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PVR Partners, L.P. announced the completion of construction activities of its latest natural gas trunk line in the north-central province of Pennsylvania. The midstream project, Wyoming Pipeline, also came online commercially. The pipeline system was initially constructed by Chief Gathering LLC until it got acquired by PVR Partners in May 2012.  

The pipeline is 30 miles in length and spans across the northern Wyoming County southward to connect with the Transco interstate pipeline system in Luzerne County. The 750 million cubic feet per day (“MMcfd”) capacity system will provide midstream services to the producers operationally active in the Marcellus Shale play. The program was bankrolled by funds that were added in the financing agreement during the purchase of Chief Gathering.

Presently, the partnership has secured contracts for reliable and efficient services on the Wyoming Pipeline from five independent producers and expects more agreements to come on the table. These agreements are wholly fee based and are insulated from any direct commodity price risks. For 2012, the initial firm transportation volume contracted by the producers totaled 255 MMcfd.

We believe the acquisition of Chief Gathering LLC is a strategic fit and will be a profitable addition to the partnership’s asset portfolio. The timely execution of this cost-effective project will enable the partnership to carry out its high-quality programs in the Marcellus play smoothly and also contribute positively to its future business plans in the region.

The partnership faced constraints in supplying volumes from its Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering facility to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline 300 Line which impacted PVR Partners’ operations. However, the partnership expects the Wyoming Pipeline-Transco Pipeline connectivity will lead to increase in volumes on the Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering facility by more than 20%.

The ongoing developments at the Susquehanna/Wyoming gathering unit will enable supply volumes to Wyoming Pipeline to further expand with the linking of additional wells thereby increasing productivity.

Although natural gas prices are currently on a downhill, we anticipate with rising demand for electricity in the U.S., gas prices will improve steadily, which could add to the partnership’s near term top-line. Nonetheless, unexpected infrastructure outages and pipeline accidents are risks that could pose serious challenges to the partnership’s operations.

We remind investors that the partnership had divested its Crossroads natural gas gathering system and processing plant for roughly $63 million to DCP Midstream Partners, LP (DPM - Snapshot Report), in mid-June 2012, to focus on the development of its core midstream business in the Marcellus shale and Texas plays.

The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the third quarter and full year 2012 for PVR Partners are pegged at 9 cents per unit and 54 cents per unit, respectively. One of its competitors is Missouri-based Arch Coal Inc. (ACI - Analyst Report).

The partnership owns and operates a string of natural gas midstream pipeline systems and processing plants and is also involved in the management of coal as well as natural gas properties. PVR Partners’ current market capitalization stands at $2.21 billion.

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