Enterprise Products Partners LP
Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE:EPD) is literally the dividend stock that keeps on giving. Enterprise has a track record of 35 straight quarter-over-quarter increases to its distributions. You’ll have to go all the way back to 2004 to find a dividend that didn’t move up!
The increases are modest, but powerful over time. Distributions have increased 34% since the beginning of 2008 and 94% since 2003. This is the kind of info that long-term income investors salivate over.
The icing on the cake is the MLP story behind Enterprise Products. This natural gas and oil company is a leader in so-called “midstream” infrastructure in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. The “upstream” part is the actual production of energy by drilling companies and oil service stocks. The “downstream” activity involves delivering natural gas to end-users. EPD is the middleman, taking a cut along the way.
As you can see, it’s a profitable business. And because transporting gas and oil like this is a capital-intensive business, there is no competition or risk of upstart competitors eating Enterprise’s lunch anytime soon.
Perhaps the most exciting part of Enterprise Products is its 1,230-mile Appalachia-to-Texas Express Pipeline project. The ATEX Express, as it’s called, will connect natural gas operations in and around the Marcellus/Utica Shale region of Pennsylvania and upstate New York to energy processing facilities (and customers!) in energy-hungry regions to the south. It’s a long way for gas to move, but considering the abundance and affordability of domestic natural gas — and not to mention the political will to wean America off foreign oil — the ATEX pipeline could be an impressive opportunity in the years ahead.