U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 12 mins

Edited Transcript of EQM earnings conference call or presentation 30-Apr-19 1:00pm GMT

Q1 2019 EQM Midstream Partners LP and Equitrans Midstream Corp Earnings Call

Pittsburgh, Apr 30, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of EQM Midstream Partners LP earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* Diana M. Charletta

Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO

* Janice Brenner

* Nathan Tetlow

Equitrans Midstream Corporation - VP of Corporate Development & IR

* Nathan Tetlow

EQM Midstream Partners, LP - VP of Corporate Development & IR

* Thomas F. Karam

Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Alexis Stephen Kania

Wolfe Research, LLC - Utilities SVP

* Christopher Paul Tillett

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Daniel Eric Lungo

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Research Analyst

* David Meagher Amoss

Heikkinen Energy Advisors, LLC - Research Analyst

* Derek Bryant Walker

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP

* Jeremy Bryan Tonet

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Spiro Michael Dounis

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director

* Timm Axel Schneider

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD

* Torrey Joseph Schultz

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Vikram Bagri

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning. My name is Sharyn, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I'd like to welcome everyone to the ETRN and EQM Q1 2019 Earnings Call. (Operator Instructions)

Mr. Nate Tetlow, Vice President, Investor Relations, you may begin your conference.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nathan Tetlow, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - VP of Corporate Development & IR [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you. Good morning, and welcome to the First Quarter 2019 Earnings Call for Equitrans Midstream and EQM Midstream Partners. A replay of this call will be available for 14 days beginning this evening. The phone number for the replay is (855) 859-2056 and the conference ID is 6365419.

Today's call may contain forward-looking statements related to future events and expectations. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements are listed in today's news release and under risk factors in both ETRN and EQM's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, both of which are filed with the SEC and as updated by any subsequent Form 10-Qs. Today's call may also contain certain non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to this morning's news release and our investor presentation for important disclosures regarding such measures, including reconciliations to the most comparable GAAP financial measure.

Joining me on the call today are Tom Karam, President and CEO; Diana Charletta, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Janice Brenner, Treasurer. Kirk Oliver, our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, is traveling and will not be able to join us today. After our prepared remarks, we will open the call to questions.

With that, I'll turn it over to Tom.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Nate. Good morning, everyone. This morning, EQM and E-Train reported strong first quarter results, which were ahead of our guidance. EQM reported adjusted EBITDA of $332 million and net income attributable to EQM of $252 million. Janice Brenner, who's ably standing in for Kirk Oliver, who's traveling today, will provide more detail behind those numbers shortly.

During the first quarter, we took quick action on our commitment to simplify our structure and enhanced our asset base through a strategic bolt-on acquisition. In late February, we closed the simplification transaction. This included exchanging the IDRs and economic GP interest for 80 million newly issued EQM common units and 7 million newly issued EQM Class B units and a noneconomic GP interest.

In March, we announced the strategic acquisition of a 60% interest in Eureka Midstream and a 100% interest in Hornet Midstream. And in early April, we closed both the acquisition and the associated $1.2 billion convertible preferred issuance associated with the deal.

We had the opportunity to further discuss the strategic rationale for this deal with many of you previously. As mentioned, the assets are a perfect fit with the existing EQM footprint. The systems extend our reach into core wet Marcellus and dry Utica acreage. And most important, our teams know the assets, the customers and the resource. The assets are backed by minimum volume commitments, which represent approximately 50% of the current throughput. This mix is consistent with the current gathering profile of our assets.

Since closing the transaction, we've been working to integrate the acquired assets. The strategic combination of the acquired assets and our existing EQM systems will provide significant long-term commercial opportunities across our water-gathering and transmission businesses. We remain committed to leveraging our assets to become the low-cost midstream provider in the A basin.

And with that, I will turn the call over to Janice, who will discuss the financial results, and then Diana will give an operations update and I'll come back for some concluding remarks and to answer questions. Janice?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Janice Brenner, [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Tom, and good morning, everyone. Before discussing the financial results, I want to remind you of one accounting item. EQM's first quarter 2018 results have been recast to include the results of Rice Midstream Partners, the Olympus gathering system and 75% of the Strike Force gathering system, each of which came under common control late in 2017.

Now on to the results. EQM reported first quarter 2019 adjusted EBITDA of $332 million, distributable cash flow of $267 million and net income attributable to EQM of $252 million. E-Train reported net income attributable to ETRN of $56 million.

For the first quarter of 2019, EQM operating revenues were $390 million, an increase of $19 million versus the prior year quarter. The increase was primarily related to higher contracted firm transmission and gathering capacities, and it's partially offset by lower water services revenue.

For the quarter, EQM generated approximately 90% of transmission operating revenue and 49% of gathering operating revenue from firm reservation fees. EQM's first quarter operating expenses were $122 million, an increase of $17 million from the prior year quarter. Separation and other transaction costs accounted for $4 million of the increase. The remaining increase was primarily related to higher system throughput and additional assets placed in service, which is consistent with the growth in the business.

For the first quarter of 2019, water EBITDA was approximately $8 million. It is important to note that the pace of our water EBITDA is dependent on the pace of well completion factors. Based on the timing of customer well schedules, we expect that the majority of 2019 projected Water EBITDA will be realized in the second half of the year.

For the first quarter of 2019, EQM will pay a quarterly cash distribution of $1.145 per common unit, which will be paid on May 14 to unitholders of record at the close of business on May 3. We continue to target a 6% annual distribution growth rate at EQM.

Now moving to ETRN. During the quarter, ETRN directly incurred $5 million of expenses, which were related to the separation from EQT and other transactions. We expect this to be the last quarter that EQM and ETRN will report nonrecurring expenses related to the separation from EQT.

For the first quarter of 2019, ETRN will receive $134 million in cash from its ownership in EQM. ETRN declared a dividend of $0.45 per share for the first quarter, which will be paid on May 23 to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 14. During 2019, ETRN will pay a quarterly dividend of $0.45 per share, resulting in an annual dividend of $1.80 per share. We continue to target an annual dividend growth rate of 8% at E-Train.

In terms of liquidity, EQM had about $1 billion drawn on its $3 billion credit facility at the end of the first quarter. So we remain in a good liquidity position to fund our organic growth projects.

Lastly, we updated our guidance this morning to include our projections for the Eureka Midstream and Hornet Midstream acquisitions. For the second quarter of 2019, we are forecasting EQM adjusted EBITDA of $305 million to $325 million and net income attributable to EQM of $200 million to $220 million. Our forecast is consistent with the expected quarterly production cadence announced last week by our largest customer, which includes a sequential production decline in the second quarter followed by production increases in Q3 and Q4.

Additionally, our transmission and storage business provides seasonal services to utility customers that have peak revenue during the first quarter. We expect revenue from these seasonal contracts to be lower in the second quarter by approximately $25 million versus the first quarter.

I will now turn the call over to Diana for the operations update.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Janice, and good morning, everyone. The beginning of 2019 has proven to be an exciting and busy time for us. Let's start with the acquisition of the Eureka and Hornet Midstream systems. Although the time frame from the announcement of the acquisition to closing was faster than most deals, our team did a great job managing the due diligence and integration preparation while also continuing to operate our existing EQM assets safely and efficiently. We are currently integrating the acquired assets with our existing EQM systems, and we see significant value creation from the combined asset footprint.

There are 2 upsides that I want to highlight. First, the assets will provide producers with the ability to wheel gas around the system and reach high-liquidity areas such as Clarington, Ohio; Mobley, West Virginia; and eventually, MVP and MVP Southgate.

Second, we intend to leverage our water business to service the producers behind the systems for water delivery and eventually provide produced water solutions.

Moving on to the execution of our large growth projects. Let's start with MVP. During the first quarter, we maintained the scale-back pipeline construction effort, which was consistent with our plan for the winter month. Currently, total project work is about 80% complete, which includes the 3 compressor stations and related facilities. At this point, while the completion of our project by year-end may appear unlikely, a narrow path continues to exist, and the MVP JV is targeting a full in-service date during the fourth quarter. We are working closely with various agencies to address the outstanding issues in the time frames we have outlined previously, which would allow us to attain a fourth quarter 2019 in-service date. We expect to have more definitive information regarding permit resolution in the next few months.

Moving on to MVP Southgate. On March 22, FERC issued a notice of schedule for the project, which includes the expected delivery of the final environmental impact statement in December of 2019. As a reminder, the project is a 70-mile extension from MVP that will transport gas to points in North Carolina and is backed by a $300 million a day commitment from PSNC Energy. Subject to FERC approval, the project has a targeted in-service date during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Moving on to our plan to integrate and optimize our Pennsylvania gathering system. We finished the hydraulic study and the project design is now complete. We have been working with our largest customer to construct the gathering and water agreement that upgrades the midstream services, creates per unit cost reductions for our customer and unlocks latent system capacity. As a reminder, the system integration is expected to result in capital avoidance of approximately $300 million to $500 million over 3- to 5-year period.

In terms of our water business, we continue to expand our freshwater services in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Additionally, we are committed to developing a produced water system for our customers. The basin needs a scalable solution since the majority of produced water is trucked. We are conducting comprehensive planning and analysis for a pipeline solutions for produced water. We view produced water similar to a gas-gathering business as produced water has a predictable cash flow stream that can facilitate long-term fixed fee contracts. We are excited about this potential produced water solution and expect to roll out a detailed plan later this year.

I will now turn the call back to Tom.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Diana. So you can see, we're off to an encouraging start in 2019. As we turn our own path for consistent growth, we're doing so in an environment of moderated production growth and a focus on cash flow by A basin producers. Over the long term, this new paradigm is good for the industry. We expect that the long-term value creators will be the midstream companies that can consistently be the low-cost service provider. This is what we strive to do every day.

First quarter results are a good example of our focus on cost controls, albeit over a short period of time. As expected, gathering volumes decreased from the fourth quarter of 2018, consistent with the production cadence of our producer customers. However, we were able to manage the variations in volumes and still deliver strong results by keeping a close eye on our operations and maintenance expenses and our SG&A expenses as we progress through the quarter.

Beyond cost controls, our concentrated footprint allows us to operate efficiently. Our contract structure mitigates variability to our cash flows, and the rock under our assets is among the most prolific in the world. We are confident that the team we have in place is very capable of operating and executing in this new cycle.

So in closing, we've been very transparent regarding our strategy, and we will continue to be. We completed a bolt-on acquisition, which strengthens our growth profile and provides additional commercial opportunities. We are constantly working to be a solutions partner for our customers, and we are confident that our leading asset footprint and key growth projects will allow us to generate long-term shareholder value.

With that, we'll be happy to take your questions.

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from Jeremy Tonet with JPMorgan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeremy Bryan Tonet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just want to start off with the change in guidance here. I was just wondering if this solely reflects the acquisition and the drop-down that you announced there? Or are there other kind of factors in play that we should be thinking about?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, I think it's exactly what you said. It's just reflecting the folding end of the acquisition into our guidance numbers.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeremy Bryan Tonet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Great. And with Eureka, how should we think about the NCI in the future there if that consolidates the EBITDA number? How big is that? Or what's the trajectory for when we're modeling there?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nathan Tetlow, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - VP of Corporate Development & IR [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Jeremy, this is Nate. You're correct, we will, for GAAP purposes, be consolidating. We will have the 60% ownership. So we'll just be backing out 45% of the net income of the JV per quarter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeremy Bryan Tonet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And with the water there, just want to -- I wonder if you can elaborate a bit more on how -- I see you guys kind of hitting your guidance there, flowing in over the balance of the year. First quarter was a very small percentage. Appreciate it's lumpy there, but it seems like there's a lot of ground to cover. How do you think about that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We planned first quarter to be low. We're really weighted towards the third and fourth quarter with our number of completion, but it is lumpy based on the completions of the well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeremy Bryan Tonet, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And then just the last one, if I could. With MVP, just wondering if you could update us on the options that you talked about with a bit more detail. Any resolution between the Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, the different departments there as far as the right of way to the National Park Service land?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So Jeremy, there's no resolution at this point. We continue to interact with the agencies in a very productive manner on a regular basis to continue to explore the avenues that we've talked about before. There is no real change in our guidance. I think what we're acknowledging is the passage of time here where we've said before that the next inflection point is the issuance of the West Virginia 401 permit and the Nationwide 12, which, last week, I think, on April 24, West Virginia submitted the responses to the comments on the new regs to the EPA, which now has to consent to the new regs and then forward that consent to the Army Corps for the issuance of the 401 and the Nationwide 12 Permit, which we've all along said is some time in this summer window because -- again, just to reiterate, we predicated the 4Q '19 on 3 windows of issuance: the 401 Nationwide 12, which I just talked about; the reissuance of a permit from the Forest Service as it relates to the erosion and sedimentation control in the Jefferson National Forest, and we're aware that they continue to work on that; and then the resolution around the Appalachian Trail. So we really have no further updates other than we would guide you toward the next inflection point being the issuance of that 401 permit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You next question comes from Spiro Dounis with Crédit Suisse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Spiro Michael Dounis, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I start off. I think EQT mentioned last week renegotiating some of the midstream costs lower and potentially providing some additional business to EQM as an offset. Just curious from the EQM perspective, how should we think about the impact here? And would the goal more or less be keep guidance stable while extending contracts? Or just how to think about that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Spiro, I didn't have the chance to listen to the EQT call. We've been pretty consistent with the way we've described our discussions with them, in that the goal here is to figure out a global solution, which would create lower per unit cost on their standpoint, some certainty and broader business on our standpoint particularly as it relates to the water. The foundation of all of the conversations have been that, from the gas standpoint, that starting point is a revenue-neutral output for us. So we think that there's a lot of opportunity for us to reach one agreement or multiple agreements with EQT that would provide mutually beneficial outcomes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Spiro Michael Dounis, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - Director [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. That's clear. So it sounds like more of a comprehensive plan in place. I appreciate the color there. And then on MVP, I hate to harp on it and I know you guys are probably sick of talking about it, but I believe one of the options is a reroute of the pipeline. And I guess I'm just wondering at what point do you think you have enough information either rule that out or move forward with it. And I guess another way of asking is, is there any merit to just starting with the reroute today? Does it give you any more certainty just to do that today and sort of waiting for the current process to play out, which does carry some uncertainty, I suppose?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So let me start with the assumption that we are not tired of talking about MVP because MVP is going to be the largest driver of our growth in both the transmission business and ability to service our Appalachian customers to move their gas to better pricing markets in the South. So once you get past the headlines, we remain exceedingly confident and bullish around MVP. A reroute, as I've said repeatedly and we've been pretty consistent on this, that's the path of last resort because it would require the greatest time delay and cost increase. And as long as we continue to have traction and some positive movement on the other paths, we're going to continue down those paths. And I would also point you to that, as we come out of winter, we're starting this spring season at roughly 80% complete, and now we're ramping up our construction again for the construction season. And to the extent that we get the West Virginia 401 issued some time in the summer, by the time we get to leaving the third quarter into the fourth quarter, we're going to be north of 90% complete with this pipeline. So that I appreciate the focus, and we are focused on those 3, I keep calling them inflection points, that we need to resolve on the pipeline. But I don't want to lose sight of the fact that this is a 50- to 80-year asset that's going to be incredibly valuable for this company. And that with each month that we construct it, we take more budget risk and timing risk off the table.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You next question comes from Derek Walker with Bank of America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Derek Bryant Walker, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe just talking about the produced water solution that you mentioned. I know you indicated there potential for more details later this year. But maybe just give a little bit more color as far as how the process is going? What are some of the kind of the key marks to kind of get that moving? And as far as how you see it now, is it still consistent with the plans when you first kind of talked about the acquisition kind of few weeks ago?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So it's consistent with what we were thinking. We actually are getting a lot of interest from multiple producers. We're just about ready to put pricing to it, more firm pricing and get something out in the next couple of months.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Derek Bryant Walker, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - VP [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it. Okay. And then I think you mentioned on the call the $300 million to $500 million of capital avoidance over 3 to 5 years. I guess, can you just elaborate a little bit more on that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So as we start integrating the RMP and EQM systems, there are places where we can save on build-out. There is also, as we integrate those 2 systems and create a high pressure system and a low pressure system for our customers, we can also utilize excess compression on either side, and we don't have to build compressor stations for every pod. So that's where those savings come in.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Derek, let me add one point to that question because, I think, we don't talk about it enough as it relates to produced water and piping produced water. The more producers that we attract into the mix as we start to design the system, the more efficient it will be. And one of the beneficial outcomes is that we have an opportunity to dramatically reduce the trucking of disposed water. So that if we can recycle and move the reuse of the water around, we'll be able to generate substantial reduction in truck traffic on the roads as it relates to disposed water, but also substantial savings, direct savings to the producers who will no longer have to pay for that disposal. That's not necessarily a revenue to us, but it's an ancillary benefit that will be very meaningful to the producers here that previously hasn't been available.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And your next question comes from Dan Lungo with Bank of America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daniel Eric Lungo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Research Analyst [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm just wondering with the recent commentary out of both S&P and Fitch putting you guys on negative outlook. If there were to be a further delay to MVP past really May/June time frame is when S&P put the time frame as, what would you do to try and defend the investment-grade ratings?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Janice Brenner, [23]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are several alternatives that we would consider to defend the investment-grade rating. Clearly, there's advantages to maintaining it, and that's certainly our preference. And we have considered several alternatives looking at whether it's distribution growth rates, whether it's spending or cost reduction. We are basically exploring all options in order to make sure that we are able to continue to execute on our growth strategy as expected. So we have good line of sight once we get that 20-year fully contracted $300 million of annual EBITDA from MVP online. And at that point, we believe that we will be in line with those investment-grade targets. So it's more in this near term. And we expected leverage with creep up as MVP is coming online. And even at -- from the inception of EQM, we made sure that we funded our drop-downs in a debt-friendly manner using equity and over-equitizing those. And then you saw on our most recent acquisition, we financed that in the way that was mindful of our ratings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [24]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. And Dan, this is Tom. Let me just put a finer point on that. I was totally confused by the reaction of the agencies around the issuance of our convertible preferred. We did an acquisition. We funded 110% with a convertible preferred. The agencies were all over the lot as it related to how they viewed giving us equity credit for that. So we actually took action that we thought was the most ultraconservative to maintain that investment-grade rating, and the mixed messages we got didn't help. But you should know that we're very much mindful of how we fund our operations moving forward, and we'll continue to be of a very conservative balance sheet posture in this company. Thank you.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daniel Eric Lungo, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Research Analyst [25]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And just as a follow-up. Discussions on Moody's, are they still just waiting on MVP before they can actually give you an IG rating?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Janice Brenner, [26]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. That's our understanding.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [27]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next question comes from David Amoss with Heikkinen Energy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Meagher Amoss, Heikkinen Energy Advisors, LLC - Research Analyst [28]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom, I'm just trying to think a little bit more about the critical path for MVP, and apologize for asking a similar question for the third time. But just related specifically to the Jefferson Forest and the issues that you've had there. Can you at least give us kind of what you think the fence posts are to resolve that issue and what you have to do to achieve that resolution specific to the forest?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [29]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So David, before the Cowpasture decision coming out of the Fourth Circuit, there was a singular issue with the Jefferson National Forest that related to the reissuance of the ENS permit allowing us to work in the forest. I think we've been pretty clear in saying that when we were first issued the permit, we used hypothetical data that supported the issuance of the permit, the permit was issued. When the permit was vacated as a result of the Fourth Circuit -- original Fourth Circuit decision, we then had the benefit of actual data. And the actual data is even more supportive of the issuance -- the reissuance of the permit than the hypothetical data. So from a factual and technical basis, we're in really good shape as it relates to the Forest Service.

However, since December, when the Cowpasture decision came out of the Fourth Circuit, for all practical purposes, those 2 decisions are tied together. I can't imagine that the Forest Service would issue a permit without resolution to the Appalachian Trail. So the goalposts are figuring out a solution to cross the trail either through public lands or private lands that will allow us to get back to work. We still think that there are paths that we're working either with the DOI and the DOA and the National Park Service that could get us there toward the end of the year, but I really don't have anything more definitive to say today.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Meagher Amoss, Heikkinen Energy Advisors, LLC - Research Analyst [30]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's really helpful. And then, Diana, just thinking about the produced water businesses specifically. Can you talk about what's involved in treating produced water for reuse? And just generally -- like I know you guys aren't ready to roll out the specific plan yet, but generally, how you're looking at having to treat that water for reuse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [31]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So as far as water quality, our customers are not requiring a treatment for the produced water. So they're comfortable recycling really and putting that water back down the hole without treatment.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Meagher Amoss, Heikkinen Energy Advisors, LLC - Research Analyst [32]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then one last one. Just again, Diana, you've talked about the increase in activity driving the higher water business margin or EBITDA going forward, but it looks like your average margin on a per gallon basis is much lower than it was when RMP had that business. Can you talk about the discrepancy there?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [33]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm not sure exactly what you're -- RMP wasn't really a producer...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [34]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think it was the volatility and timing issues. You see it not only on the revenue side, but also on the expense side.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [35]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the original.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [36]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The LP is smoothed out as you piece together volatile quarters.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [37]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You next question comes from Chris Tillett with Barclays.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Christopher Paul Tillett, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - Research Analyst [38]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a quick one for me. It looks like on the updated capital guidance, the gathering spend went up by about $50 million. You had said previously that you expected 2019 CapEx from the acquisition to be about $90 million. So just wondering if a little bit of that delta there was maybe related to some of the capital avoidance that you guys had previously discussed in relation to the acquisition or if maybe it's reflective of some reduced spending on some of the legacy gathering asset.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [39]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I think, Chris, it's -- we did incorporate the Eureka numbers. There's no change in what we expect with capital with regard to Eureka. I think what you're seeing is simply just timing updates around our forecast and a little bit of capital moving into 2020.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [40]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You next question comes from TJ Schultz with RBC Capital Markets.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Torrey Joseph Schultz, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [41]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just on the workforce you have out for MVP right now. How quickly can you scale up if you get some positive feedback on the inflection points? Or any concerns there? And then alternatively, just how insulated are you from significant cost increases if timing is pushed out?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So we're back to work.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [43]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We're scaling it now.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [44]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now we're scaling up as we speak. So there really wouldn't be any step change as it related to the issuance of the 401 to allow us to do that.

As it relates to -- the second part of your question was cost-related. Look, we're already 80% complete. And every day, we complete more and more of the pipe. So the best insulation from a step change in cost is to complete the pipe.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Torrey Joseph Schultz, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [45]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. I understand. Just last one. The $49.7 million asset sale from E-Train to EQM, is that used for an E-Train level debt paydown? Just any color there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Janice Brenner, [46]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. It's just -- right now, we use it to pay down the revolver.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [47]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next question comes from Vikram Bagri with Jefferies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vikram Bagri, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [48]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had a question on OpEx. As we -- a lot of moving parts as we move from 1Q to 2Q. And the OpEx and SG&A in 1Q, it seems like was dropped off quite a bit. I was wondering if it's a temporary shift or it's permanent. If I look at the full year guidance, it seems like it was a temporary shift and OpEx and SG&A will sort of catch up or will be higher in next few quarters. If you can share more color on what were the drivers of lower OpEx in 1Q and how much in OpEx and SG&A you expect in 2Q.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Diana M. Charletta, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - Executive VP & COO [49]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So we're very careful to be thoughtful about our OpEx and adding people. The first quarter is low because out of the gate, we were really paying attention. We were planning during the separation what our new structure was going to look like. And as we continue to get our feet under us, we are able to do it a little cheaper than what we thought.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vikram Bagri, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [50]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Understood. And is that the expectation that you will be able to maintain these efficiencies going forward? Or the OpEx will step up in 2Q even though what...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [51]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, this is Tom. I was going to say on the G&A side, we had provided guidance of about $30 million to $35 million a quarter. I think we're probably trending towards the low end there, which is what Diana was referring to. On the O&M side, there is some seasonality with regard to work in the winter. So you do see Q1 tend to be a little bit lower than the other quarters. So there's probably a little bit of step-up in O&M in Q2.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vikram Bagri, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [52]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Understood. And then on MVP, I -- you didn't change the timeline or CapEx guidance for MVP. And fully recognizing that, it's understandable that timeline cannot be changed or CapEx cannot be changed given the lack of clarity on regulatory front. But is there any way you can frame the expected increase in CapEx due to these delays? What will be the -- probably a week of delay, what will be the increase in CapEx? I've seen those numbers for some of your peer pipelines. It's about $10 million to $15 million per week of delay. Is that something you can frame up given that you've largely renegotiated contracts? The pipeline is 80% complete. Is that something you can clarify?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [53]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think we can, Vikram, because the -- it depends on exactly when and where we may face a delay. So I'm going to ask for your patience to demure because I don't want to give you misleading information. Right now, we're still working really hard to see if we can slip in through these windows while they're still open. But when we have an event or an inflection point, we'll be in a much better position to accurately reflect what we think the current state of play is. But for now, we're not officially changing anything other than simply acknowledging the passage of time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vikram Bagri, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [54]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Understood. And then just lastly, the comment period on Nationwide 12 Permit ended last month. Is there anything you saw in those public comments that may be of concern or may delay the permit beyond summer? And how do you feel about the response to those comments? And what should we expect on that front?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [55]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So the comments came in as expected. There was nothing that we saw that we were not expecting to see. The comments reflected points of view that we've heard before and continue to hear. We're quite pleased with the very efficient and professional way the West Virginia DEP responded to them. And as I mentioned in an earlier response to a question, they were submitted to the EPA on April 24. And from what we can see now, we don't expect anything out of the ordinary as it relates to the process inside the EPA and the Army Corps.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [56]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from Alex Kania with Wolfe Research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alexis Stephen Kania, Wolfe Research, LLC - Utilities SVP [57]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a quick follow-up on the asset, I guess the drop on the shared services assets. Just what's the interplay between what you were paying in terms of SG&A up to E-Train versus what the depreciation would be? Just kind of curious if there's a difference across their net.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [58]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I think it'll be, it's about $15 million to $20 million a year. And it's simply -- now at EQM, it will be depreciation versus SG&A for the same amount.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [59]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) And we have a question from Timm Schneider with Citi.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timm Axel Schneider, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD [60]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First question for me. As on the contract renegotiations in terms of timing, I guess using a baseball analogy, what kind of inning are you guys in with that? Batting practice is sure a little further off.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [61]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No. I don't think we're in batting practice. I think we're a few innings in. It's -- to be fair, Timm, it's pretty complex from the EQT side as it relates to all of the moving parts and the logistics around it. And from our standpoint, it's pretty complex as it relates to the interplay between the water and the gas and high pressure and low pressure systems that we're trying to create. So it's not so much that we're at a standstill. If they were each trying to process the complexities so that we can get to the right answer acknowledging what the current cost structure is at EQT and how quickly we can evidence a long-term contract to show them some pretty significant unit cost savings. So the conversations are going quite well, and we're just going to continue along that path.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timm Axel Schneider, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD [62]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it. And I'll have to get in one on MVP as well. So just assuming worst case scenario and you guys can't cross the trail, obviously there's a tremendous amount of pipe or steel that's already in the ground. Are there any alternative offtakes that you guys could potentially get to outside of that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [63]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think that we've been pretty clear that there's an option to cross the path -- to cross the trail through private lands, and that would be under the reroute scenario that we've talked about before.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timm Axel Schneider, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD [64]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Okay. Got it. I was just curious if there was any other hubs along the line that you could potentially get to outside of that, but it sounds like the private land one is the most likely scenario.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [65]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That would be for the ultimate completion of the pipe. But as you know, the route of MVP interconnects with the WB line at mile marker 77 and then the KA line at mile marker 180.5. So there are 2 interconnects, we'll call them 2 opportunities for independent utility status at each one of those along the way. So there are multiple points of opportunity here, Timm. And again, let me just step back a little bit. We understand the headlines, and we live with that every day and we're trying to acknowledge reality here with our partners in MVP. But we don't want anybody to go away from this call questioning our confidence that we're going to get this pipeline built and in service.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [66]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) And we do not have any telephone questions at this time. I will turn the call over to the presenters.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thomas F. Karam, Equitrans Midstream Corporation - President, CEO & Director [67]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, operator. And thanks, everybody, for joining us today. We will continue to work hard every day to create shareholder value and look forward to speaking to you all again. Thank you.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [68]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.