of our general partner or any departing general partner;

 

    any person who is or was a director, officer, managing member, manager, general partner, fiduciary or trustee of us or our subsidiaries, an affiliate of us or our subsidiaries or any entity set forth in the preceding three bullet points;

 

    any person who is or was serving as director, officer, managing member, manager, general partner, fiduciary or trustee of another person owing a fiduciary duty to us or any of our subsidiaries at the request of our general partner or any departing general partner or any of their affiliates, excluding any such person providing, on a fee-for-service basis, trustee, fiduciary of custodial services; and

 

    any person designated by our general partner because such person’s status, service or relationship expose such person to potential claims or suits relating to our or our subsidiaries’ business and affairs.

Any indemnification under these provisions will only be out of our assets. Unless it otherwise agrees, our general partner will not be personally liable for, or have any obligation to contribute or lend funds or assets to us to enable us to effectuate, indemnification. We may purchase insurance against liabilities asserted against and expenses incurred by persons for our activities, regardless of whether we would have the power to indemnify the person against such liabilities under our partnership agreement.

Reimbursement of Expenses

Our partnership agreement requires us to reimburse our general partner for all direct and indirect expenses it incurs or payments it makes on our behalf and all other expenses allocable to us or otherwise incurred by our general partner in connection with operating our business. These expenses include salary, bonus, incentive compensation and other amounts paid to persons who perform services for us or on our behalf and expenses

 

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allocated to our general partner by its affiliates. Our general partner is entitled to determine in good faith the expenses that are allocable to us. The expenses for which we are required to reimburse our general partner are not subject to any caps or other limits.

Books and Reports

Our general partner is required to keep appropriate books of our business at our principal offices. The books will be maintained for financial reporting purposes on an accrual basis. For fiscal and tax reporting purposes, our fiscal year is the calendar year.

We will mail or make available to record holders of common units, within 90 days after the close of each fiscal year, an annual report containing audited financial statements and a report on those financial statements by our independent public accountants. Except for our fourth quarter, we will also mail or make available summary financial information within 45 days after the close of each quarter (or such shorter period as required by the SEC).

We will furnish each record holder of a unit with information reasonably required for tax reporting purposes within 90 days after the close of each calendar year. This information is expected to be furnished in summary form so that some complex calculations normally required of partners can be avoided. Our ability to furnish this summary information to unitholders will depend on the cooperation of unitholders in supplying us with specific information. Every unitholder will receive information to assist such unitholder in determining its federal and state tax liability and filing its federal and state income tax returns, regardless of whether such unitholder supplies us with information.

Right to Inspect Our Books and Records

Our partnership agreement provides that a limited partner can, for a purpose reasonably related to its interest as a limited partner, upon reasonable written demand stating the purpose of such demand and at its own expense, have furnished to such limited partner:

 

    a current list of the name and last known address of each record holder;

 

    copies of our partnership agreement and our certificate of limited partnership and all amendments thereto; and

 

    certain information regarding the status of our business and financial condition.

Our general partner may, and intends to, keep confidential from the limited partners trade secrets or other information the disclosure of which our general partner determines is not in our best interests or that we are required by law or by agreements with third parties to keep confidential. Our partnership agreement limits the right to information that a limited partner would otherwise have under Delaware law.

Registration Rights

Under our partnership agreement, we have agreed to register for resale under the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws any common units, subordinated units or other partnership interests proposed to be sold by our general partner or any of its affiliates, other than individuals, or their assignees if an exemption from the registration requirements is not otherwise available. We are obligated to pay all expenses incidental to the registration, excluding underwriting discounts and commissions.

Applicable Law; Exclusive Forum

Our partnership agreement is governed by Delaware law.

 

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Our partnership agreement provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, any other court located in the State of Delaware with subject matter jurisdiction) shall be the exclusive forum for any claims, suits, actions or proceedings (i) arising out of or relating in any way to our partnership agreement (including any claims, suits or actions to interpret, apply or enforce the provisions of our partnership agreement or the duties, obligations or liabilities among our partners, or obligations or liabilities of our partners to us, or the rights or powers of, or restrictions on, our partners or us), (ii) brought in a derivative manner on our behalf, (iii) asserting a claim of breach of a duty owed by any of our, or our general partner’s, directors, officers, or other employees, or owed by our general partner, to us or our partners, (iv) asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware Act or (v) asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, the provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers. The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation or similar governing documents have been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any action, a court could find the choice of forum provisions contained in our partnership agreement to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action.

If any limited partner, our general partner or any person holding any beneficial interest in us (whether through a broker, dealer, bank, trust company or clearing corporation) brings any of the claims, suits, actions or proceedings described in items (i) through (v) (including any claims, suits, actions or proceedings arising out of our IPO) of the preceding paragraph and such person does not obtain a judgment on the merits that substantially achieves, in substance and amount (if the extent of such achievement is disputed, then as determined by the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or such other court with subject matter jurisdiction of such claim, suit, action or proceeding), the full remedy sought, then such limited partner, our general partner or person holding any beneficial interest in us will be obligated to reimburse us and our affiliates (including our general partner, the directors of our general partner and the owner of our general partner) for all fees, costs and expenses of every kind and description, including but not limited to all reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses, that the parties may incur in connection with such claim, suit, action or proceeding. We and our “affiliates,” as defined in our partnership agreement included in Appendix A to this prospectus (including our general partner, the directors and officers of our general partner and Noble) would be entitled to recover all of their fees, costs and expenses in any such action, and such losing party would be severally liable for all such fees, costs and expenses. These provisions apply to all claims brought by the persons described in this paragraph, including claims under the federal securities laws, to the extent permitted by applicable law. In addition, our partnership agreement provides that each limited partner irrevocably waives the right to trial by jury in any such claim, suit, action or proceeding.

By purchasing a common unit, a limited partner is irrevocably consenting to these limitations and provisions regarding claims, suits, actions or proceedings and submitting to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, any other court located in the State of Delaware with subject matter jurisdiction) in connection with any such claims, suits, actions or proceedings.

 

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MATERIAL TAX CONSEQUENCES

This section is a discussion of the material tax considerations that may be relevant to prospective common unitholders who are individual citizens or residents of the U.S. and, unless otherwise noted in the following discussion, is the opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP, counsel to our general partner and us, insofar as it relates to matters of U.S. federal income tax law and legal conclusions with respect to those matters. This section is based upon current provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, existing and proposed Treasury regulations promulgated under the Internal Revenue Code (the “Treasury Regulations”) and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to change. Later changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences described below. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “us,” “we” or “Noble Midstream Partners” are references to Noble Midstream Partners LP.

The following discussion does not address all federal income tax matters affecting us or the common unitholders and does not describe the application of the alternative minimum tax that may be applicable to certain common unitholders. Moreover, the discussion focuses on common unitholders who are individual citizens or residents of the U.S. and has only limited application to corporations, estates, entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes, trusts, nonresident aliens, U.S. expatriates and former citizens or long-term residents of the United States or other common unitholders subject to specialized tax treatment, such as banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, tax-exempt institutions, foreign persons, (including, without limitations, controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment companies and non-U.S. persons eligible for the benefits of an applicable income tax treaty with the United States), individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”), real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), employee benefit plans or mutual funds, dealers in securities or currencies, traders in securities, U.S. persons whose “functional currency” is not the U.S. dollar, persons holding their common units as part of a “straddle,” “hedge,” “conversion transaction” or other risk reduction transaction, and persons deemed to sell their common units under the constructive sale provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the discussion only comments, to a limited extent, on state, local and foreign tax consequences. Accordingly, we urge each prospective common unitholder to consult, and depend on, his own tax advisor in analyzing the federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences particular to him of the ownership or disposition of the common units.

All statements as to matters of federal income tax law and legal conclusions with respect thereto, but not as to factual matters, contained in this section, unless otherwise noted, are the opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP and are based on the accuracy of the representations made by us and our general partner.

No ruling has been or will be requested from the IRS regarding our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes or any matter affecting prospective common unitholders. Instead, we will rely on opinions and advice of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. Unlike a ruling, an opinion of counsel represents only that counsel’s best legal judgment and does not bind the IRS or the courts. Accordingly, the opinions and statements made in this discussion may not be sustained by a court if contested by the IRS. Any contest of this sort with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for the common units and the prices at which the common units trade. In addition, the costs of any contest with the IRS, principally legal, accounting and related fees, will result in a reduction in cash available to pay distributions to our common unitholders and our general partner and thus will be borne indirectly by our common unitholders and our general partner. Furthermore, the tax treatment of us, or of an investment in us, may be significantly modified by future legislative or administrative changes or court decisions. Any modifications may or may not be retroactively applied.

For the reasons described below, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has not rendered an opinion with respect to the following specific federal income tax issues:

 

    the treatment of a common unitholder whose common units are loaned to a short seller to cover a short sale of common units (please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Treatment of Short Sales”);

 

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    whether our monthly convention for allocating taxable income and losses is permitted by existing Treasury Regulations (please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees”); and

 

    whether our method for depreciating Section 743 adjustments is sustainable in certain cases (please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election” and “—Uniformity of Common Units”).

Partnership Status

A partnership is not a taxable entity and incurs no federal income tax liability. Instead, each partner of a partnership is required to take into account his share of items of income, gain, loss and deduction of the partnership in computing his federal income tax liability, regardless of whether cash distributions are made to him by the partnership. Distributions by a partnership to a partner are generally not taxable to the partner unless the amount of cash distributed is in excess of the partner’s adjusted basis in his partnership interest.

Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that publicly traded partnerships will, as a general rule, be taxed as corporations. However, an exception, referred to as the “Qualifying Income Exception,” exists with respect to publicly traded partnerships of which 90% or more of the gross income for every taxable year consists of “qualifying income.” Qualifying income includes income and gains derived from the mining, exploration, production, refining, processing, transportation, storage and marketing of crude oil, natural gas and products thereof. Other types of qualifying income include interest (other than from a financial business), dividends, gains from the sale or other disposition of real property and gains from the sale or other disposition of capital assets held for the production of income that otherwise constitutes qualifying income. We estimate that less than 3% of our current gross income is not qualifying income; however, this estimate could change from time to time. Based on and subject to this estimate, the factual representations made by us and our general partner and a review of the applicable legal authorities, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is of the opinion that at least 90% of our current gross income constitutes qualifying income. The portion of our income that is qualifying income can change from time to time.

No ruling has been or will be sought from the IRS and the IRS has made no determination as to our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. Instead, we will rely on the opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP on such matters. It is the opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP that, based upon the Internal Revenue Code, its regulations, published revenue rulings and court decisions and the representations described below, we will be classified as a partnership and our operating partnerships will be disregarded as entities separate from us or classified as partnerships for federal income tax purposes.

In rendering its opinion, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has relied on factual representations made by us and our general partner. The representations made by us and our general partner upon which Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has relied include:

 

  (a) Neither we nor any of our operating partnerships has elected nor will elect to be treated as a corporation; and

 

  (b) For each taxable year, more than 90% of our gross income has been and will be income that Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has opined or will opine is “qualifying income” within the meaning of Section 7704(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

If we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, other than a failure that is determined by the IRS to be inadvertent and that is cured within a reasonable time after discovery (in which case the IRS may also require us to make adjustments with respect to our common unitholders or pay other amounts), we will be treated as if we had transferred all of our assets, subject to liabilities, to a newly formed corporation, on the first day of the year in which we fail to meet the Qualifying Income Exception, in return for stock in that corporation, and then

 

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distributed that stock to the common unitholders in liquidation of their interests in us. This deemed contribution and liquidation should be tax-free to common unitholders and us except to the extent that our liabilities exceed the tax bases of our assets at that time. Thereafter, we would be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes.

The present federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial changes or differing interpretations at any time. For example, from time to time, the President and members of the U.S. Congress propose and consider substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that affect publicly traded partnerships. We are unable to predict whether any such changes will ultimately be enacted. However, it is possible that a change in law could affect us and may be applied retroactively. Any such changes could negatively impact the value of an investment in our common units.

In addition, on January 24, 2017, final Treasury Regulations (“Final Regulations”) regarding activities that give rise to qualifying income within the meaning of Section 7704 of the Code were published in the Federal Register. We do not believe the Final Regulations affect our ability to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

If we were taxable for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a corporation in any taxable year, either as a result of a failure to meet the Qualifying Income Exception or otherwise, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction would be reflected only on our tax return rather than being passed through to the common unitholders, and our net income would be taxed to us at corporate rates. If we were taxable as a corporation, losses we recognized would not flow through to our common unitholders. In addition, any distribution made by us to a common unitholder would be treated as (i) taxable dividend income, to the extent of current or accumulated earnings and profits, then (ii) a nontaxable return of capital, to the extent of the common unitholder’s tax basis in his common units, and thereafter (iii) taxable capital gain from the sale of such common units. Accordingly, taxation of us as a corporation would result in a material reduction in a common unitholder’s cash flow and after-tax return and thus would likely result in a substantial reduction of the value of the common units. The discussion below is based on Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP’s opinion that we will be classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

Limited Partner Status

Common unitholders who have become limited partners of Noble Midstream Partners LP will be treated as partners of Noble Midstream Partners LP for federal income tax purposes. Also, common unitholders whose common units are held in street name or by a nominee and who have the right to direct the nominee in the exercise of all substantive rights attendant to the ownership of their common units will be treated as partners of Noble Midstream Partners LP for federal income tax purposes.

A beneficial owner of common units whose common units have been transferred to a short seller to complete a short sale would appear to lose his status as a partner with respect to those common units for federal income tax purposes. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Treatment of Short Sales.”

Items of our income, gain, loss or deduction would not appear to be reportable by a common unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes, and any cash distributions received by a common unitholder who is not a partner for federal income tax purposes would therefore be fully taxable as ordinary income. These holders are urged to consult their own tax advisors with respect to their status as partners in Noble Midstream Partners LP for federal income tax purposes. The references to common “unitholders” in the discussion that follows are to persons who are treated as partners in Noble Midstream Partners LP for federal income tax purposes.

 

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Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership

Flow-Through of Taxable Income. Subject to the discussion below under “—Entity-Level Collections” and “—Administrative Matters—Information Returns and Audit Procedures,” we do not pay any federal income tax. Instead, each common unitholder is required to report on his income tax return his share of our income, gains, losses and deductions without regard to whether corresponding cash distributions are received by him. Consequently, we may allocate income to a common unitholder even if he has not received a cash distribution. Each common unitholder will be required to include in income his allocable share of our income, gains, losses and deductions for our taxable year or years ending with or within his taxable year. Our taxable year ends on December 31.

Treatment of Distributions. Distributions by us to a common unitholder generally will not be taxable to the common unitholder for federal income tax purposes, except to the extent the amount of any such cash distribution exceeds his tax basis in his common units immediately before the distribution. Our cash distributions in excess of a common unitholder’s tax basis in his common units generally will be considered to be gain from the sale or exchange of the common units, taxable in accordance with the rules described under “—Disposition of Common Units” below. Any reduction in a common unitholder’s share of our liabilities for which no partner, including our general partner, bears the economic risk of loss, known as “non-recourse liabilities,” will be treated as a distribution of cash to that common unitholder. To the extent our distributions cause a common unitholder’s “at risk” amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year, the common unitholder must recapture any losses deducted in previous years. Please read “—Limitations on Deductibility of Losses.”

A decrease in a common unitholder’s percentage interest in us because of our issuance of additional common units will decrease his share of our non-recourse liabilities, and thus will result in a corresponding deemed distribution of cash, which may constitute a non-pro rata distribution. A non-pro rata distribution of money or property may result in ordinary income to a common unitholder, regardless of his tax basis in his common units, if the distribution reduces the common unitholder’s share of our “unrealized receivables,” including depreciation recapture, and/or substantially appreciated “inventory items,” both as defined in Section 751 of the Internal Revenue Code, and collectively, “Section 751 Assets.” To that extent, he will be treated as having been distributed his proportionate share of the Section 751 Assets and having then exchanged those assets with us in return for the non-pro rata portion of the actual distribution made to him. This latter deemed exchange will generally result in the common unitholder’s realization of ordinary income, which will equal the excess of the non-pro rata portion of that distribution over the common unitholder’s tax basis for the share of Section 751 Assets deemed relinquished in the exchange.

Basis of Common Units. A common unitholder’s initial tax basis for his common units will be the amount he paid for the common units plus his share of our non-recourse liabilities. That basis will be increased by his share of our income and by any increases in his share of our non-recourse liabilities. That basis generally will be decreased, but not below zero, by distributions from us, by the common unitholder’s share of our losses, by any decreases in his share of our non-recourse liabilities and by his share of our expenditures that are not deductible in computing taxable income and are not required to be capitalized. A common unitholder will have no share of our debt that is recourse to our general partner, but will have a share, generally based on his share of profits, of our non-recourse liabilities. Please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

Limitations on Deductibility of Losses. The deduction by a common unitholder of his share of our losses will be limited to the tax basis in his common units and, in the case of an individual common unitholder, estate, trust or certain closely held corporate common unitholders, to the amount for which the common unitholder is considered to be “at risk” with respect to our activities, if that amount is less than his tax basis. A common unitholder subject to these limitations must recapture losses deducted in previous years to the extent that distributions cause his at risk amount to be less than zero at the end of any taxable year. Losses disallowed to a common unitholder or recaptured as a result of these limitations will carry forward and will be allowable as a deduction in a later year to the extent that his tax basis or at risk amount, whichever is the limiting factor, is

 

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subsequently increased provided that such losses are otherwise allowable. Upon the taxable disposition of a common unit, any gain recognized by a common unitholder can be offset by losses that were previously suspended by the at risk limitation but may not be offset by losses suspended by the basis limitation. Any excess loss above that gain previously suspended by the at risk or basis limitations would no longer be utilizable.

In general, a common unitholder will be at risk to the extent of the tax basis of his common units, excluding any portion of that basis attributable to his share of our non-recourse liabilities, reduced by (a) any portion of that basis representing amounts otherwise protected against loss because of a guarantee, stop-loss agreement or other similar arrangement and (b) any amount of money he borrows to acquire or hold his common units, if the lender of those borrowed funds owns an interest in us, is related to the common unitholder or can look only to the common units for repayment. A common unitholder’s at risk amount will increase or decrease as the tax basis of the common unitholder’s common units increases or decreases, other than tax basis increases or decreases attributable to increases or decreases in his share of our non-recourse liabilities.

In addition to the basis and at-risk limitations on the deductibility of losses, the passive loss limitations generally provide that individuals, estates, trusts and some closely held corporations and personal service corporations are permitted to deduct losses from passive activities, which are generally trade or business activities in which the taxpayer does not materially participate, only to the extent of the taxpayer’s income from those passive activities. The passive loss limitations are applied separately with respect to each publicly traded partnership. Consequently, any passive losses we generate will only be available to offset our passive income generated in the future and will not be available to offset income from other passive activities or investments, including our investments or a common unitholder’s investments in other publicly traded partnerships, or a common unitholder’s salary, active business or other income. Passive losses that are not deductible because they exceed a common unitholder’s share of income we generate may be deducted in full when the common unitholder disposes of his entire investment in us in a fully taxable transaction with an unrelated party. The passive activity loss limitations are applied after other applicable limitations on deductions, including the at risk rules and the basis limitation.

A common unitholder’s share of our net income may be offset by any of our suspended passive losses, but it may not be offset by any other current or carryover losses from other passive activities, including those attributable to other publicly traded partnerships.

Limitations on Interest Deductions. The deductibility of a non-corporate taxpayer’s “investment interest expense” is generally limited to the amount of that taxpayer’s “net investment income.” Investment interest expense includes:

 

    interest on indebtedness properly allocable to property held for investment;

 

    our interest expense attributed to portfolio income; and

 

    the portion of interest expense incurred to purchase or carry an interest in a passive activity to the extent attributable to portfolio income.

The computation of a common unitholder’s investment interest expense will take into account interest on any margin account borrowing or other loan incurred to purchase or carry a common unit. Net investment income includes gross income from property held for investment and amounts treated as portfolio income under the passive loss rules, less deductible expenses, other than interest, directly connected with the production of investment income, but generally does not include gains attributable to the disposition of property held for investment or (if applicable) qualified dividend income. The IRS has indicated that net passive income earned by a publicly traded partnership will be treated as investment income to its common unitholders for purposes of the investment interest deduction limitation. In addition, the common unitholder’s share of our portfolio income will be treated as investment income.

Entity-Level Collections. If we are required or elect under applicable law to pay any federal, state, local or foreign income tax on behalf of any common unitholder or our general partner or any former common unitholder,

 

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we are authorized to pay those taxes from our funds. That payment, if made, will be treated as a distribution of cash to the common unitholder on whose behalf the payment was made. If the payment is made on behalf of a person whose identity cannot be determined, we are authorized to treat the payment as a distribution to all current common unitholders. We are authorized to amend the partnership agreement in the manner necessary to maintain uniformity of intrinsic tax characteristics of common units and to adjust later distributions, so that after giving effect to these distributions, the priority and characterization of distributions otherwise applicable under the partnership agreement is maintained as nearly as is practicable. Payments by us as described above could give rise to an overpayment of tax on behalf of an individual common unitholder in which event the common unitholder would be required to file a claim in order to obtain a credit or refund.

Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction. In general, if we have a net profit, our items of income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated among our general partner and the common unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us. At any time that incentive distributions are made to our general partner, gross income will be allocated to the general partner to the extent of these distributions. If we have a net loss for the entire year, that loss will be allocated first to our general partner and the common unitholders in accordance with their percentage interests in us to the extent of their positive capital accounts and, second, to our general partner. Although we do not expect that our operations will result in the creation of negative capital accounts, if negative capital accounts nevertheless result, items of our income and gain will be allocated in an amount and manner sufficient to eliminate the negative balance as quickly as possible.

Specified items of our income, gain, loss and deduction will be allocated under Section 704(c) of the Internal Revenue Code to account for (i) the difference between the tax basis and fair market value of our assets at the time of an offering and (ii) any difference between the tax basis and fair market value of any property contributed to us, together referred to in this discussion as the “Contributed Property.” These allocations are required to eliminate the difference between a partner’s “book” capital account, credited with the fair market value of Contributed Property, and the “tax” capital account, credited with the tax basis of Contributed Property, referred to in this discussion as the “Book-Tax Disparity.” The effect of these allocations to a common unitholder purchasing common units from us in an offering will be essentially the same as if the tax basis of Contributed Property was equal to its fair market value at the time of such offering. In the event we issue additional common units or engage in certain other transactions in the future, “reverse Section 704(c) allocations,” similar to the Section 704(c) allocations described above, will be made to all persons who are holders of partnership interests immediately prior to such issuance or other transaction to account for the difference between the “book” basis for purposes of maintaining capital accounts and the fair market value of all property held by us at the time of such issuance or future transaction. In addition, items of recapture income will be allocated to the extent possible to the common unitholder who was allocated the deduction giving rise to the treatment of that gain as recapture income in order to minimize the recognition of ordinary income by other common unitholders.

An allocation of items of our income, gain, loss or deduction, other than an allocation required by Section 704(c) of the Internal Revenue Code to eliminate the Book-Tax Disparity, will generally be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a partner’s share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction only if the allocation has substantial economic effect. In any other case, a partner’s share of an item will be determined on the basis of his interest in us, which will be determined by taking into account all the facts and circumstances, including:

 

    his relative contributions to us;

 

    the interests of all the partners in profits and losses;

 

    the interest of all the partners in cash flow; and

 

    the rights of all the partners to distributions of capital upon liquidation.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is of the opinion that, with the exception of the issues described in “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election,” “—Uniformity of Common Units” and

 

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“—Disposition of Common Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees,” allocations under the partnership agreement will be given effect for federal income tax purposes in determining a partner’s share of an item of income, gain, loss or deduction.

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

 

    any of our income, gain, loss or deduction with respect to those common units would not be reportable by the common unitholder;

 

    any cash distributions received by the common unitholder as to those common units would be fully taxable; and

 

    while not entirely free from doubt, all of these distributions would appear to be ordinary income.

Because there is no direct or indirect controlling authority on the issue relating to partnership interests, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has not rendered an opinion regarding the tax treatment of a common unitholder whose common units are loaned to a short seller to cover a short sale of common units; therefore, common unitholders desiring to assure their status as partners and avoid the risk of gain recognition from a loan to a short seller are urged to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing and loaning their common units. The IRS has announced that it is studying issues relating to the tax treatment of short sales of partnership interests. Please also read “—Disposition of Common Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

Tax Rates. Under current law, the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to ordinary income of individuals is 39.6% and the highest marginal U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains (generally, capital gains on certain assets held for more than twelve months) of individuals is 20%. However, these rates are subject to change by new legislation at any time.

In addition, a 3.8% Medicare tax, or NIIT, is imposed on certain net investment income earned by individuals, estates and trusts. For these purposes, net investment income generally includes a common unitholder’s allocable share of our income and gain realized by a common unitholder from a sale of common units. In the case of an individual, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) the common unitholder’s net investment income or (ii) the amount by which the common unitholder’s modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 (if the common unitholder is married and filing jointly or a surviving spouse), $125,000 (if the common unitholder is married and filing separately) or $200,000 (in any other case). In the case of an estate or trust, the tax will be imposed on the lesser of (i) undistributed net investment income, or (ii) the excess adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest income tax bracket applicable to an estate or trust begins. Prospective common unitholders are urged to consult with their tax advisors as to the impact of the NIIT on an investment in our common units.

Section 754 Election. We have made the election permitted by Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code. That election is irrevocable without the consent of the IRS unless there is a constructive termination of the partnership. Please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Constructive Termination.” The election generally permits us to adjust a common unit purchaser’s tax basis in our assets (“inside basis”) under Section 743(b) of the Internal Revenue Code to reflect his purchase price. This election applies to a person who purchases common units from a selling common unitholder but does not apply to a person who purchases common units directly from us. The Section 743(b) adjustment belongs to the purchaser and not to other common unitholders. For purposes of this discussion, a common unitholder’s inside basis in our assets will be considered to have two components: (1) his share of our tax basis in our assets (“common basis”) and (2) his Section 743(b) adjustment to that basis.

 

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Treasury Regulations under Section 743 of the Internal Revenue Code require, if the remedial allocation method is adopted (which we have adopted), a portion of the Section 743(b) adjustment that is attributable to recovery property subject to depreciation under Section 168 of the Internal Revenue Code and whose book basis is in excess of its tax basis to be depreciated over the remaining cost recovery period for the property’s unamortized Book-Tax Disparity. Under Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to property subject to depreciation under Section 167 of the Internal Revenue Code, rather than cost recovery deductions under Section 168, is generally required to be depreciated using either the straight-line method or the 150% declining balance method. Under the partnership agreement, our general partner is authorized to take a position to preserve the uniformity of common units even if that position is not consistent with these and any other Treasury Regulations. Please read “—Uniformity of Common Units.”

We intend to depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity of the property, or treat that portion as non-amortizable to the extent attributable to property which is not amortizable. This method is consistent with methods employed by other publicly traded partnerships but is arguably inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), which is not expected to directly apply to a material portion of our assets. To the extent this Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may take a depreciation or amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring common units in the same month would receive depreciation or amortization, whether attributable to common basis or a Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable rate as if they had purchased a direct interest in our assets. This kind of aggregate approach may result in lower annual depreciation or amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some common unitholders. Please read “—Uniformity of Common Units.” A common unitholder’s tax basis for his common units is reduced by his share of our deductions (whether or not such deductions were claimed on an individual’s income tax return) so that any position we take that understates deductions will overstate the common unitholder’s basis in his common units, which may cause the common unitholder to understate gain or overstate loss on any sale of such common units. Please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.” Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is unable to opine as to whether our method for depreciating Section 743 adjustments is sustainable for property subject to depreciation under Section 167 of the Internal Revenue Code or if we use an aggregate approach as described above, as there is no direct or indirect controlling authority addressing the validity of these positions. Moreover, the IRS may challenge our position with respect to depreciating or amortizing the Section 743(b) adjustment we take to preserve the uniformity of the common units. If such a challenge were sustained, the gain from the sale of common units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions.

A Section 754 election is advantageous if the transferee’s tax basis in his common units is higher than the common units’ share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. In that case, as a result of the election, the transferee would have, among other items, a greater amount of depreciation deductions and his share of any gain or loss on a sale of our assets would be less. Conversely, a Section 754 election is disadvantageous if the transferee’s tax basis in his common units is lower than those common units’ share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets immediately prior to the transfer. Thus, the fair market value of the common units may be affected either favorably or unfavorably by the election. A basis adjustment is required regardless of whether a Section 754 election is made in the case of a transfer of an interest in us if we have a substantial built-in loss immediately after the transfer, or if we distribute property and have a substantial basis reduction. Generally, a built-in loss or a basis reduction is substantial if it exceeds $250,000.

The calculations involved in the Section 754 election are complex and will be made on the basis of assumptions as to the value of our assets and other matters. For example, the allocation of the Section 743(b) adjustment among our assets must be made in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS could seek to

 

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reallocate some or all of any Section 743(b) adjustment we allocated to our tangible assets to goodwill instead. Goodwill, an intangible asset, is generally either nonamortizable or amortizable over a longer period of time or under a less accelerated method than our tangible assets. We cannot assure you that the determinations we make will not be successfully challenged by the IRS and that the deductions resulting from them will not be reduced or disallowed altogether. Should the IRS require a different basis adjustment to be made, and should, in our opinion, the expense of compliance exceed the benefit of the election, we may seek permission from the IRS to revoke our Section 754 election. If permission is granted, a subsequent purchaser of common units may be allocated more income than he would have been allocated had the election not been revoked.

Tax Treatment of Operations

Accounting Method and Taxable Year. We use the year ending December 31 as our taxable year and the accrual method of accounting for federal income tax purposes. Each common unitholder will be required to include in income his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our taxable year or years ending within or with his taxable year. In addition, a common unitholder who has a taxable year different than our taxable year and who disposes of all of his common units following the close of our taxable year but before the close of his taxable year must include his share of our income, gain, loss and deduction in income for his taxable year, with the result that he will be required to include in income for his taxable year his share of more than one year of our income, gain, loss and deduction. Please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees.”

Tax Basis, Depreciation and Amortization. We use the tax basis of our assets for purposes of computing depreciation and cost recovery deductions and, ultimately, gain or loss on the disposition of these assets. The federal income tax burden associated with the difference between the fair market value of our assets and their tax basis immediately prior to an offering will be borne by our partners holding interests in us immediately prior to the time we issue common units in an offering. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction.”

To the extent allowable, we may elect to use the depreciation and cost recovery methods that will result in the largest deductions being taken in the early years after assets subject to these allowances are placed in-service. Property we subsequently acquire or construct may be depreciated using accelerated methods permitted by the Internal Revenue Code.

If we dispose of depreciable property by sale, foreclosure or otherwise, all or a portion of any gain, determined by reference to the amount of depreciation previously deducted and the nature of the property, may be subject to the recapture rules and taxed as ordinary income rather than capital gain. Similarly, a common unitholder who has taken cost recovery or depreciation deductions with respect to property we own will likely be required to recapture some or all of those deductions as ordinary income upon a sale of his interest in us. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Allocation of Income, Gain, Loss and Deduction” and “—Disposition of Common Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

The costs incurred in selling our common units (called “syndication expenses”) must be capitalized and cannot be deducted currently, ratably or upon our termination. There are uncertainties regarding the classification of costs as organization expenses, which we may be able to amortize, and as syndication expenses, which we may not amortize. The underwriting discounts and commissions we incur will be treated as syndication expenses.

Valuation and Tax Basis of Our Properties. The federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of common units will depend in part on our estimates of the relative fair market values, and the tax bases, of our assets. Although we may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we will make many of the relative fair market value estimates ourselves. These estimates and determinations of basis are subject to challenge and will not be binding on the IRS or the courts. If the estimates of fair market value or basis are later found to be incorrect, the character and amount of items of income, gain,

 

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loss or deductions previously reported by common unitholders might change, and common unitholders might be required to adjust their tax liability for prior years and incur interest and penalties with respect to those adjustments.

Disposition of Common Units

Recognition of Gain or Loss. Gain or loss will be recognized on a sale of common units equal to the difference between the common unitholder’s amount realized and the common unitholder’s tax basis for the common units sold. A common unitholder’s amount realized will be measured by the sum of the cash or the fair market value of other property received by him plus his share of our non-recourse liabilities attributable to the common units sold. Because the amount realized includes a common unitholder’s share of our non-recourse liabilities, the gain recognized on the sale of common units could result in a tax liability in excess of any cash received from the sale.

Prior distributions from us in excess of cumulative net taxable income for a common unit that decreased a common unitholder’s tax basis in that common unit will, in effect, become taxable income if the common unit is sold at a price greater than the common unitholder’s tax basis in that common unit, even if the price received is less than his original cost.

Except as noted below, gain or loss recognized by a common unitholder, other than a “dealer” in common units, on the sale or exchange of a common unit will generally be taxable as capital gain or loss. Capital gain recognized by an individual on the sale of common units held more than twelve months will generally be taxed at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to long-term capital gains. However, a portion, which will likely be substantial, of this gain or loss will be separately computed and taxed as ordinary income or loss under Section 751 of the Internal Revenue Code to the extent attributable to assets giving rise to depreciation recapture or other “unrealized receivables” or to “inventory items” we own. The term “unrealized receivables” includes potential recapture items, including depreciation recapture. Ordinary income attributable to unrealized receivables, inventory items and depreciation recapture may exceed net taxable gain realized on the sale of a common unit and may be recognized even if there is a net taxable loss realized on the sale of a common unit. Thus, a common unitholder may recognize both ordinary income and a capital loss upon a sale of common units. Net capital losses may offset capital gains and, in the case of individuals, up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year. Both ordinary income and capital gain recognized on a sale of common units may be subject to the NIIT in certain circumstances. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Tax Rates.”

The IRS has ruled that a partner who acquires interests in a partnership in separate transactions must combine those interests and maintain a single adjusted tax basis for all those interests. Upon a sale or other disposition of less than all of those interests, a portion of that tax basis must be allocated to the interests sold using an “equitable apportionment” method, which generally means that the tax basis allocated to the interest sold equals an amount that bears the same relation to the partner’s tax basis in his entire interest in the partnership as the value of the interest sold bears to the value of the partner’s entire interest in the partnership. Treasury Regulations under Section 1223 of the Internal Revenue Code allow a selling common unitholder who can identify common units transferred with an ascertainable holding period to elect to use the actual holding period of the common units transferred. Thus, according to the ruling discussed above, a common unitholder will be unable to select high or low basis common units to sell as would be the case with corporate stock, but, according to the Treasury Regulations, may designate specific common units sold for purposes of determining the holding period of common units transferred. A common unitholder electing to use the actual holding period of common units transferred must consistently use that identification method for all subsequent sales or exchanges of common units. A common unitholder considering the purchase of additional common units or a sale of common units purchased in separate transactions is urged to consult his tax advisor as to the possible consequences of this ruling and application of the Treasury Regulations.

Specific provisions of the Internal Revenue Code affect the taxation of some financial products and securities, including partnership interests, by treating a taxpayer as having sold an “appreciated” partnership

 

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interest, one in which gain would be recognized if it were sold, assigned or terminated at its fair market value, if the taxpayer or related persons enter(s) into:

 

    a short sale;

 

    an offsetting notional principal contract; or

 

    a futures or forward contract;

in each case, with respect to the partnership interest or substantially identical property.

Moreover, if a taxpayer has previously entered into a short sale, an offsetting notional principal contract or a futures or forward contract with respect to the partnership interest, the taxpayer will be treated as having sold that position if the taxpayer or a related person then acquires the partnership interest or substantially identical property. The Secretary of the Treasury is also authorized to issue regulations that treat a taxpayer that enters into transactions or positions that have substantially the same effect as the preceding transactions as having constructively sold the financial position.

Allocations Between Transferors and Transferees. In general, our taxable income or loss will be determined annually, will be prorated on a monthly basis and will be subsequently apportioned among the common unitholders in proportion to the number of common units owned by each of them as of the opening of the applicable exchange on the first business day of the month, which we refer to in this prospectus as the “Allocation Date.” However, gain or loss realized on a sale or other disposition of our assets other than in the ordinary course of business will be allocated among the common unitholders on the Allocation Date in the month in which that gain or loss is recognized. As a result, a common unitholder transferring common units may be allocated income, gain, loss and deduction realized after the date of transfer.

Although recently issued final Treasury Regulations allow publicly traded partnerships to use a similar monthly simplifying convention to allocate tax items among transferor and transferee common unitholders, these regulations do not specifically authorize all aspects of the proration method we have adopted. Accordingly, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP is unable to opine on the validity of our method of allocating income, gain, loss and deductions among transferee and transferor common unitholders. If the IRS were to successfully challenge our proration method, we may be required to change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among our common unitholders. We are authorized to revise our method of allocation between transferor and transferee common unitholders, as well as common unitholders whose interests vary during a taxable year, to conform to a method permitted under future Treasury Regulations.

A common unitholder who owns common units at any time during a quarter and who disposes of them prior to the record date set for a cash distribution for that quarter will be allocated items of our income, gain, loss and deductions attributable to that quarter but will not be entitled to receive that cash distribution.

Notification Requirements. A common unitholder who sells any of his common units, other than through a broker, generally is required to notify us in writing of that sale within 30 days after the sale (or, if earlier, January 15 of the year following the sale). A purchaser of common units who purchases common units from another common unitholder is also generally required to notify us in writing of that purchase within 30 days after the purchase. Upon receiving such notification, we are required to notify the IRS of that transaction and to furnish specified information to the transferor and transferee. Failure to notify us of a transfer of common units may, in some cases, lead to the imposition of penalties. However, these reporting requirements do not apply to a sale by an individual who is a citizen of the U.S. and who effects the sale or exchange through a broker who will satisfy such requirements.

Constructive Termination. We will be considered to have been terminated for tax purposes if there are sales or exchanges which, in the aggregate, constitute 50% or more of the total interests in our capital and profits

 

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within a 12-month period. For purposes of measuring whether the 50% threshold is reached, multiple sales of the same interest are counted only once. A constructive termination results in the closing of our taxable year for all common unitholders. In the case of a common unitholder reporting on a taxable year different from our taxable year, the closing of our taxable year may result in more than 12 months of our taxable income or loss being includable in his taxable income for the year of termination. A constructive termination occurring on a date other than December 31 will result in us filing two tax returns (and common unitholders could receive two Schedules K-1 if the relief discussed below is not available) for one fiscal year and the cost of the preparation of these returns will be borne by all common unitholders. We would be required to make new tax elections after a termination, including a new election under Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code, and a termination would result in a deferral of our deductions for depreciation. A termination could also result in penalties if we were unable to determine that the termination had occurred. Moreover, a termination might either accelerate the application of, or subject us to, any tax legislation enacted before the termination. The IRS has announced a relief procedure whereby if a publicly traded partnership that has technically terminated requests and is granted relief from the IRS, among other things, the partnership will only have to provide one Schedule K-1 to common unitholders for the fiscal year notwithstanding that two partnership tax years result from the termination.

Uniformity of Common Units

Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of common units, we must maintain uniformity of the economic and tax characteristics of the common units to a purchaser of these common units. In the absence of uniformity, we may be unable to completely comply with a number of federal income tax requirements, both statutory and regulatory. A lack of uniformity can result from a literal application of Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6). Any non-uniformity could have a negative impact on the value of the common units. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election.”

We depreciate the portion of a Section 743(b) adjustment attributable to unrealized appreciation in the value of Contributed Property, to the extent of any unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, using a rate of depreciation or amortization derived from the depreciation or amortization method and useful life applied to the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity of that property, or treat that portion as nonamortizable, to the extent attributable to property which is not amortizable, consistent with the Treasury Regulations under Section 743 of the Internal Revenue Code, even though that position may be inconsistent with Treasury Regulation Section 1.167(c)-1(a)(6), which is not expected to directly apply to a material portion of our assets. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Section 754 Election.” To the extent that the Section 743(b) adjustment is attributable to appreciation in value in excess of the unamortized Book-Tax Disparity, we will apply the rules described in the Treasury Regulations and legislative history. If we determine that this position cannot reasonably be taken, we may adopt a depreciation and amortization position under which all purchasers acquiring common units in the same month would receive depreciation and amortization deductions, whether attributable to a common basis or Section 743(b) adjustment, based upon the same applicable methods and lives as if they had purchased a direct interest in our property. If this position is adopted, it may result in lower annual depreciation and amortization deductions than would otherwise be allowable to some common unitholders and risk the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions not taken in the year that these deductions are otherwise allowable. This position will not be adopted if we determine that the loss of depreciation and amortization deductions will have a material adverse effect on the common unitholders. If we choose not to utilize this aggregate method, we may use any other reasonable depreciation and amortization method to preserve the uniformity of the intrinsic tax characteristics of any common units that would not have a material adverse effect on the common unitholders.

Our counsel, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP, is unable to opine on the validity of any of these positions. The IRS may challenge any method of depreciating the Section 743(b) adjustment described in this paragraph. If this challenge were sustained, the uniformity of common units might be affected, and the gain from the sale of common units might be increased without the benefit of additional deductions. We do not believe these allocations will affect any material items of income, gain, loss or deduction. Please read “—Disposition of Common Units—Recognition of Gain or Loss.”

 

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Tax-Exempt Organizations and Other Investors

Ownership of common units by employee benefit plans, other tax-exempt organizations, regulated investment companies, non-resident aliens, foreign corporations and other foreign persons raises issues unique to those investors and, as described below, may have substantially adverse tax consequences to them. If you are a tax-exempt entity or a non-U.S. person, you should consult your tax advisor before investing in our common units.

Employee benefit plans and most other organizations exempt from federal income tax, including individual retirement accounts and other retirement plans, are subject to federal income tax on unrelated business taxable income. Virtually all of our income allocated to a common unitholder that is a tax-exempt organization will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to it.

A regulated investment company or “mutual fund” is required to derive 90% or more of its gross income from certain permitted sources. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 generally treats net income from the ownership of publicly traded partnerships as derived from such a permitted source. We anticipate that all of our net income will be treated as derived from such a permitted source.

Non-resident aliens and foreign corporations, trusts or estates that own common units will be considered to be engaged in business in the U.S. because of the ownership of common units. As a consequence, they will be required to file federal tax returns to report their share of our income, gain, loss or deduction and pay federal income tax at regular rates on their share of our net income or gain. Moreover, under rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships, we will withhold tax at the highest applicable effective tax rate from cash distributions made quarterly to foreign common unitholders. Each foreign common unitholder must obtain a taxpayer identification number from the IRS and submit that number to our transfer agent on a Form W-8BEN, Form W-8-BEN-E or applicable substitute form in order to obtain credit for these withholding taxes. A change in applicable law may require us to change these procedures.

In addition, because a foreign corporation that owns common units will be treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business, that corporation may be subject to the U.S. branch profits tax at a rate of 30%, in addition to regular federal income tax, on its share of our income and gain, as adjusted for changes in the foreign corporation’s “U.S. net equity,” that is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business. That tax may be reduced or eliminated by an income tax treaty between the U.S. and the country in which the foreign corporate unitholder is a “qualified resident.” In addition, this type of common unitholder is subject to special information reporting requirements under Section 6038C of the Internal Revenue Code.

A foreign common unitholder who sells or otherwise disposes of a common unit will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on gain realized from the sale or disposition of that common unit to the extent the gain is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the foreign common unitholder. Under a ruling published by the IRS, interpreting the scope of “effectively connected income,” a foreign common unitholder would be considered to be engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. by virtue of the U.S. activities of the partnership, and part or all of that common unitholder’s gain would be effectively connected with that common unitholder’s indirect U.S. trade or business. However, in a recent decision, the U.S. Tax Court declined to follow this ruling and held that such gain is not effectively connected with a foreign unitholder’s U.S. trade or business and would only be taxable to the extent attributable to such unitholder’s share of the partnership’s U.S. real property interests. As this decision is still subject to appeal, its exact impact on foreign common unitholders is uncertain. Prospective unitholders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the potential impact of this decision on their investment in our common units. Apart from the ruling, a foreign common unitholder will not be taxed or subject to withholding upon the sale or disposition of a common unit if he has owned less than 5% in value of the common units during the five-year period ending on the date of the disposition and if the common units are regularly traded on an established securities market at the time of the sale or disposition.

Recent changes in law may affect certain foreign common unitholders.

 

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Administrative Matters

Information Returns and Audit Procedures. We intend to furnish to each common unitholder, within 90 days after the close of each taxable year, specific tax information, including a Schedule K-1, which describes each common unitholder’s share of our income, gain, loss and deduction for our preceding taxable year. In preparing this information, which will not be reviewed by counsel, we will take various accounting and reporting positions, some of which have been mentioned earlier, to determine each common unitholder’s share of income, gain, loss and deduction. We cannot assure common unitholders that those positions will in all cases yield a result that conforms to all of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations or administrative interpretations of the IRS.

The IRS may audit our federal income tax information returns. Neither we nor Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP can assure prospective common unitholders that the IRS will not successfully challenge the positions we adopt, and such a challenge could adversely affect the value of the common units. Publicly traded partnerships generally are treated as entities separate from their owners for purposes of federal income tax audits, judicial review of administrative adjustments by the IRS and tax settlement proceedings. The tax treatment of partnership items of income, gain, loss and deduction are determined in a partnership proceeding rather than in separate proceedings of the partners. Adjustments to items of our income, gain, loss or deduction resulting from an IRS audit may require each common unitholder to adjust a prior year’s tax liability, and possibly may result in an audit of his return. Any audit of a common unitholder’s return could result in adjustments not related to our returns as well as those related to our returns. The Internal Revenue Code requires that one partner be designated as the “Tax Matters Partner” for these purposes. Our partnership agreement names our general partner as our Tax Matters Partner.

The Tax Matters Partner has made and will make some elections on our behalf and on behalf of common unitholders. In addition, the Tax Matters Partner can extend the statute of limitations for assessment of tax deficiencies against common unitholders for items in our returns. The Tax Matters Partner may bind a common unitholder with less than a 1% profits interest in us to a settlement with the IRS unless that common unitholder elects, by filing a statement with the IRS, not to give that authority to the Tax Matters Partner. The Tax Matters Partner may seek judicial review, by which all the common unitholders are bound, of a final partnership administrative adjustment and, if the Tax Matters Partner fails to seek judicial review, judicial review may be sought by any common unitholder having at least a 1% interest in profits or by any group of common unitholders having in the aggregate at least a 5% interest in profits. However, only one action for judicial review will go forward, and each common unitholder with an interest in the outcome may participate in that action.

A common unitholder must file a statement with the IRS identifying the treatment of any item on his federal income tax return that is not consistent with the treatment of the item on our return. Intentional or negligent disregard of this consistency requirement may subject a common unitholder to substantial penalties.

Legislation applicable to partnership tax years beginning after 2017 alters the procedures for auditing large partnerships and for assessing and collecting taxes due (including any applicable penalties and interest) as a result of a partnership-level federal income tax audit. Under the new rules, unless we are eligible to (and do) elect to issue revised Schedules K-1 to our common unitholders with respect to an audited and adjusted 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 are required to make payments of taxes, penalties and interest resulting from audit adjustments, our cash available for distribution to our common unitholders might be substantially reduced. In addition, because payment would be due for the taxable year in which the audit is completed, partners during that taxable year would bear the expense of the adjustment even if they were not partners during the audited tax year. Pursuant to this new legislation, we will designate a person (our general partner) to act as the partnership representative who shall have the sole authority to act on behalf of the partnership with respect to dealings with the IRS under these new audit procedures.

 

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Nominee Reporting. Persons who hold an interest in us as a nominee for another person are required to furnish the following information to us:

 

  (a) the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the beneficial owner and the nominee;

 

  (b) a statement regarding whether the beneficial owner is:

 

  1. a person that is not a U.S. person;

 

  2. a foreign government, an international organization or any wholly owned agency or instrumentality of either of the foregoing; or

 

  3. a tax-exempt entity;

 

  (c) the amount and description of common units held, acquired or transferred for the beneficial owner; and

 

  (d) specific information including the dates of acquisitions and transfers, means of acquisitions and transfers, and acquisition cost for purchases, as well as the amount of net proceeds from sales.

Brokers and financial institutions are required to furnish additional information, including whether they are U.S. persons and specific information on common units they acquire, hold or transfer for their own account. A penalty of $250 per failure, up to a maximum of $3,000,000 per calendar year, is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code for failure to report that information to us. The nominee is required to supply the beneficial owner of the common units with the information furnished to us.

Accuracy-Related Penalties. An additional tax equal to 20% of the amount of any portion of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to one or more specified causes, including negligence or disregard of rules or regulations, substantial understatements of income tax and substantial valuation misstatements, is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code. No penalty will be imposed, however, for any portion of an underpayment if it is shown that there was a reasonable cause for the underpayment of that portion and that the taxpayer acted in good faith regarding the underpayment of that portion.

For individuals, a substantial understatement of income tax in any taxable year exists if the amount of the understatement exceeds the greater of 10% of the tax required to be shown on the return for the taxable year or $5,000 ($10,000 for most corporations). The amount of any understatement subject to penalty generally is reduced if any portion is attributable to a position adopted on the return:

 

  (1) for which there is, or was, “substantial authority;” or

 

  (2) as to which there is a reasonable basis if the pertinent facts of that position are adequately disclosed on the return.

If any item of income, gain, loss or deduction included in the distributive shares of common unitholders might result in that kind of an “understatement” of income for which no “substantial authority” exists, we must disclose the pertinent facts on our return. In addition, we will make a reasonable effort to furnish sufficient information for common unitholders to make adequate disclosure on their returns and to take other actions as may be appropriate to permit common unitholders to avoid liability for this penalty. More stringent rules apply to “tax shelters,” but we believe that neither we nor our investments, plans or arrangements constitute a tax shelter.

A substantial valuation misstatement exists if (a) the value of any property, or the adjusted basis of any property, claimed on a tax return is 150% or more of the amount determined to be the correct amount of the valuation or adjusted basis, (b) the price for any property or services (or for the use of property) claimed on any such return with respect to any transaction between persons described in Internal Revenue Code Section 482 is 200% or more (or 50% or less) of the amount determined under Section 482 to be the correct amount of such price, or (c) the net Internal Revenue Code Section 482 transfer price adjustment for the taxable year exceeds the lesser of $5 million or 10% of the taxpayer’s gross receipts.

 

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No penalty is imposed unless the portion of the underpayment attributable to a substantial valuation misstatement exceeds $5,000 ($10,000 for most corporations). If the valuation claimed on a return is 200% or more than the correct valuation, the penalty imposed increases to 40%. We do not anticipate making any valuation misstatements.

In addition, the 20% accuracy-related penalty also applies to any portion of an underpayment of tax that is attributable to transactions lacking economic substance. To the extent that such transactions are not disclosed, the penalty imposed is increased to 40%. Additionally, there is no reasonable cause defense to the imposition of this penalty to such transactions.

Reportable Transactions. If we were to engage in a “reportable transaction,” we (and possibly you and others) would be required to make a detailed disclosure of the transaction to the IRS. A transaction may be a reportable transaction based upon any of several factors, including the fact that it is a type of tax avoidance transaction publicly identified by the IRS as a “listed transaction” or that it produces certain kinds of losses in excess of $2 million in any single year, or $4 million in any combination of six successive tax years. Our participation in a reportable transaction could increase the likelihood that our federal income tax information return (and possibly your tax return) would be audited by the IRS. Please read “—Information Returns and Audit Procedures” above.

Moreover, if we were to participate in a reportable transaction with a significant purpose to avoid or evade tax, or in any listed transaction, you may be subject to the following provisions of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004:

 

    accuracy-related penalties with a broader scope, significantly narrower exceptions, and potentially greater amounts than described above at “—Accuracy-Related Penalties,”

 

    for those persons otherwise entitled to deduct interest on federal tax deficiencies, nondeductibility of interest on any resulting tax liability, and

 

    in the case of a listed transaction, an extended statute of limitations.

 

    We do not expect to engage in any “reportable transactions.”

Registration as a Tax Shelter. We registered as a “tax shelter” under the law in effect at the time of our initial public offering and were assigned a tax shelter registration number. Issuance of a tax shelter registration number to us does not indicate that investment in us or the claimed tax benefits have been reviewed, examined or approved by the IRS. The term “tax shelter” has a different meaning for this purpose than under the penalty rules described above at “—Accuracy-Related Penalties.”

State, Local, Foreign and Other Tax Considerations

In addition to federal income taxes, a common unitholder likely will be subject to other taxes, such as state, local and foreign income taxes, unincorporated business taxes, and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that may be imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we do business or own property or in which a common unitholder is a resident. Although an analysis of those various taxes is not presented here, each prospective common unitholder should consider their potential impact on his investment in us. Although you may not be required to file a return and pay taxes in some jurisdictions if your income from that jurisdiction falls below the filing and payment requirement, you will be required to file income tax returns and to pay income taxes in many other jurisdictions in which we do business or own property and may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements. In some jurisdictions, tax losses may not produce a tax benefit in the year incurred and may not be available to offset income in subsequent taxable years. Some of the jurisdictions may require us, or we may elect, to withhold a percentage of income from amounts to be distributed to a common unitholder who is not a resident of the jurisdiction. Withholding, the amount of which may be greater or less than a particular common unitholder’s income tax liability to the jurisdiction, generally does not relieve a nonresident common

 

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unitholder from the obligation to file an income tax return. Amounts withheld will be treated as if distributed to common unitholders for purposes of determining the amounts distributed by us. Please read “—Tax Consequences of Common Unit Ownership—Entity-Level Collections.” Based on current law and our estimate of our future operations, our general partner anticipates that any amounts required to be withheld will not be material.

It is the responsibility of each common unitholder to investigate the legal and tax consequences, under the laws of pertinent jurisdictions, of his investment in us. Accordingly, each prospective common unitholder is urged to consult, and depend on, his own tax counsel or other advisor with regard to those matters. Further, it is the responsibility of each common unitholder to file all state, local and foreign tax returns, as well as U.S. federal tax returns, that may be required of him. Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP has not rendered an opinion on the state, local or foreign or alternative minimum tax consequences of an investment in us.

 

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INVESTMENT IN NOBLE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP BY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS

An investment in us, including in our common units, if any, by an employee benefit plan is subject to additional considerations to the extent that the investments by these plans are subject to the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), restrictions imposed by Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code or provisions under any federal, state, local, non-U.S. or other laws or regulations that are similar to such provisions of the Internal Revenue Code or ERISA (collectively, “Similar Laws”). For these purposes, the term “employee benefit plan” includes, but is not limited to, certain qualified pension, profit-sharing and stock bonus plans, Keogh plans, simplified employee pension plans and tax deferred annuities or individual retirement accounts or annuities (“IRAs”) and other accounts established or maintained by an employer or employee organization, and entities whose underlying assets are considered to include “plan assets” of such plans, accounts and arrangements (collectively, “Plans”). Plans that are governmental plans (as defined in Section 3(32) of ERISA), “non-electing” church plans (as defined in Section 3(33) of ERISA or Section 4975(g)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code) and non-U.S. plans are not subject to the requirements of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code but may be subject to similar prohibitions under other applicable Similar Laws.

Incident to making an investment in us, among other things, consideration should be given by an employee benefit plan or other arrangement that is subject to Similar Laws to:

 

    whether the investment is prudent under Section 404(a)(1)(B) of ERISA and any applicable Similar Laws;

 

    whether in making the investment, that plan will satisfy the diversification requirements of Section 404(a)(l)(C) of ERISA and any other applicable Similar Laws;

 

    whether the investment will result in recognition of unrelated business taxable income by the plan and, if so, the potential after-tax investment return; and

 

    whether making such an investment will comply with the delegation of control and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and any other applicable Similar Laws.

In addition, the person who has discretionary authority or control over the management or disposition of the assets of a plan or other arrangements, often called a fiduciary, should determine whether an investment in us is authorized by the appropriate governing instrument and is a proper investment for the plan or other arrangement.

Section 406 of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibit certain employee benefit plans, and Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits IRAs and certain other arrangements, from engaging in specified transactions involving “plan assets” with parties that are “parties in interest” under ERISA or “disqualified persons” under the Internal Revenue Code with respect to the plan or other arrangement that is covered by ERISA or the Internal Revenue Code unless an exemption is available. A party in interest or disqualified person who engages in a non-exempt prohibited transaction may be subject to excise taxes, penalties and liabilities under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the fiduciary of a Plan subject to ERISA that engages in such a non-exempt prohibited transaction may be subject to excise taxes, penalties and liabilities under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code. In the case of an IRA, the occurrence of a prohibited transaction could cause the IRA to lose its tax-exempt status.

In addition to considering whether investing in us is a prohibited transaction, a fiduciary of an employee benefit plan or other arrangement should consider whether the plan or arrangement will, by investing in us, be deemed to own an undivided interest in our assets, with the result that our general partner also would be considered to be a fiduciary of the plan and our operations would be subject to the regulatory restrictions of ERISA, including its prohibited transaction rules and/or the prohibited transaction rules of the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA and any other applicable Similar Laws.

 

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The U.S. Department of Labor regulations and Section 3(42) of ERISA provide guidance with respect to whether the assets of an entity in which employee benefit plans or other arrangements described above acquire equity interests would be deemed “plan assets” under some circumstances. Under these regulations, an entity’s assets would not be considered to be “plan assets” if, among other things:

 

    the equity interests acquired by employee benefit plans or other arrangements described above are publicly offered securities; i.e., the equity interests are widely held by 100 or more investors independent of the issuer and each other, freely transferable and registered under some provisions of the federal securities laws;

 

    the entity is an “operating company,”—i.e., it is primarily engaged in the production or sale of a product or service other than the investment of capital either directly or through a majority owned subsidiary or subsidiaries; or

 

    less than 25% of the value of each class of equity interest, disregarding any such interests held by our general partner, its affiliates, and some other persons, is held by the employee benefit plans referred to above, IRAs and other employee benefit plans or arrangements subject to ERISA or Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code.

We expect that our assets should not be considered “plan assets” under these regulations because the investment in our limited partner interests should satisfy the requirements in the first bullet point above.

The foregoing discussion is general in nature and not intended to be all-inclusive (nor should it be construed as legal advice) and is based on the laws as of the date hereof. Plan fiduciaries contemplating a purchase of limited partner interests should consult with their own counsel regarding the consequences of such purchase under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code and other Similar Laws in light of possible personal liability for any breach of fiduciary duties and the imposition of serious penalties on persons who engage in prohibited transactions under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or other Similar Laws. Due to the complexity of these rules and the excise taxes, penalties and liabilities that may be imposed upon persons involved in non-exempt prohibited transactions, it is particularly important that fiduciaries, or other persons considering purchasing limited partner interests on behalf of, or with the assets of, any Plan consult with their own counsel regarding the potential applicability of ERISA, Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code and Similar Laws to such investment and whether an exemption would be applicable to the purchase of limited partner interests. The acquisition, holding and, to the extent relevant, disposition of limited partner interests by any Plan is in no respect by us or any of our affiliates or representatives a determination or representation that such an investment meets any or all relevant legal requirements with respect to investments by such Plans generally or any particular Plan, or that such an investment is appropriate for Plans generally or any particular Plan.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may use this prospectus, any accompanying prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus to sell the common units from time to time in one or more transactions as follows: (1) through agents, (2) through underwriters or dealers, (3) directly to one or more purchasers, (4) pursuant to delayed delivery contracts or forward contracts, (5) through a combination of these methods or (6) through any other method permitted by applicable law.

By Agents

Common units may be sold, from time to time, through agents designated by us. Unless otherwise indicated in a prospectus supplement, the agents will agree to use their reasonable best efforts to solicit purchases for the period of their appointment.

By Underwriters or Dealers

If underwriters are used in the sale, the offered common units will be acquired by the underwriters for their own account. The underwriters may resell the common units in one or more transactions, including negotiated transactions, at a fixed public offering price or at varying prices determined at the time of resale. The obligations of the underwriters to purchase the offered common units will be subject to certain conditions. The underwriters will be obligated to purchase all the offered common units if any of the securities are purchased. Any initial public offering price and any discounts or concessions allowed or re-allowed or paid to dealers may be changed from time to time.

If we utilize a dealer in the sale, we will sell the common units to the dealer, as principal. The dealer may then resell the common units to the public at varying prices to be determined by the dealer at the time of resale.

To the extent that we make sales through one or more underwriters or agents in at-the-market offerings, we will do so pursuant to the terms of a sales agency financing agreement or other at-the-market offering arrangement between us and the underwriters or agents. If we engage in at-the-market sales pursuant to any such agreement, we will issue and sell common units through one or more underwriters or agents, which may act on an agency basis or on a principal basis. During the term of any such agreement, we may sell common units on a daily basis in exchange transactions or otherwise as we agree with the underwriters or agents. The agreement will provide that any common units sold will be sold at prices related to the then prevailing market prices for such securities. Therefore, exact figures regarding proceeds that will be raised or commissions to be paid cannot be determined at this time. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, we also may agree to sell, and the relevant underwriters or agents may agree to solicit offers to purchase, blocks of common units. The terms of each such agreement will be set forth in more detail in the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus. In the event that any underwriter or agent acts as principal, or any broker-dealer acts as underwriter, it may engage in certain transactions that stabilize, maintain, or otherwise affect the price of common units. We will describe any such activities in the prospectus supplement or any related free writing prospectus relating to the transaction.

Direct Sales

Common units may also be sold directly by us from time to time. In this case, no underwriters or agents would be involved. We may use electronic media, including the Internet, to sell common units directly. Offers to purchase common units may be solicited directly by us, directly to institutional investors or others, who may be deemed to be underwriters within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 with respect to the resale thereof. The terms of any such sales will be described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto.

Because the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., or FINRA, views our common units as interests in a direct participation program, any offering of common units under the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part will be made in compliance with Rule 2310 of the FINRA Conduct Rules.

 

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Delayed Delivery Contracts or Forward Contracts

If indicated in the prospectus supplement, we will authorize agents, underwriters or dealers to solicit offers to purchase common units from us at the public offering price set forth in the prospectus supplement pursuant to delayed delivery contracts or forward contracts providing for payment or delivery on a specified date in the future at prices determined as described in the prospectus supplement. Such contracts will be subject only to those conditions set forth in the prospectus supplement, and the prospectus supplement will set forth the commission payable for solicitation of such contracts.

General Information

We may set the price or prices of our common units at:

 

    market prices prevailing at the time of sale;

 

    prices related to market price; or

 

    a negotiated price.

Underwriters, dealers or agents that participate in the distribution of the common units may be underwriters as defined in the Securities Act, and any discounts or commissions received by them from us and any profit on the resale of the common units by them may be treated as underwriting discounts and commissions under the Securities Act. Any underwriters or agents will be identified and their compensation will be described in a prospectus supplement.

We may have agreements with agents, underwriters or dealers to indemnify them against certain specified liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. Agents, underwriters or dealers, or their affiliates, may be our customers or may engage in transactions with or perform services for us in the ordinary course of business.

To the extent required, this prospectus may be amended or supplemented from time to time to describe a particular plan of distribution. The place and time of delivery for the common units in respect of which this prospectus is delivered will be set forth in the accompanying prospectus supplement.

In connection with offerings of common units under the registration statement, of which this prospectus forms a part, and in compliance with applicable law, underwriters, brokers or dealers may engage in transactions that stabilize or maintain the market price of the common units at levels above those that might otherwise prevail in the open market. Specifically, underwriters, brokers or dealers may over-allot in connection with offerings, creating a short position in the common units for their own accounts. For the purpose of covering a syndicate short position or stabilizing the price of the common units, the underwriters, brokers or dealers may place bids for the common units or effect purchases of the common units in the open market. Finally, the underwriters may impose a penalty whereby selling concessions allowed to syndicate members or other brokers or dealers for distribution of the common units in offerings may be reclaimed by the syndicate if the syndicate repurchases previously distributed common units in transactions to cover short positions, in stabilization transactions or otherwise. These activities may stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the market price of the common units, which may be higher than the price that might otherwise prevail in the open market, and, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time.

In compliance with FINRA guidelines, the maximum consideration or discount to be received by any FINRA member or independent broker dealer may not exceed 8% of the aggregate amount of the securities offered pursuant to this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP will pass upon certain legal matters relating to the issuance and sale of the securities offered hereby on behalf of Noble Midstream Partners LP. Additional legal matters may be passed upon for us or any underwriters, dealers or agents, by counsel that we will name in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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EXPERTS

The consolidated financial statements of Noble Midstream Partners LP (including its predecessor for accounting purposes) and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016, have been incorporated by reference herein in reliance upon the report of KPMG LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, incorporated by reference herein, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

The audit report covering the December 31, 2016 consolidated financial statements refers to a change in the method of computing depreciation to the straight-line method of depreciation.

 

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PART II

INFORMATION NOT REQUIRED IN PROSPECTUS

 

Item 14. Other Expenses of Issuance and Distribution

The following is an estimate of the expenses (all of which are to be paid by the registrant) that we may incur in connection with the securities being registered hereby.

 

SEC registration fee

   $ 15,562.50  

FINRA filing fee

   $ 19,250.00  

Printing expenses

   $ (1

Legal fees and expenses

   $ (1

Accounting fees and expenses

   $ (1

Miscellaneous

   $ (1
  

 

 

 

Total

   $ (1
  

 

 

 

 

(1) These fees are calculated based on the number of common units offered and the number of issuances and accordingly cannot be estimated at this time.

 

Item 15. Indemnification of Directors and Officers

Noble Midstream Partners LP

Subject to any terms, conditions or restrictions set forth in our partnership agreement, Section 17-108 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act empowers a Delaware limited partnership to indemnify and hold harmless any partner or other person from and against any and all claims and demands whatsoever. The section of the prospectus entitled “Our Partnership Agreement—Indemnification” discloses that we will generally indemnify officers, directors and affiliates of the general partner to the fullest extent permitted by the law against all losses, claims, damages or similar events and is incorporated herein by this reference.

Noble Midstream GP LLC

Subject to any terms, conditions or restrictions set forth in our general partner’s limited liability company agreement, Section 18-108 of the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act empowers a Delaware limited liability company to indemnify and hold harmless any member or manager or other person from and against any and all claims and demands whatsoever.

Under the limited liability agreement of our general partner, in most circumstances, our general partner will indemnify the following persons, to the fullest extent permitted by law, from and against any and all losses, claims, damages, liabilities (joint or several), expenses (including legal fees and expenses), judgments, fines, penalties, interest, settlements or other amounts arising from any and all claims, demands, actions, suits or proceedings (whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative):

 

    any person who is or was an affiliate of our general partner (other than us and our subsidiaries);

 

    any person who is or was a member, partner, officer, director, employee, agent or trustee of our general partner or any affiliate of our general partner;

 

    any person who is or was serving at the request of our general partner or any affiliate of our general partner as an officer, director, employee, member, partner, agent, fiduciary or trustee of another person; and

 

    any person designated by our general partner.

 

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Directors’ and Officers’ Liability Insurance

Noble has purchased insurance covering the general partner’s officers and directors against liabilities asserted and expenses incurred in connection with their activities as officers and directors of the general partner or any of its direct or indirect subsidiaries.

Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933 may be permitted to directors, officers or persons controlling the registrant pursuant to the foregoing provisions, the registrant has been informed that in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Act and is therefore unenforceable.

 

Item 16. Exhibits

 

  (a) Exhibits

A list of exhibits filed with this registration statement on Form S-3 is set forth on the Exhibit Index and is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Item 17. Undertakings

 

(a) The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes:

(1) To file, during any period in which offers or sales are being made, a post-effective amendment to this registration statement:

(i) To include any prospectus required by section 10(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933;

(ii) To reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of the registration statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in the registration statement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any increase or decrease in volume of securities offered (if the total dollar value of securities offered would not exceed that which was registered) and any deviation from the low or high end of the estimated maximum offering range may be reflected in the form of prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) if, in the aggregate, the changes in volume and price represent no more than a 20% change in the maximum aggregate offering price set forth in the “Calculation of Registration Fee” table in the effective registration statement; and

(iii) To include any material information with respect to the plan of distribution not previously disclosed in the registration statement or any material change to such information in the registration statement;

provided, however, that paragraphs (a)(1)(i), (a)(1)(ii) and (a)(1)(iii) do not apply if the information required to be included in a post-effective amendment by those paragraphs is contained in reports filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission by the registrant pursuant to section 13 or section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are incorporated by reference in the registration statement, or is contained in a form of prospectus filed pursuant to Rule 424(b) that is part of the registration statement.

(2) That, for the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each such post-effective amendment shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(3) To remove from registration by means of a post-effective amendment any of the securities being registered which remain unsold at the termination of the offering.

 

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(4) That, for the purpose of determining liability under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser:

(i) Each prospectus filed by the registrant pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3) shall be deemed to be part of the registration statement as of the date the filed prospectus was deemed part of and included in the registration statement; and

(ii) Each prospectus required to be filed pursuant to Rule 424(b)(2), (b)(5) or (b)(7) as part of a registration statement in reliance on Rule 430B relating to an offering made pursuant to Rule 415(a)(1)(i), (vii) or (x) for the purpose of providing the information required by section 10(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 shall be deemed to be part of and included in the registration statement as of the earlier of the date such form of prospectus is first used after effectiveness or the date of the first contract of sale of securities in the offering described in the prospectus. As provided in Rule 430B, for liability purposes of the issuer and any person that is at that date an underwriter, such date shall be deemed to be a new effective date of the registration statement relating to the securities in the registration statement to which the prospectus relates, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof. Provided, however, that no statement made in a registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement or made in a document incorporated or deemed incorporated by reference into the registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement will, as to a purchaser with a time of contract of sale prior to such effective date, supersede or modify any statement that was made in the registration statement or prospectus that was part of the registration statement or made in any such document immediately prior to such effective date.

(5) That, for the purpose of determining liability of the registrant under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser in the initial distribution of the securities, the undersigned registrant undertakes that in a primary offering of securities of the undersigned registrant pursuant to this registration statement, regardless of the underwriting method used to sell the securities to the purchaser, if the securities are offered or sold to such purchaser by means of any of the following communications, the undersigned registrant will be a seller to the purchaser and will be considered to offer or sell such securities to such purchaser:

(i) Any preliminary prospectus or prospectus of the undersigned registrant relating to the offering required to be filed pursuant to Rule 424;

(ii) Any free writing prospectus relating to the offering prepared by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant or used or referred to by such undersigned registrant;

(iii) The portion of any other free writing prospectus relating to the offering containing material information about the undersigned registrant or its securities provided by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant; and

(iv) Any other communication that is an offer in the offering made by the undersigned registrant to the purchaser.

 

(b) The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that, for purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each filing of the registrant’s annual report pursuant to section 13(a) or section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (and, where applicable, each filing of an employee benefit plan’s annual report pursuant to section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) that is incorporated by reference in the registration statement shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

 

(c)

Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933 may be permitted to directors, officers and controlling persons of the registrant pursuant to the foregoing provisions, or otherwise, the registrant has been advised that in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Act and is, therefore, unenforceable. In the event that a claim for indemnification against such liabilities (other than the payment by the registrant of

 

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  expenses incurred or paid by a director, officer or controlling person of the registrant in the successful defense of any action, suit or proceeding) is asserted by such director, officer or controlling person in connection with the securities being registered, the registrant will, unless in the opinion of its counsel the matter has been settled by controlling precedent, submit to a court of appropriate jurisdiction the question whether such indemnification by it is against public policy as expressed in the Act and will be governed by the final adjudication of such issue.

 

(d) The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that:

(i) For purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, the information omitted from the form of prospectus filed as part of this registration statement in reliance upon Rule 430A and contained in a form of prospectus filed by the registrant pursuant to Rule 424(b)(1) or (4) or 497(h) under the Securities Act shall be deemed to be part of this registration statement as of the time it was declared effective.

(ii) For the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each post-effective amendment that contains a form of prospectus shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

 

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EXHIBIT INDEX

 

Exhibit
Number

  

Exhibit

  1.1**    Form of Underwriting Agreement
  3.1    Certificate of Limited Partnership of the Registrant (filed as Exhibit 3.1 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-207560) filed October 22, 2015 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.2    Amendment to the Certificate of Limited Partnership of the Registrant (filed as Exhibit 3.2 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-207560) filed October 22, 2015 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.3    Amendment to the Certificate of Limited Partnership of the Registrant (filed as Exhibit 3.3 to Amendment No.  1 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-207560) filed November 6, 2015 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.4    First Amended and Restated Agreement of Limited Partnership of the Registrant (filed as Exhibit 3.1 to the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K (Date of Event: September 14, 2016) filed September 20, 2016 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.5    Certificate of Formation of Noble Midstream GP LLC (filed as Exhibit 3.4 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-207560) filed October 22, 2015 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.6    Amendment to Certificate of Formation of Noble Midstream GP LLC (filed as Exhibit 3.5 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form S-1 (Registration No. 333-207560) filed October 22, 2015 and incorporated herein by reference).
  3.7    First Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Agreement of Noble Midstream GP LLC (filed as Exhibit 3.2 to the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K (Date of Event: September 14, 2016) filed September 20, 2016 and incorporated herein by reference).
  4.1    Specimen Unit Certificate for Common Units (Included as Exhibit A to Exhibit 3.4 above)
  5.1*    Opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP as to the legality of the securities being registered
  8.1*    Opinion of Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP relating to tax matters
23.1*    Consent of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm—KPMG LLP
23.2**    Consent of Andrews Kurth Kenyon (contained in Exhibit 5.1)
23.3**    Consent of Andrews Kurth Kenyon (contained in Exhibit 8.1)
24.1    Powers of Attorney (included on the signature page to this registration statement)

 

* Indicates exhibits filed herewith.
** To be filed by amendment or incorporated by reference in connection with the offering of securities.

 

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the registrant has duly caused this registration statement to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized, in the City of Houston, State of Texas, on October 31, 2017.

 

NOBLE MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP
By:  

Noble Midstream GP LLC,

its general partner

By:  

/s/ Terry R. Gerhart

Name:   Terry R. Gerhart
Title:   Chief Executive Officer

POWER OF ATTORNEY

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that each person whose signature appears below constitutes and appoints Terry R. Gerhart and John F. Bookout, IV, or each of them, as his or her true and lawful attorneys-in-fact and agents, with full power of substitution and resubstitution, for him or her and in his or her name, place and stead, in any and all capacities, to file and sign any and all amendments, including post-effective amendments and any registration statement for the same offering that is to be effective under Rule 462(b) of the Securities Act, to this registration statement, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, granting unto said attorneys-in-fact and agents, full power and authority to do and perform each and every act and thing requisite and necessary to be done in connection therewith as fully to all intents and purposes as he or she might or could do in person, hereby ratifying and confirming all that said attorneys-in-fact and agents, or their substitute or substitutes may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue hereof. This power of attorney shall be governed by and construed with the laws of the State of Delaware and applicable federal securities laws.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, this Registration Statement has been signed below by the following persons in the capacities and the dates indicated.

 

Signature

  

Title

 

Date

/s/ Terry R. Gerhart

Terry R. Gerhart

   Chief Executive Officer and Director (Principal Executive Officer)   October 31, 2017

/s/ John F. Bookout, IV

John F. Bookout, IV

  

Chief Financial Officer

(Principal Financial Officer)

  October 31, 2017

/s/ Thomas W. Christensen

Thomas W. Christensen

   Chief Accounting Officer (Principal Accounting Officer)   October 31, 2017

/s/ Kenneth M. Fisher

Kenneth M. Fisher

   Chairman of the Board of Directors   October 31, 2017

/s/ Charles J. Rimer

Charles J. Rimer

   Director   October 31, 2017

/s/ Martin Salinas, Jr.

Martin Salinas, Jr.

   Director   October 31, 2017

 

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Signature

  

Title

 

Date

/s/ Hallie A. Vanderhider

Hallie A. Vanderhider

   Director   October 31, 2017

/s/ Andrew E. Viens

Andrew E. Viens

   Director   October 31, 2017

/s/ Gary W. Willingham

Gary W. Willingham

   Director   October 31, 2017

 

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