Texas Archives - Webber Research

W|EPC: AEP Capital Project Analysis – Q220

Digging Into AEP’s Capital Project Backlog

  • AEP Company Overview                                                       Page 2
  • Key Takeaways                                                                         Page 3
  • ERCOT Overview                                                                     Page 4
  • AEP’s Activity Level vs Guided Capex                                 Pages 5-8
  • Cost Overrun Analysis: Who Stays On Budget?
    • AEPT                                                                                    Page 9
    • SWEPCO                                                                            Page 10
    • ETT                                                                                       Page 11
  • Ongoing Capital Projects – Current Status                          Pages 12 -15
  • ETT’s CREZ Project Problem – Warranty Status?                Pages 16-17
  • Project Profile: Solstice To Bakersfield, 345-kV T-Line      Pages 18-20
  • Additional Management Questions                                     Page 21

American Electric Power (AEP, Market Cap ~$42B) has been in business for 114 years, with 5.5 MM customers across 11 states, including Texas. General Project EPC Background (AEP Subsidiaries):
American Electric Power Texas (AEPT) is a subsidiary of AEP, and provides transmission and distribution of electric power to ~1MM customers through Retail Electric Provider’s (REPs) in west, central, and south Texas, with an ROE sitting at at ~9.4%.

Southwestern Electric Power Company’s (SWEPCO), also an AEP sub, has 4K miles of transmission lines and 5K MW’s of generation capacity, supporting 536K customers primarily in Western Louisiana, North East Texas, the Panhandle of Texas, and Western Arkansas. SWEPCO’s ROE sit at ~9.6%.

Electric Transmission Texas, LLC, (ETT) is 50/50 JV between AEP and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, and owns/operates transmission facilities within Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), primarily around the AEPT service territory.  ETT’s ROE sits at ~9.6%, and it’s capital budget is not broken out within AEP’s forecasted numbers. AEPT and SEPC 2020-2024 capital forecast (~$8.4B) comprises ~25% of AEP’s total expected spend (~$33B) over that period.

Key Takeaways:
Why Utility Project Tracking Is Increasingly Important In This Environment…
• Estimated vs. Actual Project Costs – Who comes in well under budget…and who doesn’t? (Pages 9-11)
• AEPT & SWEPCO Capex Trending Materially Below Forecast (Pages 5-8)
The Jury Is Still Out On $1.6B Of Project Costs (Pages 12-15)
ETT – Ongoing Problems With CREZ Projects, But No Warranty Cost Recovery Claims? (Pages 16-17)
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W|EPC Utilities & Energy – Sempra Deep Dive – Oncor, March 2020

 Sempra (SRE) Capital Project Analysis – Oncor March 2020.

As part of our W|EPC Utility & Energy Project coverage, we’ve put together a deep dive into a number of large public utilities, including SRE, SO, D, AEP, CNP, ENB, EPD, ET, KMI, XOM, TOT, RDS:A, and others. We’ve included more information about our W|EPC Utility & Energy project coverage in the back of this presentation.

Given its size, and the sheer volume of projects and jurisdictions, we’re breaking our Sempra (SRE) coverage down into underlying components, with our Oncor deep dive below. Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC, is headquartered in Dallas, TX and is a regulated electrical distribution and transmission business. It is owned by two investors, SRE (80.25%) and Texas Transmission Investment LLC (19.75%).

Our Key Takeaways On Oncor:

  • Out-sized Role In Critical TX Projects
    • Oncor is involved with 5 out of the 10 most important projects to provide more efficient electricity dispatch, while supporting the increasing electrical demand in Texas. (Page 5)
  • Oncor vs. Other Investor Owned Utilities
    • Oncor has 156 more projects scheduled to be completed in 2020 than AEP, ET (50% AEP/50% Berkshire Hathaway) and CNP combined. (Page 8)
  • Final Estimates vs. Final Actual Costs
    • Over the last 15 months, Oncor’s reported final construction costs for 190 projects were 12% higher than their final estimated costs. (Pages 9-10)
  • Lubbock Power and Light
    • Oncor’s May 2019 acquisition of InfraREIT included a variety of electricity transmission and distribution projects & assets, which included ~$3600MM joint project with Lubbock Power and Light (LP&L). (Pages 13, 17-20)
  • Future Project Opportunities
    • The integration of LP&L to ERCOT should reduce congestion costs in the Panhandle of Texas and increase demand for new transmission projects in/and around Oncor’s coverage area. (Page 4)

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LNG Update: USG Pricing Color & Mubadala Builds Its NEXT Stake

Updated Pricing Color For U.S. Developers: Cheniere, Shell, Venture Global, Next Decade, Freeport, Annova, Commonwealth, Delfin & More. Over the past week we’ve had several conversations with LNG buyers, project developers, and downstream operators, with the more pertinent color below:

LNG Pricing Currently Being Offered In The USG:
Consensus Range: $2.25–2.40/mmbtuIndividual Developer Pricing Details On Page 2
Outlier: $2.10-2.20/mmbtu Individual Developer Pricing Details On Page 2
Outlier: Offering ~$1.75/mmbtu Individual Developer Pricing Details On Page 2

Favored Projects: Buyer With Some Effective Baseload Exposure – In the U.S. only really considering a handful of projects (page 2),  however, Qatar is the most likely – and buyer has option to pull from Ras Laffan or Golden Pass. Webber Note: the optionality here provides another window into how Qatar is marketing their entire ~100mtpa portfolio.

Venture Global: At least 2 buyers in Calcasieu potentially going back for more LNG in Plaquemines, site visits are still ongoing (page 3).

Project Roll Ups: One buyer speculated we’ll see some of the 3rd and 4th tier Greenfield projects get rolled up in 2020, as existing players look for cheaper growth optionality and early stage projects solve for funding issues. Webber Note: we agree, and think it could start in the next quarter or two, with a Brownfield or well-funded player consolidating some pre-FEED or pre-FERC powerpoint projects.

Mubadala Builds NEXT Equity Position: On 12/12, NEXT filed a shelf registration for 10.1MM shares, controlled by Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala) – 8.0MM of which were issued to Mubadala on 10/24 (at $6.27/share) and 2.1MM of which Mubadala acquired from another shareholder (we believe BKR). While the stock traded off 4% as the registration headlines spooked the market a bit (unfortunately, a relatively predictable outcome, even for a maintenance filing), the stock regained the lost ground relatively quickly. We view the BKR sale (via BHGE) as mostly a post-spin cleanup effort, with at least  read through here that Mubadala likely wanted more equity than NEXT was willing to issue on a primary basis.

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