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Williams Cos. Inc. finds success by focusing on pipelines

Williams Cos. Inc. improved to No. 2 on the Oklahoma Inc. list after spinning off its exploration and production business and choosing to focus on pipelines instead.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: October 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm •  Published: November 11, 2012

The company's structural changes have drawn praise from Wall Street, said Tulsa money manager Jake Dollarhide.

“Midstream pipeline companies are in vogue. They are in line with what the market wants,” said Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management Co. in Tulsa. “Many funds that invest in energy have replaced exploration and production companies with pipeline companies because

Williams has identified $25 billion worth of investment opportunities through 2017, he said.

The company already has pipeline and gathering system investments in many of the largest oil and natural gas production areas in the country, including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Marcellus in the Pennsylvania area.

The company announced in September that it has signed a long-term natural gas processing agreement with a producer in Canada's oil sands.

The focus on pipeline infrastructure also makes Williams less affected by volatile fuel prices.

“Today, we're more exposed to volume than price,” Armstrong said. “Whether gas prices go up or down, we don't really care as long as the volume moves. Almost all of the investments we're making today are investments away from price risk.”

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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