UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)
þ
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
 
OR
¨
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from                      to                     
Commission file number 1-4174
The Williams Companies, Inc.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
Delaware
 
73-0569878
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(IRS Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
 
One Williams Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
 
74172
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
 
(Zip Code)
918-573-2000
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $1.00 par value
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes þ    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  þ    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  þ    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer þ
 
Accelerated filer  ¨
 
Non-accelerated filer  ¨
 
Smaller reporting company  ¨
 
Emerging growth company  ¨
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  þ
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter was approximately $21,489,112,717.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock outstanding at February 15, 2019 was 1,210,981,263.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement for the Registrant’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 9, 2019, are incorporated into Part III, as specifically set forth in Part III.
 



THE WILLIAMS COMPANIES, INC.
FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
Page
PART I
 
 
 
 
Item 1.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
Item 16.



1




DEFINITIONS
The following is a listing of certain abbreviations, acronyms and other industry terminology that may be used throughout this Annual Report.

Measurements:
Barrel: One barrel of petroleum products that equals 42 U.S. gallons
Bcf : One billion cubic feet of natural gas
Bcf/d: One billion cubic feet of natural gas per day
British Thermal Unit (Btu): A unit of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree
Fahrenheit
Dekatherms (Dth): A unit of energy equal to one million British thermal units
Mbbls/d: One thousand barrels per day
Mdth/d: One thousand dekatherms per day
MMcf/d: One million cubic feet per day
MMdth: One million dekatherms or one trillion British thermal units
MMdth/d: One million dekatherms per day
Tbtu: One trillion British thermal units
Consolidated Entities:
Cardinal: Cardinal Gas Services, L.L.C.
Constitution: Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC
Gulfstar One: Gulfstar One LLC
Northwest Pipeline: Northwest Pipeline LLC
Transco: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC
WPZ: Williams Partners L.P. Effective August 10, 2018, we completed our merger with WPZ, pursuant to which we acquired all outstanding common units of WPZ held by others and Williams continued as the surviving entity.
Partially Owned Entities: Entities in which we do not own a 100 percent ownership interest and which, as of December 31, 2018, we account for as an equity-method investment, including principally the following:
Aux Sable: Aux Sable Liquid Products LP
Brazos Permian II: Brazos Permian II, LLC
Caiman II: Caiman Energy II, LLC
Discovery: Discovery Producer Services LLC
Gulfstream: Gulfstream Natural Gas System, L.L.C.
Jackalope: Jackalope Gas Gathering Services, L.L.C.
Laurel Mountain: Laurel Mountain Midstream, LLC
OPPL: Overland Pass Pipeline Company LLC
RMM: Rocky Mountain Midstream Holdings LLC
UEOM: Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC


2




Government and Regulatory:
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
Exchange Act, the: Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
FERC: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
GAAP: Generally accepted accounting principles
IRS: Internal Revenue Service
SEC: Securities and Exchange Commission
Other:
ACMP: Access Midstream Partners, L.P. prior to its 2015 merger with Pre-Merger WPZ
Energy Transfer: Energy Transfer Equity, L.P.
ETC: Energy Transfer Corp LP
ETC Merger: Merger wherein Williams would have been merged into ETC
ETE Merger Agreement: Merger Agreement and Plan of Merger of Williams with Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and certain of its affiliates
Fractionation: The process by which a mixed stream of natural gas liquids is separated into its constituent products,
such as ethane, propane, and butane
Geismar Incident: An explosion and fire which occurred on June 13, 2013, at our formerly owned Geismar olefins plant and rendered the facility temporarily inoperable.
IDR: Incentive distribution right
LNG: Liquefied natural gas; natural gas which has been liquefied at cryogenic temperatures
MVC: Minimum volume commitment
NGLs: Natural gas liquids; natural gas liquids result from natural gas processing and crude oil refining and are
used as petrochemical feedstocks, heating fuels, and gasoline additives, among other applications
NGL margins:  NGL revenues less Btu replacement cost, plant fuel, transportation, and fractionation
Pre-merger WPZ: Williams Partners L.P. prior to its merger with ACMP
PDH facility:  Propane dehydrogenation facility
RGP Splitter:  Refinery grade propylene splitter
Throughput:  The volume of product transported or passing through a pipeline, plant, terminal, or other facility
WPZ Merger: The August 10, 2018, merger transactions pursuant to which we acquired all outstanding common units of WPZ held by others, merged WPZ into Williams, and Williams continued as the surviving entity.


The statements in this Annual Report that are not historical information, including statements concerning plans and objectives of management for future operations, economic performance or related assumptions, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may be identified by various forms of words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “seeks,” “could,” “may,” “should,” “continues,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “might,” “goals,” “objectives,” “targets,” “planned,” “potential,” “projects,” “scheduled,” “will,” “assumes,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “in-service date,” or other similar expressions and other words and terms of similar meaning. Although we believe that our expectations regarding future events are based on reasonable assumptions, we can give no assurance that such expectations or assumptions will be achieved. Additional information regarding forward-looking statements and important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are described under Part I, Item 1A in this Annual Report.


3




PART I

Item 1. Business
In this report, Williams (which includes The Williams Companies, Inc. and, unless the context otherwise indicates, all of our subsidiaries) is at times referred to in the first person as “we,” “us” or “our.” We also sometimes refer to Williams as the “Company.”
WEBSITE ACCESS TO REPORTS AND OTHER INFORMATION
We file our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and other documents electronically with the SEC under the Exchange Act.
Our Internet website is http://investor.williams.com/. We make available, free of charge, through the Investors tab of our Internet website our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Our Corporate Governance Guidelines, information regarding corporate social responsibility, Code of Ethics for Senior Officers, Board committee charters, and the Williams Code of Business Conduct are also available on our Internet website. We will also provide, free of charge, a copy of any of our corporate documents listed above upon written request to our Corporate Secretary, One Williams Center, Suite 4700, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74172.
GENERAL
We are an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting North America’s significant hydrocarbon resource plays to markets for natural gas and NGLs. Our operations are located in the United States.
We were founded in 1908, originally incorporated under the laws of the state of Nevada in 1949 and reincorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware in 1987. Williams’ headquarters are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with other major offices in Salt Lake City, Utah; Houston, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our telephone number is 918-573-2000.
WPZ MERGER
On August 10, 2018, we completed our merger with Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ), our previously consolidated master limited partnership, pursuant to which we acquired all of the approximately 256 million publicly held outstanding common units of WPZ in exchange for 382 million shares of our common stock in a noncash equity transaction.

BUSINESS SEGMENTS
Prior to our merger with WPZ, we had one reportable segment, Williams Partners. Beginning in the third-quarter 2018, consistent with the manner in which our chief operating decision maker evaluates performance and allocates resources, our operations are now presented within the following reportable segments: Northeast G&P, Atlantic-Gulf, and West. Prior period segment disclosures have been recast for the new segment presentation. Our reportable segments are comprised of the following businesses:
Northeast G&P is comprised of our midstream gathering and processing businesses in the Marcellus Shale region primarily in Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia and the Utica Shale region of eastern Ohio, as well as a 66 percent interest in Cardinal (a consolidated entity), a 62 percent equity-method investment in UEOM, a 69 percent equity-method investment in Laurel Mountain, a 58 percent equity-method investment in Caiman II, and Appalachia Midstream Services, LLC, which owns equity-method investments with an approximate average 66 percent interest in multiple gas gathering systems in the Marcellus Shale (Appalachia Midstream Investments).


4




Atlantic-Gulf is comprised of our interstate natural gas pipeline, Transco, and significant natural gas gathering and processing and crude oil production handling and transportation assets in the Gulf Coast region, including a 51 percent interest in Gulfstar One (a consolidated entity), which is a proprietary floating production system, and various petrochemical and feedstock pipelines in the Gulf Coast region, as well as a 50 percent equity-method investment in Gulfstream, a 60 percent equity-method investment in Discovery, and a 41 percent interest in Constitution (a consolidated entity), which is developing a pipeline project (see Note 4 – Variable Interest Entities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
West is comprised of our interstate natural gas pipeline, Northwest Pipeline, and our gathering, processing, and treating operations in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Barnett Shale region of north-central Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale region of south Texas, the Haynesville Shale region of northwest Louisiana, and the Mid-Continent region which includes the Anadarko, Arkoma, Delaware, and Permian basins. This segment also includes our NGL and natural gas marketing business, storage facilities, an undivided 50 percent interest in an NGL fractionator near Conway, Kansas, and a 50 percent equity-method investment in OPPL, a 50 percent interest in Jackalope (an equity-method investment following deconsolidation as of June 30, 2018), a 50 percent equity-method investment in RMM, a 15 percent equity-method investment in Brazos Permian II, and our previously owned 50 percent equity-method investment in the Delaware basin gas gathering system (DBJV) in the Mid-Continent region (see Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements). West also included our former natural gas gathering and processing assets in the Four Corners area of New Mexico and Colorado (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Other includes our previously owned operations, including an 88.5 percent undivided interest in an olefins production facility in Geismar, Louisiana, which was sold in July 2017 (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements), and a refinery grade propylene splitter in the Gulf region, which was sold in June 2017. This segment also included our previously owned Canadian assets, which included an oil sands offgas processing plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta, and an NGL/olefin fractionation facility at Redwater, Alberta. In September 2016, these Canadian operations were sold. Other also includes minor business activities that are not operating segments, as well as corporate operations.
Detailed discussion of each of our reporting segments follows. For a discussion of our ongoing expansion projects, see Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Northeast G&P
This segment includes our natural gas gathering, compression, processing, and NGL fractionation business in the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, and Ohio.

The following tables summarize the significant consolidated assets of this segment:
 
 
 
 
Natural Gas Gathering Assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inlet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pipeline
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
 
 
Location
 
Miles
 
(Bcf/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ohio Valley Midstream
 
Ohio, West Virginia, & Pennsylvania
 
216
 
0.8
 
100%
 
Appalachian
 
Susquehanna Supply Hub
 
Pennsylvania & New York
 
454
 
3.6
 
100%
 
Appalachian
 
Cardinal (1)
 
Ohio
 
360
 
0.9
 
66%
 
Appalachian
 
Flint
 
Ohio
 
75
 
0.5
 
100%
 
Appalachian
 
Beaver Creek
 
Pennsylvania
 
41
 
0.1
 
100%
 
Appalachian
_____________
(1)
Statistics reflect 100 percent of the assets from our 66 percent ownership of Cardinal gathering system.



5




 
 
 
 
Natural Gas Processing Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NGL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inlet
 
Production
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capacity
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
 
 
Location
 
(Bcf/d)
 
(Mbbls/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fort Beeler
 
Marshall County, WV
 
0.5
 
62
 
100%
 
Appalachian
 
Oak Grove
 
Marshall County, WV
 
0.2
 
25
 
100%
 
Appalachian
We also own and operate fractionation facilities at Moundsville, de-ethanization and condensate facilities at our Oak Grove plant, a condensate stabilization facility near our Moundsville fractionator, and an ethane transportation pipeline. Our condensate stabilizers are capable of handling approximately 17 Mbbls/d of field condensate. NGLs are extracted from the natural gas stream in our Oak Grove and Fort Beeler cryogenic processing plants. Our Oak Grove de-ethanizer is capable of handling up to approximately 80 Mbbls/d of mixed NGLs to extract up to approximately 40 Mbbls/d of ethane. Ethane produced at our de-ethanizer is transported to markets via our 50-mile ethane pipeline from Oak Grove to Houston, Pennsylvania. The remaining mixed NGL stream from the de-ethanizer is then transported via pipeline and fractionated at our Moundsville fractionation facilities, which are capable of handling approximately 43 Mbbls/d of mixed NGLs. The resulting products are then transported on truck or rail. Ohio Valley Midstream provides residue natural gas take away options for our customers with interconnections to three interstate transmission pipelines.
Northeast G&P Operating Statistics
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Volumes: (1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gathering (Bcf/d)
 
3.63

 
3.31

 
3.21
Plant inlet natural gas volumes (Bcf/d)
 
0.52

 
0.43

 
0.33
NGL production volumes (Mbbls/d) (2)
 
46

 
38

 
32
__________
(1)
Excludes volumes associated with equity-method investments.
(2)
Annual average Mbbls/d.
Certain Equity-Method Investments
Laurel Mountain
We own a 69 percent interest in a joint venture, Laurel Mountain, that includes a 2,053-mile gathering system that we operate in western Pennsylvania with the capacity to gather 0.6 Bcf/d of natural gas. Laurel Mountain has a long-term, dedicated, volumetric-based fee agreement, with exposure to natural gas prices, to gather the anchor customer’s production in the western Pennsylvania area of the Marcellus Shale.

Caiman II
We own a 58 percent interest in Caiman II, which owns a 50 percent interest in Blue Racer, a joint project to own, operate, develop and acquire midstream assets in the Utica Shale and certain adjacent areas in the Marcellus Shale. Blue Racer’s assets include 723 miles of gathering pipelines, and the Natrium complex in Marshall County, West Virginia, with a cryogenic processing capacity of 400 MMcf/d and fractionation capacity of approximately 134 Mbbls/d. Blue Racer also owns the Berne complex in Monroe County, Ohio, with a cryogenic processing capacity of 400 MMcf/d, and NGL and condensate pipelines connecting Natrium to Berne. Blue Racer provides gathering, processing, and marketing service primarily under percentage of liquids and fixed fee agreements.

Utica East Ohio Midstream
We own a 62 percent interest in UEOM, which includes infrastructure for the gathering, processing, and fractionation of natural gas and NGLs in the Utica Shale play in eastern Ohio. Our partner operates a natural gas gathering pipeline, inlet compression, two processing plants with a total capacity of 800 MMcf/d, 36 Mbbls/d of condensate stabilization


6




capacity, a 135 Mbbls/d NGL fractionation facility, approximately 950,000 barrels of NGL storage capacity, and other ancillary assets, including loading and terminal facilities. These assets earn a fixed fee that escalates annually within a specified range.
Appalachia Midstream Investments    
Through our Appalachia Midstream Investments, we operate 100 percent of and own an approximate average 66 percent interest in the Bradford Supply Hub gathering system and own an approximate average 68 percent interest in the Marcellus South gathering system, together which consist of approximately 1,028 miles of gathering pipeline in the Marcellus Shale region with the capacity to gather 4,623 MMcf/d of natural gas. The majority of our volumes in the region are gathered from northern Pennsylvania, southwestern Pennsylvania, and the northwestern panhandle of West Virginia in core areas of the Marcellus Shale. We operate the assets under long-term, 100 percent fixed-fee gathering agreements that include significant acreage dedications and, in the Bradford Supply Hub, a cost of service mechanism.
During the first quarter of 2017, we exchanged all of our 50 percent interest in the Delaware basin gas gathering system, previously reported within the West segment, for an increased interest in the Bradford Supply Hub natural gas gathering system that is part of the Appalachia Midstream Investments and $155 million in cash. Following this exchange, we have an approximate average 66 percent interest in the Appalachia Midstream Investments. We continue to account for this investment under the equity-method due to the significant participatory rights of our partners such that we do not exercise control. (See Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Aux Sable
We also own a 15 percent interest in Aux Sable and its Channahon, Illinois, gas processing and NGL fractionation facility near Chicago. The facility is capable of processing up to 2.1 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Alliance Pipeline system and fractionating approximately 132 Mbbls/d of extracted liquids into NGL products. Additionally, Aux Sable owns an 80 MMcf/d gas conditioning plant and a 12-inch, 83-mile gas pipeline infrastructure in North Dakota that provides additional NGLs to Channahon from the Bakken Shale in the Williston basin.
Atlantic-Gulf
This segment includes the Transco interstate natural gas pipeline that extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the eastern seaboard, as well as natural gas gathering, processing and treating, crude oil production handling, and NGL fractionation assets within the onshore, offshore shelf, and deepwater areas in and around the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This segment also includes various petrochemical and feedstock pipelines in the Gulf Coast region.
Transco
Transco is an interstate natural gas transmission company that owns and operates a 9,900-mile natural gas pipeline system, which is regulated by the FERC, extending from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to the New York City metropolitan area. The system serves customers in Texas and 12 southeast and Atlantic seaboard states, including major metropolitan areas in Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
At December 31, 2018, Transco’s system, which extends from Texas to New York, had a system-wide delivery capacity totaling approximately 16.7 MMdth of natural gas per day. During 2018, Transco completed two fully-contracted expansions, which added more than 1.75 MMdth of firm transportation capacity per day to the existing pipeline system. Transco’s system includes 55 compressor stations, four underground storage fields, and one LNG storage facility. Compression facilities at sea level-rated capacity total approximately 2.2 million horsepower.
Transco has natural gas storage capacity in four underground storage fields located on or near its pipeline system or market areas and operates two of these storage fields. Transco also has storage capacity in an LNG storage facility that it owns and operates. The total usable gas storage capacity available to Transco and its customers in such underground storage fields and LNG storage facility and through storage service contracts is approximately 200 Bcf of natural gas.


7




At December 31, 2018, Transco’s customers had stored in its facilities approximately 130 Bcf of natural gas. In addition, wholly owned subsidiaries of Transco operate and hold a 35 percent equity-method investment in Pine Needle LNG Company, LLC, an LNG storage facility with 4 Bcf of storage capacity. Storage capacity permits Transco’s customers to inject gas into storage during the summer and off-peak periods for delivery during peak winter demand periods.
Gas Gathering, Processing, and Treating Assets
The following tables summarize the significant consolidated assets of this segment:
 
 
Natural Gas Gathering Assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inlet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pipeline
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
Location
 
Miles
 
(Bcf/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Canyon Chief, including Blind Faith and Gulfstar extensions
 
Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
 
156
 
 0.5 
 
100%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Other Eastern Gulf
 
Offshore shelf and other
 
46
 
0.2
 
100%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Seahawk
 
Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
 
 115 
 
 0.4 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico
Perdido Norte
 
Deepwater Gulf of Mexico
 
 105 
 
 0.3 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico
Other Western Gulf
 
Offshore shelf and other
 
105
 
0.5
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico

 
 
Natural Gas Processing Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NGL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inlet
 
Production
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capacity
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
Location
 
(Bcf/d)
 
(Mbbls/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Markham
 
Markham, TX
 
0.5 
 
45 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico
Mobile Bay
 
Coden, AL
 
0.7 
 
30 
 
100%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Crude Oil Transportation and Production Handling Assets
In addition to our natural gas assets, we own and operate four deepwater crude oil pipelines and own production platforms serving the deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico. Our offshore floating production platforms provide centralized services to deepwater producers such as compression, separation, production handling, water removal, and pipeline landings.
The following tables summarize the significant crude oil transportation pipelines and production handling platforms of this segment:
 
 
 
 
 
Crude Oil Pipelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pipeline
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Miles
 
(Mbbls/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mountaineer, including Blind Faith and Gulfstar extensions
 
155
 
150 
 
100%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico
BANJO
 
57 
 
90 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico
Alpine
 
96 
 
85 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico
Perdido Norte
 
74 
 
150 
 
100%
 
Western Gulf of Mexico



8




 
 
 
 
Production Handling Platforms
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Crude/NGL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gas Inlet
 
Handling
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capacity
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(MMcf/d)
 
(Mbbls/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Devils Tower
 
210 
 
60 
 
100%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Gulfstar I FPS (1)
 
172
 
80
 
51%
 
Eastern Gulf of Mexico
__________
(1)
Statistics reflect 100 percent of the assets from our 51 percent interest in Gulfstar One.
Other NGL & Petchem Operations
We own 283 miles of pipeline systems in Louisiana and Texas that provide feedstock transportation from fractionation and storage facilities to various third-party crackers. These systems include the Bayou ethane pipeline, which provides ethane transportation from Mont Belvieu, Texas; certain ethane and propane systems in Louisiana; and a pipeline that has the capacity to transport 12 Mbbls/d of ethane from Discovery’s Paradis fractionator.
We previously owned pipelines in the Houston Ship Channel area which were used to transport a variety of products including ethane, propane, ammonia, tertiary butyl alcohol, and other industrial products. These assets were sold in November 2018.
Atlantic-Gulf Operating Statistics
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
Volumes: (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Interstate natural gas pipeline throughput (Tbtu)
4,309

 
3,783

 
3,503

Gathering (Bcf/d)
0.26

 
0.31

 
0.41

Plant inlet natural gas (Bcf/d)
0.50

 
0.55

 
0.72

NGL production (Mbbls/d) (2)
32

 
33

 
41

NGL equity sales (Mbbls/d) (2)
6

 
9

 
13

Crude oil transportation (Mbbls/d) (2)
140

 
134

 
113

_____________
(1)
Excludes volumes associated with equity-method investments.
(2)
Annual average Mbbls/d.
Certain Equity-Method Investments
Discovery
We own a 60 percent interest in and operate the facilities of Discovery. Discovery’s assets include a 600 MMcf/d cryogenic natural gas processing plant near Larose, Louisiana, a 32 Mbbls/d NGL fractionator plant near Paradis, Louisiana, and a 594-mile offshore natural gas gathering and transportation system in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovery’s mainline has a gathering inlet capacity of 600 MMcf/d, while the Keathley Canyon Connector, a deepwater lateral pipeline in the central deepwater Gulf of Mexico has a gathering inlet capacity of 400 MMcf/d. Discovery’s assets also include a crude oil production handling platform with a crude oil/NGL handling capacity of 10 Mbbls/d and natural gas processing capacity of 75 MMcf/d.
Gulfstream
Gulfstream is a 745-mile interstate natural gas pipeline system extending from the Mobile Bay area in Alabama to markets in Florida, which has a capacity to transport 1.3 Bcf/d. We own, through a subsidiary, a 50 percent equity-method investment in Gulfstream. We share operating responsibilities for Gulfstream with the other 50 percent owner.



9




West
This segment includes the Northwest Pipeline interstate natural gas pipeline, as well as natural gas gathering, processing, and treating assets in Colorado, Wyoming, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. This segment also includes an NGL and natural gas marketing business, storage facilities, and an undivided 50 percent interest in an NGL fractionator near Conway, Kansas.
Northwest Pipeline
Northwest Pipeline is an interstate natural gas transmission company that owns and operates a natural gas pipeline system, which is regulated by the FERC, extending from the San Juan basin in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado through Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to a point on the Canadian border near Sumas, Washington. Northwest Pipeline provides services for markets in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Arizona, either directly or indirectly through interconnections with other pipelines.
At December 31, 2018, Northwest Pipeline’s system, having long-term firm transportation and storage redelivery agreements with aggregate capacity reservations of approximately 3.9 MMdth/d, was composed of approximately 3,900 miles of mainline and lateral transmission pipeline and 41 transmission compressor stations having a combined sea level-rated capacity of approximately 472,000 horsepower.
Northwest Pipeline owns a one-third interest in the Jackson Prairie underground storage facility in Washington and contracts with a third party for natural gas storage services in the Clay basin underground field in Utah. Northwest Pipeline also owns and operates an LNG storage facility in Washington. These storage facilities have an aggregate working natural gas storage capacity of 14.2 MMdth of natural gas, which is substantially utilized for third-party natural gas. These natural gas storage facilities enable Northwest Pipeline to balance daily receipts and deliveries and provide storage services to customers.
Gas Gathering, Processing, and Treating Assets
The following tables summarize the significant consolidated assets of this segment:
 
 
 
Natural Gas Gathering Assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Location
 
Pipeline Miles
 
Inlet Capacity (Bcf/d)
 
Ownership Interest
 
Supply Basins/Shale Formations
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wamsutter
 
Wyoming
 
2,084
 
0.7
 
100%
 
Wamsutter
Southwest Wyoming
 
Wyoming
 
1,614
 
0.5
 
100%
 
Southwest Wyoming
Piceance
 
Colorado
 
352
 
1.8
 
(1)
 
Piceance
Barnett Shale
 
Texas
 
845
 
0.8
 
100%
 
Barnett Shale
Eagle Ford Shale
 
Texas
 
1,275
 
0.6
 
100%
 
Eagle Ford Shale
Haynesville Shale
 
Louisiana
 
626
 
1.8
 
100%
 
Haynesville Shale
Permian
 
Texas
 
100
 
0.1
 
100%
 
Permian
Mid-Continent
 
Oklahoma & Texas
 
2,248
 
0.9
 
100%
 
Miss-Lime, Granite Wash, Colony Wash, Arkoma
__________
(1)
Includes our 60 percent ownership of a gathering system in the Ryan Gulch area with 140 miles of pipeline and 0.2 Bcf/d of inlet capacity, and our 67 percent ownership of a gathering system at Allen Point with 8 miles of pipeline and 0.1 Bcf/d of inlet capacity. We operate both systems. We own and operate 100 percent of the balance of the Piceance gathering assets.


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Natural Gas Processing Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NGL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inlet
 
Production
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capacity
 
Capacity
 
Ownership
 
 
 
 
 
Location
 
(Bcf/d)
 
(Mbbls/d)
 
Interest
 
Supply Basins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Echo Springs
 
Echo Springs, WY
 
0.7
 
58
 
100%
 
Wamsutter
Opal
 
Opal, WY
 
1.1
 
47
 
100%
 
Southwest Wyoming
Willow Creek
 
Rio Blanco County, CO
 
0.5
 
30
 
100%
 
Piceance
Parachute
 
Garfield County, CO
 
1.1
 
6
 
100%
 
Piceance

Marketing Services
We market NGL products to a wide range of users in the energy and petrochemical industries. The NGL marketing business transports and markets our equity NGLs from the production at our processing plants, and also markets NGLs on behalf of third-party NGL producers, including some of our fee-based processing customers, and the NGL volumes owned by Discovery. The NGL marketing business bears the risk of price changes in these NGL volumes while they are being transported to final sales delivery points. In order to meet sales contract obligations, we may purchase products in the spot market for resale.
In certain situations to facilitate our gas gathering and processing activities, we buy natural gas from our producer customers for resale.

Other NGL Operations
We own interests in and/or operate NGL fractionation and storage assets in central Kansas near Conway. These assets include a 50 percent interest in an NGL fractionation facility with capacity of slightly more than 100 Mbbls/d and we own approximately 20 million barrels of NGL storage capacity.
West Operating Statistics
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Volumes:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interstate natural gas pipeline throughput (Tbtu)
 
820

 
750

 
727

Gathering (Bcf/d)
 
4.27

 
4.53

 
4.62

Plant inlet natural gas (Bcf/d)
 
2.01

 
2.07

 
2.45

NGL production (Mbbls/d) (1)
 
84

 
77

 
78

NGL equity sales (Mbbls/d) (1)
 
33

 
29

 
28

__________
(1)
Annual average Mbbls/d.
Certain Equity-Method Investments
Jackalope gathering system
We operate and own a 50 percent interest in Jackalope which provides gas gathering and processing services for the Powder River basin. During the second quarter of 2018, we deconsolidated Jackalope (see Note 4 – Variable Interest Entities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements). Jackalope, which includes the Bucking Horse gas processing plant, consists of a 257-mile natural gas pipeline, 0.2 Bcf/d of gas gathering inlet capacity, 0.1 Bcf/d of natural gas processing inlet capacity, and 12 Mbbls/d of NGL production capacity.


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Brazos Permian II
We acquired a non-operated 15 percent interest in Brazos Permian II in December 2018 by contributing cash and our existing Delaware basin assets. This partnership consists of 725 miles of gas gathering pipelines, 260 MMcf/d of natural gas processing inlet capacity, and 75 miles of crude oil gathering pipelines.
Rocky Mountain Midstream
During the third quarter of 2018, our joint venture, RMM, purchased a natural gas and oil gathering and natural gas processing business in Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg basin. As of December 31, 2018, we own 50 percent of RMM. RMM consists of 60 MMcf/d of gas processing capacity, an approximate 105-mile natural gas gathering system, and an approximate 70-mile oil gathering system. There are two additional processing plants currently under construction that are expected to increase natural gas processing capacity to 480 MMcf/d by the end of 2019.
Delaware basin gas gathering system
We previously owned a non-operated 50 percent interest in the Delaware basin gas gathering system in the Permian basin, which was sold in February 2017. The system was comprised of more than 450 miles of gathering pipeline, located in west Texas.
Overland Pass Pipeline
We also operate and own a 50 percent interest in OPPL. OPPL is capable of transporting 255 Mbbls/d and includes approximately 1,035 miles of NGL pipeline extending from Opal, Wyoming, to the Mid-Continent NGL market center near Conway, Kansas, along with extensions into the Piceance and Denver-Julesberg basins in Colorado and the Bakken Shale in the Williston basin in North Dakota. Our equity NGL volumes from two of our three Wyoming plants and our Willow Creek facility in Colorado are dedicated for transport on OPPL under a long-term transportation agreement. NGL volumes from our RMM equity-method investment are also expected to be transported on OPPL.
Other
Other includes our previously owned operations, minor business activities that are not operating segments, as well as corporate operations.
Geismar Interest
In July 2017, we completed the sale of Williams Olefins, L.L.C, a wholly owned subsidiary which owned our 88.5 percent undivided interest in the Geismar, Louisiana, olefins plant (Geismar Interest). Upon closing the sale, we entered into a long-term supply and transportation agreement with the purchaser to provide feedstock to the plant via our Bayou Ethane pipeline system.
Canadian Operations
We completed the sale of our Canadian operations in September 2016. This business included an oil sands offgas processing plant located near Fort McMurray, Alberta, and an NGL/olefin fractionation facility located at Redwater, Alberta, which is near Edmonton, Alberta, and the Boreal Pipeline which transported NGLs and associated olefins from the Fort McMurray plant to the Redwater fractionation facility. This business allowed us to extract, fractionate, treat, store, terminal, and sell the ethane/ethylene, propane, propylene, normal butane, iso-butane, alky feedstock, and condensate recovered from a third-party oil sands bitumen upgrader.
Service Assets, Customers, and Contracts
Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Assets
Our interstate natural gas pipelines are subject to regulation by the FERC and as such, our rates and charges for the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce are subject to regulation. The rates are established through the FERC’s ratemaking process.


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Our interstate natural gas pipelines transport and store natural gas for a broad mix of customers, including local natural gas distribution companies, public utilities, municipalities, direct industrial users, electric power generators, and natural gas marketers and producers. We have firm transportation and storage contracts that are generally long-term contracts with various expiration dates and account for the major portion of our regulated businesses. Additionally, we offer storage services and interruptible transportation services under shorter-term agreements.
On August 31, 2018, Transco filed a general rate case with the FERC for an overall increase in rates. In September 2018, with the exception of certain rates that reflected a rate decrease, the FERC accepted and suspended our general rate filing to be effective March 1, 2019, subject to refund and the outcome of a hearing. The specific rates that reflected a rate decrease were accepted, without suspension, to be effective October 1, 2018, as requested by Transco, and will not be subject to refund.

Gathering, Processing and Treating Assets
Our gathering systems receive natural gas from producers’ oil and natural gas wells and gather these volumes to gas processing, treating or redelivery facilities. Typically, natural gas, in its raw form, is not acceptable for transportation in major interstate natural gas pipelines or for commercial use as a fuel. Our treating facilities remove water vapor, carbon dioxide and other contaminants and collect condensate, but do not extract NGLs. We are generally paid a fee based on the volume of natural gas gathered and/or treated, generally measured in the Btu heating value.

In addition, natural gas contains various amounts of NGLs, which generally have a higher value when separated from the natural gas stream. Our processing plants extract the NGLs in addition to removing water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other contaminants. NGL products include:
Ethane, primarily used in the petrochemical industry as a feedstock for ethylene production, one of the basic building blocks for plastics;
Propane, used for heating, fuel and as a petrochemical feedstock in the production of ethylene and propylene, another building block for petrochemical-based products such as carpets, packing materials, and molded plastic parts;
Normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline, primarily used by the refining industry as blending stocks for motor gasoline or as a petrochemical feedstock.
Our gas processing services generate revenues primarily from the following types of contracts:
Fee-based: We are paid a fee based on the volume of natural gas processed, generally measured in the Btu heating value. Our customers are entitled to the NGLs produced in connection with this type of processing agreement. A portion of our fee-based processing revenue includes a share of the margins on the NGLs produced. For the year ended December 31, 2018, 74 percent of our NGL production volumes were under fee-based contracts.
Noncash commodity-based: We also process gas under two types of commodity-based contracts, keep-whole and percent-of-liquids, where we receive consideration for our services in the form of NGLs. Under these contracts, we retain some or all of the extracted NGLs as compensation for our services. For a keep-whole arrangement we replace the Btu content of the retained NGLs that were extracted during processing with natural gas purchases, also known as shrink replacement gas. For a percent-of-liquids arrangement, we deliver to customers an agreed-upon percentage of the extracted NGLs and retain the remainder. NGLs we retain in connection with these types of processing agreements are referred to as our equity NGL production. Under keep-whole agreements, we have commodity price exposure on the difference between NGL and natural gas prices. For the year ended December 31, 2018, 26 percent of our NGL production volumes were under noncash commodity-based contracts.


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Our gathering and processing agreements have terms ranging from month-to-month to the life of the producing lease. Generally, our gathering and processing agreements are long-term agreements. Some contracts have price escalators which annually increase our gathering rates. In addition, certain contracts include fee redetermination or cost of service mechanisms that are designed to support a return on invested capital and allow our gathering rates to be adjusted, subject to specified caps in certain cases, to account for variability in volume, capital expenditures, commodity price fluctuations, compression and other expenses. Certain of our gas gathering agreements include MVCs. If a customer under such an agreement fails to meet its MVC for a specified period, it is obligated to pay a contractually determined fee based upon the shortfall between the actual gathered or processed volumes and the MVC for the period contained in the contract. When we conclude it is probable that the customer will not exercise all or a portion of its remaining rights, we recognize revenue in an amount in proportion to the pattern of exercised rights within the respective MVC period.

Demand for gas gathering and processing services is dependent on producers’ drilling activities, which is impacted by the strength of the economy, natural gas prices, and the resulting demand for natural gas by manufacturing and industrial companies and consumers. Our gas gathering and processing customers are generally natural gas producers who have proved and/or producing natural gas fields in the areas surrounding our infrastructure. During 2018, our facilities gathered and processed gas and crude oil for approximately 260 customers. Our top ten customers accounted for approximately 70 percent of our gathering and processing fee revenues and NGL margins from our noncash commodity-based agreements.
Demand for our equity NGLs is affected by economic conditions and the resulting demand from industries using these commodities to produce petrochemical-based products such as plastics, carpets, packing materials, and blending stocks for motor gasoline and the demand from consumers using these commodities for heating and fuel. NGL products are currently the preferred feedstock for ethylene and propylene production, which has shifted away from the more expensive crude-based feedstocks.

Key variables for our business will continue to be:
Producer drilling activities impacting natural gas supplies supporting our gathering and processing volumes;
Prices impacting our commodity-based activities;
Retaining and attracting customers by continuing to provide reliable services;
Revenue growth associated with additional infrastructure either completed or currently under construction;
Disciplined growth in our service areas.
Crude Oil Transportation and Production Handling Assets
Our crude oil transportation revenues are typically volumetric-based fee arrangements. Crude oil marketing activity is now presented on a net basis within Product costs in the Consolidated Statement of Operations in 2018 in conjunction with the adoption of ASC 606. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.) Revenue sources have historically included a combination of fixed-fee, volumetric-based fee, and cost reimbursement arrangements. Fixed fees associated with the resident production at our Devils Tower facility are recognized on a units-of-production basis. Fixed fees associated with the resident production at our Gulfstar One facility are recognized as the guaranteed capacity is made available.
Additional Business Segment Information
We perform certain management, legal, financial, tax, consultation, information technology, administrative, and other services for our subsidiaries.
Our principal sources of cash are from dividends and advances from our subsidiaries, investments, payments by subsidiaries for services rendered, and, if needed, external financings, and net proceeds from asset sales. The terms of


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our credit agreement, which also govern certain subsidiaries’ borrowing arrangements, may limit the transfer of funds to us under certain conditions.
We believe that we have adequate sources and availability of raw materials and commodities for existing and anticipated business needs. Our interstate pipeline systems are all regulated in various ways resulting in the financial return on the investments made in the systems being limited to standards permitted by the regulatory agencies. Each of the pipeline systems has ongoing capital requirements for efficiency and mandatory improvements, with expansion opportunities also necessitating periodic capital outlays.
REGULATORY MATTERS
FERC
Our gas pipeline interstate transmission and storage activities are subject to FERC regulation under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (NGA) and under the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, and, as such, our rates and charges for the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce, accounting, and the extension, enlargement, or abandonment of our jurisdictional facilities, among other things, are subject to regulation. Each of our gas pipeline companies holds certificates of public convenience and necessity issued by the FERC authorizing ownership and operation of all pipelines, facilities, and properties for which certificates are required under the NGA. FERC Standards of Conduct govern how our interstate pipelines communicate and do business with gas marketing employees. Among other things, the Standards of Conduct require that interstate gas pipelines not operate their systems to preferentially benefit gas marketing functions.
FERC regulation requires all terms and conditions of service, including the rates charged, to be filed with and approved by the FERC before any changes can go into effect. Our interstate gas pipeline companies establish rates through the FERC’s ratemaking process. In addition, our interstate gas pipelines may enter into negotiated rate agreements where cost-based recourse rates are made available. Key determinants in the FERC ratemaking process include:
Costs of providing service, including depreciation expense;
Allowed rate of return, including the equity component of the capital structure and related income taxes;
Contract and volume throughput assumptions.
The allowed rate of return is determined in each rate case. Rate design and the allocation of costs between the reservation and commodity rates also impact profitability. As a result of these proceedings, certain revenues previously collected may be subject to refund.
We also own interests in and operate two offshore transmission pipelines that are regulated by the FERC because they are deemed to transport gas in interstate commerce. Black Marlin Pipeline Company provides transportation service for offshore Texas production in the High Island area and redelivers that gas to intrastate pipeline interconnects near Texas City. Discovery provides transportation service for offshore Louisiana production from the South Timbalier, Grand Isle, Ewing Bank, and Green Canyon (deepwater) areas to an onshore processing facility and downstream interconnect points with major interstate pipelines. In addition, we own a 50 percent equity-method investment in and are the operator of OPPL, which is an interstate natural gas liquids pipeline regulated by the FERC pursuant to the Interstate Commerce Act. OPPL provides transportation service pursuant to tariffs filed with the FERC. We also own an ethane pipeline in West Virginia and Pennsylvania (Williams Ohio Valley Pipeline LLC) and an ethane pipeline in Texas and Louisiana (Williams Bayou Ethane Pipeline) each of which provides interstate service subject to FERC jurisdiction under the Interstate Commerce Act.
Pipeline Safety
Our gas pipelines are subject to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, as amended, the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Jobs Creation Act of 2011 (Pipeline Safety Act), and the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016, which regulate safety requirements in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of interstate natural gas transmission facilities.


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The United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) administers federal pipeline safety laws.
Federal pipeline safety laws authorize PHMSA to establish minimum safety standards for pipeline facilities and persons engaged in the transportation of gas or hazardous liquids by pipeline. These safety standards apply to the design, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of gas and hazardous liquids pipeline facilities affecting interstate or foreign commerce. PHMSA has also established reporting requirements for operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline facilities, as well as provisions for establishing the qualification of pipeline personnel and requirements for managing the integrity of gas transmission and distribution lines and certain hazardous liquid pipelines. To ensure compliance with these provisions, PHMSA performs pipeline safety inspections and has the authority to initiate enforcement actions.
Federal pipeline safety regulations contain an exemption that applies to gathering lines in certain rural locations. A substantial portion of our gathering lines qualify for that exemption and are currently not regulated under federal law.
States are largely preempted by federal law from regulating pipeline safety for interstate pipelines but most are certified by PHMSA to assume responsibility for enforcing intrastate pipeline safety regulations and inspecting intrastate pipelines. In practice, because states can adopt stricter standards for intrastate pipelines than those imposed by the federal government for interstate lines, they vary considerably in their authority and capacity to address pipeline safety.
Pipeline Integrity Regulations
We have an enterprise-wide Gas Integrity Management Plan that we believe meets the PHMSA final rule that was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. The rule requires gas pipeline operators to develop an integrity management program for gas transmission pipelines that could affect high-consequence areas in the event of pipeline failure. The integrity management program includes a baseline assessment plan along with periodic reassessments to be completed within required time frames. In meeting the integrity regulations, we have identified high-consequence areas and developed baseline assessment plans. Ongoing periodic reassessments and initial assessments of any new high-consequence areas have been completed. We estimate that the cost to be incurred in 2019 associated with this program to be approximately $86 million. Management considers costs associated with compliance with the rule to be prudent costs incurred in the ordinary course of business and, therefore, recoverable through Northwest Pipeline’s and Transco’s rates.
We have an enterprise-wide Liquid Integrity Management Plan that we believe meets the PHMSA final rule that was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. The rule requires liquid pipeline operators to develop an integrity management program for liquid transmission pipelines that could affect high-consequence areas in the event of pipeline failure. The integrity management program includes a baseline assessment plan along with periodic reassessments expected to be completed within required time frames. In meeting the integrity regulations, we utilized government defined high-consequence areas and developed baseline assessment plans. We completed assessments within the required time frames. We estimate that the cost to be incurred in 2019 associated with this program will be approximately $3 million. Ongoing periodic reassessments and initial assessments of any new high-consequence areas are expected to be completed within the time frames required by the rule. Management considers the costs associated with compliance with the rule to be prudent costs incurred in the ordinary course of business.
State Gathering Regulations
Our onshore midstream gathering operations are subject to laws and regulations in the various states in which we operate. For example, the Texas Railroad Commission has the authority to regulate the terms of service for our intrastate natural gas gathering business in Texas. Although the applicable state regulations vary widely, they generally require that pipeline rates and practices be reasonable and nondiscriminatory, and may include provisions covering marketing, pricing, pollution, environment, and human health and safety. Some states, such as New York, have specific regulations pertaining to the design, construction, and operations of gathering lines within such state.



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Intrastate Liquids Pipelines in the Gulf Coast
Our intrastate liquids pipelines in the Gulf Coast are regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the Texas Railroad Commission, and various other state and federal agencies. These pipelines are also subject to the liquid pipeline safety and integrity regulations discussed above since both Louisiana and Texas have adopted the integrity management regulations defined in PHMSA.

OCSLA
Our offshore gas and liquids pipelines located on the outer continental shelf are subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which provides in part that outer continental shelf pipelines “must provide open and nondiscriminatory access to both owner and nonowner shippers.”
See Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data — Note 18 – Contingent Liabilities and Commitments of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further details on our regulatory matters. For additional information regarding regulatory matters, please also refer to Part 1, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” — “The operation of our businesses might be adversely affected by regulatory proceedings, changes in government regulations or in their interpretation or implementation, or the introduction of new laws or regulations applicable to our businesses or our customers,” and “The natural gas sales, transportation, and storage operations of our gas pipelines are subject to regulation by the FERC, which could have an adverse impact on their ability to establish transportation and storage rates that would allow them to recover the full cost of operating their respective pipelines, including a reasonable rate of return.
ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS
Our operations are subject to federal environmental laws and regulations as well as the state, local, and tribal laws and regulations adopted by the jurisdictions in which we operate. We could incur liability to governments or third parties for any unlawful discharge of pollutants into the air, soil, or water, as well as liability for cleanup costs. Materials could be released into the environment in several ways including, but not limited to:
Leakage from gathering systems, underground gas storage caverns, pipelines, processing or treating facilities, transportation facilities, and storage tanks;
Damage to facilities resulting from accidents during normal operations;
Damages to onshore and offshore equipment and facilities resulting from storm events or natural disasters;
Blowouts, cratering, and explosions.
In addition, we may be liable for environmental damage caused by former owners or operators of our properties.
We believe compliance with current environmental laws and regulations will not have a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures, earnings, or current competitive position. However, environmental laws and regulations could affect our business in various ways from time to time, including incurring capital and maintenance expenditures, fines and penalties, and creating the need to seek relief from the FERC for rate increases to recover the costs of certain capital expenditures and operation and maintenance expenses.
For additional information regarding the potential impact of federal, state, tribal, or local regulatory measures on our business and specific environmental issues, please refer to Part 1, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” — “Our operations are subject to environmental laws and regulations, including laws and regulations relating to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, which may expose us to significant costs, liabilities, and expenditures that could exceed our expectations,” and Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Environmental” and “Environmental Matters” in Part II, Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data — Note 18 – Contingent Liabilities and Commitments of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


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COMPETITION
Gas Pipeline Business
The market for supplying natural gas is highly competitive and new pipelines, storage facilities, and other related services are expanding to service the growing demand for natural gas. Additionally, pipeline capacity in many growing natural gas supply basins is constrained causing competition to increase among pipeline companies as they strive to connect those basins to major natural gas demand centers.
In our business, we compete with major intrastate and interstate natural gas pipelines. In the last few years, local distribution companies have also started entering into the long-haul transportation business through joint venture pipelines. The principle elements of competition in the interstate natural gas pipeline business are based on rates, reliability, quality of customer service, diversity of supply, and proximity to customers and market hubs.
Significant entrance barriers to build new pipelines exist, including federal and growing state regulations and public opposition against new pipeline builds, and these factors will continue to impact potential competition for the foreseeable future. However, we believe the position of our existing infrastructure, established strategic long-term contracts, and the fact that our pipelines have numerous receipt and delivery points along our systems provide us a competitive advantage, especially along the eastern seaboard and northwestern United States.
Midstream Business
Competition for natural gas gathering, processing, treating, transporting, and storing natural gas continues to increase as production from shales and other resource areas continues to grow. Our midstream services compete with similar facilities that are in the same proximity as our assets.
We face competition from major and independent natural gas midstream providers, private equity firms, and major integrated oil and natural gas companies that gather, transport, process, fractionate, store, and market natural gas and NGLs, as well as some larger exploration and production companies that are choosing to develop midstream services to handle their own natural gas.
Our gathering and processing agreements are generally long-term agreements that may include acreage dedication. We primarily face competition to the extent these agreements approach renewal and new volume opportunities arise. Competition for natural gas volumes is primarily based on reputation, commercial terms (products retained or fees charged), array of services provided, efficiency and reliability of services, location of gathering facilities, available capacity, downstream interconnects, and latent capacity. We believe our significant presence in traditional prolific supply basins, our solid positions in growing shale plays, our reputation as a reliable operator, and our ability to offer integrated packages of services position us well against our competition.
For additional information regarding competition for our services or otherwise affecting our business, please refer to Part 1, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” - “The financial condition of our natural gas transportation and midstream businesses is dependent on the continued availability of natural gas supplies in the supply basins that we access and demand for those supplies in the markets we serve,”Our industry is highly competitive and increased competitive pressure could adversely affect our business and operating results,” and “We may not be able to replace, extend, or add additional customer contracts or contracted volumes on favorable terms, or at all, which could affect our financial condition, the amount of cash available to pay dividends, and our ability to grow.
EMPLOYEES
At February 1, 2019, we had 5,322 full-time employees.


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Item 1A. Risk Factors

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND CAUTIONARY STATEMENT
FOR PURPOSES OF THE “SAFE HARBOR” PROVISIONS OF
THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995

The reports, filings, and other public announcements of Williams may contain or incorporate by reference statements that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts. Such statements are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements relate to anticipated financial performance, management’s plans and objectives for future operations, business prospects, outcome of regulatory proceedings, market conditions, and other matters as discussed below. We make these forward-looking statements in reliance on the safe harbor protections provided under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this report that address activities, events, or developments that we expect, believe or anticipate will exist or may occur in the future, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by various forms of words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “seeks,” “could,” “may,” “should,” “continues,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “might,” “goals,” “objectives,” “targets,” “planned,” “potential,” “projects,” “scheduled,” “will,” “assumes,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “in-service date,” or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to management and include, among others, statements regarding:

Levels of dividends to Williams stockholders;

Future credit ratings of Williams and its affiliates;

Amounts and nature of future capital expenditures;

Expansion and growth of our business and operations;

Expected in-service dates for capital projects;

Financial condition and liquidity;

Business strategy;

Cash flow from operations or results of operations;

Seasonality of certain business components;

Natural gas and natural gas liquids prices, supply, and demand;

Demand for our services.

Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions, uncertainties and risks that could cause future events or results to be materially different from those stated or implied in this report. Many of the factors that will determine these results are beyond our ability to control or predict. Specific factors that could cause actual results to differ from results contemplated by the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following:

Whether we are able to pay current and expected levels of dividends;


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Whether we will be able to effectively execute our financing plan;

Availability of supplies, market demand, and volatility of prices;

Inflation, interest rates, and general economic conditions (including future disruptions and volatility in the global credit markets and the impact of these events on customers and suppliers);

The strength and financial resources of our competitors and the effects of competition;

Whether we are able to successfully identify, evaluate and timely execute our capital projects and investment opportunities;

Our ability to acquire new businesses and assets and successfully integrate those operations and assets into existing businesses as well as successfully expand our facilities, and to consummate asset sales on acceptable terms;

Development and rate of adoption of alternative energy sources;

The impact of operational and developmental hazards and unforeseen interruptions;

The impact of existing and future laws and regulations (including but not limited to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), the regulatory environment, environmental liabilities, and litigation, as well as our ability to obtain necessary permits and approvals, and achieve favorable rate proceeding outcomes;

Our costs and funding obligations for defined benefit pension plans and other postretirement benefit plans;

Changes in maintenance and construction costs, as well as our ability to obtain sufficient construction related inputs including skilled labor;

Changes in the current geopolitical situation;

Our exposure to the credit risk of our customers and counterparties;

Risks related to financing, including restrictions stemming from debt agreements, future changes in credit ratings as determined by nationally recognized credit rating agencies, and the availability and cost of capital;

The amount of cash distributions from and capital requirements of our investments and joint ventures in which we participate;

Risks associated with weather and natural phenomena, including climate conditions and physical damage to our facilities;

Acts of terrorism, cybersecurity incidents, and related disruptions;

Additional risks described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Given the uncertainties and risk factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement, we caution investors not to unduly rely on our forward-looking statements. We disclaim any obligations to and do not intend to update the above list or announce publicly the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements to reflect future events or developments.


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In addition to causing our actual results to differ, the factors listed above and referred to below may cause our intentions to change from those statements of intention set forth in this report. Such changes in our intentions may also cause our results to differ. We may change our intentions, at any time and without notice, based upon changes in such factors, our assumptions, or otherwise.

Because forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, we caution that there are important factors, in addition to those listed above, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. These factors are described in the following section.
RISK FACTORS

You should carefully consider the following risk factors in addition to the other information in this report. Each of these factors could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and, in some cases our reputation. The occurrence of any of such risks could also adversely affect the value of an investment in our securities.

Risks Related to Our Business

The financial condition of our natural gas transportation and midstream businesses is dependent on the continued availability of natural gas supplies in the supply basins that we access and demand for those supplies in the markets we serve.

Our ability to maintain and expand our natural gas transportation and midstream businesses depends on the level of drilling and production by third parties in our supply basins. Production from existing wells and natural gas supply basins with access to our pipeline and gathering systems will naturally decline over time. The amount of natural gas reserves underlying these existing wells may also be less than anticipated, and the rate at which production from these reserves declines may be greater than anticipated. We do not obtain independent evaluations of natural gas reserves connected to our systems and processing facilities. Accordingly, we do not have independent estimates of total reserves dedicated to our systems or the anticipated life of such reserves. In addition, low prices for natural gas, regulatory limitations, or the lack of available capital could adversely affect the development and production of additional natural gas reserves, the installation of gathering, storage, and pipeline transportation facilities and the import and export of natural gas supplies. Localized low natural gas prices in one or more of our existing supply basins, whether caused by a lack of infrastructure or otherwise, could also result in depressed natural gas production in such basins and limit the supply of natural gas made available to us. The competition for natural gas supplies to serve other markets could also reduce the amount of natural gas supply for our customers. A failure to obtain access to sufficient natural gas supplies will adversely impact our ability to maximize the capacities of our gathering, transportation, and processing facilities.

Demand for our services is dependent on the demand for gas in the markets we serve. Alternative fuel sources such as electricity, coal, fuel oils, or nuclear energy, as well as technological advances and renewable sources of energy, could reduce demand for natural gas in our markets and have an adverse effect on our business.

A failure to obtain access to sufficient natural gas supplies or a reduction in demand for our services in the markets we serve could result in impairments of our assets and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Prices for natural gas, NGLs, oil, and other commodities, are volatile and this volatility has and could continue to adversely affect our financial results, cash flows, access to capital, and ability to maintain our existing businesses.
Our revenues, operating results, future rate of growth, and the value of certain components of our businesses depend primarily upon the prices of natural gas, NGLs, oil, or other commodities, and the differences between prices of these commodities and could be materially adversely affected by an extended period of low commodity prices, or a decline in commodity prices. Price volatility has and could continue to impact both the amount we receive for our products and services and the volume of products and services we sell. Prices affect the amount of cash flow available


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for capital expenditures and our ability to borrow money or raise additional capital. Price volatility has and could continue to have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

The markets for natural gas, NGLs, oil, and other commodities are likely to continue to be volatile. Wide fluctuations in prices might result from one or more factors beyond our control, including:

Worldwide and domestic supplies of and demand for natural gas, NGLs, oil, and related commodities;

Turmoil in the Middle East and other producing regions;

The activities of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries;

The level of consumer demand;

The price and availability of other types of fuels or feedstocks;

The availability of pipeline capacity;

Supply disruptions, including plant outages and transportation disruptions;

The price and quantity of foreign imports and domestic exports of natural gas and oil;

Domestic and foreign governmental regulations and taxes;

The credit of participants in the markets where products are bought and sold.

We are exposed to the credit risk of our customers and counterparties, and our credit risk management will not be able to completely eliminate such risk.

We are subject to the risk of loss resulting from nonpayment and/or nonperformance by our customers and counterparties in the ordinary course of our business. Generally, our customers are rated investment grade, are otherwise considered creditworthy, or are required to make prepayments or provide security to satisfy credit concerns. However, our credit procedures and policies cannot completely eliminate customer and counterparty credit risk. Our customers and counterparties include industrial customers, local distribution companies, natural gas producers, and marketers whose creditworthiness may be suddenly and disparately impacted by, among other factors, commodity price volatility, deteriorating energy market conditions, and public and regulatory opposition to energy producing activities. In a low commodity price environment certain of our customers could be negatively impacted, causing them significant economic stress including, in some cases, to file for bankruptcy protection or to renegotiate contracts. To the extent one or more of our key customers commences bankruptcy proceedings, our contracts with the customers may be subject to rejection under applicable provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code, or may be renegotiated. Further, during any such bankruptcy proceeding, prior to assumption, rejection or renegotiation of such contracts, the bankruptcy court may temporarily authorize the payment of value for our services less than contractually required, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. If we fail to adequately assess the creditworthiness of existing or future customers and counterparties or otherwise do not take or are unable to take sufficient mitigating actions, including obtaining sufficient collateral, deterioration in their creditworthiness, and any resulting increase in nonpayment and/or nonperformance by them could cause us to write down or write off accounts receivable. Such write-downs or write-offs could negatively affect our operating results in the periods in which they occur, and, if significant, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.



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We face opposition to operation and expansion of our pipelines and facilities from various individuals and groups.

We have experienced, and we anticipate that we will continue to face, opposition to the operation and expansion of our pipelines and facilities from governmental officials, environmental groups, landowners, tribal groups, local groups and other advocates. In some instances, we encounter opposition which disfavors hydrocarbon-based energy supplies regardless of practical implementation or financial considerations. Opposition to our operation and expansion can take many forms, including the delay or denial of required governmental permits, organized protests, attempts to block or sabotage our operations, intervention in regulatory or administrative proceedings involving our assets, or lawsuits or other actions designed to prevent, disrupt or delay the operation or expansion of our assets and business. In addition, acts of sabotage or eco-terrorism could cause significant damage or injury to people, property or the environment or lead to extended interruptions of our operations. Any such event that delays or prevents the expansion of our business, that interrupts the revenues generated by our operations, or which causes us to make significant expenditures not covered by insurance, could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to grow or effectively manage our growth.
As part of our growth strategy, we consider acquisition opportunities and engage in significant capital projects. We have both a project lifecycle process and an investment evaluation process. These are processes we use to identify, evaluate, and execute on acquisition opportunities and capital projects. We may not always have sufficient and accurate information to identify and value potential opportunities and risks or our investment evaluation process may be incomplete or flawed. Regarding potential acquisitions, suitable acquisition candidates or assets may not be available on terms and conditions we find acceptable or, where multiple parties are trying to acquire an acquisition candidate or assets, we may not be chosen as the acquirer. If we are able to acquire a targeted business, we may not be able to successfully integrate the acquired businesses and realize anticipated benefits in a timely manner.

Our growth may also be dependent upon the construction of new natural gas gathering, transportation, compression, processing or treating pipelines, and facilities, NGL transportation, or fractionation or storage facilities as well as the expansion of existing facilities. Additional risks associated with construction may include the inability to obtain rights-of-way, skilled labor, equipment, materials, and other required inputs in a timely manner such that projects are completed, on time or at all, and the risk that construction cost overruns could cause total project costs to exceed budgeted costs. Additional risks associated with growing our business include, among others, that:

Changing circumstances and deviations in variables could negatively impact our investment analysis, including our projections of revenues, earnings, and cash flow relating to potential investment targets, resulting in outcomes which are materially different than anticipated;

We could be required to contribute additional capital to support acquired businesses or assets;

We may assume liabilities that were not disclosed to us, that exceed our estimates and for which contractual protections are either unavailable or prove inadequate;

Acquisitions could disrupt our ongoing business, distract management, divert financial and operational resources from existing operations and make it difficult to maintain our current business standards, controls, and procedures;

Acquisitions and capital projects may require substantial new capital, including proceeds from the issuance of debt or equity, and we may not be able to access capital markets or obtain acceptable terms.

If realized, any of these risks could have an adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations, including the possible impairment of our assets, or cash flows.


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Holders of our common stock may not receive dividends in the amount expected or any dividends.
We may not have sufficient cash each quarter to pay dividends or maintain current or expected levels of dividends. The actual amount of cash we dividend may fluctuate from quarter to quarter and will depend on various factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

The amount of cash that our subsidiaries distribute to us;

The amount of cash we generate from our operations, our working capital needs, our level of capital expenditures, and our ability to borrow;

The restrictions contained in our indentures and credit facility and our debt service requirements;

The cost of acquisitions, if any.

A failure either to pay dividends or to pay dividends at expected levels could result in a loss of investor confidence, reputational damage, and a decrease in the value of our stock price.

Our industry is highly competitive and increased competitive pressure could adversely affect our business and operating results.
We have numerous competitors in all aspects of our businesses, and additional competitors may enter our markets. Any current or future competitor that delivers natural gas, NGLs, or other commodities into the areas that we operate could offer transportation services that are more desirable to shippers than those we provide because of price, location, facilities or other factors. In addition, current or potential competitors may make strategic acquisitions or have greater financial resources than we do, which could affect our ability to make strategic investments or acquisitions. Our competitors may be able to respond more quickly to new laws or regulations or emerging technologies or to devote greater resources to the construction, expansion, or refurbishment of their facilities than we can. Failure to successfully compete against current and future competitors could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

We do not own 100 percent of the equity interests of certain subsidiaries, including the Partially Owned Entities, which may limit our ability to operate and control these subsidiaries. Certain operations, including the Partially Owned Entities, are conducted through arrangements that may limit our ability to operate and control these operations.

The operations of our current non-wholly-owned subsidiaries, including the Partially Owned Entities, are conducted in accordance with their organizational documents. We anticipate that we will enter into more such arrangements, including through new joint venture structures or new Partially Owned Entities. We may have limited operational flexibility in such current and future arrangements and we may not be able to control the timing or amount of cash distributions received. In certain cases:

We cannot control the amount of cash reserves determined to be necessary to operate the business, which reduces cash available for distributions;

We cannot control the amount of capital expenditures that we are required to fund and we are dependent on third parties to fund their required share of capital expenditures;

We may be subject to restrictions or limitations on our ability to sell or transfer our interests in the jointly owned assets;

We may be forced to offer rights of participation to other joint venture participants in the area of mutual interest;



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We have limited ability to influence or control certain day to day activities affecting the operations;

We may have additional obligations, such as required capital contributions, that are important to the success of the operations.

In addition, conflicts of interest may arise between us, on the one hand, and other interest owners, on the other hand. If such conflicts of interest arise, we may not have the ability to control the outcome with respect to the matter in question. Disputes between us and other interest owners may also result in delays, litigation or operational impasses.

The risks described above or the failure to continue such arrangements could adversely affect our ability to conduct the operations that are the subject of such arrangements which could, in turn, negatively affect our business, growth strategy, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to replace, extend, or add additional customer contracts or contracted volumes on favorable terms, or at all, which could affect our financial condition, the amount of cash available to pay dividends, and our ability to grow.
We rely on a limited number of customers and producers for a significant portion of our revenues and supply of natural gas and NGLs. Although many of our customers and suppliers are subject to long-term contracts, if we are unable to replace or extend such contracts, add additional customers, or otherwise increase the contracted volumes of natural gas provided to us by current producers, in each case on favorable terms, if at all, our financial condition, growth plans, and the amount of cash available to pay dividends could be adversely affected. Our ability to replace, extend, or add additional customer or supplier contracts, or increase contracted volumes of natural gas from current producers, on favorable terms, or at all, is subject to a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

The level of existing and new competition in our businesses or from alternative sources, such as electricity, renewable resources, coal, fuel oils, or nuclear energy;

Natural gas and NGL prices, demand, availability, and margins in our markets. Higher prices for energy commodities related to our businesses could result in a decline in the demand for those commodities and, therefore, in customer contracts or throughput on our pipeline systems. Also, lower energy commodity prices could negatively impact our ability to maintain or achieve favorable contractual terms, including pricing, and could also result in a decline in the production of energy commodities resulting in reduced customer contracts, supply contracts, and throughput on our pipeline systems;

General economic, financial markets, and industry conditions;

The effects of regulation on us, our customers, and our contracting practices;

Our ability to understand our customers’ expectations, efficiently and reliably deliver high quality services and effectively manage customer relationships. The results of these efforts will impact our reputation and positioning in the market.

Certain of our gas pipeline services are subject to long-term, fixed-price contracts that are not subject to adjustment, even if our cost to perform such services exceeds the revenues received from such contracts.

Our gas pipelines provide some services pursuant to long-term, fixed-price contracts. It is possible that costs to perform services under such contracts will exceed the revenues our pipelines collect for their services. Although most of the services are priced at cost-based rates that are subject to adjustment in rate cases, under FERC policy, a regulated service provider and a customer may mutually agree to sign a contract for service at a “negotiated rate” that may be above or below the FERC regulated cost-based rate for that service. These “negotiated rate” contracts are not generally subject to adjustment for increased costs that could be produced by inflation or other factors relating to the specific facilities being used to perform the services.


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Some of our businesses are exposed to supplier concentration risks arising from dependence on a single or a limited number of suppliers.

Some of our businesses may be dependent on a small number of suppliers for delivery of critical goods or services. If a supplier on which one of our businesses depends were to fail to timely supply required goods and services, such business may not be able to replace such goods and services in a timely manner or otherwise on favorable terms or at all. If our business is unable to adequately diversify or otherwise mitigate such supplier concentration risks and such risks were realized, such businesses could be subject to reduced revenues and increased expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operation, and cash flows.

Failure of our service providers or disruptions to our outsourcing relationships might negatively impact our ability to conduct our business.

Certain of our accounting and information technology services are currently provided by third-party vendors, and sometimes from service centers outside of the United States. Services provided pursuant to these agreements could be disrupted. Similarly, the expiration of such agreements or the transition of services between providers could lead to loss of institutional knowledge or service disruptions. Our reliance on others as service providers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
An impairment of our assets, including property, plant, and equipment, intangible assets, and/or equity-method investments, could reduce our earnings.

GAAP requires us to test certain assets for impairment on either an annual basis or when events or circumstances occur which indicate that the carrying value of such assets might be impaired. The outcome of such testing could result in impairments of our assets including our property, plant, and equipment, intangible assets, and/or equity-method investments. Additionally, any asset monetizations could result in impairments if any assets are sold or otherwise exchanged for amounts less than their carrying value. If we determine that an impairment has occurred, we would be required to take an immediate noncash charge to earnings.

Our operations are subject to operational hazards and unforeseen interruptions.
There are operational risks associated with the gathering, transporting, storage, processing, and treating of natural gas, the fractionation, transportation, and storage of NGLs, and crude oil transportation and production handling, including:

Aging infrastructure and mechanical problems;

Damages to pipelines and pipeline blockages or other pipeline interruptions;

Uncontrolled releases of natural gas (including sour gas), NGLs, crude oil, or other products;

Collapse or failure of storage caverns;

Operator error;

Damage caused by third-party activity, such as operation of construction equipment;

Pollution and other environmental risks;

Fires, explosions, craterings, and blowouts;

Security risks, including cybersecurity;


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Operating in a marine environment.

Any of these risks could result in loss of human life, personal injuries, significant damage to property, environmental pollution, impairment of our operations, loss of services to our customers, reputational damage, and substantial losses to us. The location of certain segments of our facilities in or near populated areas, including residential areas, commercial business centers, and industrial sites, could increase the level of damages resulting from these risks. An event such as those described above could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations, particularly if the event is not fully covered by insurance.

We do not insure against all potential risks and losses and could be seriously harmed by unexpected liabilities or by the inability of our insurers to satisfy our claims.
In accordance with customary industry practice, we maintain insurance against some, but not all, risks and losses, and only at levels we believe to be appropriate. The occurrence of any risks not fully covered by our insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows and our ability to repay our debt.

Our assets and operations, as well as our customers’ assets and operations, can be adversely affected by weather and other natural phenomena.

Our assets and operations, especially those located offshore, and our customers’ assets and operations can be adversely affected by hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, tornadoes, fires, and other natural phenomena and weather conditions, including extreme or unseasonable temperatures, making it more difficult for us to realize the historic rates of return associated with our assets and operations. A significant disruption in our or our customers’ operations or a significant liability for which we are not fully insured could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Our business could be negatively impacted by acts of terrorism and related disruptions.

Given the volatile nature of the commodities we transport, process, store, and sell, our assets and the assets of our customers and others in our industry may be targets of terrorist activities. A terrorist attack could create significant price volatility, disrupt our business, limit our access to capital markets, or cause significant harm to our operations, such as full or partial disruption to our ability to produce, process, transport, or distribute natural gas, NGLs, or other commodities. Acts of terrorism, as well as events occurring in response to or in connection with acts of terrorism, could cause environmental repercussions that could result in a significant decrease in revenues or significant reconstruction or remediation costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

A breach of our information technology infrastructure, including a breach caused by a cybersecurity attack on us or third parties with whom we are interconnected, may interfere with the safe operation of our assets, result in the disclosure of personal or proprietary information, and harm our reputation.

We rely on our information technology infrastructure to process, transmit, and store electronic information, including information we use to safely operate our assets. Our Board of Directors has oversight responsibility with regard to assessment of the major risks inherent in our business, including cybersecurity risks, and reviews management’s efforts to address and mitigate such risks, including the establishment and implementation of policies to address cybersecurity threats. We have invested, and expect to continue to invest, significant time, manpower and capital in our information technology infrastructure. However, the age, operating systems, or condition of our current information technology infrastructure and software assets and our ability to maintain and upgrade such assets could affect our ability to resist cybersecurity threats. While we believe that we maintain appropriate information security policies, practices, and protocols, we regularly face cybersecurity and other security threats to our information technology infrastructure, which could include threats to our operational industrial control systems that are used to operate our pipelines, plants, and assets. We face unlawful attempts to gain access to our information technology infrastructure, including coordinated


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attacks from hackers, whether state-sponsored groups, “hacktivists”, or private individuals. We face the threat of theft and misuse of sensitive data and information, including customer and employee information. We also face attempts to gain access to information related to our assets through attempts to obtain unauthorized access by targeting acts of deception against individuals with legitimate access to physical locations or information. We also are subject to cybersecurity risks arising from the fact that our business operations are interconnected with third parties, including third-party pipelines, other facilities and our contractors and vendors. In addition, the breach of certain business systems could affect our ability to correctly record, process and report financial information. Breaches in our information technology infrastructure or physical facilities, or other disruptions including those arising from theft, vandalism, fraud, or unethical conduct, could result in damage to or destruction of our assets, unnecessary waste, safety incidents, damage to the environment, reputational damage, potential liability, the loss of contracts, the imposition of significant costs associated with remediation and litigation, heightened regulatory scrutiny, increased insurance costs, and a material adverse effect on our operations, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

If third-party pipelines and other facilities interconnected to our pipelines and facilities become unavailable to transport natural gas and NGLs or to treat natural gas, our revenues could be adversely affected.

We depend upon third-party pipelines and other facilities that provide delivery options to and from our pipelines and facilities for the benefit of our customers. Because we do not own these third-party pipelines or other facilities, their continuing operation is not within our control. If these pipelines or facilities were to become temporarily or permanently unavailable for any reason, or if throughput were reduced because of testing, line repair, damage to pipelines or facilities, reduced operating pressures, lack of capacity, increased credit requirements or rates charged by such pipelines or facilities or other causes, we and our customers would have reduced capacity to transport, store or deliver natural gas or NGL products to end use markets or to receive deliveries of mixed NGLs, thereby reducing our revenues. Any temporary or permanent interruption at any key pipeline interconnect or in operations on third-party pipelines or facilities that would cause a material reduction in volumes transported on our pipelines or our gathering systems or processed, fractionated, treated, or stored at our facilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Our operating results for certain components of our business might fluctuate on a seasonal basis.
Revenues from certain components of our business can have seasonal characteristics. In many parts of the country, demand for natural gas and other fuels peaks during the winter. As a result, our overall operating results in the future might fluctuate substantially on a seasonal basis. Demand for natural gas and other fuels could vary significantly from our expectations depending on the nature and location of our facilities and pipeline systems and the terms of our natural gas transportation arrangements relative to demand created by unusual weather patterns.

We do not own all of the land on which our pipelines and facilities are located, which could disrupt our operations.

We do not own all of the land on which our pipelines and facilities have been constructed. As such, we are subject to the possibility of increased costs to retain necessary land use. In those instances in which we do not own the land on which our facilities are located, we obtain the rights to construct and operate our pipelines and gathering systems on land owned by third parties and governmental agencies for a specific period of time. In addition, some of our facilities cross Native American lands pursuant to rights-of-way of limited terms. We may not have the right of eminent domain over land owned by Native American tribes. Our loss of these rights, through our inability to renew right-of-way contracts or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Our business could be negatively impacted as a result of stockholder activism.

In recent years, stockholder activism, including threatened or actual proxy contests, has been directed against numerous public companies, including ours. During the latter part of fiscal year 2016, we were the target of a proxy contest from a stockholder activist, which resulted in our incurring significant costs. If stockholder activists were to again take or threaten to take actions against the Company or seek to involve themselves in the governance, strategic direction or operations of the Company, we could incur significant costs as well as the distraction of management,


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which could have an adverse effect on our business or financial results. In addition, actions of activist stockholders may cause significant fluctuations in our stock price based on temporary or speculative market perceptions or other factors that do not necessarily reflect the underlying fundamentals and prospects of our business.

Our costs and funding obligations for our defined benefit pension plans and costs for our other postretirement benefit plans are affected by factors beyond our control.
We have defined benefit pension plans covering substantially all of our U.S. employees and other postretirement benefit plans covering certain eligible participants. The timing and amount of our funding requirements under the defined benefit pension plans depend upon a number of factors that we control, including changes to pension plan benefits, as well as factors outside of our control, such as asset returns, interest rates, and changes in pension laws. Changes to these and other factors that can significantly increase our funding requirements could have a significant adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Failure to attract and retain an appropriately qualified workforce could negatively impact our results of operations.
Events such as an aging workforce without appropriate replacements, mismatch of skill sets to future needs, or unavailability of contract labor may lead to operating challenges such as lack of resources, loss of knowledge, and a lengthy time period associated with skill development, including with the workforce needs associated with projects and ongoing operations. Failure to hire and adequately obtain replacement employees, including the ability to transfer significant internal historical knowledge and expertise to the new employees, or the future availability and cost of contract labor may adversely affect our ability to manage and operate the businesses. If we are unable to successfully attract and retain an appropriately qualified workforce, results of operations could be negatively impacted.
If there is a determination that the spin-off of WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX) stock to our stockholders is taxable for U.S. federal income tax purposes because the facts, representations or undertakings underlying a U.S. Internal Revenue Service private letter ruling or a tax opinion are incorrect or for any other reason, then we and our stockholders could incur significant income tax liabilities.

In connection with our original separation plan that called for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock of WPX and a subsequent spin-off of our remaining shares of WPX to our stockholders, we obtained a private letter ruling from the IRS and an opinion of our outside tax advisor, to the effect that the distribution by us of WPX shares to our stockholders, and any related restructuring transaction undertaken by us, would not result in recognition for U.S. federal income tax purposes, of income, gain or loss to us or our stockholders under section 355 and section 368(a)(1)(D) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code), except for cash payments made to our stockholders in lieu of fractional shares of WPX common stock. In addition, we received an opinion from our outside tax advisor to the effect that the spin-off pursuant to our revised separation plan which was ultimately consummated on December 31, 2011, which did not involve an IPO of WPX shares, would not result in the recognition, for federal income tax purposes, of income, gain, or loss to us or our stockholders under section 355 and section 368(a)(1)(D) of the Code, except for cash payments made to our stockholders in lieu of fractional shares of WPX. The private letter ruling and opinion have relied on or will rely on certain facts, representations, and undertakings from us and WPX regarding the past and future conduct of the companies’ respective businesses and other matters. If any of these facts, representations, or undertakings are, or become, incorrect or are not otherwise satisfied, including as a result of certain significant changes in the stock ownership of us or WPX after the spin-off, or if the IRS disagrees with any such facts and representations upon audit, we and our stockholders may not be able to rely on the private letter ruling or the opinion of our tax advisor and could be subject to significant income tax liabilities.

Risks Related to Financing Our Business
Downgrades of our credit ratings, which are determined outside of our control by independent third parties, impact our liquidity, access to capital, and our costs of doing business.

Downgrades of our credit ratings increase our cost of borrowing and could require us to provide collateral to our counterparties, negatively impacting our available liquidity. In addition, our ability to access capital markets could continue to be limited by the downgrading of our credit ratings.


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Credit rating agencies perform independent analysis when assigning credit ratings. This analysis includes a number of criteria such as, business composition, market, and operational risks, as well as various financial tests. Credit rating agencies continue to review the criteria for industry sectors and various debt ratings and may make changes to those criteria from time to time. Credit ratings are subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the ratings agencies. As of the date of the filing of this report, we have been assigned an investment-grade credit rating by each of the three credit ratings agencies.

Difficult conditions in the global financial markets and the economy in general could negatively affect our business and results of operations.

Our businesses may be negatively impacted by adverse economic conditions or future disruptions in global financial markets. Included among these potential negative impacts are industrial or economic contraction leading to reduced energy demand and lower prices for our products and services and increased difficulty in collecting amounts owed to us by our customers. If financing is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to implement our business plans or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities or respond to competitive pressures. In addition, financial markets have periodically been affected by concerns over U.S. fiscal and monetary policies. These concerns, as well as actions taken by the U.S. federal government in response to these concerns, could significantly and adversely impact the global and U.S. economies and financial markets, which could negatively impact us in the manner described above.

Restrictions in our debt agreements and the amount of our indebtedness may affect our future financial and operating flexibility.

Our total outstanding long-term debt (including current portion) as of December 31, 2018, was $22.4 billion.

The agreements governing our indebtedness contain covenants that restrict our and our material subsidiaries’ ability to incur certain liens to support indebtedness and our ability to merge or consolidate or sell all or substantially all of our assets in certain circumstances. In addition, certain of our debt agreements contain various covenants that restrict or limit, among other things, our ability to make certain distributions during the continuation of an event of default, the ability of our subsidiaries to incur additional debt, and our, and our material subsidiaries’, ability to enter into certain affiliate transactions and certain restrictive agreements. Certain of our debt agreements also contain, and those we enter into in the future may contain, financial covenants, and other limitations with which we will need to comply.

Our debt service obligations and the covenants described above could have important consequences. For example, they could:

Make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness, which could in turn result in an event of default on such indebtedness;

Impair our ability to obtain additional financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, general corporate purposes, or other purposes;

Diminish our ability to withstand a continued or future downturn in our business or the economy generally;

Require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to debt service payments, thereby reducing the availability of cash for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, the payments of dividends, general corporate purposes, or other purposes;

Limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate, including limiting our ability to expand or pursue our business activities and preventing us from engaging in certain transactions that might otherwise be considered beneficial to us.



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Our ability to comply with our debt covenants, to repay, extend, or refinance our existing debt obligations and to obtain future credit will depend primarily on our operating performance. Our ability to refinance existing debt obligations or obtain future credit will also depend upon the current conditions in the credit markets and the availability of credit generally. If we are unable to comply with these covenants, meet our debt service obligations, or obtain future credit on favorable terms, or at all, we could be forced to restructure or refinance our indebtedness, seek additional equity capital or sell assets. We may be unable to obtain financing or sell assets on satisfactory terms, or at all.

Our failure to comply with the covenants in the documents governing our indebtedness could result in events of default, which could render such indebtedness due and payable. We may not have sufficient liquidity to repay our indebtedness in such circumstances. In addition, cross-default or cross-acceleration provisions in our debt agreements could cause a default or acceleration to have a wider impact on our liquidity than might otherwise arise from a default or acceleration of a single debt instrument. For more information regarding our debt agreements, please read Note 14 – Debt, Banking Arrangements, and Leases of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Increases in interest rates could adversely impact our share price, our ability to issue equity or incur debt for acquisitions or other purposes, and our ability to make cash dividends at our intended levels.
Interest rates may increase in the future. As a result, interest rates on future credit facilities and debt offerings could be higher than current levels, causing our financing costs to increase accordingly. As with other yield-oriented securities, our share price will be impacted by the level of our dividends and implied dividend yield. The dividend yield is often used by investors to compare and rank yield-oriented securities for investment decision-making purposes. Therefore, changes in interest rates, either positive or negative, may affect the yield requirements of investors who invest in our shares, and a rising interest rate environment could have an adverse impact on our share price and our ability to issue equity or incur debt for acquisitions or other purposes and to pay cash dividends at our intended levels.

Our hedging activities might not be effective and could increase the volatility of our results.

In an effort to manage our financial exposure related to commodity price and market fluctuations, we have entered, and may in the future enter into contracts to hedge certain risks associated with our assets and operations. In these hedging activities, we have used, and may in the future use, fixed-price, forward, physical purchase, and sales contracts, futures, financial swaps, and option contracts traded in the over-the-counter markets or on exchanges. Nevertheless, no single hedging arrangement can adequately address all risks present in a given contract. For example, a forward contract that would be effective in hedging commodity price volatility risks would not hedge the contract’s counterparty credit or performance risk. Therefore, unhedged risks will always continue to exist. While we attempt to manage counterparty credit risk within guidelines established by our credit policy, we may not be able to successfully manage all credit risk and as such, future cash flows and results of operations could be impacted by counterparty default.

Risks Related to Regulations
The natural gas sales, transportation, and storage operations of our gas pipelines are subject to regulation by the FERC, which could have an adverse impact on their ability to establish transportation and storage rates that would allow them to recover the full cost of operating their respective pipelines, including a reasonable rate of return.
In addition to regulation by other federal, state, and local regulatory authorities, interstate pipeline transportation and storage service is subject to regulation by the FERC. Federal regulation extends to such matters as:

Transportation and sale for resale of natural gas in interstate commerce;

Rates, operating terms, types of services, and conditions of service;

Certification and construction of new interstate pipelines and storage facilities;

Acquisition, extension, disposition, or abandonment of existing interstate pipelines and storage facilities;



31




Accounts and records;

Depreciation and amortization policies;

Relationships with affiliated companies who are involved in marketing functions of the natural gas business;

Market manipulation in connection with interstate sales, purchases, or transportation of natural gas.

Regulatory or administrative actions in these areas, including successful complaints or protests against the rates of the gas pipelines, can affect our business in many ways, including decreasing tariff rates and revenues, decreasing volumes in our pipelines, increasing our costs, and otherwise altering the profitability of our pipeline business.

The operation of our businesses might be adversely affected by regulatory proceedings, changes in government regulations or in their interpretation or implementation, or the introduction of new laws or regulations applicable to our businesses or our customers.

Public and regulatory scrutiny of the energy industry has resulted in the proposal and/or implementation of increased regulations. Such scrutiny has also resulted in various inquiries, investigations, and court proceedings, including litigation of energy industry matters. Both the shippers on our pipelines and regulators have rights to challenge the rates we charge under certain circumstances. Any successful challenge could materially affect our results of operations.

Certain inquiries, investigations, and court proceedings are ongoing. Adverse effects may continue as a result of the uncertainty of ongoing inquiries, investigations, and court proceedings, or additional inquiries and proceedings by federal or state regulatory agencies or private plaintiffs. In addition, we cannot predict the outcome of any of these inquiries or whether these inquiries will lead to additional legal proceedings against us, civil or criminal fines and/or penalties, or other regulatory action, including legislation, which might be materially adverse to the operation of our business and our results of operations or increase our operating costs in other ways. Current legal proceedings or other matters, including environmental matters, suits, regulatory appeals, and similar matters might result in adverse decisions against us which, among other outcomes, could result in the imposition of substantial penalties and fines and could damage our reputation. The result of such adverse decisions, either individually or in the aggregate, could be material and may not be covered fully or at all by insurance.

In addition, existing regulations, including those pertaining to financial assurances to be provided by our businesses in respect of potential asset decommissioning and abandonment activities, might be revised, reinterpreted, or otherwise enforced in a manner which differs from prior regulatory action. New laws and regulations, including those pertaining to oil and gas hedging and cash collateral requirements, might also be adopted or become applicable to us, our customers, or our business activities. If new laws or regulations are imposed relating to oil and gas extraction, or if additional or revised levels of reporting, regulation, or permitting moratoria are required or imposed, including those related to hydraulic fracturing, the volumes of natural gas and other products that we transport, gather, process, and treat could decline, our compliance costs could increase, and our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our operations are subject to environmental laws and regulations, including laws and regulations relating to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, which may expose us to significant costs, liabilities, and expenditures that could exceed our expectations.

Our operations are subject to extensive federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations governing environmental protection, endangered and threatened species, the discharge of materials into the environment, and the security of industrial facilities. Substantial costs, liabilities, delays, and other significant issues related to environmental laws and regulations are inherent in the gathering, transportation, storage, processing, and treating of natural gas, fractionation, transportation, and storage of NGLs, and crude oil transportation and production handling as well as waste disposal practices and construction activities. Failure to comply with these laws, regulations, and permits may result in the assessment of administrative, civil and/or criminal penalties, the imposition of remedial obligations, the imposition of


32




stricter conditions on or revocation of permits, the issuance of injunctions limiting or preventing some or all of our operations, and delays or denials in granting permits.

Joint and several, strict liability may be incurred without regard to fault under certain environmental laws and regulations, for the remediation of contaminated areas and in connection with spills or releases of materials associated with natural gas, oil, and wastes on, under or from our properties and facilities. Private parties, including the owners of properties through which our pipeline and gathering systems pass and facilities where our wastes are taken for reclamation or disposal, may have the right to pursue legal actions to enforce compliance as well as to seek damages for noncompliance with environmental laws and regulations or for personal injury or property damage arising from our operations. Some sites at which we operate are located near current or former third-party hydrocarbon storage and processing or oil and natural gas operations or facilities, and there is a risk that contamination has migrated from those sites to ours.

We are generally responsible for all liabilities associated with the environmental condition of our facilities and assets, whether acquired or developed, regardless of when the liabilities arose and whether they are known or unknown. In connection with certain acquisitions and divestitures, we could acquire, or be required to provide indemnification against, environmental liabilities that could expose us to material losses, which may not be covered by insurance. In addition, the steps we could be required to take to bring certain facilities into compliance could be prohibitively expensive, and we might be required to shut down, divest or alter the operation of those facilities, which might cause us to incur losses.

In addition, climate change regulations and the costs associated with the regulation of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have the potential to affect our business. Regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency or the passage of new climate change laws or regulations could result in increased costs to operate and maintain our facilities, install new emission controls on our facilities, or administer and manage our GHG compliance program. If we are unable to recover or pass through a significant level of our costs related to complying with climate change regulatory requirements imposed on us, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. To the extent financial markets view climate change and GHG emissions as a financial risk, this could negatively impact our cost of and access to capital. Climate change and GHG regulation could also reduce demand for our services.

We expect that certain aspects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 (Tax Reform), including regulatory liabilities relating to reduced corporate federal income tax rates, could adversely impact our financial condition and our future financial results.
Tax Reform made significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax rules applicable to both individuals and entities, including among other things, a reduction in corporate federal income tax rates. The rates we charge to our customers are subject to the rate-making policies of the FERC. These policies permit us to include in our cost-of-service an income tax allowance that includes a deferred income tax component. Although we expect the decreased federal income tax rates will require us to return amounts to certain customers through future rates and have recognized a regulatory liability, the details of any regulatory implementation guidance remain uncertain.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.
Item 2. Properties
Please read “Business” for a description of the location and general character of our principal physical properties. We generally own our facilities, although a substantial portion of our pipeline and gathering facilities is constructed and maintained pursuant to rights-of-way, easements, permits, licenses, or consents on and across properties owned by others.


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Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Environmental
Certain reportable legal proceedings involving governmental authorities under federal, state, and local laws regulating the discharge of materials into the environment are described below. While it is not possible for us to predict the final outcome of the proceedings which are still pending, we do not anticipate a material effect on our consolidated financial position if we receive an unfavorable outcome in any one or more of such proceedings.
On June 13, 2013, an explosion and fire occurred at our formerly owned Geismar olefins plant and rendered the facility temporarily inoperable (Geismar Incident). On October 21, 2013, the EPA, Region 6, issued an Inspection Report pursuant to the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program following its inspection of the facility on June 24 through June 28, 2013. The report notes the EPA’s preliminary determinations about the facility’s documentation regarding process safety, process hazard analysis, as well as operating procedures, employee training, and other matters. On June 16, 2014, we received a request for information related to the Geismar Incident from the EPA under Section 114 of the Clean Air Act to which we responded on August 13, 2014. The EPA could issue penalties pertaining to final determinations.
On February 21, 2017, we received notice from the Environmental Enforcement Section of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding certain alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at our Moundsville facility as set forth in a Notice of Noncompliance issued by the EPA on January 14, 2016. The notice includes an offer to avoid further legal action on the alleged violations by paying $2 million. In discussion with the DOJ and the EPA, the EPA has indicated its belief that additional similar violations have occurred at our Oak Grove facility and has expressed interest in pursuing a global settlement. On July 23, 2018, we received an offer from the DOJ to globally settle the government’s claim for civil penalties associated with the alleged violations at both the Moundsville and the Oak Grove facilities for $1.6 million. We are continuing to work with the agencies to resolve this matter.
On May 5, 2017, we entered into a Consent Order with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division (GADNR) pertaining to alleged violations of the Georgia Water Quality Control Act and associated rules arising from a permit issued by GADNR for construction of Transco’s Dalton expansion project. Pursuant to the Consent Order, we paid a fine of $168,750 and agreed to perform a Corrective Action Plan, the completion of which is pending.
On March 19, 2018, we received a Notice of Violation from the EPA, Region 8, regarding certain alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at our Ignacio Gas Plant in Durango, Colorado, following a previous on-site inspection of the facility. We were subsequently informed that this matter has been referred to the DOJ for handling. The Notice of Violation does not contain an initial penalty assessment. We have responded to the alleged violations and continue to work with the agencies to resolve this matter.
On March 20, 2018, we also received a Notice of Violation from the EPA, Region 8, regarding certain alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at our Parachute Creek Gas Plant in Parachute, Colorado, following a previous on-site inspection of the facility. We were informed that this matter has been referred to the DOJ for handling. The Notice of Violation does not contain an initial penalty assessment. We have responded to the alleged violations and continue to work with the agencies to resolve this matter.
On August 27, 2018, Northwest Pipeline LLC received a Notice of Violation/Cease and Desist Order from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment regarding certain alleged violations of the Colorado Water Quality Control Act and its General Permit under the Colorado Discharge Permit System related to its stormwater management practices at two construction sites. The Notice of Violation does not contain an initial penalty assessment. We have responded to the alleged violations and continue to work with the agency to resolve this matter.
Other environmental matters called for by this Item are described under the caption “Environmental Matters” in Note 18 – Contingent Liabilities and Commitments of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Part II, Item 8 Financial Statements of this report, which information is incorporated by reference into this Item.


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Other Litigation
The additional information called for by this Item is provided in Note 18 – Contingent Liabilities and Commitments of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included under Part II, Item 8 Financial Statements of this report, which information is incorporated by reference into this Item.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.



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Executive Officers of the Registrant
The name, title, age, period of service, and recent business experience of each of our executive officers as of February 21, 2019, are listed below. Williams Partners L.P. merged with ACMP in February 2015 (the ACMP Merger). ACMP was the surviving entity in the ACMP Merger and changed its name to Williams Partners L.P. References in the biographical information below to (a) “Pre-merger WPZ” will mean Williams Partners L.P. prior to the ACMP Merger and (b) “ACMP/WPZ” will refer to both ACMP prior to and after the ACMP Merger, when it changed its name to Williams Partners L.P.
Name and Title
 
Age
 
Period of Service
 
Business Experience in Past Five Years
Alan S. Armstrong
 
56
 
2011 to present
 
Director, Chief Executive Officer, and President, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Director, Chief Executive Officer, and President
 
 
 
2015 to 2018
 
Chairman of the Board, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2014 to 2018
 
Chief Executive Officer, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2012 to 2018
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2011 to 2015
 
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the general partner of Pre-merger WPZ
Walter J. Bennett
 
49
 
2015 to present
 
Senior Vice President- West, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - West
 
 
 
2013 to 2018
 
Senior Vice President - West of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2017
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2015
 
Senior Vice President - West of the general partner, Pre-merger WPZ
John D. Chandler
 
49
 
2017 to present
 
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
 
 
 
2017 to 2018
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2009 to 2014
 
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Magellan GP, LLC
Debbie Cowan
 
41
 
2018 to present
 
Senior Vice President - Chief Human Resources Officer, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - Chief Human Resources Officer
 
 
 
2013 to 2018
 
Global Vice President of Human Resources, Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC
Micheal G. Dunn
 
53
 
2017 to present
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
 
 
 
2017 to 2018
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2015 to 2017
 
President / Executive Vice President, Questar Pipeline / Questar Corporation
 
 
 
 
2010 to 2015
 
President and Chief Executive Officer, PacifiCorp Energy
Scott A. Hallam
 
42
 
2019 to present
 
Senior Vice President - Atlantic-Gulf, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - Atlantic-Gulf
 
 
 
2017 to 2019
 
Vice President GM Atlantic-Gulf, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2015 to 2017
 
Vice President Northeast OA, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2013 to 2015
 
General Manager - Utica, ACMP
John E. Poarch
 
53
 
2017 to present
 
Senior Vice President - Engineering Services, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - Engineering Services
 
 
 
2017
 
Vice President - Commercial - West, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2015 to 2017
 
Vice President - Commercial & Business Development, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2011 to 2015
 
General Manager - Eagle Ford, ACMP


36




Name and Title
 
Age
 
Period of Service
 
Business Experience in Past Five Years
James E. Scheel
 
54
 
2014 to present
 
Senior Vice President - Northeast G&P, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - Northeast G&P
 
 
 
2015 to 2017
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2012 to 2015
 
Director of the general partner, Pre-merger WPZ
 
 
 
 
2012 to 2014
 
Director of the general partner, Pre-merger ACMP
 
 
 
 
2012 to 2014
 
Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategic Development, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2012 to 2014
 
Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategic Development of the general partner, Pre-merger WPZ
Ted T. Timmermans
 
62
 
2005 to present
 
Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer
 
 
 
2015 to 2018
 
Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
T. Lane Wilson
 
52
 
2018 to present
 
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
 
 
 
2017 to 2018
 
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer, The Williams Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
 
2009 to 2017
 
United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Chad J. Zamarin
 
42
 
2017 to present
 
Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategic Development, The Williams Companies, Inc.
Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategic Development
 
 
 
2017 to 2018
 
Director of the general partner, ACMP/WPZ
 
 
 
 
2014 to 2017
 
President - Pipeline and Midstream, Cheniere Energy
 
 
 
 
2011 to 2014
 
Chief Operating Officer, NiSource Midstream, LLC and NiSource Energy Ventures, LLC




37




PART II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WMB.” At the close of business on February 15, 2019, we had 6,780 holders of record of our common stock.
Performance Graph
Set forth below is a line graph comparing our cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock (assuming reinvestment of dividends) with the cumulative total return of the S&P 500 Stock Index and the Bloomberg Americas Pipelines Index for the period of five fiscal years commencing January 1, 2014. The Bloomberg Americas Pipelines Index is composed of Enbridge Inc., Kinder Morgan, Inc., TransCanada Corporation, ONEOK, Inc., Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Cheniere Energy, Inc., Targa Resources Corp., Inter Pipeline Ltd., Keyera Corp., Tallgrass Energy L.P., and Williams. The graph below assumes an investment of $100 at the beginning of the period.
performancegraph4qtr2018.jpg
 
2013
 
2014
 
2015
 
2016
 
2017
 
2018
The Williams Companies, Inc.
100.0
 
121.4
 
73.8
 
97.0
 
98.9
 
75.3
S&P 500 Index
100.0
 
113.7
 
115.2
 
129.0
 
157.2
 
150.3
Bloomberg Americas Pipelines Index
100.0
 
117.1
 
64.4
 
94.5
 
94.3
 
80.8


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Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The following financial data at December 31, 2018 and 2017, and for each of the three preceding years in the period ended December 31, 2018, should be read in conjunction with the other financial information included in Part II, Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Part II, Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Form 10-K. All other financial data has been prepared from our accounting records.
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
(Millions, except per-share amounts)
Revenues
$
8,686

 
$
8,031

 
$
7,499

 
$
7,360

 
$
7,637

Net income (loss) from continuing operations (1)
193

 
2,509

 
(350
)
 
(1,314
)
 
2,335

Amounts attributable to The Williams Companies, Inc.:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations (1)
(155
)
 
2,174

 
(424
)
 
(571
)
 
2,110

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) from continuing operations (1)
(.16
)
 
2.62

 
(.57
)
 
(.76
)
 
2.91

Total assets at December 31
45,302

 
46,352

 
46,835

 
49,020

 
50,455

Commercial paper and long-term debt due within one year at December 31
47

 
501

 
878

 
675

 
802

Long-term debt at December 31
22,367

 
20,434

 
22,624

 
23,812

 
20,780

Stockholders’ equity at December 31 (2)
14,660

 
9,656

 
4,643

 
6,148

 
8,777

Cash dividends declared per common share
1.360

 
1.200

 
1.680

 
2.450

 
1.958

_________
(1)
Net income (loss) from continuing operations:
For 2018 includes a $1.849 billion impairment of certain assets located in the Barnett Shale region, partially offset by a $591 million gain on the sale of our Four Corners area assets, a $141 million gain on the deconsolidation of certain Permian assets, and a $101 million gain from the sale of our Gulf Coast pipeline system assets;
For 2017 includes a $1.923 billion benefit for income taxes resulting from Tax Reform rate change, a $1.095 billion pre-tax gain on the sale of our Geismar Interest, partially offset by $1.248 billion of pre-tax impairments of certain assets, and $776 million of pre-tax regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform;
For 2016 includes an $873 million impairment of certain assets and a $430 million impairment of certain equity-method investments;
For 2015 includes a $1.4 billion impairment of certain equity-method investments and a $1.1 billion impairment of goodwill;
For 2014 includes $2.5 billion pre-tax gain recognized as a result of remeasuring to fair value the equity-method investment we held before we acquired a controlling interest in ACMP, $246 million of insurance recoveries related to the 2013 Geismar Incident, and $154 million of cash received related to a contingency settlement. 2014 also includes $78 million of pre-tax equity losses from Bluegrass Pipeline and Moss Lake related primarily to the underlying write-off of previously capitalized project development costs and $76 million of pre-tax acquisition, merger, and transition expenses related to our acquisition of ACMP.

(2)
Stockholders’ equity at December 31:
The increase in 2018 reflects our merger with WPZ;
The increase in 2017 includes our issuance of common stock as part of our Financial Repositioning.


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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
General
We are an energy infrastructure company focused on connecting North America’s significant hydrocarbon resource plays to growing markets for natural gas and NGLs through our gas pipeline and midstream business. Our operations are located in the United States.
Our interstate natural gas pipeline strategy is to create value by maximizing the utilization of our pipeline capacity by providing high quality, low cost transportation of natural gas to large and growing markets. Our gas pipeline businesses’ interstate transmission and storage activities are subject to regulation by the FERC and as such, our rates and charges for the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce, and the extension, expansion or abandonment of jurisdictional facilities and accounting, among other things, are subject to regulation. The rates are established through the FERC’s ratemaking process. Changes in commodity prices and volumes transported have limited near-term impact on these revenues because the majority of cost of service is recovered through firm capacity reservation charges in transportation rates.
The ongoing strategy of our midstream operations is to safely and reliably operate large-scale midstream infrastructure where our assets can be fully utilized and drive low per-unit costs. We focus on consistently attracting new business by providing highly reliable service to our customers. These services include natural gas gathering, processing, treating, and compression, NGL fractionation and transportation, crude oil production handling and transportation, marketing services for NGL, oil and natural gas, as well as storage facilities.
Prior to our merger with Williams Partners L.P., our previously consolidated master limited partnership, in August 2018, we had one reportable segment, Williams Partners. Beginning in the third-quarter 2018, consistent with the manner in which our chief operating decision maker evaluates performance and allocates resources, our operations are now presented within the following reportable segments: Northeast G&P, Atlantic-Gulf, and West. Prior period segment disclosures have been recast for the new segment presentation. Our reportable segments are comprised of the following businesses:
Northeast G&P is comprised of our midstream gathering and processing businesses in the Marcellus Shale region primarily in Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia and the Utica Shale region of eastern Ohio, as well as a 66 percent interest in Cardinal (a consolidated entity), a 62 percent equity-method investment in UEOM, a 69 percent equity-method investment in Laurel Mountain, a 58 percent equity-method investment in Caiman II, and Appalachia Midstream Services, LLC, which owns equity-method investments with an approximate average 66 percent interest in multiple gas gathering systems in the Marcellus Shale (Appalachia Midstream Investments).
Atlantic-Gulf is comprised of our interstate natural gas pipeline, Transco, and significant natural gas gathering and processing and crude oil production handling and transportation assets in the Gulf Coast region, including a 51 percent interest in Gulfstar One (a consolidated entity), which is a proprietary floating production system, and various petrochemical and feedstock pipelines in the Gulf Coast region, as well as a 50 percent equity-method investment in Gulfstream, a 60 percent equity-method investment in Discovery, and a 41 percent interest in Constitution (a consolidated entity), which is developing a pipeline project (see Note 4 – Variable Interest Entities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
West is comprised of our interstate natural gas pipeline, Northwest Pipeline, and our gathering, processing, and treating operations in Colorado, Wyoming, and the Barnett Shale region of north-central Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale region of south Texas, the Haynesville Shale region of northwest Louisiana, and the Mid-Continent region which includes the Anadarko, Arkoma, Delaware, and Permian basins. This segment also includes our NGL and natural gas marketing business, storage facilities, an undivided 50 percent interest in an NGL fractionator near Conway, Kansas, and a 50 percent equity-method investment in OPPL, a 50 percent interest in Jackalope (an equity-method investment following deconsolidation as of June 30, 2018), a 50 percent equity-method investment in RMM, a 15 percent equity-method investment in Brazos Permian II, and our previously owned 50 percent equity-method investment in the Delaware basin gas gathering system (DBJV) in the Mid-


40




Continent region (see Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements). West also included our former natural gas gathering and processing assets in the Four Corners area of New Mexico and Colorado (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Other includes our previously owned operations, including an 88.5 percent undivided interest in an olefins production facility in Geismar, Louisiana, which was sold in July 2017 (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements), and a refinery grade propylene splitter in the Gulf region, which was sold in June 2017. This segment also included our previously owned Canadian assets, which included an oil sands offgas processing plant near Fort McMurray, Alberta, and an NGL/olefin fractionation facility at Redwater, Alberta. In September 2016, these Canadian operations were sold. Other also includes minor business activities that are not operating segments, as well as corporate operations.
Unless indicated otherwise, the following discussion and analysis of results of operations and financial condition and liquidity relates to our current continuing operations and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
Dividends
In December 2018, we paid a regular quarterly dividend of $0.34 per share. On February 20, 2019, our board of directors approved a regular quarterly dividend of $0.38 per share payable on March 25, 2019.
Overview
Net income (loss) attributable to The Williams Companies, Inc., for the year ended December 31, 2018, decreased by $2.329 billion compared to the year ended December 31, 2017, reflecting a $2.112 billion increase to the provision for income taxes driven by the absence of a 2017 benefit resulting from Tax Reform and a $159 million decrease in operating income. The decrease in operating income reflects an increase of $667 million in Impairment of certain assets and $403 million in lower gains from the sale of certain assets. These unfavorable changes were partially offset by the absence of $674 million in regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform in 2017, and a $190 million increase in service revenues primarily resulting from expansion projects placed into service in 2017 and 2018.
WPZ Merger
On August 10, 2018, we completed our merger with Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ), pursuant to which we acquired all of the approximately 256 million publicly held outstanding common units of WPZ in exchange for 382 million shares of our common stock in a noncash equity transaction. Williams continued as the surviving entity. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
FERC Income Tax Policy Revision
On March 15, 2018, the FERC issued a revised policy statement (the revised policy statement) regarding the recovery of income tax costs in rates of natural gas pipelines. The FERC found that an impermissible double recovery results from granting a Master Limited Partnership (MLP) pipeline both an income tax allowance and a return on equity pursuant to the discounted cash flow methodology. As a result, the FERC will no longer permit an MLP pipeline to recover an income tax allowance in its cost of service. The FERC further stated it will address the application of this policy to non-MLP partnership forms as those issues arise in subsequent proceedings. One of the benefits of the recent WPZ Merger is to allow our FERC-regulated pipelines to continue to recover an income tax allowance in their cost of service rates.
On July 18, 2018, the FERC issued an order dismissing the requests for rehearing and clarification of the revised policy statement. In addition, the FERC provided guidance that an MLP pipeline (or other pass-through entity) no longer recovering an income tax allowance pursuant to the revised policy may eliminate previously accumulated deferred income taxes (ADIT) from its cost of service instead of flowing these ADIT balances to ratepayers. This guidance, if implemented, would significantly mitigate the impact of the revised policy statement. However, the FERC stated that the revised policy statement and such guidance do not establish a binding rule but are instead expressions of general


41




policy intent designed to provide guidance by notifying entities of the course of action the FERC intends to follow in future adjudications. To the extent the FERC addresses these issues in future proceedings, it will consider any arguments regarding not only the application of the revised policy to the facts of the case, but also any arguments regarding the underlying validity of the policy itself. The FERC’s guidance on ADIT likely will be challenged by customers and state commissions, which would result in a long period of revenue uncertainty for pipelines eliminating ADIT from their cost of service. The WPZ Merger has the additional benefit of eliminating this uncertainty.
On March 15, 2018, the FERC also issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing a filing process that will allow it to determine which natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and unreasonable rates in light of the recent reduction in the corporate income tax rate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Reform) and the revised policy statement. On July 18, 2018, the FERC issued a Final Rule, retaining the filing requirement and reaffirming the options that pipelines have to either reflect the reduced tax rate or explain why no rate change is necessary. The FERC also clarified that a natural gas company organized as a pass-through entity and all of whose income or losses are consolidated on the federal income tax return of its corporate parent is considered to be subject to the federal corporate income tax and is thus eligible for a tax allowance. We believe this Final Rule and the previously discussed WPZ Merger allow for the continued recovery of income tax allowances in Transco’s and Northwest Pipeline’s rates. Transco’s August 31, 2018, general rate case filing reflects a tax allowance based on this clarification, and the FERC’s September 28, 2018, order in that rate case proceeding finds that Transco is exempt from the Final Rule’s Form 501-G filing requirement. In addition, on October 19, 2018, Northwest Pipeline filed a petition requesting that the FERC waive its Form 501-G filing requirement under this Final Rule because (i) the reduction in the corporate income tax is already addressed in Northwest Pipeline’s 2017 rate settlement, and (ii) as discussed above, the WPZ Merger allows for the continued recovery of income tax allowances in Northwest Pipeline’s rates. The FERC agreed and granted Northwest Pipeline’s petition for waiver on November 19, 2018. On October 11, 2018 and December 6, 2018, Discovery Gas Transmission, LLC and Pine Needle LNG Company, LLC, respectively, filed their Form 501-Gs, including explanations as to why no adjustments to rates are needed.
On March 15, 2018, the FERC also issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on the additional impacts of Tax Reform on jurisdictional rates, particularly whether, and if so how, the FERC should address changes relating to ADIT amounts after the corporate income tax rate reduction and bonus depreciation rules, as well as whether other features of Tax Reform require FERC action. We are evaluating the impact of these developments on our interstate natural gas pipelines and currently expect any associated impacts would be prospective and determined through subsequent rate proceedings. We also continue to monitor developments that may impact our regulatory liabilities resulting from Tax Reform. It is reasonably possible that future tariff-based rates collected by our interstate natural gas pipelines may be adversely impacted.
Revenue Recognition
As a result of the adoption of Accounting Standards Update 2014-09, Revenues from Contracts with Customers (ASC 606) in January 2018, we now record revenues for transactions where we receive noncash consideration, primarily in certain of our gas processing contracts that provide commodities as full or partial consideration for services provided. These revenues are reflected as Service revenues - commodity consideration in the Consolidated Statement of Operations. The costs associated with these revenues, primarily related to natural gas shrink replacement, are reported as Processing commodity expenses. The revenues and costs associated with the subsequent sale of the commodity consideration received is reflected within Product sales and Product costs in the Consolidated Statement of Operations. Service revenues - commodity consideration plus Product sales, less Product costs and Processing commodity expenses represents the margin that we have historically characterized as commodity margin. This presentation is being reflected prospectively in the Consolidated Statement of Operations. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Additionally, future revenues are impacted by application of the new accounting standard to certain contracts for which we received prepayments for services and have recorded deferred revenue (contract liabilities). For these contracts, which underwent modifications in periods prior to January 1, 2018, the modification is treated as a termination of the existing contract and the creation of a new contract. The new accounting guidance requires that the transaction price, including any remaining deferred revenue from the old contract, be allocated to the performance obligations over


42




the term of the new contract. As a result, we will recognize the deferred revenue over longer periods than application of revenue recognition under accounting guidance prior to January 1, 2018.
Filing of Rate Case
On August 31, 2018, Transco filed a general rate case with the FERC for an overall increase in rates. In September 2018, with the exception of certain rates that reflected a rate decrease, the FERC accepted and suspended our general rate filing to be effective March 1, 2019, subject to refund and the outcome of a hearing. The specific rates that reflected a rate decrease were accepted, without suspension, to be effective October 1, 2018, as requested by Transco, and will not be subject to refund. The impact of these specific new rates is expected to reduce revenues by approximately $2 million per month beginning October 1, 2018.
RMM Equity-Method Investment
During the third quarter of 2018, our joint venture, RMM, purchased a natural gas and oil gathering and natural gas processing business in Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg basin. Our initial economic ownership was 40 percent, which has since increased to 50 percent at December 31, 2018, based on additional capital contributions made since the initial purchase. This investment is reported in the West segment.
Sale of Four Corners Assets
In October 2018, we completed the sale of our natural gas gathering and processing assets in the Four Corners area of New Mexico and Colorado for total consideration of $1.125 billion, subject to customary working capital adjustments. These assets were designated as held for sale during the third quarter of 2018. As a result of this sale, we recorded a gain of approximately $591 million within the West segment in the fourth quarter of 2018 (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Sale of Gulf Coast Pipeline Systems
In November 2018, we completed the sale of certain assets and operations located in the Gulf Coast area for $177 million in cash. These assets were designated as held for sale during the third quarter of 2018. As a result of this sale, we recorded a gain of approximately $101 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, consisting of $81 million in our Atlantic-Gulf segment and $20 million in Other (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Brazos Permian II Equity-Method Investment
In December 2018, we entered into a joint venture partnership in the Delaware basin. Under the terms of the agreement, we contributed the majority of our existing Delaware basin assets in the West segment and $27 million in cash to the partnership in exchange for a 15 percent interest. Our partner operates the partnership, which consists of approximately 725 miles of gas gathering pipelines, 260 MMcf/d of natural gas processing, 75 miles of crude oil gathering pipelines, and 75 thousand barrels of oil storage. The partnership anticipates processing capacity in the Delaware basin to reach 460 MMcf/d and will be supported by over 500,000 acres of long-term dedications from major and independent oil and gas producers. We recorded our interest in the partnership as an equity-method investment and recognized a gain on the deconsolidation of our contributed assets of $141 million (see Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Expansion Project Updates
Significant expansion project updates for the period, including projects placed into service are described below. Ongoing major expansion projects are discussed later in Company Outlook.
Northeast G&P
Susquehanna Supply Hub
During the first quarter of 2018, the remaining facilities that comprise the Susquehanna Supply Hub Expansion were fully commissioned. The project added two new compression facilities with an additional 49,000 horsepower


43




and 59 miles of 12- to 24-inch pipeline, and increased gathering capacity, allowing a certain producer to fulfill its commitment to deliver 850 Mdth/d to our Atlantic Sunrise development.
Atlantic-Gulf
Gulf Connector
In January 2019, the Gulf Connector project was placed into service. This project expanded Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from Station 65 in Louisiana to delivery points in Wharton and San Patricio Counties, Texas. The project increased capacity by 475 Mdth/d.
Atlantic Sunrise
In October 2018, the Atlantic Sunrise project was placed into service. This project expanded Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system along with greenfield facilities to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from the northeastern Marcellus producing area to markets along Transco’s mainline as far south as Station 85 in west central Alabama. We placed a portion of the mainline project facilities into service in September 2017, which increased capacity by 400 Mdth/d. We placed additional mainline facilities into service in June 2018, which increased capacity by an additional 150 Mdth/d. In total, the project increased Transco’s capacity by 1,700 Mdth/d.
Garden State
In March 2018, Phase 2 of the Garden State Expansion project was placed into service. This project expanded Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from Station 210 in New Jersey to a new interconnection on our Trenton Woodbury Lateral in New Jersey. Phase 1 of the project was placed into service in September 2017, and together Phases 1 and 2 increased capacity by 180 Mdth/d.
Commodity Prices
NGL per-unit margins were approximately 19 percent higher in 2018 compared to 2017 primarily due to a 22 percent increase in realized per-unit non-ethane prices and an approximate 9 percent decrease in per-unit natural gas feedstock prices.
NGL margins are defined as NGL revenues less any applicable Btu replacement cost, plant fuel, and third-party transportation and fractionation. Per-unit NGL margins are calculated based on sales of our own equity volumes at the processing plants. Our equity volumes include NGLs where we own the rights to the value from NGLs recovered at our plants under both “keep-whole” processing agreements, where we have the obligation to replace the lost heating value with natural gas, and “percent-of-liquids” agreements whereby we receive a portion of the extracted liquids with no obligation to replace the lost heating value.
The potential impact of commodity prices on our business is further discussed in the following Company Outlook.
Company Outlook
Our strategy is to provide large-scale energy infrastructure designed to maximize the opportunities created by the vast supply of natural gas and natural gas products that exists in the United States. We accomplish this by connecting the growing demand for cleaner fuels and feedstocks with our major positions in the premier natural gas and natural gas products supply basins. We continue to maintain a strong commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, operational excellence, and customer satisfaction. We believe that accomplishing these goals will position us to deliver safe and reliable service to our customers and an attractive return to our shareholders.
Our business plan for 2019 includes a continued focus on growing our fee-based businesses, executing growth projects, including through joint ventures, and accomplishing cost discipline initiatives to ensure operations support our strategy. We anticipate operating results will increase through organic business growth driven by continued expansion in the Northeast region and Transco expansion projects.


44




Our growth capital and investment expenditures in 2019 are expected to be in a range from $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion. Growth capital spending in 2019 includes Transco expansions, all of which are fully contracted with firm transportation agreements, and continuing to develop our gathering and processing infrastructure in the Northeast G&P and West segments. In addition to growth capital and investment expenditures, we also remain committed to projects that maintain our assets for safe and reliable operations, as well as projects that meet legal, regulatory, and/or contractual commitments.
As a result of our significant continued capital and investment expenditures on Transco expansion projects and fee-based gathering and processing projects, fee-based businesses are a significant component of our portfolio and serve to reduce the influence of commodity price fluctuations on our operating results and cash flows. We expect to benefit as continued growth in demand for low-cost natural gas is driven by increases in LNG exports, industrial demand and power generation. For 2019, current forward market prices indicate oil, natural gas, and NGL prices are expected to be lower compared to 2018. We continue to address certain pricing risks through the utilization of commodity hedging strategies.
In 2019, our operating results are expected to include increases from our regulated Transco fee-based business, primarily related to projects recently placed in-service. For our non-regulated businesses, we anticipate increases in fee-based revenue in the Northeast G&P segment associated with recent expansion projects, partially offset with a decrease in the West segment primarily due to recent asset divestitures. We expect overall gathering and processing volumes to grow in 2019 for our continuing businesses and anticipate an increase in our equity earnings primarily associated with new investments. Additionally, we believe general and administrative expenses will be slightly lower due to recent asset divestitures and the effect of the WPZ merger.
Potential risks and obstacles that could impact the execution of our plan include:
Opposition to, and legal regulations affecting, our infrastructure projects, including the risk of delay or denial in permits and approvals needed for our projects;
Unexpected significant increases in capital expenditures or delays in capital project execution;
Counterparty credit and performance risk;
Unexpected changes in customer drilling and production activities, which could negatively impact gathering and processing volumes;
Lower than anticipated demand for natural gas and natural gas products which could result in lower than expected volumes, energy commodity prices, and margins;
General economic, financial markets, or further industry downturn, including increased interest rates;
Physical damages to facilities, including damage to offshore facilities by named windstorms;
Other risks set forth under Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors in this report.
We seek to maintain a strong financial position and liquidity, as well as manage a diversified portfolio of energy infrastructure assets which continue to serve key growth markets and supply basins in the United States.


45




Expansion Projects
Our ongoing major expansion projects include the following:
Northeast G&P
Ohio River Supply Hub Expansion
We agreed to expand our services for certain customers to provide additional rich gas processing capacity in the Marcellus and Upper Devonian Shale in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Associated with these agreements, we plan to further expand the processing capacity of our Oak Grove facility up to 400 MMcf/d. With one of these customers, we secured a gathering dedication agreement to gather dry gas in this same region. Additionally, we will be constructing a new NGL pipeline from Moundsville to the Harrison Hub fractionation facility to provide a new outlet for NGLs. These expansions will be supported by long-term, fee-based agreements and volumetric commitments.
Susquehanna Supply Hub Expansion
We continue to expand the gathering systems in the Susquehanna Supply Hub that are needed to meet our customers’ production plans by 2020. This next expansion of the gathering infrastructure includes an additional 40,000 horsepower of new compression and gathering pipelines to bring the capacity to approximately 4.5 Bcf/d.
Atlantic-Gulf
Constitution Pipeline
We currently own 41 percent of Constitution with three other parties holding 25 percent, 24 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. We are the operator of Constitution. The 126-mile Constitution pipeline is proposed to connect our gathering system in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, to the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems in New York, as well as to a local distribution company serving New York and Pennsylvania.
In December 2014, Constitution received approval from the FERC to construct and operate its proposed pipeline, which will have an expected capacity of 650 Mdth/d. However, in April 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) denied the necessary water quality certification under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for the New York portion of the pipeline. In May 2016, Constitution appealed the NYSDEC’s denial of the Section 401 certification to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in August 2017, the court issued a decision denying in part and dismissing in part Constitution’s appeal. The court expressly declined to rule on Constitution’s argument that the delay in the NYSDEC’s decision on Constitution’s Section 401 application constitutes a waiver of the certification requirement. The court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to address that contention and found that jurisdiction over the waiver issue lies exclusively with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit). As to the denial itself, the court determined that NYSDEC’s action was not arbitrary or capricious. Constitution filed a petition for rehearing with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, but in October 2017 the court denied our petition.
In October 2017, we filed a petition for declaratory order requesting the FERC to find that, by operation of law, the Section 401 certification requirement for the New York State portion of Constitution’s pipeline project was waived due to the failure by the NYSDEC to act on Constitution’s Section 401 application within a reasonable period of time as required by the express terms of such statute. In January 2018, the FERC denied our petition, finding that Section 401 provides that a state waives certification only when it does not act on an application within one year from the date of the application. We filed a request for rehearing of the FERC’s decision, but in July 2018 the FERC denied our request.
The project’s sponsors remain committed to the project. On November 5, 2018, the FERC granted our request for an extension of time to December 2, 2020, to construct and place into service the Constitution pipeline. And, in September 2018, we filed a petition with the D.C. Circuit for review of the FERC’s denial of our petition for declaratory order. (See Note 4 – Variable Interest Entities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)


46




Gateway
In December 2018, we received approval from the FERC to expand Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from PennEast Pipeline Company's proposed interconnection with Transco’s mainline south of Station 205 in New Jersey to other existing Transco meter stations within New Jersey. We plan to place the project into service in the first quarter of 2021, assuming timely receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The project is expected to increase capacity by 65 Mdth/d.
Hillabee
In February 2016, the FERC issued a certificate order for the initial phases of Transco’s Hillabee Expansion Project. The project involves an expansion of Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system from Station 85 in west central Alabama to a new interconnection with the Sabal Trail pipeline in Alabama. The project is being constructed in phases, and all of the project expansion capacity is dedicated to Sabal Trail pursuant to a capacity lease agreement. We placed a portion of Phase I into service in June of 2017 and the remainder of Phase I into service in July of 2017. Phase I increased capacity by 818 Mdth/d. The in-service date of Phase II is planned for the second quarter of 2020, and together Phases I and II are expected to increase capacity by 1,025 Mdth/d.
Norphlet Project
In March 2016, we announced that we have reached an agreement to provide deepwater gas gathering services to the Appomattox development in the Gulf of Mexico. The project will provide offshore gas gathering services to our existing Transco lateral, which will provide transmission services onshore to our Mobile Bay processing facility. We completed modifications to our Main Pass 261 Platform to install an alternate delivery route from the platform, as well as modifications to our Mobile Bay processing facility. The project is scheduled to go into service during the second quarter of 2019.
Northeast Supply Enhancement
In March 2017, we filed an application with the FERC to expand Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from Station 195 in Pennsylvania to the Rockaway Delivery Lateral transfer point in New York. On April 20, 2018, the NYSDEC denied, without prejudice, Transco’s application for certain permits required for the project. We addressed the technical issues identified by NYSDEC and in May 2018, we refiled our application for the permits. We plan to place the project into service in the fourth quarter of 2020, assuming timely receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The project is expected to increase capacity by 400 Mdth/d.
Rivervale South to Market
In August 2018, we received approval from the FERC to expand Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from the existing Rivervale interconnection with Tennessee Gas Pipeline on Transco’s North New Jersey Extension to other existing Transco locations within New Jersey. We plan to place the project into service as early as the fourth quarter of 2019, assuming timely receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The project is expected to increase capacity by 190 Mdth/d.
Southeastern Trail
In April 2018, we filed an application with the FERC to expand Transco’s existing natural gas transmission system to provide incremental firm transportation capacity from the Pleasant Valley interconnect with Dominion’s Cove Point Pipeline in Virginia to the Station 65 pooling point in Louisiana. We plan to place the project into service in late 2020, assuming timely receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The project is expected to increase capacity by 296 Mdth/d.


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West
North Seattle Lateral Upgrade
In July 2018, we received approval from the FERC to expand delivery capabilities on Northwest Pipeline’s North Seattle Lateral. The project consists of the removal and replacement of approximately 5.9 miles of 8-inch diameter pipeline with new 20-inch diameter pipeline. We plan to place the project into service as early as the fourth quarter of 2019, assuming timely receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. The project is expected to increase delivery capacity by approximately 159 Mdth/d.
Wamsutter Expansion
We are expanding our gathering and processing infrastructure in the Wamsutter region of Wyoming in order to meet our customers’ production plans.  The expansion includes the addition of approximately 60 miles of gathering pipelines and compression, and modifications to existing treating and processing facilities. We plan to place the first phase of the project into service during the first quarter of 2019.
Project Bluestem
We are expanding our presence in the Mid-Continent region through building a 188-mile pipeline from our fractionator in Conway, Kansas to an interconnect with a third-party NGL pipeline system in Oklahoma, providing us with firm access to Mt. Belvieu pricing. As part of the project, the third-party intends to construct a 110-mile pipeline extension of their existing NGL pipeline system that will have an initial capacity of 120 Mbbls/d. Further, we will have an option to purchase a 20 percent equity interest in a Mt. Belvieu fractionation train developed by the third party. The pipeline and extension projects are expected to be placed into service during the first quarter of 2021.
Critical Accounting Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions. We believe that the nature of these estimates and assumptions is material due to the subjectivity and judgment necessary, or the susceptibility of such matters to change, and the impact of these on our financial condition or results of operations.
Pension and Postretirement Obligations
We have employee benefit plans that include pension and other postretirement benefits. Net periodic benefit cost and obligations for these plans are impacted by various estimates and assumptions. These estimates and assumptions include the expected long-term rates of return on plan assets, discount rates, cash balance interest crediting rate, expected rate of compensation increase, and employee demographics, including retirement age and mortality. These assumptions are reviewed annually and adjustments are made as needed. The assumptions utilized to compute cost and the benefit obligations are shown in Note 10 – Employee Benefit Plans of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.


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The following table presents the estimated increase (decrease) in net periodic benefit cost and obligations resulting from a one-percentage-point change in the specific assumption.
 
Benefit Cost
 
Benefit Obligation
 
One-
Percentage-
Point
Increase
 
One-
Percentage-
Point
Decrease
 
One-
Percentage-
Point
Increase
 
One-
Percentage-
Point
Decrease
 
(Millions)
Pension benefits:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Discount rate
$
(7
)
 
$
8

 
$
(101
)
 
$
119

Expected long-term rate of return on plan assets
(12
)
 
12

 

 

Cash balance interest crediting rate
16

 
(13
)
 
76

 
(64
)
Rate of compensation increase
1

 
(1
)
 
5

 
(4
)
Other postretirement benefits:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Discount rate
1

 
1

 
(19
)
 
23

Expected long-term rate of return on plan assets
(2
)
 
2

 

 

Our expected long-term rates of return on plan assets, as determined at the beginning of each fiscal year, are based on the average rate of return expected on the funds invested in the plans. We determine our long-term expected rates of return on plan assets using our expectations of capital market results, which include an analysis of historical results as well as forward-looking projections. These capital market expectations are based on a period of at least 10 years and take into account our investment strategy and mix of assets. We develop our expectations using input from our third-party independent investment consultant. The forward-looking capital market projections start with current conditions of interest rates, equity pricing, economic growth, and inflation and those are overlaid with forward looking projections of normal inflation, growth, and interest rates to determine expected returns. The capital market return projections for specific asset classes in the investment portfolio are then applied to the relative weightings of the asset classes in the investment portfolio. The resulting rates are an estimate of future results and, thus, likely to be different than actual results.
Our expected long-term rate of return on plan assets used for our pension plans was 5.34 percent in 2018. The 2018 actual return on plan assets for our pension plans was a loss of approximately 3.6 percent. The 10-year average rate of return on pension plan assets through December 2018 was approximately 8.3 percent. While the 2018 investment performance was less than our expected rates of return, the expected rates of return on plan assets are long-term in nature and are not significantly impacted by short-term market performance. Changes to our asset allocation would also impact the expected rates of return.
The discount rates are used to measure the benefit obligations of our pension and other postretirement benefit plans. The objective of the discount rates is to determine the amount, if invested at the December 31 measurement date in a portfolio of high-quality debt securities, that will provide the necessary cash flows when benefit payments are due. Increases in the discount rates decrease the obligation and, generally, decrease the related cost. The discount rates for our pension and other postretirement benefit plans are determined separately based on an approach specific to our plans and their respective expected benefit cash flows as described in Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Note 10 – Employee Benefit Plans of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. Our discount rate assumptions are impacted by changes in general economic and market conditions that affect interest rates on long-term, high-quality debt securities as well as by the duration of our plans’ liabilities.
The cash balance interest crediting rate assumption represents the average long-term rate by which the pension plans’ cash balance accounts are expected to grow. Interest on the cash balance accounts is based on the 30-year U.S. Treasury securities rate and is credited to the accounts quarterly. An increase in this rate causes the pension obligation and cost to increase.
The expected rate of compensation increase represents average long-term salary increases. An increase in this rate causes the pension obligation and cost to increase.


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Property, Plant, and Equipment and Other Identifiable Intangible Assets
We evaluate our property, plant, and equipment and other identifiable intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate, in our judgment, that the carrying value of such assets may not be recoverable. When an indicator of impairment has occurred, we compare our estimate of undiscounted future cash flows attributable to the assets to the carrying value of the assets to determine whether an impairment has occurred, and we may apply a probability-weighted approach to consider the likelihood of different cash flow assumptions and possible outcomes including selling in the near term or holding for the remaining estimated useful life. If an impairment of the carrying value has occurred, we determine the amount of the impairment recognized by estimating the fair value of the assets and recording a loss for the amount that the carrying value exceeds the estimated fair value. This evaluation is performed at the lowest level for which separately identifiable cash flows exist.
Certain of our contractual gathering rates, primarily those in the Barnett Shale, are based on a percentage of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) natural gas prices. During the fourth quarter of 2018, we determined there was a sustained decline in the forward price curves for natural gas. During this same period, a large producer customer in the Barnett Shale removed their remaining drilling rig. These factors gave rise to an impairment evaluation of these assets. The historical carrying value of our Barnett assets was initially recorded based on the estimated fair value during the third quarter of 2014 in conjunction with the acquisition of ACMP.
Our evaluation incorporated management’s projections of future drilling levels and gathering rates, taking into consideration the information noted above as well as recently available information regarding producer drilling cost assumptions in this basin. The resulting estimate of future undiscounted cash flows was less than our carrying value, necessitating the estimation of the fair value of these assets. In arriving at the fair value, we utilized an income approach with a discount rate of 8.5 percent, reflecting an estimated cost of capital and risks associated with the underlying assets. As a result, we recorded an impairment charge of $1.849 billion to reduce the carrying value to our estimate of fair value. A one-percentage-point increase in the discount rate would decrease our estimate of fair value by approximately $37 million.
Judgments and assumptions are inherent in estimating undiscounted future cash flows, fair values, and the probability-weighting of possible outcomes. The use of alternate judgments and assumptions could result in a different determination affecting the consolidated financial statements.
Constitution Pipeline Capitalized Project Costs
As of December 31, 2018, Property, plant, and equipment – net in our Consolidated Balance Sheet includes approximately $377 million of capitalized project costs for Constitution, for which we are the construction manager and own a 41 percent consolidated interest. As a result of the events discussed in Company Outlook, we evaluated the capitalized project costs for impairment at December 31, 2017, and determined that no impairment was necessary. Our evaluation considered probability-weighted scenarios of undiscounted future net cash flows, including scenarios assuming construction of the pipeline, as well as a scenario where the project does not proceed. These scenarios included our most recent estimate of total construction costs. Subsequently, there have been no events or changes in circumstances that impact our conclusion. It is reasonably possible that future unfavorable developments, such as a reduced likelihood of success, increased estimates of construction costs, or further significant delays, could result in a future impairment.
Regulatory Liabilities resulting from Tax Reform
In December 2017, Tax Reform was enacted, which, among other things, reduced the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Rates charged to customers of our regulated natural gas pipelines are subject to the rate-making policies of the FERC, which have historically permitted the recovery of an income tax allowance that includes a deferred income tax component. Due to the reduced income tax rate from Tax Reform and the collection of historical rates that reflected historical federal income tax rates, we expect that our regulated natural gas pipelines will be required to return amounts to certain customers through future rates. As a result, we established regulatory liabilities during 2017 and at December 31, 2018, these liabilities total $657 million. The timing and actual amount of such return will be subject to future negotiations regarding this matter and many other elements of cost-of-service rate proceedings, including other costs of providing service.


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Results of Operations
Consolidated Overview
The following table and discussion is a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the three years ended December 31, 2018. The results of operations by segment are discussed in further detail following this consolidated overview discussion.
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
$ Change
from
2017*
 
% Change
from
2017*
 
2017
 
$ Change
from
2016*
 
% Change
from
2016*
 
2016
 
(Millions)
Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Service revenues
$
5,502

 
+190

 
+4
 %
 
$
5,312

 
+141

 
+3
 %
 
$
5,171

Service revenues - commodity consideration
400

 
+400

 
NM

 

 

 
NM

 

Product sales
2,784

 
+65

 
+2
 %
 
2,719

 
+391

 
+17
 %
 
2,328

Total revenues
8,686

 
 
 
 
 
8,031

 
 
 
 
 
7,499

Costs and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Product costs
2,707

 
-407

 
-18
 %
 
2,300

 
-575

 
-33
 %
 
1,725

Processing commodity expenses
137

 
-137

 
NM

 

 

 
NM

 

Operating and maintenance expenses
1,507

 
+69

 
+4
 %
 
1,576

 
+16

 
+1
 %
 
1,592

Depreciation and amortization expenses
1,725

 
+11

 
+1
 %
 
1,736

 
+27

 
+2
 %
 
1,763

Selling, general, and administrative expenses
569

 
+25

 
+4
 %
 
594

 
+128

 
+18
 %
 
722

 Impairment of certain assets
1,915

 
-667

 
-53
 %
 
1,248

 
-375

 
-43
 %
 
873

Gain on sale of certain assets
(692
)
 
-403

 
-37
 %
 
(1,095
)
 
+1,095

 
NM

 

Regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform
(17
)
 
+691

 
NM

 
674

 
-674

 
NM

 

Other (income) expense – net
67

 
+4

 
+6
 %
 
71

 
+64

 
+47
 %
 
135

Total costs and expenses
7,918

 
 
 
 
 
7,104

 
 
 
 
 
6,810

Operating income (loss)
768

 
 
 
 
 
927

 
 
 
 
 
689

Equity earnings (losses)
396

 
-38

 
-9
 %
 
434

 
+37

 
+9
 %
 
397

Impairment of equity-method investments
(32
)
 
-32

 
NM

 

 
+430

 
+100
 %
 
(430
)
Other investing income (loss) – net
219

 
-63

 
-22
 %
 
282

 
+219

 
NM

 
63

Interest expense
(1,112
)
 
-29

 
-3
 %
 
(1,083
)
 
+96

 
+8
 %
 
(1,179
)
Other income (expense) – net
92

 
+117

 
NM

 
(25
)
 
-110

 
NM

 
85

Income (loss) before income taxes
331

 
 
 
 
 
535

 
 
 
 
 
(375
)
Provision (benefit) for income taxes
138

 
-2,112

 
NM

 
(1,974
)
 
+1,949

 
NM

 
(25
)
Net income (loss)
193

 
 
 
 
 
2,509

 
 
 
 
 
(350
)
Less: Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests
348

 
-13

 
-4
 %
 
335

 
-261

 
NM

 
74

Net income (loss) attributable to The Williams Companies, Inc.
$
(155
)
 
 
 
 
 
$
2,174

 
 
 
 
 
$
(424
)
_______
*
+ = Favorable change; - = Unfavorable change; NM = A percentage calculation is not meaningful due to a change in signs, a zero-value denominator, or a percentage change greater than 200.
2018 vs. 2017
Service revenues increased primarily due to higher transportation fee revenues at Transco associated with expansion projects placed in-service in 2017 and 2018, as well as higher gathering volumes at the Susquehanna Supply Hub and


51




Ohio River Supply Hub. These increases are partially offset by a change in the rate of deferred revenue recognition resulting from implementing ASC 606, reduced revenues from our Four Corners area operations that were sold in October 2018, a reduction of rates resulting from a Northwest Pipeline rate case settlement, and a decrease following the Jackalope deconsolidation.
Service revenues - commodity consideration increased as the result of implementing ASC 606 using a modified retrospective approach, effective January 1, 2018. Therefore, prior periods have not been recast under the new guidance. These revenues represent consideration we receive in the form of commodities as full or partial payment for gathering and processing services provided. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.) Most of these NGL volumes are sold within the month processed and therefore are offset in Product costs below.
Product sales increased primarily due to higher marketing revenues and higher system management gas sales, which are offset in Product costs, and higher sales from the production of our equity NGLs, reflecting higher NGL prices. These increases are partially offset by the absence of $269 million in olefin sales revenue associated with our former Gulf Olefins operations in 2017.
The increase in Product costs is primarily due to the impact of ASC 606 in which costs reflected in this line item for 2018 include volumes acquired as commodity consideration for NGL processing services, as well as higher marketing and system management gas costs. This increase is partially offset by the absence of $147 million of olefin feedstock costs due to the sale of our former Gulf Olefins operations, as well as the absence of natural gas purchases associated with the production of equity NGLs, which are now reported in Processing commodity expenses in conjunction with the implementation of ASC 606.
Processing commodity expenses presents the natural gas purchases associated with the production of equity NGLs as previously described in conjunction with the implementation of ASC 606.
Operating and maintenance expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of $80 million of costs associated with our former Gulf Olefins and Four Corners area operations.
Depreciation and amortization expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of our former Gulf Olefins and Four Corners area operations, partially offset by new assets placed in-service.
Selling, general, and administrative expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of severance-related, organizational realignment, and Financial Repositioning costs incurred in 2017, $25 million in reduced costs associated with our former Gulf Olefins and Four Corners area operations, and ongoing cost containment efforts. These decreases are partially offset by a charitable contribution of preferred stock to The Williams Companies Foundation, Inc. (see Note 15 – Stockholders' Equity of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements) and fees associated with the WPZ Merger.
The unfavorable change in Impairment of certain assets includes 2018 impairments on certain assets in the Barnett Shale region and certain idle pipelines, partially offset by the absence of 2017 impairments associated with certain assets in the Mid-Continent, Marcellus South, and Houston Ship Channel areas (see Note 17 – Fair Value Measurements, Guarantees, and Concentration of Credit Risk of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
The unfavorable change in Gain on sale of certain assets reflects the absence of a gain recognized on the sale of our Geismar Interest in July 2017, partially offset by gains recognized on the sales of our Four Corners area in October 2018 and our Gulf Coast pipeline systems in December 2018 (see Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
Regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform relates to the 2017 recognition of regulatory liabilities for the probable return to customers through future rates of the future decrease in income taxes payable associated with Tax Reform. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).


52




The favorable change in Other (income) expense – net within Operating income (loss) includes the benefit of establishing a regulatory asset associated with an increase in Transco’s estimated deferred state income tax rate following the WPZ Merger, substantially offset by the absence of gains from certain contract settlements and terminations in 2017, the absence of a gain on the sale of our RGP Splitter in 2017, and 2018 charges establishing a regulatory liability associated with a decrease in Northwest Pipeline's estimated deferred state income tax rate following the WPZ Merger.
Operating income (loss) changed unfavorably primarily due to higher impairments of assets, lower gains on sales of assets, and the absence of operating income associated with our former Gulf Olefins and Four Corners area operations, partially offset by the absence of regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform, higher Service revenues primarily from expansion projects, and an increase in NGL margins.
The unfavorable change in Equity earnings (losses) is primarily due to a decrease in volumes at Discovery, partially offset by improved results at our Appalachia Midstream Investments and the deconsolidation of our Jackalope interest, which is now accounted for as an equity-method investment beginning in the second quarter of 2018.
The Impairment of equity-method investments in 2018 reflects an impairment related to our investment in UEOM.
Other investing income (loss) – net reflects the absence of the gain on disposition of our investments in DBJV and Ranch Westex JV LLC in 2017, partially offset by gains on the 2018 deconsolidations of certain Permian basin assets and of our interest in Jackalope. (See Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Interest expense increased primarily due to an increase in other financing obligations associated with Transco's Dalton and Atlantic Sunrise projects, as well as expense related to the deemed financing component of certain contract liabilities resulting from our implementation of ASC 606 in 2018, offset by lower interest rates on our outstanding debt in 2018 and lower borrowings on our credit facilities in 2018. (See Note 14 – Debt, Banking Arrangements, and Leases of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Other income (expense) – net below Operating income (loss) changed favorably primarily due to a decrease in charges reducing regulatory assets related to deferred taxes on the allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) resulting from Tax Reform, an increase in equity AFUDC, and a lower settlement charge from the pension early payout program, partially offset by a decrease due to the absence of a net gain on early retirement of debt in 2017 and a loss on early retirement of debt in 2018. (See Note 7 – Other Income and Expenses of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Provision (benefit) for income taxes changed unfavorably primarily due to the absence of a $1.923 billion tax provision benefit associated with Tax Reform and releasing a $127 million valuation allowance in 2017. The unfavorable change also reflects a $105 million valuation allowance in 2018 associated with certain foreign tax credits. See Note 8 – Provision (Benefit) for Income Taxes of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of the effective tax rate compared to the federal statutory rate for both periods.
The unfavorable change in Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests is primarily related to WPZ, reflective of both our acquisition of the publicly held interests in WPZ associated with the WPZ Merger and a fourth quarter 2017 net loss incurred by WPZ, partially offset by lower operating results at Gulfstar.
2017 vs. 2016
Service revenues increased due to higher transportation fee revenues at Transco and in the eastern Gulf reflecting expansion projects placed in-service in 2016 and 2017; partially offset by a decrease in gathering, processing, and fractionation revenue including lower rates, primarily in the Barnett Shale region associated with the restructuring of contracts in the fourth quarter of 2016; lower volumes in the western regions, driven by natural declines and extreme weather conditions in the Rocky Mountains in 2017; and the sale of our former Canadian and Gulf Olefins operations.
Product sales increased primarily due to higher marketing revenues reflecting significantly higher prices and volumes. Revenues from the sale of our equity NGLs increased primarily due to higher non-ethane NGL prices, partially offset by lower volumes. These increases were partially offset by lower olefin production sales due to lower volumes resulting from the sale of our former Gulf Olefins and Canadian operations.


53




The increase in Product costs is primarily due to the same factors that increased marketing sales, partially offset by lower olefin feedstock purchases associated with the sale of our Gulf Olefins and Canadian operations.
Operating and maintenance expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of costs associated with our former Canadian and Gulf Olefins operations and lower labor-related costs resulting from our workforce reductions that occurred late in first-quarter 2016, and ongoing cost containment efforts, partially offset by higher pipeline integrity testing and general maintenance at Transco.
Depreciation and amortization expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of our former Canadian and Gulf Olefins operations, partially offset by new assets placed in-service.
Selling, general, and administrative expenses decreased primarily due to the absence of certain project development costs associated with the Canadian PDH facility that were expensed in 2016, lower labor-related costs resulting from our workforce reductions that occurred late in first-quarter 2016, ongoing cost containment efforts, lower strategic development costs, and the absence of costs associated with our former Canadian and Gulf Olefins operations. These decreases were partially offset by higher severance and organizational realignment costs in 2017 (see Note 7 – Other Income and Expenses of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
The unfavorable change in Impairment of certain assets reflects 2017 impairments of certain gathering operations in the Mid-Continent and Marcellus South regions, certain NGL pipeline assets, and an olefins pipeline project in the Gulf coast region. These 2017 impairments are partially offset by the absence of 2016 impairments of our former Canadian operations and certain Mid-Continent assets (see Note 17 – Fair Value Measurements, Guarantees, and Concentration of Credit Risk of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
The Gain on sale of certain assets reflects the gain recognized on the sale of our Geismar Interest in July 2017. (See Note 3 – Divestitures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform relates to the recognition of regulatory liabilities for the probable return to customers through future rates of the future decrease in income taxes payable associated with Tax Reform. (See Note 1 – General, Description of Business, Basis of Presentation, and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
The favorable change in Other (income) expense – net within Operating income (loss) includes the absence of the 2016 loss on the sale of our Canadian operations, gains from certain contract settlements and terminations in 2017, a gain on the sale of our RGP Splitter in 2017, and the absence of an unfavorable change in foreign currency exchange associated with our former Canadian operations. These favorable changes are partially offset by additional expense associated with an annual revision to the ARO liability, accrual of additional expenses in 2017 related to the Geismar Incident, as well as the absence of a gain in first-quarter 2016 associated with the sale of unused pipe.
Operating income (loss) changed favorably primarily due to the Gain on sale of certain assets, the absence of the 2016 impairments of certain Mid-Continent assets and our former Canadian operations, higher service revenues primarily from expansion projects placed in-service in 2016 and 2017, the absence of expensed Canadian PDH facility project development costs in 2016, as well as ongoing cost containment efforts, including workforce reductions in first-quarter 2016. Operating income (loss) also improved due to the absence of a 2016 loss on the sale of our Canadian operations, the absence of an operating loss associated with our former Canadian operations, gains from certain contract settlements and the sale of our RGP Splitter. These favorable changes were partially offset by 2017 impairments of certain gathering operations in the Mid-Continent and Marcellus South regions and certain NGL pipeline assets, and regulatory charges resulting from Tax Reform, as well as the absence of operating income associated with our former Gulf Olefins operations.
The favorable change in Equity earnings (losses) is due to an increase in ownership of our Appalachia Midstream Investments and improved results at Aux Sable due to favorable pricing and higher volumes, partially offset by lower UEOM results driven by lower processing volumes from the Utica gathering system and lower Discovery results due to lower volumes.


54




The decrease in Impairment of equity-method investments reflects the absence of 2016 impairment charges associated with our Appalachia Midstream Investments, DBJV, Laurel Mountain, and Ranch Westex equity-method investments. (See Note 17 – Fair Value Measurements, Guarantees, and Concentration of Credit Risk of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Other investing income (loss) – net reflects the gain on disposition of our investments in DBJV and Ranch Westex JV LLC in 2017, partially offset by the absence of interest income received in 2016 associated with a receivable related to the sale of certain former Venezuelan assets and the absence of a 2016 gain on the sale of an equity-method investment interest in a gathering system that was part of our Appalachia Midstream Investments. (See Note 6 – Investing Activities of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Interest expense decreased primarily due to lower Interest incurred primarily attributable to debt retirements in 2017 and lower borrowings on our credit facilities in 2017. (See Note 14 – Debt, Banking Arrangements, and Leases of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Other income (expense) – net below Operating income (loss) changed unfavorably primarily due to charges reducing regulatory assets related to deferred taxes on equity funds used during construction (AFUDC) resulting from Tax Reform and a settlement charge from a pension early payout program (see Note 10 – Employee Benefit Plans of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements), partially offset by a net gain on early debt retirements in 2017, and other favorable changes related to AFUDC. (See Note 7 – Other Income and Expenses of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.)
Provision (benefit) for income taxes changed favorably primarily due to a reduction in the federal statutory rate from 35 percent to 21 percent with the enactment of Tax Reform. The remeasurement of our existing deferred tax assets and liabilities at the reduced rate resulted in the recognition of a net income tax provision benefit of $1.923 billion. Adjustments within this provision benefit are considered provisional and are potentially subject to change in the future. See Note 8 – Provision (Benefit) for Income Taxes of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of the effective tax rate compared to the federal statutory rate for both periods.
The unfavorable change in Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests is primarily due to the impact of decreased income allocated to us driven by the permanent waiver of IDRs and higher operating results at WPZ, partially offset by a decrease in the ownership of the noncontrolling interests. Both the permanent waiver of IDRs and the change in ownership are associated with the first-quarter 2017 Financial Repositioning (see Note 1 – General, Description of Business, and Basis of Presentation of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements). In addition, improved results in our Gulfstar operations also contributed to the increase in Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests, partially offset by lower results for our Cardinal gathering system.
Year-Over-Year Operating Results – Segments
We evaluate segment operating performance based upon Modified EBITDA. Note 19 – Segment Disclosures of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements includes a reconciliation of this non-GAAP measure to Net income (loss). Management uses Modified EBITDA because it is an accepted financial indicator used by investors to compare company performance. In addition, management believes that this measure provides investors an enhanced perspective of the operating performance of our assets. Modified EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for a measure of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.


55




Northeast G&P
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
(Millions)
Service revenues
$
976

 
$
872

 
$
870

Service revenues - commodity consideration
20

 

 

Product sales
287

 
291

 
162

Segment revenues
1,283

 
1,163

 
1,032

 
 
 
 
 
 
Product costs
(289
)
 
(286
)
 
(159
)