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Edited Transcript of PPL.TO earnings conference call or presentation 1-Nov-19 2:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Pembina Pipeline Corp Earnings Call

CALGARY Nov 14, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Pembina Pipeline Corp earnings conference call or presentation Friday, November 1, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* J. Scott Burrows

Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & CFO

* Jaret A. Sprott

Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Facilities

* Jason Travis Wiun

Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines

* Michael H. Dilger

Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director

* Stuart V. Taylor

Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP of Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer

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Conference Call Participants

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* Andrew M. Kuske

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Head of Canadian Equity Research, and Global Co-ordinator for Infrastructure Research

* Elias A. Foscolos

Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Research Division - Equity Research Analyst

* Ian Brooks Gillies

GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - Director of Institutional Research and Research Analyst of Energy Services & Infrastructure

* Joseph Robert Martoglio

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Matthew Taylor

Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division - Director of Midstream Research

* Patrick Kenny

National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - MD

* Robert Catellier

CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Executive Director of Institutional Equity Research

* Robert Hope

Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst

* Robert Michael Kwan

RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Energy Infrastructure Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Pembina Pipeline Corporation's third quarter results conference call. (Operator Instructions) Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Scott Burrows, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Thank you. Please go ahead.

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J. Scott Burrows, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & CFO [2]

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Thank you, Christina. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Pembina's conference call and webcast to review highlights from the third quarter of 2019. I'm Scott Burrows, Pembina's Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. On the call with me today are Mick Dilger, Pembina's President and Chief Executive Officer; Jason Wiun, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Pipelines; Jaret Sprott, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Facilities; and Stu Taylor, Senior Vice President, Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer.

Before we start, I'd like to remind you that some of the comments made today may be forward-looking in nature and are based on Pembina's current expectations, estimates, judgments and projections. Forward-looking statements we may express or imply today are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Further, some of the information provided refers to non-GAAP measures. To learn more about these forward-looking statements and non-GAAP measures, please see the company's various financial reports, which are available at pembina.com and on both SEDAR and EDGAR.

Earnings during the quarter were positively impacted by higher gross profit in both Facilities and Marketing & New Ventures due to higher terminalling revenue combined with realized and unrealized gains from commodity-related derivative contracts, respectively, partially offset by lower Pipeline gross profit as a result of higher deferred revenue recognition during the third quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter of 2019.

Pembina's third quarter results included adjusted EBITDA of $736 million, which was consistent with the same period in 2018. Quarterly results were driven by period-over-period increases in the Pipelines and Facilities divisions as a result of new assets being placed into service, including Phase IV and V Peace expansions, Redwater cogeneration and Burstall Ethane Storage. Also impacting adjusted EBITDA was the adoption of IFRS 16, offset by decreased NGL and crude margins in Marketing & New Ventures due to a lower pricing environment, and a $5 million onetime payment within one of our joint ventures.

Adjusted cash flow from operating activities was also consistent with the same period in 2018 at $530 million, primarily due to an increase in operating results after adjusting for noncash items, offset by an increase in current tax expense, timing of preferred share dividend payments and lower distributions from our equity accounted investees.

Based on year-to-date results and our outlook for the balance of the year, we have raised the low end of our adjusted EBITDA guidance range by $100 million. The revised guidance range is now $2.95 billion to $3.05 billion. Further, current income tax expense in 2019 is now anticipated to be $250 million to $270 million, with the increase of our prior guidance related to higher taxable income in the current year and adjustments to prior period tax deductions.

Now I will turn things over to Mick for an update on some of our key growth projects and business development activities.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thanks, Scott. Good morning, everyone. The highlight of the quarter was, of course, the announcement of our $4.35 billion acquisition of Kinder Morgan Canada and the U.S. portion of Cochin Pipeline. This acquisition is highly strategic for Pembina, providing enhanced integration with our existing franchise, extension of our value chain and clear visibility to creating long-term value for all stakeholders.

Since our initial announcement, we have received clearance under the Canada Transportation Act and early termination from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission pursuant to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. We're making progress on satisfying the remaining closing conditions and look forward to the December 10, 2019, Kinder Morgan Canada shareholder vote. Our teams are busy preparing for closing, which we now expect will occur in the first quarter of 2020. We remain solidly with a view that this transaction will make us better, not just bigger.

We're also pleased to announce that we have approved the first stage of the Peace Phase IX expansion. Since our Phase XIII announcement earlier this year, we have continued to secure additional long-term contracts with producers operating in the Montney. The first stage of Phase IX includes pipelines to debottleneck the corridor north of Gordondale as well as upgrade one pump station. This will allow us to access approximately 100,000 barrels a day of latent downstream capacity.

Phase IX also enables us to complete our vision of full product segregation across Peace Pipeline. This will drive operational and capital efficiencies, strengthen Pembina's competitive advantage and, ultimately, benefit our customers. This all leads to further very low cost debottlenecking opportunities throughout the system, which we call Phase X, and which we'll be working on next. We have now approximately $1.8 billion of Peace expansions underway which, in aggregate, are trending on time and on budget.

Also announced was the approval of a $120 million cogeneration facility at Empress, Alberta, which will provide heat and power to the extraction and fractionation facilities and reduce overall operating costs and, in addition, will provide a reduction in GHG emissions intensity. With this newly announced project and our recently completed project at Redwater, cogeneration is becoming an area of growing competency for Pembina, and we see more opportunities ahead.

We're continuing to progress our potential Alliance pipeline and Aux Sable expansions as well as the Northeast BC fractionation facility and look forward to updating the market in due course.

Our PDH/PP project continues to progress as engineering, procurement and construction bids have been received and are currently being evaluated. Early works preparation is underway and will continue through the fourth quarter of 2019.

On Jordan Cove LNG, federal and state permitting process are ongoing. Subsequent to the quarter, FERC advised -- FERC revised its schedule for issuance of the final Environmental Impact Statement, and now we're expecting that on February 13 of next year.

In closing, I'm pleased to report we have released our 2018 ESG performance metrics, which are now available on our website. Recognizing a growing focus on ESG, we are pleased to share our progress in developing 2 new ESG stands, including a Carbon Stand and the Diversity & Inclusion Stand, where a stand means what we stand for. We're looking forward to providing further information on these developing strategies in future reporting.

As always, I would like to thank all of our stakeholders, our customers, our investors, our communities and our employees for their ongoing support.

With that, we'll wrap things up. Operator, please open up the line for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Jeremy Tonet from JPMorgan.

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Joseph Robert Martoglio, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Research Analyst [2]

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This is Joe for Jeremy. Wanted to start off with the Peace Phase IX. Congrats on getting that sanctioned, and -- but you mentioned it's kind of the first stage there. Could you talk about what the second stage could look like and maybe a timeline for potentially announcing that?

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [3]

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Sure, Joe. This is Jason. So really, the -- if you think about what Phase IX -- the broader project that we talked about earlier in the year was, it was really debottlenecking on the West end of our Peace Pipeline system and then was a power-up of our pipeline system going into Edmonton from Fox Creek. So the portion of the project that we're really talking about is the debottlenecking on the West end of the pipeline, and that really accesses the capacity that we're creating with Phase VII and VIII.

The downstream power-up is sort of -- I guess, is volume-dependent as our volumes begin to ramp up. We have a fair bit of running room that's been created with our expansions up to this point. So the first phase, this really accesses 100,000 barrels capacity that's there available for us. And then Mick introduced the concept of Phase X. We're probably going to be looking at optimization opportunities now that we have the ability to segregate our products all the way from La Glace in. Because we're not batching, we'll be able to tune the way that we operate our pipeline system, and we expect to be able to leverage some more capacity out of the assets that are already in the ground. And so ideally, we'll be able to -- before we have to proceed with the downstream expansion, which we formerly referred to as Phase IX, we'll be looking at the optimization projects, and seeing how much capacity we can get, which is very cheap, effectively free, I guess.

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Joseph Robert Martoglio, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Research Analyst [4]

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That's helpful. And then also wanted to ask quickly on -- I guess, the Alliance expansion. Mentioned kind of, I guess, discussions with customers continuing. But anything more you can say there? I guess, when you kind of expect discussions with customers to conclude? And kind of, I guess, how that's progressing?

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [5]

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I guess we're -- we've been working on that project for a while now. There's a physical separation between production North and South of -- there's a large river in the United States that sort of segregates that play. We're really focused on the Northern side of that, and we're talking to the customers producing on that side. The development up there is starting to become more clear as we get towards the end of the year, and producers put their budgets together and things like that. So we think, as we come to the close of the year or very early next year, I think that's when we'll be able to get some more concrete information about it.

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Operator [6]

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Our next question comes from Matt Taylor from Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Company.

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Matthew Taylor, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division - Director of Midstream Research [7]

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Looks like volumes are down in pipelines because of take-or-pay recognition that was less year-over-year. I'm just trying to work through how do you explain that in the context of Phase IV and V coming on? And are you seeing less volumes than you expected there as customers slow -- drilling plans?

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J. Scott Burrows, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & CFO [8]

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Yes. Matt, I would say it's more of a timing issue. Obviously, IFRS 15 -- IFRS 16 came into account last year, and the recognition and the timing of those barrels was more backend-loaded, so we didn't really recognize any take-or-pay revenue in Q1 or Q2 last year. And then we took almost all of it into account in Q3 last year.

And then if you look at this year, there's been kind more of a smoothing of the recognition of that just as we've refined some estimates and volume profile. So on a full year basis, when it's all said and done, we obviously will be up in our Pipelines -- conventional Pipelines because of Phase IV and V. But really, if you look at the difference between this quarter and Q3 of last year, it's about a $20 million difference. So if you normalize that, Pipelines would actually be up close to $20 million this quarter. It's really just the timing of the recognition.

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Matthew Taylor, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division - Director of Midstream Research [9]

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Got you. And then what about the physical volumes? Are you guys seeing the volumes that you expected?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [10]

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Yes, the physical volumes there are ramping up throughout each quarter. We're seeing volumes in increments there. They're progressing as we expect. And then on our contracts profiles as well, we see a ramp in 2020 and 2021 in terms of the firm contracts and take-or-pay profiles as we go forward. So if you recall, we put Phase IV and V into service in -- at the end of 2019, so the first year of the contract is really the end of 2019 and 2020 and -- sorry, pardon me, end of 2018 and 2019. And as we go into 2020, 2021, that's when volumes continue to ramp on a contract basis.

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Matthew Taylor, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division - Director of Midstream Research [11]

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Okay. That's helpful. Then over to LPG, is that expected to be primarily sourced just from Redwater being propane? Are we also considering exporting butane there as well? And then I just wanted to get some color on how you're thinking about improved Edmonton NGL spreads relative to U.S. benchmarks? And how that would impact other pieces of your business, specifically how is -- this improved domestic pricing been accounted for in your PDH/PP assumptions?

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Jaret A. Sprott, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Facilities [12]

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Good morning, Matt. Jaret here. With respect to the Prince Rupert Terminal, currently, we're only focused on exporting propane from that facility. Customer demand, though, and with some soft pricing on butane in Western Canada; there are a lot of people asking us about the opportunities to export other LPG products off of that. But primarily, right now, we're focused on just the propane molecule. And I'll let Stu talk about some of that -- the pricing.

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Stuart V. Taylor, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP of Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer [13]

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Yes, Matt. We've been -- we obviously are watching all of the commodity markets. And yes, we take into account as we update our economics, we are always updating with the most recent. There has been some uplift to some of the commodity value of -- in recent days, and so we do account for all of that as we look at it. And we still see the basin with an abundant resource and are confident of the feedstock value beating the PDH, and our export facilities being low-cost opportunities that we can get to better netback pricing in international markets or within better value-added commodities. So we watch it all the time. We invest all our economics, and are still excited about both opportunities.

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Matthew Taylor, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division - Director of Midstream Research [14]

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Yes. And just to clarify, were you guys anticipating or expecting improved domestic pricing here in some of your PDH/PP assumptions? Or is this kind of as expected?

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Stuart V. Taylor, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP of Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer [15]

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Yes. It's been pretty much as expected. There, again, it's a long-term -- we're a long ways from being in service, and there's -- we watch it. And again, it's more relative to what the other opportunities are, what is Mont Belvieu pricing and Conway pricing versus Edmonton pricing. We still believe that we will be advantaged feedstock in the Edmonton area, which supports the PDH/PP economics.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [16]

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Yes, Matt. Maybe just one incremental comment I'd make is when we sanction these projects, we obviously ran multiple scenario analysis and Monte Carlo analysis to take a long-term view of the pricing. It wasn't based off of stripped pricing at a point in time that sanctioned the economics. We took a very long-term view of it. So that should give you some comfort around that.

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Operator [17]

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Our next question comes from Rob Hope from Scotiabank.

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Robert Hope, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [18]

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First question is just on the KML transaction. Can you give us an update on any status of the ROFRs there? And as a follow-up there, if they're not exercised, would those be of interest to acquire additional interest in?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [19]

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So in terms of your first question, I mean, obviously, we're willing to acknowledge that there's a ROFR. We really can't talk about the dynamics of that. We're covered under confidentiality agreement, so can't comment on the specifics. But we would hope to have that wrapped up one way or another by the end of this year. And in terms of interest on the other assets, obviously, we bought KML overall, so we like all the assets. We haven't had those discussions. But certainly, we do like those assets.

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Robert Hope, Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets, Research Division - Analyst [20]

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All right. And then just more broadly speaking, with KML, it does add some additional assets, let's call it in the Chicago area region. With the Alliance expansion and potential Aux Sable expansion, just want to get a sense of how you're thinking about your assets in that region and whether or not that could be a new platform to build off of down there.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [21]

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Clearly -- it's Mick. Clearly, we've been -- since we did the Veresen deal and stepped into Aux Sable, we just took over operatorship of that asset. And we're starting to focus on what is possible around that asset. The east leg of Cochin is approximated to the asset, and we're looking at that. It's nothing we paid for in the acquisition, but that certainly is an asset we're studying. But we're studying all possibilities downstream. Rob, you know that's how we do it, right? We buy something, we study it, and then we look for additional vertical integration opportunities. So absolutely, we're looking.

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Operator [22]

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Our next question comes from Robert Catellier from CBIC Capital Markets.

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Robert Catellier, CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Executive Director of Institutional Equity Research [23]

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Rob Catellier from CIBC. Just a couple of questions here. Obviously, we're -- we saw in Canada re-domicile. I wonder if you can make a comment in what your expectations are for the Veresen Midstream partnership. And specifically, their commitment to invest more capital in the area.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [24]

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Jaret, you want to take that?

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Jaret A. Sprott, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Facilities [25]

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Sure, Robert. Jaret here. Yes, through Veresen Midstream, we're still seeing CRP, the partnership with Mitsubishi in Canada. We're still seeing a lot of drilling up in that area. They are -- this is well documented. They are extremely focused on the liquid-rich portion of that. And obviously, Pembina benefits. Jason talked about having to debottleneck going west of Gordondale. Obviously, that is primarily due to a significant amount of liquids being found up in that Dawson Creek pools all the way up into Fort St. John area. So right now, we don't see any changes based on that announcement yesterday at all.

And then further to that, we are extremely well positioned, obviously, on the dry gas side with LNG Canada Phase I going to be coming onstream. And then the one side of that partnership, Mitsubishi's ownership in that and their desire, obviously, to fill drier gas molecules to take those west. So it's business as usual from what we know.

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Robert Catellier, CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Executive Director of Institutional Equity Research [26]

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Okay. Wonder if you could just comment longer term on what happens with Ruby Pipeline? Obviously, the big leverage point is whether or not Jordan Cove moves forward. But failing that, we're seeing some expansion from GTN, et cetera, coming to market. So what's your updated view on the outlook for Ruby Pipeline?

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [27]

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Rob, this is Jason. I guess, with Ruby, the contract renewals start coming up at -- middle to end of 2021, and so we're working with Kinder Morgan on that. There's a number of different things going on, including the -- there's the ONEOK pipeline that could be reversed, that goes down into the Rockies space and they will create a need for more egress for gas. There's conversions that certain parties are considering of gas egress pipelines to crude service. So we're definitely looking at it, and we're looking at the options and working really closely with Kinder Morgan, who is the operator of that asset, and looking at all the different scenarios there. Obviously, Jordan Cove is -- would be a really positive outcome there. And the timing of that is still unknown at the moment. So I think, at the moment, it's a bit of a wait-and-see.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [28]

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Yes. It’s Mick. It's just my view, but I think that for buyers of gas at Malin, Ruby is an important diversification. They have a single source of gas. That hub is not nearly as valuable to buyers of gas of having multiple inlets. And that really goes back to the reason it was built in the first place. So my personal view is that people are not going to abandon diversification. It's just too risky for the buyers of that hub.

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Robert Catellier, CIBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Executive Director of Institutional Equity Research [29]

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Yes, that makes sense. So my last comment is just thank you for putting out that ESG update.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [30]

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Yes. Thank you for noticing.

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Operator [31]

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Our next question comes from Robert Kwan from RBC Capital Markets.

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Robert Michael Kwan, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Energy Infrastructure Analyst [32]

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Coming back to KML and the timing. So you've tightened it up here into the first quarter of 2020. I'm just wondering, is that based on specific feedback and interactions with the competition bureau?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [33]

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Yes.

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Robert Michael Kwan, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Energy Infrastructure Analyst [34]

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Okay. I guess turning to the Empress cogen facility. You've talked about it reducing cost. I'm just wondering the economics around that from your perspective, is that based on kind of current math? Or do you have concerns about future delivered power costs?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [35]

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What we see happening is, in the future, is wire costs continuing to go up, and this particular cogen will not be on the grid. We'll have demand in excess of this production. And because we're capturing waste heat -- to offset other natural gas, we'd otherwise have to buy, ergo, there's great economics in it. So it's just a model. We're very pleased with how the Redwater cogeneration plant worked out. And we see this as a strong analogy to that. It's the identical unit, Robert, how we build stuff. We build one, we like it, and then we build a lot of them. And we see 2, maybe 3 future opportunities. These are just solid base hits for us that just solves supply. And consider that other projects like Suncor and other projects like this are going to continue to hold demand off the grid, which, in turn, will make the wire costs higher. So I think this may be the start of that kind of a trend.

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Robert Michael Kwan, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Energy Infrastructure Analyst [36]

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And is owning -- like you're clearly developing and constructing these facilities. But is owning the cogen kind of a long-term business strategy? Or just given how many -- how much private capital is running around, low cost of capital, would you like look to monetize these things?

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [37]

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It's an option. I mean it's got layers of protection if anything ever went wrong. We got layers of stuff we could do, and that could be one of them. But we're in the business of constructing and operating infrastructure, and so this is right down the fairway. As I say, these are solid economics, and we learn something about the electricity business while we're at it, and it's an upstream vertical integration behind our assets into the value chain, so directly connected. So for now, it's right down the fairway. It wouldn't be the first thing we would sell, to put it that way.

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Robert Michael Kwan, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD & Energy Infrastructure Analyst [38]

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Got it. If I can just finish up with guidance, you tightening up the range. Outside of things like commodity prices and, say, some volumes in facilities, are there any other key drivers that would move you around in the range or potentially even take you out of the range? And how much would those drivers actually have to move to do that?

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [39]

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The only -- Robert, the only thing that would really take us out of the range is an absolute crash in commodity prices. But recall that we put in close to 50% hedges on our NGL business as well as some pretty significant hedges on our storage book over the winter. So it would have to be a pretty dramatic fall off in commodity prices.

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Operator [40]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Andrew Kuske from Credit Suisse.

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Andrew M. Kuske, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Head of Canadian Equity Research, and Global Co-ordinator for Infrastructure Research [41]

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Maybe just following up on the power conversation. To the extent you had cogens that were actually physically connected to the grid, do you see a market environment in the future that's more volatile and that you'd actually sell power into the grid that's excess for you?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [42]

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We're -- I mean we're not in this to be a merchant power player. We're just in it to self-supply, and operated facilities are clearly more attractive. That's possible, but it's certainly not how we presented it to our Board, as a merchant power play. With our guardrails of being 80% fee-for-service, this -- that would not be something we would be entering into, the merchant power business.

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Andrew M. Kuske, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Head of Canadian Equity Research, and Global Co-ordinator for Infrastructure Research [43]

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Okay. Appreciate the clarity on that. And maybe just the budget status on a couple of projects. So Prince Rupert is trending a little bit over budget, and I think Duvernay is underbudget. What are the drivers that are happening on those 2 projects? Because everything else is sort of down the fairway on time and on budget.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [44]

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Yes. We take more of a portfolio approach. And if everything is underbudget, then it means our guys are sandbagging their costs, so that's not good, and the inverse. We're focusing from here forward about what the portfolio looks like. And I think that's the most important guidance that we can give the Street. What's happening or the minutia of what's going on in any given project can be related to scope changes, maybe we're prebuilding, can be weather-related and all that. And so we're -- our guidance is going to be generic in that regard looking forward.

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Andrew M. Kuske, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Head of Canadian Equity Research, and Global Co-ordinator for Infrastructure Research [45]

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Okay. One final one, if I may. With the rail curtailment announcement that came out, do you see any major benefit to your business?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [46]

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Well, I mean, we're co-owners. If Kinder closes, we're co-owners, and really the marquee rail facility in Canada. And so we don't really know what that means, but it has our attention for sure.

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [47]

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And I would just add any incremental heavy oil production usually comes with condensate demand. Obviously, not a direct benefit, but an indirect benefit through hopefully higher produced volumes.

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Operator [48]

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Our next question comes from Patrick Kenny from National Bank Financial.

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Patrick Kenny, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - MD [49]

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Just to follow up on Alliance outside of expansion. And I'm sorry if I missed it here, but when do you expect to extend the existing contracts? And how should we think about tolls and term relative to the existing 5-year deal?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [50]

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So the first round of contract renewals come up at the end of October, and we've been in active discussions with all our customers. And we've -- I think we've made good progress on the extension of some of those terms. I think maybe in the fourth quarter, we can provide an update on -- in terms of what the term of -- the overall average terms and things like that look like.

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Patrick Kenny, National Bank Financial, Inc., Research Division - MD [51]

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Okay. Great. And then just with KML closing right around the corner here, curious to get your thoughts on what might be the most attractive market right now. Maybe for Scott here, just in terms of the purchase price for U.S. Cochin, thinking about Canadian versus U.S. public debt, or perhaps new bank debt or private debt.

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J. Scott Burrows, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & CFO [52]

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Yes. So we have multiple options on that front. I mean, to start off, we hedged over 50 -- or just about 50% of the purchase price at economics slightly better than our board economics. That was a good start to the funding plan. We obviously took a lot of money off the table back in September, with the bond deal we did then at pretty attractive rates to pre-fund a portion of it. As we sit here today, we have an undrawn credit facility. We have an accordion with that credit facility to increase it even further. We have $1 billion term loan that we've negotiated that we could draw on as well. So from a pure liquidity on closing, obviously, no issues there. We have ample capacity. Longer term, right now, we are doing that exact analysis between looking at the U.S. public, the U.S. private and the Canadian public, and just kind of going through the pros and cons. If you put me on the spot today, I'd say that we're probably likely going to do an issue in the U.S. private placement market.

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Operator [53]

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Our next question is from Elias Foscolos from Industrial Alliance Securities.

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Elias A. Foscolos, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [54]

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I would like to focus a bit on the cogen facilities because I sort of clearly see a pattern here with Redwater, Empress today and the central utility block. Do you see a further trap line that's internal and push it a bit further? Would they roughly be the same size in terms of dollars? Or how do you look at that? Because you mentioned that you see a trap line.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [55]

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Yes. Again, you look at our history, we build the same gas plant over and over, the same frac over and over. And so we -- you might see us keep on building the same kind of $100 million, plus or minus, unit in a bunch of different locations. A cogen is not part of our PDH/PP now, but it very well could be in the years to come. Certainly, there'll be sufficient power demand to support that. So that's just another example of the opportunities. But again, our focus and the plan we have in front of us is self-supply. It's not merchant power.

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Elias A. Foscolos, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [56]

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Okay. Moving a bit to PDH/PP, a large capital project that I would consider moderately complex. What are you doing on the construction cost mitigation side that might be different to -- or what you would consider maybe standard practice, but still like to hear it, to keep those costs in line?

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Stuart V. Taylor, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP of Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer [57]

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Elias, it's Stu Taylor talking. So we've been very clear from the outset of our EPC contracting strategy to be a lump sum process -- lump sum contracts for us. So our model at this point in time is that for the 2 large packages, the PDH and the PP, we are seeking in and working with EPC contractors to receive those lump sum bids. We continue to look at and work with those parties at this point in time to look at all cost reductions, watching our labor rates. We negotiate labor rates in advance. We've ordered our long lead equipments from removing costs and uncertainty. So we're following up a process of, as you described, removing costs and uncertainty from the project, and we continue to evolve and then trust that to work.

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Elias A. Foscolos, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [58]

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Great. So no change in strategy, correct?

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Stuart V. Taylor, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP of Marketing & New Ventures and Corporate Development Officer [59]

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No change in strategy.

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Elias A. Foscolos, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [60]

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Okay. One last thing. Just wondering if within 6 weeks or so, you'll provide another capital budget update or not. And could there be potentially new projects? I know there were 2 announced today that might come up.

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [61]

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Yes, we typically put out our capital press release in early December, so that -- you should expect to see that.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [62]

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We may have some color on our business and what we're up to that won't be in the form of promises, but more directional similar to what you would see at an Investor Day as part of that release.

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Operator [63]

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Our next question comes from Ian Gillies from GMP.

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Ian Brooks Gillies, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - Director of Institutional Research and Research Analyst of Energy Services & Infrastructure [64]

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With respect to the Watson Island LPG terminal, I know it's not up and running yet obviously. But are you able to provide a bit of an update on what the potential scope and size can be if the first phase is successful? And what you have a room for them?

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Jaret A. Sprott, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Facilities [65]

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Absolutely, Ian. Jaret here. So obviously, customer demand to get products off the West Coast of British Columbia to either Latin America and/or Asian markets is extremely high. We are -- I do want to make sure that we're very, very focused on getting Phase I on stream as per the timeline that we've publicly disclosed and getting all of our permits in place. But with respect to that, in the Northeast BC area, as that increased condensate and crude is coming on to fill Jason's pipelines, with that comes incremental associated gas and a lot of NGLs, which is driving a lot of the customer requests with respect to Northeast BC frac, and tying it to potentially a Watson Island expansion in the future. So the demand is definitely there, but we are extremely focused on getting Phase I up and running.

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Jason Travis Wiun, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & COO of Pipelines [66]

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To be clear, there are expansion opportunities there, but we're evaluating those in concert with Northeast BC frac development.

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Ian Brooks Gillies, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - Director of Institutional Research and Research Analyst of Energy Services & Infrastructure [67]

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Got it. It's perhaps too early to talk about this, but are you able to provide any high-level details around some of, I guess, the operational optimization opportunities with running condensate up Cochin and then also having some of -- obviously, the pieces to running and maintaining and some of the benefits you may be able to realize there?

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [68]

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We'll do that if and when we close. It's not our place to do that at this time. We've got to focus on closing, and then we'll talk more about our plans there. Realistically, we have our Investor Day in May. That will probably be a good time to further outline in detail what our plans are. We stand by that -- we should be able to realize $50 million of synergies at a very low nominal cost through this acquisition and then another $50 million kind of -- according to the types of metrics you've seen from Pembina on average in terms of capital deployment.

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Ian Brooks Gillies, GMP Securities L.P., Research Division - Director of Institutional Research and Research Analyst of Energy Services & Infrastructure [69]

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Okay. Last one from me. I mean, Scott, obviously, the cash tax guidance got bumped up for 2019. Are you able to provide any insights into 2020? I know EBITDA guidance hasn't been provided, but that would -- that could be helpful.

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J. Scott Burrows, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - Senior VP & CFO [70]

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Yes. On a current tax expense basis, we would expect it to be lower than what we're seeing in 2019. And again, that's just the timing of when certain assets are in deferral partnerships, some aren't as well as some accelerated CCA deductions that start to come into place in 2020. So as we sit today, you could expect it to be marginally lower than 2019.

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Operator [71]

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There are no further questions at this time. I'll turn the call back over to the presenters.

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Michael H. Dilger, Pembina Pipeline Corporation - President, CEO & Director [72]

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Well, thanks, everybody. Hope you had a great Halloween the last night, and thanks for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend.

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Operator [73]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

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