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Enterprise Triples Earnings but Says Hurricane Ivan Costly

Enterprise Products Partners LP, which merged with GulfTerra Energy Partners LP last year, more than tripled its net income in the fourth quarter, reporting earnings of $115.4 million (28 cents/unit), compared with $34.2 million (13 cents) in 4Q2003. For the year, Enterprise earned $268.3 million (87 cents/unit), compared with $104.5 million (41 cents) in 2003.

However, the news could have been even better, but the "continued effects of Hurricane Ivan on certain of our operations" cost the company. It estimated 4Q earnings would have been about $17 million higher (5 cents/unit), and year-end earnings would have increased by $24 million (9 cents), "if not for a decrease in natural gas and natural gas liquid (NGL) volumes delivered to our facilities."

"While we posted record results for the fourth quarter of 2004, the lingering effects of Hurricane Ivan reduced volumes delivered to some of our pipelines, natural gas processing and NGL fractionation facilities in eastern Louisiana due to damage to offshore wells and pipelines owned by third parties," said CEO Dub Andras. Still, all of the company's major business segments reported a "solid" quarter.

Going forward, Andras noted that "drilling activity in the major producing areas, including the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Rocky Mountains and San Juan, and the improving economy, have increased the demand for our integrated midstream energy services. Over the next two years, we expect large volumes of new production from both the deepwater and the Rockies to flow into our integrated system of assets."

Andras said Enterprise has so far identified $2 billion of organic growth projects over the next three years, most coming from GulfTerra prospects. The projects include its recently announced Independence Trail and Hub project and the Constitution oil and natural gas pipeline projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico; the expansion of some western NGL assets to support new production in the Rocky Mountain and San Juan regions; and enhancements to existing facilities on the Texas Gulf Coast to serve refining and petrochemical customers.

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