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Oklahoma Inc.: Access Midstream Partners grows through acquisitions, fixed fees

Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream operates in most of the country's unconventional shale plays, providing natural gas gathering, compression and processing services to large customers such as Chesapeake Energy Corp., Total SA and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
by Paul Monies Published: November 3, 2013
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Operations in all the right places, and growth through acquisitions and new projects pushed Access Midstream Partners LP to almost double its asset base last year.

Access Midstream came in at No. 5 on this year's Oklahoma Inc. ranking of the state's best-performing public companies, as tallied by S&P Capital IQ. That's up from No. 17 in 2012.

“We're in every major unconventional basin except the Bakken,” said CEO Mike Stice. “This is a significant footprint across the midstream sector. Our business model, which is what's delivering on those financial results, is to have no commodity price risk whatsoever. It's all fixed-fee, midstream services.”

The company has more than 1,350 employees across the country, including more than 600 people in Oklahoma City at two Central Park office blocks at Interstate 44 and North Lincoln Boulevard. Access Midstream remodeled the offices and now has a state-of-the-art pipeline control center in the basement of one of the buildings.

Access Midstream, which gathers, treats and processes natural gas and natural gas liquids, began as the pipeline division of Chesapeake Energy Corp. and later became a publicly traded spinoff called Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP.

The company changed its name to Access Midstream last year after being bought out by its initial backer, Houston-based private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners LP.

Williams Cos. Inc. made a large investment in December about the same time Access Midstream acquired the rest of Chesapeake's midstream assets in in the Utica, Niobrara and Eagle Ford shale plays. Access Midstream spent much of 2013 integrating those assets, which also included expansions of its existing positions in the Mid-Continent, Haynesville and Marcellus areas.

“We became a much bigger company, as well as a completely independent company,” Stice said. “That led to an enormous amount of challenges that don't necessarily show up in the numbers. We called it our transition effort. We grew significantly in regard to organizational capability in order to do all those functions on our own.”

Chesapeake remains Access Midstream's largest customer, although Stice is working to lower that share as the partnership grows. Chesapeake was 80 percent of Access Midstream's business in December; that has since fallen to about 74 percent.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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