U.S. Markets closed

Oneok Partners plans up to $500 million investment

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Oneok Partners LP said Thursday that it plans to invest up to $500 million in new projects to grow its natural gas operations.

Oneok, based in Tulsa Okla., is a limited partnership. Its general partner is a wholly owned subsidiary of energy company Oneok Inc.

Oneok Partners plans to invest $465 million to $500 million from now to 2015 to build a new pipeline, add a processing facility and make other improvements to its infrastructure.

The partnership has now announced total investments of $4.7 billion to $5.3 billion through 2015 for infrastructure growth projects related to natural gas gathering and processing, including the latest projects. Most of the projects are in the Williston Basin of North Dakota, which includes the Bakken Shale formation.

Oneok said it is still evaluating more than $2 billion in other potential projects.

The company said its projects are expected to increase cash flow and bring higher distributions to unitholders.

Oneok also said Thursday that it is increasing its quarterly cash distribution to 71 cents per unit from 68.5 cents per unit, effective for the fourth quarter. It is payable Feb. 14 to unitholders of record as of Jan. 31.

The company said in September that it planned to increase its distribution by 2.5 cents per quarter in 2012 and 2 cents per quarter in 2013. It aims to achieve average annual distribution gains of 10 to 15 percent between 2012 and 2015.

Oneok Partners has increased its distribution by approximately 78 percent since April 2006, when a subsidiary of Oneok Inc. became the sole general partner.

Shares of the partnership rose 59 cents to close at $58.80.