Northern Border Partners LP reported a 21% increase in second quarter 2004 income from continuing operations and increased its earnings guidance for the year. The company attributed the earnings increase mainly to increased results from gathering operations in the Williston Basin and from its interstate pipelines.

Income from continuing operations rose to $33.3 million, or $0.66 per unit, compared to $27.6 million, or $0.56 per unit, in the second quarter 2003. Net income rose 4% to $33.3 million, or 66 cents/share.

“We benefited from higher volumes and strong gas and liquids prices in our processing activities in the Williston Basin this quarter,” said Chairman Bill Cordes. “Our interstate pipelines also reported increased revenues and net income during this reporting period despite a small decrease in throughput. We are therefore pleased to increase our earnings guidance for this year.

“We are also excited to announce two organic growth projects currently under development. First, the Eastern Extension Project on Midwestern Gas Transmission is in the final stages of approval. Second is a Bear Paw Energy natural gas gathering project that has initiated construction activity in the Bakken Oil Play in the Williston Basin. Together these projects represent more than $40 million in growth capital expenditures and would contribute to cash flow beginning in 2005 and 2006,” Cordes said.

Year-to-date, the company reported income from continuing operations of $69.9 million, or $1.39 per unit, as compared to $60.9 million, or $1.26 per unit for the same period 2003.

Delivered volumes in the partnership’s interstate gas pipelines segment decreased slightly during the quarter to 273 Bcf versus 276 Bcf for the second quarter of 2003. Average gathering volumes increased to 1,178 MMcf/d compared to 1,111 MMcf/d for the second quarter 2003. Volumes on the partnership’s gathering systems in the Powder River Basin declined to 204 MMcf/d from 212 MMcf/d in second quarter 2003. Gathering and processing volumes in the Williston Basin increased to 56 MMcf/d from 52 MMcf/d in the second quarter 2003.

The partnership also increased its earnings guidance for 2004, now expecting net income for 2004 to be in the range of $129 million to $134 million or $2.55 to $2.65 per unit.

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