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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549


FORM 10‑K


ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015

or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File No. 001‑36719


ANTERO MIDSTREAM PARTNERS LP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

46-4109058
(IRS Employer
Identification No.)

1615  Wynkoop Street
Denver Colorado
(Address of principal executive offices)

80202
(Zip Code)

 

(303) 357‑7310

(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 Units Representing Limited Partner Interests

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   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

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   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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   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. 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non‑accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer 

Accelerated filer 

Non‑accelerated filer 
(Do not check if a
smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Act).  Yes   No

The aggregate market value of the voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2015, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was approximately $1.3 billion

As of February 19, 2016, there were 100,222,309 common units representing limited partner interests and 75,940,957 subordinated units representing limited partner interests outstanding.

Documents incorporated by reference: None.

 

 

 


 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 

 

 

 

Page

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD‑LOOKING STATEMENTS 

 

PART I 

6

Items 1 and 2. 

Business and Properties

6

Item 1A. 

Risk Factors

19

Item 1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

44

Item 3. 

Legal Proceedings

44

Item 4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

44

PART II 

45

Item 5. 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

45

Item 6. 

Selected Financial Data

47

Item 7. 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

51

Item 7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

69

Item 8. 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

70

Item 9. 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

70

Item 9A. 

Controls and Procedures

70

Item 9B. 

Other Information

71

PART III 

73

Item 10. 

Directors, Executive Officers, and Corporate Governance

73

Item 11. 

Executive Compensation

79

Item 12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

99

Item 13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence

102

Item 14. 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

108

PART IV 

109

Item 15. 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

109

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 

 

Some of the information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements give our current expectations, contain projections of results of operations or of financial condition, or forecasts of future events. Words such as “may,” “assume,” “forecast,” “position,” “predict,” “strategy,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “project,” “budget,” “potential,” or “continue,” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. They can be affected by assumptions used or by known or unknown risks or uncertainties. Consequently, no forward-looking statements can be guaranteed. When considering these forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Actual results may vary materially. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. You should also understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors and should not consider the following list to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by such forward-looking statements include:

 

·

Antero Resources Corporation’s drilling and development plan;

 

·

our ability to execute our business strategy;

 

·

natural gas, natural gas liquids (“NGLs”) and oil prices;

 

·

competition and government regulations;

 

·

actions taken by third-party producers, operators, processors and transporters;

 

·

pending legal or environmental matters;

 

·

costs of conducting our gathering and compression operations;

 

·

general economic conditions;

 

·

credit markets;

 

·

operating hazards, natural disasters, weather-related delays, casualty losses and other matters beyond our control;

 

·

uncertainty regarding our future operating results; and

 

·

plans, objectives, expectations and intentions contained in this report that are not historical.

 

We caution you that these forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control, incident to the gathering and compression and water handling and treatment business. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, environmental risks, drilling and completion and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in projecting future rates of production, cash flow and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures, and the other risks described under “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Should one or more of the risks or uncertainties described in this report occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.

 

All forward-looking statements, expressed or implied, included in this report are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This cautionary statement should also be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that we or persons acting on our behalf may issue.

 

Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements, all of which are expressly qualified by the statements in this section, to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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GLOSSARY OF TERMS  

 

The following are abbreviations and definitions of certain terms used in this document, which are commonly used in our industry:

 

Bbl or barrel:  One stock tank barrel, or 42 U.S. gallons liquid volume, used in reference to oil, NGLs or other liquid hydrocarbons.

 

Bbl/d:  Bbl per day.

 

Bcfe:  One billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent with one barrel of oil, condensate or NGLs converted to six thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

 

Bcfe/d:  Bcfe per day.

 

Btu:  British thermal units.

 

DOT:  Department of Transportation.

 

dry gas:  A natural gas containing insufficient quantities of hydrocarbons heavier than methane to allow their commercial extraction or to require their removal in order to render the gas suitable for fuel use.

 

EPA:  Environmental Protection Agency.

 

expansion capital expenditures:  Cash expenditures to construct new midstream infrastructure and those expenditures incurred in order to extend the useful lives of our assets, reduce costs, increase revenues or increase system throughput or capacity from current levels, including well connections that increase existing system throughput.

 

FERC:  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 

field:  The general area encompassed by one or more oil or gas reservoirs or pools that are located on a single geologic feature, that are otherwise closely related to the same geologic feature (either structural or stratigraphic).

 

high pressure pipelines:  Pipelines gathering or transporting natural gas that has been dehydrated and compressed to the pressure of the downstream pipelines or processing plants.

 

hydrocarbon:  An organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen.

 

low pressure pipelines:  Pipelines gathering natural gas at or near wellhead pressure that has yet to be compressed (other than by well pad gas lift compression or dedicated well pad compressors) and dehydrated.

 

maintenance capital expenditures:  Cash expenditures (including expenditures for the construction or development of new capital assets or the replacement, improvement or expansion of existing capital assets) made to maintain, over the long term, our operating capacity or revenue.

 

MBbl:  One thousand Bbls.

 

MBbl/d:  One thousand Bbls per day.

 

Mcf:  One thousand cubic feet of natural gas.

 

MMBtu:  One million British thermal units.

 

MMcf:  One million cubic feet of natural gas.

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MMcfe:  One million cubic feet equivalent, determined using a ratio of six Mcf of natural gas to one Bbls of crude oil, condensate or natural gas liquids.

 

MMcf/d:  One million cubic feet per day.

 

MMcfe/d:  One million cubic feet equivalent per day.

 

natural gas:  Hydrocarbon gas found in the earth, composed of methane, ethane, butane, propane and other gases.

 

NGLs:  Natural gas liquids, which consist primarily of ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline.

 

oil:  Crude oil and condensate.

 

SEC:  United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Tcfe:  One Tcf equivalent, determined using a ratio of six Mcf of natural gas to one Bbl of crude oil, condensate or natural gas liquids.

 

throughput:  The volume of product transported or passing through a pipeline, plant, terminal or other facility.

 

WTI: West Texas Intermediate

 

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PART I

 

References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to “Predecessor,” “we,” “our,” “us” or like terms, when referring to period prior to November 10, 2014, refer to Antero Resources Corporation’s gathering, compression and water assets, our predecessor for accounting purposes. References to “the Partnership,” “we,” “our,” “us” or like terms, when referring to periods between November 10, 2014 and September 23, 2015 refer to the Partnership’s gathering and compression assets and Antero Resources Corporation’s water assets. References to “the Partnership,” “we,” “our,” “us” or like terms, when referring to periods since September 23, 2015 or when used in the present tense or prospectively, refer to Antero Midstream Partners LP (the “Partnership).

 

Items 1 and 2.  Business and Properties 

 

Our Partnership

 

We are a growth-oriented limited partnership formed by Antero Resources Corporation (“Antero”) to own, operate and develop midstream energy assets to service Antero’s rapidly increasing production. Our assets consist of gathering pipelines, compressor stations and water handling and treatment assets, through which we provide midstream services to Antero under long-term, fixed-fee contracts. Our assets are located in the rapidly developing liquids-rich southwestern core of the Marcellus Shale in northwest West Virginia and the liquids-rich core of the Utica Shale in southern Ohio, two of the premier North American shale plays. We believe that our strategically located assets and our relationship with Antero position us to become a leading midstream energy company serving the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

 

Pursuant to our long‑term contract with Antero, we have secured a 20‑year dedication, that commenced at IPO date, covering substantially all of Antero’s current and future acreage for gathering and compression services. All of Antero’s 569,000 net acre leasehold is dedicated to us for gathering and compression services except for the third‑party commitments in place prior to our formation, or at the time the applicable properties were acquired, which includes approximately 136,000 Marcellus Shale net leasehold acres characterized by dry gas and liquids‑rich production that have been previously dedicated to third‑party gatherers. Please read “—Antero’s Existing Third‑Party Commitments.” Net of the excluded acreage, our contract covers approximately 435,000 net leasehold acres held by Antero as of December 31, 2015 for gathering and compression services. In addition to Antero’s existing acreage dedication, our agreement provides that any acreage Antero acquires in the future will be dedicated to us for gathering and compression services, unless such acreage is subject to a pre-existing dedication for such services. We also provide condensate gathering services to Antero under the gathering and compression agreement.

 

The Partnership’s gathering and compression assets consist of 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-inch high and low pressure gathering pipelines and compressor stations that collect natural gas, NGLs and oil from Antero’s wells in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and the Utica Shale in Ohio. The Partnership’s assets also include two independent fresh water distribution systems that deliver water used by Antero for hydraulic fracturing activities in Antero’s operating areas. The fresh water distribution systems consist of permanent buried pipelines, surface pipelines and fresh water storage facilitates, as well as pumping stations and impoundments to transport the fresh water throughout the pipeline system. To the extent necessary, we move surface pipelines to well pads to service completion operations in concert with Antero’s drilling program. As of December 31, 2015, we had the ability to store a total of 4.9 million barrels of fresh water in 35 impoundments. 

 

Due to the extensive geographic distribution of our water pipeline systems in both West Virginia and Ohio, we have provided water delivery services to oil and gas producers operating within and adjacent to Antero’s operating area, and we are able to provide water delivery services to other oil and gas producers in the area, subject to commercial arrangements, in an effort to further leverage our existing system to reduce water truck traffic.

 

As of December 31, 2015, in West Virginia, we owned and operated 104 miles of buried fresh water pipelines and 80 miles of surface fresh water pipelines that service Antero’s drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale, as well as 22 centralized water storage facilities equipped with transfer pumps.  As of December 31, 2015, in Ohio, we owned and operated 49 miles of buried fresh water pipelines and 26 miles of surface fresh water pipelines that service Antero’s 

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drilling activities in the Utica Shale, as well as 13 centralized water storage facilities equipped with transfer pumps. The waste water handling services include hauling, treatment and disposal of flow back and produced water.

 

Our operations are located in the United States and are organized into two reporting segments: (1) gathering and compression and (2) water handling and treatment. Financial information for our reporting segments is located under “Note 9. Reporting Segments” to our combined consolidated financial statements.

 

Developments and Highlights

 

Energy Industry Environment 

 

In late 2014, global energy commodity prices declined precipitously as a result of several factors, including an increase in worldwide commodity supplies, a stronger U.S. dollar, relatively mild weather in large portions of the U.S. during winter months, and strong competition among oil producing countries for market share.  These events continued into 2015 and early 2016 and, along with slower economic growth in China, have led to the further suppression of commodity prices.  Spot prices for WTI declined from approximately $106.00 per Bbl in June 2014 to less than $50.00 per Bbl in January 2015, and declined further to less than $30.00 per Bbl in January 2016.  Spot prices for Henry Hub natural gas declined from approximately $4.40 per MMBtu in January 2014 to $3.00 per MMBtu in January 2015, and declined further to less than $1.80 per MMBtu for a brief period in December 2015.  Spot prices for propane declined from approximately $1.55 per gallon in January 2014 to less than $0.50 per gallon in January 2015, and declined further to less than $0.35 per gallon in January 2016.

 

During 2016, we plan to expand our existing Marcellus and Utica Shale gathering, compression, and fresh water delivery infrastructure to accommodate Antero’s development plans. Antero’s 2016 drilling and completion capital budget is $1.3 billion, which is forecasted to generate production growth of 15%. Antero plans to operate an average of 5 drilling rigs and complete approximately 80 horizontal wells in the Marcellus, and 2 drilling rigs and complete 30 horizontal wells in the Utica in 2016, all located on acreage dedicated to us

 

Water Acquisition and Private Placement

 

On September 23, 2015,  pursuant to the terms of the Contribution, Conveyance and Assumption Agreement (the “Contribution Agreement”) between us , Antero Treatment LLC (“Antero Treatment”) and Antero,  Antero contributed (the “Water Acquisition”) (i) all of the outstanding limited liability company interests of Antero Water LLC (“Antero Water”) to us and (ii) all of the assets, contracts, rights, permits and properties owned or leased by Antero and used primarily in connection with the construction, ownership, operation, use or maintenance of Antero’s advanced waste water treatment complex to be constructed in Doddridge County, West Virginia, to Antero Treatment (collectively, (i) and (ii) are referred to herein as the “Contributed Assets”). 

 

In consideration for the contribution of the Contributed Assets, we (i) paid Antero a cash distribution equal to $553  million, less $171 million of assumed debt, (ii) issued 10,988,421 common units valued at $230 million representing limited partner interests in the Partnership to Antero, (iii) distributed proceeds of approximately $241 million from the Partnership’s private placement of 12,898,000 common units at $18.84 per common unit to a group of institutional investors (the “Private Placement”) and (iv) agreed to pay Antero (a) $125 million in cash if we deliver 176,295,000 barrels or more of fresh water during the period between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019 and (b) an additional $125 million in cash if we deliver 219,200,000 barrels or more of fresh water during the period between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2020. We borrowed $525 million on our bank credit facility in connection with this transaction. 

 

We have agreements with Antero pursuant to which we will provide gathering and compression services and certain fluid handling services to Antero for a 20-year period. The agreement includes certain minimum fresh water delivery commitments that require Antero to take delivery or pay a fee on a minimum volume of fresh water deliveries in calendar years 2016 through 2019. Minimum volume commitments are 90,000 barrels per day in 2016, 100,000 barrels per day in 2017 and 120,000 barrels per day in 2018 and 2019.  We have a secondment agreement whereby Antero provides seconded employees to perform certain operational services with respect to our gathering and

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compression assets and water handling and treatment assets for a 20-year period. Additionally, we have a services agreement whereby Antero provides certain administrative services to us for a 20-year period, that commenced at IPO date.

 

2016 Capital Budget 

 

Our 2016 capital budget is approximately $435 million, which includes $410 million of expansion capital and $25 million of maintenance capital. The capital budget includes $240 million of expansion capital on gathering and compression infrastructure, approximately 90% of which will be invested in the Marcellus Shale and the remaining 10% will be invested in the Utica Shale. The gathering and compression budget will result in 9 miles and 22 miles of additional low pressure and high pressure gathering pipelines, respectively, and 240 MMcf/d of incremental compression capacity in 2016. We also expect to invest $40 million of expansion capital in fresh water delivery infrastructure, approximately 75% of which will be invested in the Marcellus Shale and the remaining 25% will be invested in the Utica Shale. In addition, we plan to construct one fresh water storage impoundment as well as 11 miles and 19 miles of fresh water trunklines and surface pipelines, respectively. Our 2016 budget also includes $130 million of construction capital for the advanced waste water treatment facility, which is expected to be placed into service in late 2017.

 

Our Assets

 

The following table provides information regarding our gathering and compression systems as of December 31, 2014 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gathering and Compression System

 

 

 

Low-
Pressure
Pipeline
(miles)

 

High-
Pressure
Pipeline
(miles)

 

Condensate
Pipeline
(miles)

 

Compression
Capacity
(MMcf/d)

 

Average Daily
Throughput for the
Year Ended

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

December 31, 2015

 

 

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

    

(Mmcfe/d)

 

Marcellus

 

91

 

106

 

62

 

76

 

 —

 

 —

 

375

 

700

 

822

 

Utica

 

45

 

55

 

35

 

36

 

16

 

19

 

 —

 

120

 

357

 

Total

 

136

 

161

 

97

 

112

 

16

 

19

 

375

 

820

 

1,179

 

 

The following table provides information regarding our water handling and treatment systems as of December 31, 2014 and 2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Handling and Treatment System

 

 

 

Buried Fresh Water
Pipeline
(miles)

 

Surface Fresh
Water Pipeline
(miles)

 

Wells Serviced by
Water Distribution

 

Fresh Water
Impoundments

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

    

2014

    

2015

 

Marcellus

 

103

 

104

 

53

 

80

 

151

 

62

 

22

 

22

 

Utica

 

49

 

49

 

6

 

26

 

41

 

62

 

8

 

13

 

Total

 

152

 

153

 

59

 

106

 

192

 

124

 

30

 

35

 

 

Our gathering and compression assets consist of 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-inch high and low pressure gathering pipelines and compressor stations that collect natural gas, NGLs and oil from Antero’s wells in the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia and the Utica Shale in Ohio. Our assets also include two independent fresh water distribution systems that deliver water used primarily by Antero for hydraulic fracturing activities. The fresh water distribution systems consist of permanent buried pipelines, surface pipelines and fresh water storage facilitates, as well as pumping stations and impoundments to transport the fresh water throughout the pipeline system.

 

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We have the right to participate in up to a 15% non-operating equity interest in the 67-mile Stonewall gathering pipeline for which Antero is an anchor shipper (the “Regional Gathering System”). The Regional Gathering System was placed into service on November 30, 2015 and Antero has a firm commitment of 900 MMcf/d through the system. Our option expires six months following the date on which the Regional Gathering System was placed into service, or May 30, 2016. In addition, we have entered into a right-of-first-offer agreement with Antero to allow for us to provide Antero with gas processing or NGLs fractionation, transportation or marketing services in the future.

 

As of December 31, 2015, our Marcellus and Utica Shale water handling systems include 184 miles and 75 miles of pipelines, respectively, our gathering systems include 182 miles and 110 miles of pipelines, respectively, and our year‑end daily compression capacity is 700 MMcf/d and 120 MMcf/d, respectively.

 

Our Relationship with Antero 

 

Antero is our most significant customer and is one of the largest producers of natural gas and NGLs in the Appalachian Basin, where it produced on average,  1.5 Bcfe/d net (19% liquids) during 2015, an increase of 48% as compared to 2014. As of December 31, 2015, Antero’s estimated net proved reserves were 13.2 Tcfe, which were comprised of 72% natural gas, 27% NGLs, and 1% oil. As of December 31, 2015, Antero’s drilling inventory consisted of 3,719 identified potential horizontal well locations (2,940 of which were located on acreage dedicated to us) for gathering and compression services, which provides us with significant opportunities for growth as Antero’s active drilling program continues and its production increases. Antero’s 2016 drilling and completion budget is $1.3 billion, and includes plans to operate an average of seven drilling rigs, including five operated rigs in the Marcellus Shale, and two operated rigs in the Utica Shale. Antero’s guidance for 2016 includes projected net daily production of 1.7 Bcfe/d, a 15% increase over 2015. Antero relies substantially on us to deliver the midstream infrastructure necessary to accommodate its continuing production growth. For additional information regarding our contracts with Antero, please read “—Contractual Arrangements with Antero.”

 

We are highly dependent on Antero as our most significant customer, and we expect to derive most of our revenues from Antero for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we are indirectly subject to the business risks of Antero. For additional information, please read “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business.” Because a substantial majority of our revenue is derived from Antero, any development that materially and adversely affects Antero’s operations, financial condition or market reputation could have a material adverse impact on us.

 

Contractual Arrangements

 

Gathering and Compression

 

Pursuant to our 20‑year gathering and compression agreement that commenced at IPO date, Antero has agreed to dedicate all of its current and future acreage in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to us for gathering and compression (other than the third‑party commitments in place prior to our formation, unless acreage is subject to a pre-existing dedication for such services). For a discussion of Antero’s existing third‑party commitments, please read “—Antero’s Existing Third‑Party Commitments.” We also have an option to gather and compress natural gas produced by Antero on any acreage it acquires in the future outside of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania on the same terms and conditions. Under the gathering and compression agreement, we receive a low pressure gathering fee of $0.30 per Mcf, a high pressure gathering fee of $0.18 per Mcf, a compression fee of $0.18 per Mcf, and a condensate gathering fee of $4.00 per Bbl, in each case subject to CPI‑based adjustments. If and to the extent Antero requests that we construct new high pressure lines and compressor stations, the gathering and compression agreement contains minimum volume commitments that require Antero to utilize or pay for 75% and 70%, respectively, of the capacity of such new construction for 10 years. Additional high pressure lines and compressor stations installed on our own initiative are not subject to such volume commitments. These minimum volume commitments on new infrastructure are intended to support the stability of our cash flows. For additional information, please read “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions.”

 

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Water Services

 

In connection with the Water Acquisition on September 23, 2015, we entered in a 20-year Water Services Agreement with Antero whereby we have agreed to provide certain fluid handling services to Antero within an area of dedication in defined service areas in Ohio and West Virginia and Antero agreed to pay monthly fees to us for all fluid handling services provided by us in accordance with the terms of the Water Services Agreement. The initial term of the Water Services Agreement is 20 years from the date thereof and from year to year thereafter until terminated by either party. Under the agreement, Antero will pay a fixed fee of $3.685 per barrel in West Virginia and $3.635 per barrel in Ohio and all other locations for fresh water deliveries by pipeline directly to the well site, subject to annual CPI adjustments. Antero has committed to pay a fee on a minimum volume of fresh water deliveries in calendar years 2016 through 2019. Antero is obligated to pay a minimum volume fee to us in the event the aggregate volume of fresh water delivered to Antero under the Water Services Agreement is less than 90,000 barrels per day in 2016, 100,000 barrels per day in 2017 and 120,000 barrels per day in 2018 and 2019. Antero also agreed to pay us a fixed fee of $4.00 per barrel for waste water treatment at the advanced waste water treatment complex and a fee per barrel for waste water collected in trucks owned by us, in each case subject to annual CPI-based adjustments.  Until such time as the advanced waste water treatment complex is placed into service or we operate our own fleet of trucks for transporting waste water, we will continue to contract with third parties to provide Antero flow back and produced water services and Antero will reimburse us third party out-of-pocket costs plus 3%.

 

Gas Processing and NGL Fractionation

 

Although we do not currently have any gas processing, NGL fractionation, transportation or marketing infrastructure, we have entered into a right‑of‑first‑offer agreement with Antero for such services, pursuant to which Antero has agreed, subject to certain exceptions, not to procure any gas processing, NGL fractionation, transportation or marketing services with respect to its production (other than production subject to a pre‑existing dedication) without first offering us the right to provide such services. For additional information, please read “—Antero’s Existing Third‑Party Commitments” and “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions.”

 

Option to Participate in Regional Gathering System

 

We have the right to participate in up to a 15% non-operating equity interest in the 67-mile Stonewall gathering pipeline for which Antero is an anchor shipper. The Regional Gathering System was placed into service on November 30, 2015 and Antero has a firm commitment of 900 MMcf/d through the system. Our option expires six months following the date on which the Regional Gathering System was placed into service, or May 30, 2016. In addition, we have entered into a right-of-first-offer agreement with Antero to allow for us to provide Antero with gas processing or NGLs fractionation, transportation or marketing services in the future.

 

Antero’s Existing Third‑Party Commitments

 

Excluded Acreage

 

Antero previously dedicated a portion of its acreage in the Marcellus Shale to certain third parties’ gathering and compression services. We refer to this acreage dedication as the “excluded acreage.” As of December 31, 2015, the excluded acreage consisted of approximately 136,000 of Antero’s existing net leasehold acreage. At that same date, 779 of Antero’s 3,719 potential horizontal well locations were located within the excluded acreage.

 

Other Commitments

 

In addition to the excluded acreage, Antero has entered into take‑or‑pay contracts with volume commitments for certain third parties’ high pressure gathering and compression services. Specifically, those volume commitments consist of up to an aggregate of 750 MMcf/d on four high pressure gathering pipelines and 1,020 MMcf/d on nine compressor stations.

 

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Title to Properties

 

Our real property is classified into two categories: (1) parcels that we own in fee and (2) parcels in which our interest derives from leases, easements, rights‑of‑way, permits or licenses from landowners or governmental authorities, permitting the use of such land for our operations. Portions of the land on which our pipelines and major facilities are located are owned by us in fee title, and we believe that we have satisfactory title to these lands. The remainder of the land on which our pipelines and major facilities are located are held by us pursuant to surface leases between us, as lessee, and the fee owner of the lands, as lessors. We have leased or owned these lands without any material challenge known to us relating to the title to the land upon which the assets are located, and we believe that we have satisfactory leasehold estates or fee ownership of such lands. We have no knowledge of any challenge to the underlying fee title of any material lease, easement, right‑of‑way, permit or license held by us or to our title to any material lease, easement, right‑of‑way, permit or lease, and we believe that we have satisfactory title to all of its material leases, easements, rights‑of‑way, permits and licenses.

 

Seasonality

 

Demand for natural gas generally decreases during the spring and fall months and increases during the summer and winter months. However, seasonal anomalies such as mild winters or mild summers sometimes lessen this fluctuation. In addition, certain natural gas end users, utilities and marketers utilize natural gas storage facilities and purchase some of their anticipated winter requirements during the spring, summer and fall, thereby smoothing demand for natural gas. This can also lessen seasonal demand fluctuations. These seasonal anomalies can increase demand for our services during the summer and winter months and decrease demand for our services during the spring and fall months.

 

Competition

 

As a result of our relationship with Antero, we do not compete for the portion of Antero’s existing operations for which we currently provide midstream services and will not compete for future portions of Antero’s operations that will be dedicated to us pursuant to our gathering and compression agreement with Antero. For a description of this contract, please read “—Our Relationship with Antero—Contractual Arrangements with Antero.” However, we face competition in attracting third‑party volumes to our gathering and compression and water handling and treatment systems. In addition, these third parties may develop their own gathering and compression and water handling and treatment systems in lieu of employing our assets.

 

Regulation of Operations

 

Regulation of pipeline gathering services may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our services.

 

Gathering Pipeline Regulation

 

Section 1(b) of the Natural Gas Act of 1938, or NGA, exempts natural gas gathering facilities from regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, under the NGA. Although the FERC has not made any formal determinations with respect to any of our facilities, we believe that the natural gas pipelines in our gathering systems meet the traditional tests the FERC has used to establish whether a pipeline is a gathering pipeline not subject to FERC jurisdiction. The distinction between FERC‑regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services, however, has been the subject of substantial litigation, and the FERC determines whether facilities are gathering facilities on a case‑by‑case basis, so the classification and regulation of some our gathering facilities and intrastate transportation pipelines may be subject to change based on future determinations by the FERC, the courts, or Congress. If the FERC were to consider the status of an individual facility and determine that the facility is not a gathering pipeline and the pipeline provides interstate transmission service, the rates for, and terms and conditions of, services provided by such facility would be subject to regulation by the FERC under the NGA or the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, or NGPA. Such FERC-regulation could decrease revenue, increase operating costs, and, depending upon the facility in question, could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. In addition, if any of our facilities were found

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to have provided services or otherwise operated in violation of the NGA or NGPA, this could result in the imposition of civil penalties as well as a requirement to disgorge charges collected for such service in excess of the rate established by the FERC.

 

State regulation of gathering facilities generally includes various safety, environmental and, in some circumstances, nondiscriminatory take requirements and complaint‑based rate regulation. States in which we operate may adopt ratable take and common purchaser statutes, which would require our gathering pipelines to take natural gas without undue discrimination in favor of one producer over another producer or one source of supply over another similarly situated source of supply. The regulations under these statutes may have the effect of imposing some restrictions on our ability as an owner of gathering facilities to decide with whom we contract to gather natural gas. States in which we operate may also adopt a complaint‑based regulation of natural gas gathering activities, which allows natural gas producers and shippers to file complaints with state regulators in an effort to resolve grievances relating to gathering access and rate discrimination. We cannot predict whether such regulation will be adopted and whether such a complaint will be filed against us in the future. Failure to comply with state regulations can result in the imposition of administrative, civil and criminal remedies. To date, there has been no adverse effect to our system due to state regulations.

 

Our gathering operations could be adversely affected should they be subject in the future to more stringent application of state regulation of rates and services. Our gathering operations also may be or become subject to additional safety and operational regulations relating to the design, installation, testing, construction, operation, replacement and management of gathering facilities. Additional rules and legislation pertaining to these matters are considered or adopted from time to time. We cannot predict what effect, if any, such changes might have on our operations, but the industry could be required to incur additional capital expenditures and increased costs depending on future legislative and regulatory changes.

 

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, or EPAct 2005, amended the NGA and NGPA to prohibit fraud and manipulation in natural gas markets.  The FERC subsequently issued a final rule making it unlawful for any entity, in connection with the purchase or sale of natural gas or transportation service subject to FERC’s jurisdiction, to defraud, make an untrue statement or omit a material fact or engage in any practice, act or course of business that operates or would operate as a fraud.  The FERC’s anti-manipulation rules apply to intrastate sales and gathering activities only to the extent that there is a “nexus” to FERC-jurisdictional transactions.  EPAct 2005 also provided the FERC with the authority to impose civil penalties of up to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

 

Pipeline Safety Regulation

 

Some of our gas pipelines are subject to regulation by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, pursuant to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, or NGPSA, and the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, or PSIA, as reauthorized and amended by the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006, or the PIPES Act. The NGPSA regulates safety requirements in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of gas pipeline facilities, while the PSIA establishes mandatory inspections for all U.S. oil and natural gas transmission pipelines in high‑consequence areas, or HCAs.

 

The PHMSA has developed regulations that require pipeline operators to implement integrity management programs, including more frequent inspections and other measures to ensure pipeline safety in HCAs. The regulations require operators, including us, to:

 

·

perform ongoing assessments of pipeline integrity;

 

·

identify and characterize applicable threats to pipeline segments that could impact a HCA;

 

·

improve data collection, integration and analysis;

 

·

repair and remediate pipelines as necessary; and

 

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·

implement preventive and mitigating actions.

 

The 2011 Pipeline Safety Act, among other things, increased the maximum civil penalty for pipeline safety violations and directed the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate rules or standards relating to expanded integrity management requirements, automatic or remote‑controlled valve use, excess flow valve use, leak detection system installation and testing to confirm the material strength of pipe operating above 30% of specified minimum yield strength in high consequence areas. Consistent with the act, PHMSA finalized rules that increased the maximum administrative civil penalties for violation of the pipeline safety laws and regulations to $200,000 per violation per day, with a maximum of $2,000,000 for a series of violations. The PHMSA has also issued a final rule applying safety regulations to certain rural low‑stress hazardous liquid pipelines that were not covered previously by some of its safety regulations.

 

PHMSA regularly revises its pipeline safety regulations. For example, in March of 2015, PHMSA finalized new rules applicable to gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that, among other changes, impose new post-construction inspections, welding, gas component pressure testing requirements, as well as requirements for calculating pressure reductions for immediate repairs on liquid pipelines. More recently, in October 2015, PHMSA proposed new regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines that would significantly extend and expand the reach of certain PHMSA integrity management requirements (i.e., periodic assessments, leak detection and repairs), regardless of the pipeline’s proximity to a high consequence area.  The proposal also requires new reporting requirements for certain unregulated pipelines, including all gathering lines. Additional future regulatory action expanding PHMSA jurisdiction and imposing stricter integrity management requirements is likely. For example, in December 2015, the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation that, among other things, requires PHMSA to conduct an assessment of its inspections process and integrity management programs for natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. The legislation would also require PHMSA to prioritize various rulemakings required by the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act and propose and finalize the rules mandated by the act. If enacted, this legislation could result in PHMSA proposing additional integrity management requirements for our regulated pipelines. At this time, we cannot predict the cost of such requirements, but they could be significant.

 

States are largely preempted by federal law from regulating pipeline safety for interstate lines but most are certified by the DOT to assume responsibility for enforcing federal intrastate pipeline regulations and inspection of intrastate pipelines. States may adopt stricter standards for intrastate pipelines than those imposed by the federal government for interstate lines; however, states vary considerably in their authority and capacity to address pipeline safety. State standards may include requirements for facility design and management in addition to requirements for pipelines. We do not anticipate any significant difficulty in complying with applicable state laws and regulations. Our natural gas pipelines have continuous inspection and compliance programs designed to keep the facilities in compliance with pipeline safety and pollution control requirements.

 

We have incorporated all existing requirements into our programs by the required regulatory deadlines, and are continually incorporating the new requirements into procedures and budgets. We expect to incur increasing regulatory compliance costs, based on the intensification of the regulatory environment and upcoming changes to regulations as outlined above. In addition to regulatory changes, costs may be incurred when there is an accidental release of a commodity transported by our system, or a regulatory inspection identifies a deficiency in our required programs.

 

Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Matters

 

General

 

Our natural gas gathering and compression and water handling and treatment activities are subject to stringent and complex federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment. As an owner or operator of these facilities, we must comply with these laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels. These laws and regulations can restrict or impact our business activities in many ways, such as:

 

·

requiring the installation of pollution‑control equipment, imposing emission or discharge limits or otherwise restricting the way we operate resulting in additional costs to our operations;

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·

limiting or prohibiting construction activities in areas, such as air quality nonattainment areas, wetlands, coastal regions or areas inhabited by endangered or threatened species;

 

·

delaying system modification or upgrades during review of permit applications and revisions;

 

·

requiring investigatory and remedial actions to mitigate discharges, releases or pollution conditions associated with our operations or attributable to former operations; and

 

·

enjoining the operations of facilities deemed to be in non‑compliance with permits issued pursuant to or regulatory requirements imposed by such environmental laws and regulations.

 

Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may trigger a variety of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement measures, including the assessment of monetary penalties and natural resource damages. Certain environmental statutes impose strict joint and several liability for costs required to clean up and restore sites where hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or solid wastes have been disposed or otherwise released. Moreover, neighboring landowners and other third parties may file common law claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the release of hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or solid waste into the environment.

 

The trend in environmental regulation is to place more restrictions and limitations on activities that may affect the environment and thus, there can be no assurance as to the amount or timing of future expenditures for environmental compliance or remediation and actual future expenditures may be different from the amounts we currently anticipate. As with the midstream industry in general, complying with current and anticipated environmental laws and regulations can increase our capital costs to construct, maintain and operate equipment and facilities. While these laws and regulations affect our maintenance capital expenditures and net income, we do not believe they will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position or results of operations or cash flows, nor do we believe that they will affect our competitive position since the operations of our competitors are generally similarly affected. In addition, we believe that the various activities in which we are presently engaged that are subject to environmental laws and regulations are not expected to materially interrupt or diminish our operational ability to gather natural gas and provide water handling and treatment services. We cannot assure you, however, that future events, such as changes in existing laws or enforcement policies, the promulgation of new laws or regulations, or the development or discovery of new facts or conditions will not cause us to incur significant costs. Below is a discussion of the material environmental laws and regulations that relate to our business. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with all of these environmental laws and regulations.

 

Hydraulic Fracturing Activities

 

Hydraulic fracturing is an important and common practice that is used to stimulate production of natural gas and/or oil from dense subsurface rock formations. The hydraulic fracturing process involves the injection of water, sand, and chemicals under pressure through a cased and cemented wellbore into targeted subsurface formations to fracture the surrounding rock and stimulate production. Our only customer, Antero, uses hydraulic fracturing as part of its completion operations as does most of the U.S. onshore oil and natural gas industry. Hydraulic fracturing is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions and similar agencies; however, in recent years the EPA, has asserted limited authority over hydraulic fracturing and has issued or sought to propose rules related to the control of air emissions, disclosure of chemicals used in the process, and the disposal of flowback and produced water resulting from the process. Some states, including those in which we operate, have adopted, and other states are considering adopting, regulations that could impose more stringent disclosure and/or well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing operations. In addition, various studies are currently underway by the EPA and other federal agencies concerning the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing activities. At the same time, certain environmental groups have suggested that additional laws may be needed to more closely and uniformly regulate the hydraulic fracturing process, and legislation has been proposed by some members of Congress to provide for such regulation. We cannot predict whether any such legislation will ever be enacted and if so, what its provisions would be. If additional levels of regulation and permits were required through the adoption of new laws and regulations at the federal or state level, that could lead to delays, increased operating costs and process prohibitions that could reduce the volumes of liquids and natural gas that

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move through our gathering systems, which in turn could materially adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.

 

Hazardous Waste

 

Antero’s operations generate solid wastes, including some hazardous wastes, that are subject to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, and comparable state laws, which impose requirements for the handling, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA currently exempts many natural gas gathering and field processing wastes from classification as hazardous waste. Specifically, RCRA excludes from the definition of hazardous waste produced waters and other wastes intrinsically associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil and natural gas. However, these oil and gas exploration and production wastes may still be regulated under state solid waste laws and regulations, and it is possible that certain oil and natural gas exploration and production wastes now classified as non‑hazardous could be classified as hazardous waste in the future. In addition, from time to time various environmental groups have petitioned for the EPA to regulate currently excluded wastes under RCRA’s hazardous waste provisions. Stricter regulation of wastes generated during our or our customer’s operations could result in increased costs for our operations or the operations of our customers, which could in turn reduce demand for our services and adversely affect our business.

 

Site Remediation

 

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, also known as the Superfund law, and comparable state laws impose liability without regard to fault or the legality of the original conduct, on certain classes of persons responsible for the release of hazardous substances into the environment. Such classes of persons include the current and past owners or operators of sites where a hazardous substance was released, and companies that disposed or arranged for disposal of hazardous substances at offsite locations, such as landfills. Although petroleum as well as natural gas is excluded from CERCLA’s definition of “hazardous substance,” in the course of our ordinary operations, our operations generate wastes that may be designated as hazardous substances. CERCLA authorizes the EPA, states, and, in some cases, third parties to take actions in response to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances into the environment and to seek to recover from the classes of responsible persons the costs they incur to address the release. Under CERCLA, we could be subject to strict joint and several liability for the costs of cleaning up and restoring sites where hazardous substances have been released into the environment and for damages to natural resources.

 

We currently own or lease, and may have in the past owned or leased, properties that have been used for the gathering and compression of natural gas and the gathering and transportation of oil. Although we typically used operating and disposal practices that were standard in the industry at the time, petroleum hydrocarbons or wastes may have been disposed of or released on or under the properties owned or leased by it or on or under other locations where such substances have been taken for disposal. Such petroleum hydrocarbons or wastes may have migrated to property adjacent to our owned and leased sites or the disposal sites. In addition, some of the properties may have been operated by third parties or by previous owners whose treatment and disposal or release of petroleum hydrocarbons or wastes was not under our control. These properties and the substances disposed or released on them may be subject to CERCLA, RCRA and analogous state laws. Under such laws, we could be required to remove previously disposed wastes, including waste disposed of by prior owners or operators; remediate contaminated property, including groundwater contamination, whether from prior owners or operators or other historic activities or spills; or perform remedial operations to prevent future contamination. We are not currently a potentially responsible party in any federal or state Superfund site remediation and there are no current, pending or anticipated Superfund response or remedial activities at or implicating our facilities or operations.

 

Air Emissions

 

The federal Clean Air Act, and comparable state laws, regulate emissions of air pollutants from various industrial sources, including natural gas processing plants and compressor stations, and also impose various emission limits, operational limits and monitoring, reporting and record keeping requirements on air emission sources. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in monetary penalties, injunctions, conditions or restrictions on operations,

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and potentially criminal enforcement actions. These laws are frequently subject to change. For example, in October 2015, the EPA lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standard, or NAAQS, for ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion. State implementation of the revised NAAQS could result in stricter permitting requirements, delay or prohibit our ability to obtain such permits, and result in increased expenditures for pollution control equipment, the costs of which could be significant. Applicable laws and regulations require pre‑ construction permits for the construction or modification of certain projects or facilities with the potential to emit air emissions above certain thresholds. These pre‑construction permits generally require use of best available control technology, or BACT, to limit air emissions. Several EPA new source performance standards, or NSPS, and national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants, or NESHAP, also apply to our facilities and operations. These NSPS and NESHAP standards impose emission limits and operational limits as well as detailed testing, recordkeeping and reporting requirements on the “affected facilities” covered by these regulations. Several of our facilities are “major” facilities requiring Title V operating permits which impose semi‑annual reporting requirements. At the state level, in January 2016, Pennsylvania announced new rules that will require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, or PADEP, to develop a new general permit for oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities and liquids loading activities, requiring best available technology for equipment and processes, enhanced record-keeping, and quarterly monitoring inspections for the control of methane emissions.  The PADEP also intends to issue similar methane rules for existing sources. In addition, the department has also proposed to establish Best Management Practices, including leak detection and repair programs, to reduce fugitive methane emissions from production, gathering, processing, and transmission facilities. We may incur capital expenditures in the future for air pollution control equipment in connection with complying with existing and recently proposed rules, or with obtaining or maintaining operating permits and complying with federal, state and local regulations related to air emissions. However, we do not believe that such requirements will have a material adverse effect on our operations.

 

Water Discharges 

 

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or the Clean Water Act, and comparable state laws impose restrictions and strict controls regarding the discharge of pollutants, including produced waters and other oil and natural gas wastes, into federal and state waters. The discharge of pollutants into regulated waters is prohibited, except in accordance with the terms of a permit issued by the EPA or the state. The discharge of dredge and fill material in regulated waters, including wetlands, is also prohibited, unless authorized by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In September 2015, new EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rules defining the scope of the EPA’s and the Corps’ jurisdiction became effective. To the extent the rule expands the scope of the CWA’s jurisdiction, we could face increased costs and delays with respect to obtaining permits for dredge and fill activities in wetland areas. The rule has been challenged in court on the grounds that it unlawfully expands the reach of CWA programs, and implementation of the rule has been stayed pending resolution of the court challenge. The requirement to obtain permits before commencing a regulated activity has the potential to delay the development of natural gas and oil projects. These laws and any implementing regulations provide for administrative, civil and criminal penalties for any unauthorized discharges of oil and other substances in reportable quantities and may impose substantial potential liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages.

 

Pursuant to these laws and regulations, we may be required to obtain and maintain approvals or permits for the discharge of waste water or storm water and are required to develop and implement spill prevention, control and countermeasure plans, also referred to as “SPCC plans,” in connection with on‑site storage of significant quantities of oil. We believe that we maintain all required discharge permits necessary to conduct our operations, and further believe we are in substantial compliance with the terms thereof.

 

Occupational Safety and Health Act

 

We are also subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, as amended, or OSHA, and comparable state laws that regulate the protection of the health and safety of employees. In addition, OSHA’s hazard communication standard, the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act and implementing regulations and similar state statutes and regulations require that information be maintained about hazardous materials used or produced in our operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and

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local government authorities and citizens. We believe that our operations are in substantial compliance with the applicable worker health and safety requirements.

 

Endangered Species

 

The Endangered Species Act, or ESA, and analogous state laws restrict activities that may affect endangered or threatened species or their habitats. The designation of previously unprotected species as threatened or endangered in areas where underlying property operations are conducted could cause us to incur increased costs arising from species protection measures or could result in limitations on our operating activities that could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

 

Climate Change

 

The EPA has determined that emissions of GHGs present an endangerment to public health and the environment because emissions of such gases are, according to the EPA, contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on these findings, EPA has adopted regulations under existing provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, that establish Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, pre‑construction permits, and Title V operating permits for GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources. Under these regulations, facilities required to obtain PSD permits must meet BACT standards for their GHG emissions established by the states or, in some cases, by the EPA, on a case‑by‑case basis. The EPA has also adopted rules requiring the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from specified sources in the United States, including, among others, certain onshore oil and natural gas processing and fractionating facilities. More recently, in August 2015, the EPA proposed new regulations that set emissions standards for methane and volatile organic compounds from new and modified oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing and transmission facilities as part of the Administration’s efforts to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector by up to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025.  The regulations are expected to be finalized in 2016.  If the rules are adopted as proposed, these rules could impose new compliance costs and permitting burdens on natural gas operations.  Additionally, while Congress has from time to time considered legislation to reduce emissions of GHGs, the prospect for adoption of significant legislation at the federal level to reduce GHG emissions is perceived to be low at this time. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has announced it intends to adopt additional regulations to reduce emissions of GHGs and to encourage greater use of low carbon technologies. Although it is not possible at this time to predict how legislation or new regulations that may be adopted to address GHG emissions would impact our business, any such future laws and regulations that limit emissions of GHGs could adversely affect demand for the oil and natural gas that exploration and production operators produce, some of whom are our customers, which could thereby reduce demand for our midstream services. Finally, it should be noted that some scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere may produce climate changes that have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts and floods and other climatic events; if any such effects were to occur, it is uncertain if they would have an adverse effect on our financial condition and operations.

 

Although we have not experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with environmental requirements, there is no assurance that this will continue. We did not have any material capital or other non‑recurring expenditures in connection with complying with environmental laws or environmental remediation matters in 2015, nor do we anticipate that such expenditures will be material in 2016.

 

Employees

 

We do not have any employees. The officers of our general partner, who are also officers of Antero manage our operations and activities. As of December 31, 2015, Antero employed approximately 480 people who provided direct, full-time support to our operations. All of the employees required to conduct and support our operations are employed by Antero and all of our direct, full‑time personnel are subject to the services agreement with our general partner and Antero. Antero considers its relations with its employees to be satisfactory. Additionally, we have a secondment agreement whereby Antero provides seconded employees to perform certain operational services with respect to our gathering and compression assets and water handling and treatment assets for a 20-year period.

 

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Legal Proceedings

 

Our operations are subject to a variety of risks and disputes normally incident to our business. As a result, we may, at any given time, be a defendant in various legal proceedings and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. See “Item 3. Litigation.”

 

We maintain insurance policies with insurers in amounts and with coverage and deductibles that we, with the advice of our insurance advisors and brokers, believe are reasonable and prudent. We cannot, however, assure you that this insurance will be adequate to protect us from all material expenses related to potential future claims for personal and property damage or that these levels of insurance will be available in the future at economical prices.

 

Address, Website and Availability of Public Filings

 

Our principal executive offices are at 1615 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202.  Our telephone number is (303) 357-7310. Our website is located at www.anteromidstream.com.

 

We make available free of charge our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and our Current Reports on Form 8-K as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.  These documents are located www.anteromidstream.com under the “Investors Relations” link.

 

Information on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or our other filings with the SEC and is not a part of them.

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Item 1A.  Risk Factors 

 

Limited partner interests are inherently different from the capital stock of a corporation, although many of the business risks to which we are subject are similar to those that would be faced by a corporation engaged in a similar business. You should carefully consider the following risk factors together with all of the other information included in this prospectus, including the matters addressed under “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” in evaluating an investment in our common units.

 

If any of the following risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash available for distribution could be materially adversely affected.

 

Risks Related to Our Business

 

Because substantially all of our revenue is derived from Antero, any development that materially and adversely affects Antero’s operations, financial condition or market reputation could have a material and adverse impact on us.

 

We are substantially dependent on Antero as  a significant customer, and we expect to derive a substantial majority of our revenues from Antero for the foreseeable future. As a result, any event, whether in our area of operations or otherwise, that adversely affects Antero’s production, drilling and completion schedule, financial condition, leverage, market reputation, liquidity, results of operations or cash flows may adversely affect our revenues and cash available for distribution. Accordingly, we are indirectly subject to the business risks of Antero, including, among others:

 

·

a reduction in or slowing of Antero’s development program, which would directly and adversely impact demand for our gathering and compression services and our water services;

 

·

a reduction in or slowing of Antero’s completions of wells, which would directly and adversely impact demand for our water services;

 

·

the volatility of natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, which could have a negative effect on the value of Antero’s properties, its drilling programs or its ability to finance its operations;

 

·

the availability of capital on an economic basis to fund Antero’s exploration and development activities as well as to fund our capital expenditure programs;

 

·

Antero’s ability to replace reserves;

 

·

Antero’s drilling and operating risks, including potential environmental liabilities;

 

·

transportation capacity constraints and interruptions;

 

·

adverse effects of governmental and environmental regulation; and

 

·

losses from pending or future litigation.

 

In late 2014, global energy commodity prices declined precipitously as a result of several factors, including an increase in worldwide commodity supplies, a stronger U.S. dollar, relatively mild weather in large portions of the U.S. during winter months, and strong competition among oil producing countries for market share.  These events continued into 2015 and early 2016 and, along with slower economic growth in China, have led to the further suppression of commodity prices.  Spot prices for WTI declined from approximately $106.00 per Bbl in June 2014 to less than $50.00 per Bbl in January 2015, and declined further to less than $30.00 per Bbl in January 2016.  Spot prices for Henry Hub natural gas declined from approximately $4.40 per MMBtu in January 2014 to $3.00 per MMBtu in January 2015, and declined further to less than $1.80 per MMBtu for a brief period in December 2015.  Spot prices for propane declined from approximately $1.55 per gallon in January 2014 to less than $0.50 per gallon in January 2015, and declined further to less than $0.35 per gallon in January 2016.

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Changes in commodity prices can significantly affect our capital resources, liquidity and expected operating results. Please see “—Because of the natural decline in production from existing wells, our success depends, in part, on Antero’s ability to replace declining production and our ability to secure new sources of natural gas from Antero or third parties. Any decrease in volumes of natural gas and produced water that Antero produces or any decrease in the number of wells that Antero completes, could adversely affect our business and operating results.”

 

Further, we are subject to the risk of non-payment or non-performance by Antero, including with respect to our gathering and compression and water services agreements. We cannot predict the extent to which Antero’s business would be impacted if conditions in the energy industry continue to deteriorate, nor can we estimate the impact such conditions would have on Antero’s ability to execute its drilling and development program or perform under our gathering and compression and water services agreements. Any material non-payment or non-performance by Antero could reduce our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

 

Also, due to our relationship with Antero, our ability to access the capital markets, or the pricing or other terms of any capital markets transactions, may be adversely affected by any impairment to Antero’s financial condition or adverse changes in its credit ratings.

 

Any material limitation on our ability to access capital as a result of such adverse changes at Antero could limit our ability to obtain future financing under favorable terms, or at all, or could result in increased financing costs in the future. Similarly, material adverse changes at Antero could negatively impact our unit price, limiting our ability to raise capital through equity issuances or debt financing, or could negatively affect our ability to engage in, expand or pursue our business activities, and could also prevent us from engaging in certain transactions that might otherwise be considered beneficial to us.

 

We may not generate sufficient cash from operations following the establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses, including cost reimbursements to our general partner, to enable us to pay the minimum quarterly distribution to our unitholders.

 

In order to make our minimum quarterly distribution of $0.17 per common unit and subordinated unit per quarter, or $0.68 per unit per year, we will require available cash of approximately $30 million per quarter, or approximately $120 million per year based on the common units and subordinated units outstanding at December 31, 2015, as well as grants made under the Antero Midstream Partners LP Long-term Incentive Plan. We may not generate sufficient cash flow each quarter to support the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution or to increase our quarterly distributions in the future.

 

The amount of cash we can distribute on our units principally depends upon the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which will fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on, among other things:

 

·

the volume of water we provide to Antero for well completion operations and the volume of natural gas we gather and compress;

 

·

the volume of condensate we gather;

 

·

the rates we charge third parties, if any, for our water handling and treatment and gathering and compression services;

 

·

market prices of natural gas, NGLs and oil and their effect on Antero’s drilling schedule as well as produced volumes;

 

·

Antero’s ability to fund its drilling program;

 

·

adverse weather conditions;

 

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·

the level of our operating, maintenance and general and administrative costs;

 

·

regulatory action affecting the supply of, or demand for, natural gas, the rates we can charge for our services, how we contract for services, our existing contract, our operating costs or our operating flexibility; and

 

·

prevailing economic conditions.

 

In addition, the actual amount of cash we will have available for distribution will depend on other factors, including:

 

·

the level and timing of maintenance and expansion capital expenditures we make;

 

·

our debt service requirements and other liabilities;

 

·

our ability to borrow under our debt agreements to pay distributions;

 

·

fluctuations in our working capital needs;

 

·

restrictions on distributions contained in any of our debt agreements;

 

·

the cost of acquisitions, if any;

 

·

fees and expenses of our general partner and its affiliates (including Antero) we are required to reimburse;

 

·

the amount of cash reserves established by our general partner; and

 

·

other business risks affecting our cash levels.

 

Because of the natural decline in production from existing wells, our success depends, in part, on Antero’s ability to replace declining production and our ability to secure new sources of natural gas from Antero or third parties. Additionally, our water services are directly associated with Antero’s well completion activities and water needs, which are partially driven by horizontal lateral lengths and the number of completion stages per well. Any decrease in volumes of natural gas that Antero produces or any decrease in the number of wells that Antero completes, could adversely affect our business and operating results.

 

The natural gas volumes that support our gathering business depend on the level of production from natural gas wells connected to our systems, which may be less than expected and will naturally decline over time. To the extent Antero reduces its development activity or otherwise ceases to drill and complete wells, revenues for our gathering and compression and water services will be directly and adversely affected. Our ability to maintain water services revenues is substantially dependent on continued completion activity by Antero or third parties over time, as well as the volumes of produced water from such activity. In addition, natural gas volumes from completed wells will naturally decline and our cash flows associated with these wells will also decline over time. In order to maintain or increase throughput levels on our gathering systems, we must obtain new sources of natural gas from Antero or third parties. The primary factors affecting our ability to obtain additional sources of natural gas include (i) the success of Antero’s drilling activity in our areas of operation, (ii) Antero’s acquisition of additional acreage and (iii) our ability to obtain dedications of acreage from third parties. Our fresh water distribution services, which make up a substantial portion of our water services revenues, will be in greatest demand in connection with completion activities. To the extent that Antero or other fresh water distribution customers complete wells with shorter lateral lengths, the demand for our fresh water distribution services would be reduced.

 

We have no control over Antero’s or other producers’ levels of development and completion activity in our areas of operation, the amount of reserves associated with wells connected to our systems or the rate at which production from a well declines. In addition, our fresh water distribution business is dependent upon active development in our areas of operation. In order to maintain or increase throughput levels on our fresh water distribution systems, we must

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service new wells. We have no control over Antero or other producers or their development plan decisions, which are affected by, among other things:

 

·

the availability and cost of capital;

 

·

prevailing and projected natural gas, NGLs and oil prices;

 

·

demand for natural gas, NGLs and oil;

 

·

levels of reserves;

 

·

geologic considerations;

 

·

environmental or other governmental regulations, including the availability of drilling permits and the regulation of hydraulic fracturing; and

 

·

the costs of producing the gas and the availability and costs of drilling rigs and other equipment.

 

Fluctuations in energy prices can also greatly affect the development of reserves. In late 2014, global energy commodity prices declined precipitously as a result of several factors, including an increase in worldwide commodity supplies, a stronger U.S. dollar, relatively mild weather in large portions of the U.S. during winter months, and strong competition among oil producing countries for market share.  These events continued into 2015 and early 2016 and, along with slower economic growth in China, have led to the further suppression of commodity prices.  Spot prices for WTI declined from approximately $106.00 per Bbl in June 2014 to less than $50.00 per Bbl in January 2015, and declined further to less than $30.00 per Bbl in January 2016.  Spot prices for Henry Hub natural gas declined from approximately $4.40 per MMBtu in January 2014 to $3.00 per MMBtu in January 2015, and declined further to less than $1.80 per MMBtu for a brief period in December 2015.  Spot prices for propane declined from approximately $1.55 per gallon in January 2014 to less than $0.50 per gallon in January 2015, and declined further to less than $0.35 per gallon in January 2016. These lower prices have compelled most natural gas and oil producers, including Antero, to reduce the level of exploration, drilling and production activity. This will have a significant effect on our capital resources, liquidity and expected operating results.  Natural gas and oil prices directly affect Antero’s production.  If prices remain at current levels or decrease further, it would reduce our revenues and ability to pay distributions. Sustained reductions in development or production activity in our areas of operation could lead to reduced utilization of our services.

 

Due to these and other factors, even if reserves are known to exist in areas served by our assets, producers have chosen, and may choose in the future, not to develop those reserves. If reductions in development activity result in our inability to maintain the current levels of throughput on our systems, or our water services, or if reductions in lateral lengths result in a decrease in demand for our water services on a per well basis, those reductions could reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

 

The gathering and compression agreement only includes minimum volume commitments under certain circumstances.

 

The gathering and compression agreement includes minimum volume commitments only on new high pressure pipelines and compressor stations that we construct at Antero’s request. Our existing compressor stations and gathering pipelines are not supported by minimum volume commitments from Antero. Any decrease in the current levels of throughput on our gathering and compression systems could reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

 

We may not be able to attract third-party gathering and compression volumes or opportunities to provide water services, which could limit our ability to grow and increase our dependence on Antero.

 

Part of our long-term growth strategy includes diversifying our customer base by identifying opportunities to offer services to third parties. To date, substantially all of our revenues were earned from Antero. Our ability to increase

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throughput on our gathering and compression systems and water services systems and any related revenue from third parties is subject to numerous factors beyond our control, including competition from third parties and the extent to which we have available capacity when requested by third parties. To the extent that we lack available capacity on our systems for third-party volumes, we may not be able to compete effectively with third-party systems for additional oil and natural gas production in our areas of operation. In addition, some of our natural gas and NGLs marketing competitors for third-party volumes have greater financial resources and access to larger supplies of natural gas than those available to us, which could allow those competitors to price their services more aggressively than we do.

 

Our efforts to attract new unaffiliated customers may be adversely affected by (i) our relationship with Antero and the fact that a substantial majority of the capacity of our gathering and compression systems and water systems will be necessary to service Antero’s production and development and completion schedule and (ii) our desire to provide services pursuant to fee-based contracts. As a result, we may not have the capacity to provide services to third parties and/or potential third-party customers may prefer to obtain services pursuant to other forms of contractual arrangements under which we would be required to assume direct commodity exposure.

 

We will be required to make substantial capital expenditures to increase our asset base. If we are unable to obtain needed capital or financing on satisfactory terms, our ability to make cash distributions may be diminished or our financial leverage could increase.

 

In order to increase our asset base, we will need to make expansion capital expenditures. If we do not make sufficient or effective expansion capital expenditures, we will be unable to expand our business operations and, as a result, we will be unable to raise the level of our future cash distributions. To fund our expansion capital expenditures and investment capital expenditures, we will be required to use cash from our operations or incur borrowings. Alternatively, we may sell additional common units or other securities to fund our capital expenditures. Such uses of cash from our operations will reduce cash available for distribution to our unitholders. Our ability to obtain bank financing or our ability to access the capital markets for future equity or debt offerings may be limited by our or Antero’s financial condition at the time of any such financing or offering and the covenants in our existing debt agreements, as well as by general economic conditions, contingencies and uncertainties that are beyond our control. Even if we are successful in obtaining the necessary funds, the terms of such financings could limit our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders. In addition, incurring additional debt may significantly increase our interest expense and financial leverage, and issuing additional limited partner interests may result in significant unitholder dilution and would increase the aggregate amount of cash required to maintain the then current distribution rate, which could materially decrease our ability to pay distributions at the prevailing distribution rate. Neither Antero, our general partner or any of their respective Affiliates is committed to providing any direct or indirect support to fund our growth.

 

Our gathering and compression systems are concentrated in the Appalachian Basin, making us vulnerable to risks associated with operating in one major geographic area.

 

We rely primarily on revenues generated from gathering and compression systems that we own, which are located in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. As a result of this concentration, we may be disproportionately exposed to the impact of regional supply and demand factors, delays or interruptions of production from wells in this area caused by governmental regulation, market limitations or interruption of the processing or transportation of natural gas, NGLs or oil.

 

The amount of cash we have available for distribution to our unitholders depends primarily on our cash flow and not solely on profitability, which may prevent us from making distributions, even during periods in which we record net income.

 

You should be aware that the amount of cash we have available for distribution depends primarily upon our cash flow and not solely on profitability, which will be affected by non-cash items. As a result, we may make cash distributions during periods when we record a net loss for financial accounting purposes, and conversely, we might fail to make cash distributions during periods when we record net income for financial accounting purposes.

 

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Our construction or purchase of new gathering and compression, processing, water handling and treatment or other assets, including the water treatment facility currently under construction, may not be completed on schedule, at the budgeted cost or at all, and they may not result in revenue increases and may be subject to regulatory, environmental, political, legal and economic risks, which could adversely affect our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition and, as a result, our ability to distribute cash to our unitholders.

 

The construction of additions or modifications to our existing systems and the construction or purchase of new assets, including the water treatment facility currently under construction, involves numerous regulatory, environmental, political and legal uncertainties beyond our control and may require the expenditure of significant amounts of capital. Financing may not be available on economically acceptable terms or at all. If we undertake these projects, we may not be able to complete them on schedule, at the budgeted cost or at all. Moreover, our revenues may not increase immediately upon the expenditure of funds on a particular project. For instance, the construction of the water treatment facility will occur over an extended period of time, and we will not receive any material increases in revenues until the project is completed. Moreover, we may construct facilities to capture anticipated future production growth in an area in which such growth does not materialize. As a result, new gathering and compression, processing, water handling and treatment or other assets may not be able to attract enough throughput to achieve our expected investment return, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the construction of additions to our existing assets may require us to obtain new rights-of-way prior to constructing new pipelines or facilities. We may be unable to timely obtain such rights-of-way to connect new natural gas supplies to our existing gathering pipelines or capitalize on other attractive expansion opportunities. Additionally, it may become more expensive for us to obtain new rights-of-way or to expand or renew existing rights-of-way. If the cost of renewing or obtaining new rights-of-way increases, our cash flows could be adversely affected.

 

A shortage of equipment and skilled labor in the Appalachian Basin could reduce equipment availability and labor productivity and increase labor and equipment costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

Gathering and compression services require special equipment and laborers skilled in multiple disciplines, such as equipment operators, mechanics and engineers, among others. If we experience shortages of necessary equipment or skilled labor in the future, our labor and equipment costs and overall productivity could be materially and adversely affected. If our equipment or labor prices increase or if we experience materially increased health and benefit costs for employees, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

If third-party pipelines or other midstream facilities interconnected to our gathering and compression systems become partially or fully unavailable, our operating margin, cash flow and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders could be adversely affected.

 

Our gathering and compression assets connect to other pipelines or facilities owned and operated by unaffiliated third parties. The continuing operation of third-party pipelines, compressor stations and other midstream facilities is not within our control. These pipelines, plants and other midstream facilities may become unavailable because of testing, turnarounds, line repair, maintenance, reduced operating pressure, lack of operating capacity, regulatory requirements and curtailments of receipt or deliveries due to insufficient capacity or because of damage from severe weather conditions or other operational issues. In addition, if the costs to us to access and transport on these third-party pipelines significantly increase, our profitability could be reduced. If any such increase in costs occurs or if any of these pipelines or other midstream facilities become unable to receive or transport natural gas, our operating margin, cash flow and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders could be adversely affected.

 

Our exposure to commodity price risk may change over time.

 

We currently generate all of our revenues pursuant to fee-based contracts under which we are paid based on the volumes that we gather and compress, rather than the underlying value of the commodity. Consequently, our existing operations and cash flows have little direct exposure to commodity price risk. Although we intend to enter into similar fee-based contracts with new customers in the future, our efforts to negotiate such contractual terms may not be successful. In addition, we may acquire or develop additional midstream assets in a manner that increases our exposure

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to commodity price risk. Future exposure to the volatility of natural gas, NGL and oil prices, especially in light of the recent declines, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and, as a result, our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

 

Restrictions in our revolving credit facility could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to make quarterly cash distributions to our unitholders.

 

Our revolving credit facility limits our ability to, among other things:

 

·

incur or guarantee additional debt;

 

·

redeem or repurchase units or make distributions under certain circumstances;

 

·

make certain investments and acquisitions;

 

·

incur certain liens or permit them to exist;

 

·

enter into certain types of transactions with affiliates;

 

·

merge or consolidate with another company; and

 

·

transfer, sell or otherwise dispose of assets.

 

Our revolving credit facility also contains covenants requiring us to maintain certain financial ratios. Our ability to meet those financial ratios and tests can be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure you that we will meet any such ratios and tests. Additionally, we may not be able to borrow the full amount of commitments under our revolving credit facility if doing so would cause us to not meet a financial covenant.

 

The provisions of our revolving credit facility may affect our ability to obtain future financing and pursue attractive business opportunities and our flexibility in planning for, and reacting to, changes in business conditions. In addition, a failure to comply with the provisions of our revolving credit facility could result in a default or an event of default that could enable our lenders to declare the outstanding principal of that debt, together with accrued and unpaid interest, to be immediately due and payable. If the payment of our debt is accelerated, our assets may be insufficient to repay such debt in full, and our unitholders could experience a partial or total loss of their investment. Please read “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

 

If our assets become subject to FERC regulation or federal, state or local regulations or policies change, or if we fail to comply with market behavior rules, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

 

Our gathering and transportation operations are exempt from regulation by the FERC, under the NGA. Section 1(b) of the NGA, exempts natural gas gathering facilities from regulation by the FERC under the NGA. Although the FERC has not made any formal determinations with respect to any of our facilities, we believe that the natural gas pipelines in our gathering systems meet the traditional tests the FERC has used to establish whether a pipeline is a gathering pipeline not subject to FERC jurisdiction. The distinction between FERC- regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services, however, has been the subject of substantial litigation, and the FERC determines whether facilities are gathering facilities on a case-by-case basis, so the classification and regulation of our gathering facilities may be subject to change based on future determinations by the FERC, the courts, or Congress. If the FERC were to consider the status of an individual facility and determine that the facility or services provided by it are not exempt from FERC regulation under the NGA, the rates for, and terms and conditions of, services provided by such facility would be subject to regulation by the FERC under the NGA or the NGPA. Such regulation could decrease revenue, increase operating costs, and, depending upon the facility in question, could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows.

 

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State regulation of natural gas gathering facilities and intrastate transportation pipelines generally includes various safety, environmental and, in some circumstances, nondiscriminatory take and common purchaser requirements, as well as complaint-based rate regulation. Other state regulations may not directly apply to our business, but may nonetheless affect the availability of natural gas for purchase, compression and sale.

 

Moreover, FERC regulations indirectly impact our businesses and the markets for products derived from these businesses. The FERC’s policies and practices across the range of its natural gas regulatory activities, including, for example, its policies on open access transportation, market manipulation, ratemaking, gas quality, capacity release and market center promotion, indirectly affect the intrastate natural gas market. Should we fail to comply with any applicable FERC administered statutes, rules, regulations and orders, we could be subject to substantial penalties and fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows. The FERC has civil penalty authority under the NGA and NGPA to impose penalties for current violations of up to $1,000,000 per day for each violation and disgorgement of profits associated with any violation.

 

For more information regarding federal and state regulation of our operations, please read “Business—Regulation of Operations.”

 

Increased regulation of hydraulic fracturing could result in reductions or delays in natural gas, NGLs and oil production by our customers, which could reduce the throughput on our gathering and compression systems and the number of wells for which we provide water services, which could adversely impact our revenues.

 

All of Antero’s natural gas, NGLs and oil production is being developed from unconventional sources, such as shale formations. These reservoirs require hydraulic fracturing completion processes to release the liquids and natural gas from the rock so it can flow through casing to the surface. Hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation process that utilizes large volumes of water and sand (or other proppant) combined with fracturing chemical additives that are pumped at high pressure to crack open previously impenetrable rock to release hydrocarbons. Hydraulic fracturing is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions and similar agencies. Some states, including those in which we operate, have adopted, and other states are considering adopting, regulations that could impose more stringent disclosure and/or well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing operations. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) recently issued a study on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, which concluded that hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States, although there may be above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. The draft report is expected to be finalized after a public comment period and a formal review by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. More recently, in August 2015, the EPA proposed rules that would establish new air emission controls for methane emissions from certain equipment and processes in the oil and natural gas source category, including production, processing, transmission, and storage activities. The EPA’s proposed rule package includes first-time standards to address emissions of methane from equipment and processes across the source category, including hydraulically fractured oil and natural gas well completions, fugitive emissions from well sites and compressors, equipment leaks at natural gas processing plants, and pneumatic pumps. These proposed rules also extend existing requirements for the emission of volatile organic compounds to the same equipment and processes. At the same time, certain environmental groups have suggested that additional laws may be needed to more closely and uniformly regulate the hydraulic fracturing process, and legislation has been proposed by some members of Congress to provide for such regulation. We cannot predict whether any such legislation will ever be enacted and if so, what its provisions would be. If additional levels of regulation and permits were required through the adoption of new laws and regulations at the federal or state level, that could lead to delays, increased operating costs and process prohibitions that could reduce the volumes of liquids and natural gas that move through our gathering systems or reduce the number of wells drilled and completed that require fresh water for hydraulic fracturing activities, which in turn could materially adversely affect our revenues and results of operations.

 

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Oil and natural gas producers’ operations, especially those using hydraulic fracturing, are substantially dependent on the availability of water. Restrictions on the ability to obtain water may incentivize water recycling efforts by oil and natural gas producers, which would decrease the demand for our fresh water distribution services.

 

Our business includes fresh water distribution for use in our customers’ natural gas, NGL and oil exploration and production activities. Water is an essential component of natural gas, NGL and oil production during the drilling, and in particular, the hydraulic fracturing process. We depend on Antero to source the fresh water we distribute. The availability of Antero’s water supply may be limited due to reasons such as prolonged drought. Some state and local governmental authorities have begun restricting the use of water subject to their jurisdiction for hydraulic fracturing to ensure adequate local water supply. Any such decrease in the demand for water services would adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Antero or any third-party customers may incur significant liability under, or costs and expenditures to comply with, environmental and worker health and safety regulations, which are complex and subject to frequent change.

 

As an owner, lessee or operator of gathering pipelines and compressor stations, we are subject to various stringent federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations relating to the discharge of materials into, and protection of, the environment. Numerous governmental authorities, such as the EPA and analogous state agencies, have the power to enforce compliance with these laws and regulations and the permits issued under them, oftentimes requiring difficult and costly response actions. These laws and regulations may impose various obligations that are applicable to our and our customer’s operations, including the acquisition of permits to conduct regulated activities, the incurrence of capital or operating expenditures to limit or prevent releases of materials from our or our customers’ operations, the imposition of specific standards addressing worker protection, and the imposition of substantial liabilities and remedial obligations for pollution or contamination resulting from our and our customer’s operations. Failure to comply with these laws, regulations and permits may result in joint and several, strict liability and the assessment of administrative, civil and criminal penalties, the imposition of remedial obligations, and the issuance of injunctions limiting or preventing some or all of our operations. Private parties, including the owners of the properties through which our gathering systems pass and facilities where wastes resulting from our operations are taken for reclamation or disposal, may also have the right to pursue legal actions to enforce compliance, as well as to seek damages for non-compliance, with environmental laws and regulations or for personal injury or property damage. We may not be able to recover all or any of these costs from insurance. In addition, we may experience a delay in obtaining or be unable to obtain required permits, which may cause it to lose potential and current customers, interrupt its operations and limit its growth and revenues, which in turn could affect our profitability. There is no assurance that changes in or additions to public policy regarding the protection of the environment will not have a significant impact on our operations and profitability.

 

Our operations also pose risks of environmental liability due to leakage, migration, releases or spills from our operations to surface or subsurface soils, surface water or groundwater. Certain environmental laws impose strict as well as joint and several liability for costs required to remediate and restore sites where hazardous substances, hydrocarbons, or solid wastes have been stored or released. We may be required to remediate contaminated properties currently or formerly operated by us or facilities of third parties that received waste generated by our operations regardless of whether such contamination resulted from the conduct of others or from consequences of our own actions that were in compliance with all applicable laws at the time those actions were taken. In addition, claims for damages to persons or property, including natural resources, may result from the environmental, health and safety impacts of our operations. Moreover, public interest in the protection of the environment has increased dramatically in recent years. The trend of more expansive and stringent environmental legislation and regulations applied to the crude oil and natural gas industry could continue, resulting in increased costs of doing business and consequently affecting profitability. Please read “Business—Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Matters” for more information.

 

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Climate change laws and regulations restricting emissions of “greenhouse gases” (“GHG”) could result in increased operating costs and reduced demand for the natural gas that we gather while potential physical effects of climate change could disrupt our production and cause us to incur significant costs in preparing for or responding to those effects.

 

The EPA has determined that emissions of GHGs present an endangerment to public health and the environment because emissions of such gases are, according to the EPA, contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on these findings, EPA has adopted regulations under existing provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, that establish Prevention of Significant Deterioration, or PSD, pre‑construction permits, and Title V operating permits for GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources. Under these regulations, facilities required to obtain PSD permits must meet BACT standards for their GHG emissions established by the states or, in some cases, by the EPA, on a case‑by‑case basis. The EPA has also adopted rules requiring the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from specified sources in the United States, including, among others, certain onshore oil and natural gas processing and fractionating facilities. More recently, in August 2015, the EPA proposed new regulations that set emissions standards for methane and volatile organic compounds from new and modified oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing and transmission facilities as part of the Administration’s efforts to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector by up to 45% from 2012 levels by 2025.  The regulations are expected to be finalized in 2016.  If the rules are adopted as proposed, these rules could impose new compliance costs and permitting burdens on natural gas operations.  Additionally, while Congress has from time to time considered legislation to reduce emissions of GHGs, the prospect for adoption of significant legislation at the federal level to reduce GHG emissions is perceived to be low at this time. Nevertheless, the Obama administration has announced it intends to adopt additional regulations to reduce emissions of GHGs and to encourage greater use of low carbon technologies. Although it is not possible at this time to predict how legislation or new regulations that may be adopted to address GHG emissions would impact our business, any such future laws and regulations that limit emissions of GHGs could adversely affect demand for the oil and natural gas that exploration and production operators produce, some of whom are our customers, which could thereby reduce demand for our midstream services. Finally, it should be noted that some scientists have concluded that increasing concentrations of GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere may produce climate changes that have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts and floods and other climatic events; if any such effects were to occur, it is uncertain if they would have an adverse effect on our financial condition and operations.

 

We may incur significant costs and liabilities as a result of pipeline integrity management program testing and any related pipeline repair or preventative or remedial measures.

 

The United States Department of Transportation, or DOT, has adopted regulations requiring pipeline operators to develop integrity management programs for transportation pipelines located where a leak or rupture could do the most harm in “high consequence areas.” The regulations require operators to:

 

·

perform ongoing assessments of pipeline integrity;

 

·

identify and characterize applicable threats to pipeline segments that could impact a high consequence area;

 

·

improve data collection, integration and analysis;

 

·

repair and remediate the pipeline as necessary; and

 

·

implement preventive and mitigating actions.

 

The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011, or the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act, among other things, increased the maximum civil penalty for pipeline safety violations and directed the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate rules or standards relating to expanded integrity management requirements, automatic or remote-controlled valve use, excess flow valve use, leak detection system installation and testing to confirm the material strength of pipe operating above 30% of specified minimum yield strength in high consequence areas. Consistent with the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act,, the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, finalized rules

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consistent with the signed act that increased the maximum administrative civil penalties for violations of the pipeline safety laws and regulations to $200,000 per violation per day, with a maximum of $2,000,000 for a related series of violations. Should our operations fail to comply with DOT or comparable state regulations, we could be subject to substantial penalties and fines. Additionally, in May 2011, PHMSA published a final rule adding reporting obligations and integrity management standards to certain rural low-stress hazardous liquid pipelines that were not previously regulated in such manner.

 

PHMSA regularly revises its pipeline safety regulations. For example, in March of 2015, PHMSA finalized new rules applicable to gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that, among other changes, impose new post-construction inspections, welding, gas component pressure testing requirements, as well as requirements for calculating pressure reductions for immediate repairs on liquid pipelines. More recently, in October 2015, PHMSA proposed new regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines that would significantly extend and expand the reach of certain PHMSA integrity management requirements (i.e., periodic assessments, leak detection and repairs), regardless of the pipeline’s proximity to a high consequence area.  The proposal also requires new reporting requirements for certain unregulated pipelines, including all gathering lines. Additional future regulatory action expanding PHMSA jurisdiction and imposing stricter integrity management requirements is likely. For example, in December 2015, the Senate Commerce Committee approved legislation that, among other things, requires PHMSA to conduct an assessment of its inspections process and integrity management programs for natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. The legislation would also require PHMSA to prioritize various rulemakings required by the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act and propose and finalize the rules mandated by the act. The adoption of these and other laws or regulations that apply more comprehensive or stringent safety standards could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue new capital projects, or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, all of which could require us to incur increased operational costs that could be significant. While we cannot predict the outcome of legislative or regulatory initiatives, such legislative and regulatory changes could have a material effect on our cash flow. Please read “Business—Pipeline Safety Regulation” for more information.

 

Our business involves many hazards and operational risks, some of which may not be fully covered by insurance. The occurrence of a significant accident or other event that is not fully insured could curtail our operations and have a material adverse effect on our ability to distribute cash and, accordingly, the market price for our common units.

 

Our operations are subject to all of the hazards inherent in the gathering and compression of natural gas, including:

 

·

unintended breach of impoundment and downstream flooding, release of invasive species or aquatic pathogens, hazardous spills near intake points, trucking collision, vandalism, excessive road damage or bridge collapse and unauthorized access or use of automation controls;

 

·

damage to pipelines, compressor stations, pump stations, impoundments, related equipment and surrounding properties caused by natural disasters, acts of terrorism and acts of third parties;

 

·

damage from construction, farm and utility equipment as well as other subsurface activity (for example, mine subsidence);

 

·

leaks of natural gas, NGLs or oil or losses of natural gas, NGLs or oil as a result of the malfunction of equipment or facilities;

 

·

fires, ruptures and explosions;

 

·

other hazards that could also result in personal injury and loss of life, pollution and suspension of operations; and

 

·

hazards experienced by other operators that may affect our operations by instigating increased regulations and oversight.

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Any of these risks could adversely affect our ability to conduct operations or result in substantial loss to us as a result of claims for:

 

·

injury or loss of life;

 

·

damage to and destruction of property, natural resources and equipment;

 

·

pollution and other environmental damage;

 

·

regulatory investigations and penalties;

 

·

suspension of our operations; and

 

·

repair and remediation costs.

 

We may elect not to obtain insurance for any or all of these risks if we believe that the cost of available insurance is excessive relative to the risks presented. In addition, pollution and environmental risks generally are not fully insurable under policies we are covered under, and neither we nor Antero Resources Investment LLC (“Antero Investment”) on our behalf have obtained pollution insurance. The occurrence of an event that is not fully covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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

 

We do not own all of the land on which our pipelines and facilities have been constructed, and we are, therefore, subject to the possibility of more onerous terms or increased costs to retain necessary land use if we do not have valid rights-of-way or if such rights-of-way lapse or terminate. We obtain the rights to construct and operate our pipelines on land owned by third parties and governmental agencies for a specific period of time. 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, results of operations, financial condition and ability to make cash distributions to you.

 

We are subject to complex federal, state and local laws and regulations that could adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of conducting our operations or expose us to significant liabilities.

 

Our operations are subject to complex and stringent federal, state and local laws and regulations. In order to conduct our operations in compliance with these laws and regulations, we must obtain and maintain numerous permits, approvals and certificates from various federal, state and local governmental authorities. We may incur substantial costs in order to maintain compliance with these existing laws and regulations and the permits and other approvals issued thereunder. In addition, our costs of compliance may increase or operational delays may occur if existing laws and regulations are revised or reinterpreted, or if new laws and regulations apply to our operations. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations, including any evolving interpretation and enforcement by governmental authorities, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, we might not be able to obtain or maintain all required environmental regulatory approvals for our operations. If there is a delay in obtaining any required environmental regulatory approvals, or if we fail to obtain and comply with them, the operation or construction of our facilities could be prevented or become subject to additional costs.

 

In addition, new or additional regulations or permitting requirements, new interpretations of existing requirements or changes in our operations could also trigger the need for Environmental Assessments or more detailed Environmental Impact Statements under the National Environmental Policy Act and analogous state laws, as well as litigation over the adequacy of those reviews, which could result in increased costs or delays of, or denial of rights to conduct, our development programs. Such potential regulations or litigation could increase our operating costs, reduce our liquidity, delay or halt our operations or otherwise alter the way we conduct our business, which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, the discharges of oil,

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natural gas, NGLs and other pollutants into the air, soil or water may give rise to significant liabilities on our part to the government and third parties. Please read “Item 1. Business—Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Matters” for a further description of laws and regulations that affect us.

 

The loss of key personnel could adversely affect our ability to operate.

 

We depend on the services of a relatively small group of our general partner’s senior management and technical personnel. We do not maintain, nor do we plan to obtain, any insurance against the loss of any of these individuals. The loss of the services of our general partner’s senior management or technical personnel, including Paul M. Rady, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Glen C. Warren, Jr., President and Chief Financial Officer, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We do not have any officers or employees and rely solely on officers of our general partner and employees of Antero.

 

We are managed and operated by the board of directors of our general partner. Affiliates of Antero conduct businesses and activities of their own in which we have no economic interest. As a result, there could be material competition for the time and effort of the officers and employees who provide services to our general partner and Antero. If our general partner and the officers and employees of Antero do not devote sufficient attention to the management and operation of our business, our financial results may suffer, and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders may be reduced.

 

Debt we incur in the future may limit our flexibility to obtain financing and to pursue other business opportunities.

 

Our future level of debt could have important consequences to us, including the following:

 

·

our ability to obtain additional financing, if necessary, for working capital, capital expenditures (including required drilling pad connections and well connections pursuant to our gathering and compression agreements as well as acquisitions) or other purposes may be impaired or such financing may not be available on favorable terms;

 

·

our funds available for operations, future business opportunities and distributions to unitholders will be reduced by that portion of our cash flow required to make interest payments on our debt;

 

·

we may be more vulnerable to competitive pressures or a downturn in our business or the economy generally; and

 

·

our flexibility in responding to changing business and economic conditions may be limited.

 

Our ability to service our debt will depend upon, among other things, our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. If our operating results are not sufficient to service any future indebtedness, we will be forced to take actions such as reducing distributions, reducing or delaying our business activities, investments or capital expenditures, selling assets or issuing equity. We may not be able to effect any of these actions on satisfactory terms or at all.

 

Terrorist attacks or cyber-attacks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Terrorist attacks or cyber-attacks may significantly affect the energy industry, including our operations and those of our customers, as well as general economic conditions, consumer confidence and spending and market liquidity. Strategic targets, such as energy-related assets, may be at greater risk of future attacks than other targets in the United States. Our insurance may not protect us against such occurrences. Consequently, it is possible that any of these

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occurrences, or a combination of them, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Risks Inherent in an Investment in Us

 

Antero, our general partner and their respective affiliates, including Antero Resources Investment LLC (“Antero Investment”), which owns our general partner, have conflicts of interest with us and limited duties to us and our unitholders, and they may favor their own interests to the detriment of us and our other common unitholders.

 

Antero Investment owns and controls our general partner and appoints all of the officers and directors of our general partner. A majority of the officers and directors of our general partner are officers or directors of Antero Investment. Similarly, a majority of the officers and directors of our general partner are also officers or directors of Antero. Although our general partner has a duty to manage us in a manner that is beneficial to us and our unitholders, the directors and officers of our general partner have a fiduciary duty to manage our general partner in a manner that is beneficial to its owner, Antero Investment. Further, our general partner’s directors and officers who are also directors and officers of Antero have a fiduciary duty to manage Antero in a manner that is beneficial to Antero. Conflicts of interest will arise between Antero, Antero Investment and our general partner, on the one hand, and us and our common unitholders, on the other hand. In resolving these conflicts of interest, our general partner may favor its own interests and the interests of Antero Investment or Antero over our interests and the interests of our unitholders. These conflicts include the following situations, among others:

 

·

actions taken by our general partner may affect the amount of cash available to pay distributions to unitholders or accelerate the right to convert subordinated units;

 

·

the directors and officers of Antero Investment have a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the owners of Antero Investment, which may be contrary to our interests;

 

·

the directors and officers of Antero have a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the owners of Antero, which may be contrary to our interests;

 

·

our general partner is allowed to take into account the interests of parties other than us, such as Antero Investment, in exercising certain rights under our partnership agreement;

 

·

except in limited circumstances, our general partner has the power and authority to conduct our business without unitholder approval;

 

·

our general partner may cause us to borrow funds in order to permit the payment of cash distributions,

 

·

our general partner determines the amount and timing of asset purchases and sales, borrowings, issuances of additional partnership securities and the level of reserves, each of which can affect the amount of cash that is distributed to our unitholders;

 

·

our general partner determines the amount and timing of any capital expenditure and whether a capital expenditure is classified as a maintenance capital expenditure, which reduces operating surplus, or an expansion capital expenditure, which does not reduce operating surplus, and this determination can affect the amount of cash from operating surplus that is distributed to our unitholders which, in turn, may affect the ability of the subordinated units owned by Antero to convert;

 

·

our partnership agreement limits the liability of, and replaces the duties owed by, our general partner and also restricts the remedies available to our unitholders for actions that, without the limitations, might constitute breaches of fiduciary duty;

 

·

common unitholders have no right to enforce obligations of our general partner and its affiliates under agreements with us;

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·

contracts between us, on the one hand, and our general partner and its affiliates, on the other, are not and will not be the result of arm’s length negotiations;

 

·

except in limited circumstances, our general partner has the power and authority to conduct our business without unitholder approval;

 

·

our partnership agreement permits us to distribute up to $75.0 million as operating surplus, even if it is generated from asset sales, non-working capital borrowings or other sources that would otherwise constitute capital surplus, which may be used to fund distributions on our subordinated units or the incentive distribution rights;

 

·

our general partner determines which costs incurred by it and its affiliates (including Antero) are reimbursable by us;

 

·

our partnership agreement does not restrict our general partner from causing us to pay it or its affiliates for any services rendered to us or entering into additional contractual arrangements with its affiliates on our behalf;

 

·

our general partner intends to limit its liability regarding our contractual and other obligations;

 

·

our general partner may exercise its right to call and purchase common units if it and its affiliates (including Antero) own more than 80% of the common units;

 

·

our general partner controls the enforcement of obligations that it and its affiliates (including Antero) owe to us;

 

·

we may not choose to retain separate counsel for ourselves or for the holders of common units;

 

·

our general partner’s affiliates may compete with us, and neither our general partner nor its affiliates have any obligation to present business opportunities to us; and

 

·

the holder or holders of our incentive distribution rights may elect to cause us to issue common units to it in connection with a resetting of incentive distribution levels without the approval of our unitholders, which may result in lower distributions to our common unitholders in certain situations.

 

Ongoing cost reimbursements due to our general partner and its affiliates for services provided, which are determined by our general partner, will be substantial and will reduce our cash available for distribution to our unitholders.

 

Prior to making distributions on our common units, we reimburse our general partner and its affiliates for all expenses they incur on our behalf. These expenses include all costs incurred by our general partner and its affiliates in managing and operating us, including costs for rendering administrative staff and support services to us and reimbursements paid by our general partner to Antero for customary management and general administrative services. There is no limit on the amount of expenses for which our general partner and its affiliates may be reimbursed under the services agreement. Our partnership agreement provides that our general partner determines the expenses that are allocable to us in good faith. In addition, under Delaware partnership law, our general partner has unlimited liability for our obligations, such as our debts and environmental liabilities, except for our contractual obligations that are expressly made without recourse to our general partner. To the extent our general partner incurs obligations on our behalf, we are obligated to reimburse or indemnify it. If we are unable or unwilling to reimburse or indemnify our general partner, our general partner may take actions to cause us to make payments of these obligations and liabilities. Any such payments could reduce the amount of cash otherwise available for distribution to our unitholders.

 

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We expect to distribute a significant portion of our cash available for distribution to our partners, which could limit our ability to grow and make acquisitions.

 

We plan to distribute most of our cash available for distribution, which may cause our growth to proceed at a slower pace than that of businesses that reinvest their cash to expand ongoing operations. To the extent we issue additional units in connection with any acquisitions or expansion capital expenditures, the payment of distributions on those additional units may increase the risk that we will be unable to maintain or increase our per unit distribution level. There are no limitations in our partnership agreement on our ability to issue additional units, including units ranking senior to the common units. In addition, the incurrence of commercial borrowings or other debt to finance our growth strategy would result in increased interest expense, which, in turn, may reduce the cash that we have available to distribute to our unitholders.

 

Our partnership agreement replaces our general partner’s fiduciary duties to holders of our units with contractual standards governing its duties.

 

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that eliminate and replace the fiduciary standards to which our general partner would otherwise be held by state fiduciary duty law. For example, our partnership agreement permits our general partner to make a number of decisions, in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner, or otherwise, free of fiduciary duties to us and our unitholders other than the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which means that a court will enforce the reasonable expectations of the parties where the language in our partnership agreement does not provide for a clear course of action. This entitles our general partner to consider only the interests and factors that it desires, and it has no duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of, or factors affecting, us, our affiliates or our limited partners. Examples of decisions that our general partner may make in its individual capacity include:

 

·

how to allocate business opportunities among us and its other affiliates;

 

·

whether to exercise its limited call right;

 

·

how to exercise its voting rights with respect to the units it owns;

 

·

whether to exercise its registration rights;

 

·

whether to elect to reset target distribution levels; and

 

·

whether or not to consent to any merger or consolidation of the partnership or amendment to the partnership agreement.

 

Unitholders are treated as having consented to the provisions in the partnership agreement, including the provisions discussed above.

 

Our partnership agreement limits the liability of, and replaces the duties owed by, our general partner and also restricts the remedies available to our unitholders for actions that, without the limitations, might constitute breaches of fiduciary duty.

 

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that restrict the remedies available to our unitholders for actions that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duty under state fiduciary duty law. For example, our partnership agreement provides that:

 

·

our general partner will not have any liability to us or our unitholders for decisions made in its capacity as general partner so long as it acted in good faith, meaning it believed that the decision was not adverse to the interest of the partnership, and, with respect to criminal conduct, did not act with the knowledge that its conduct was unlawful;

 

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·

our general partner and its officers and directors will not be liable for monetary damages or otherwise to us or our limited partners for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that such losses or liabilities were the result of the conduct of our general partner or such officer or director engaged in by it in bad faith or, with respect to any criminal conduct, with the knowledge that its conduct was unlawful; and

 

·

in resolving conflicts of interest, it will be presumed that in making its decision our general partner, the board of directors of our general partner or the conflicts committee of the board of directors of our general partner acted in good faith, and in any proceeding brought by or on behalf of any limited partner or us, the person bringing or prosecuting such proceeding will have the burden of overcoming such presumption and proving that such decision was not in good faith.

 

Our partnership agreement designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our unitholders, which limits our unitholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our general partner’s directors, officers or other employees. Our partnership agreement also provides that any unitholder bringing an unsuccessful action will be obligated to reimburse us for any costs we have incurred in connection with such unsuccessful action.

 

Our partnership agreement provides that, with certain limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for any claims, suits, actions or proceedings (1) arising out of or relating in any way to our partnership agreement (including any claims, suits or actions to interpret, apply or enforce the provisions of our partnership agreement or the duties, obligations or liabilities among limited partners or of limited partners to us, or the rights or powers of, or restrictions on, the limited partners or us), (2) brought in a derivative manner on our behalf, (3) asserting a claim of breach of a duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of us or our general partner, or owed by our general partner, to us or the limited partners, (4) asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (the “Delaware Act”) or (5) asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine. In addition, if any unitholder brings any of the aforementioned claims, suits, actions or proceedings and such person does not obtain a judgment on the merits that substantially achieves, in substance and amount, the full remedy sought, then such person shall be obligated to reimburse us and our affiliates for all fees, costs and expenses of every kind and description, including but not limited to all reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses, that the parties may incur in connection with such claim, suit, action or proceeding. Limited partners who own common units irrevocably consent to these limitations, provisions and potential reimbursement obligations regarding claims, suits, actions or proceedings and submitting to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or such other court) in connection with any such claims, suits, actions or proceedings. These provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against us and our general partner’s directors and officers.

 

Holders of our common units have limited voting rights and are not entitled to elect our general partner or its directors, which could reduce the price at which our common units will trade.

 

Compared to the holders of common stock in a corporation, unitholders have limited voting rights and, therefore, limited ability to influence management’s decisions regarding our business. Unitholders will have no right on an annual or ongoing basis to elect our general partner or its board of directors. The board of directors of our general partner, including the independent directors, is chosen entirely by Antero Investment, as a result of it owning our general partner, and not by our unitholders. Please read “Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers, and Corporate Governance—Management of Antero Midstream Partners LP” and “Certain Relationships and Related Transactions.” Unlike publicly-traded corporations, we do not conduct annual meetings of our unitholders to elect directors or conduct other matters routinely conducted at annual meetings of stockholders of corporations. As a result of these limitations, the price at which the common units will trade could be diminished because of the absence or reduction of a takeover premium in the trading price.

 

Our general partner intends to limit its liability regarding our obligations.

 

Our general partner intends to limit its liability under contractual arrangements between us and third parties so that the counterparties to such arrangements have recourse only against our assets, and not against our general partner or

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its assets. Our general partner may therefore cause us to incur indebtedness or other obligations that are nonrecourse to our general partner. Our partnership agreement provides that any action taken by our general partner to limit its liability is not a breach of our general partner’s duties, even if we could have obtained more favorable terms without the limitation on liability. In addition, we are obligated to reimburse or indemnify our general partner to the extent that it incurs obligations on our behalf. Any such reimbursement or indemnification payments would reduce the amount of cash otherwise available for distribution to our unitholders.

 

Our general partner may elect to cause us to issue common units to it in connection with a resetting of the target distribution levels related to its incentive distribution rights, without the approval of the conflicts committee of our general partner’s board of directors or the holders of our common units. This could result in lower distributions to holders of our common units.

 

Our general partner has the right, as the initial holder of our incentive distribution rights, at any time when there are no subordinated units outstanding and it has received incentive distributions at the highest level to which it is entitled (50%) for the prior four consecutive fiscal quarters, to reset the initial target distribution levels at higher levels based on our distributions at the time of the exercise of the reset election. Following a reset election by our general partner, the minimum quarterly distribution will be adjusted to equal the reset minimum quarterly distribution, and the target distribution levels will be reset to correspondingly higher levels based on percentage increases above the reset minimum quarterly distribution.

 

If our general partner elects to reset the target distribution levels, it will be entitled to receive a number of common units. The number of common units to be issued to our general partner will equal the number of common units that would have entitled our general partner to an aggregate quarterly cash distribution in the quarter prior to the reset election equal to the distribution to our general partner on the incentive distribution rights in the quarter prior to the reset election. We anticipate that our general partner would exercise this reset right in order to facilitate acquisitions or internal growth projects that would not be sufficiently accretive to cash distributions per common unit without such conversion. It is possible, however, that our general partner could exercise this reset election at a time when it is experiencing, or expects to experience, declines in the cash distributions it receives related to its incentive distribution rights and may, therefore, desire to be issued common units rather than retain the right to receive incentive distributions based on the initial target distribution levels. This risk could be elevated if our incentive distribution rights have been transferred to a third party. As a result, a reset election may cause our common unitholders to experience a reduction in the amount of cash distributions that our common unitholders would have otherwise received had we not issued new common units to our general partner in connection with resetting the target distribution levels. Our general partner may transfer all or a portion of the incentive distribution rights in the future. After any such transfer, the holder or holders of a majority of our incentive distribution rights will be entitled to exercise the right to reset the target distribution levels.

 

The incentive distribution rights held by our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.

 

Our general partner may transfer its incentive distribution rights to a third party at any time without the consent of our unitholders. If our general partner transfers its incentive distribution rights to a third party but retains its general partner interest, our general partner (and its owner, Antero Investment) may not have the same incentive to grow our partnership and increase quarterly distributions to unitholders over time as it would if it had retained ownership of its incentive distribution rights.

 

Increases in interest rates could adversely impact our unit price and our ability to issue additional equity, to incur debt to capture growth opportunities or for other purposes, or to make cash distributions at our intended levels.

 

If interest rates rise, the interest rates on our revolving credit facility, 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 unit price is impacted by the level of our cash distributions and implied distribution yield. The distribution yield is often used by investors to compare and rank related 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 units, and a rising interest rate environment could have an adverse impact on our unit price and our

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ability to issue additional equity, to incur debt to expand or for other purposes, or to make cash distributions at our intended levels.

 

Our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of unitholders owning 20% or more of our common units.

 

Unitholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the partnership agreement provision providing that any units held by a person or group that owns 20% or more of any class of units then outstanding, other than our general partner, its affiliaites (including Antero), their transferees and persons who acquired such units with the prior approval of the board of directors of our general partner, cannot vote on any matter.

 

Control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.

 

Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of our unitholders. Furthermore, our partnership agreement does not restrict the ability of the owners of our general partner from transferring all or a portion of their respective ownership interest in our general partner to a third party. The new owners of our general partner would then be in a position to replace the board of directors and officers of our general partner with its own choices and thereby exert significant control over the decisions made by the board of directors and officers. This effectively permits a “change of control” without the vote or consent of the unitholders.

 

We may issue additional units, including units that are senior to the common units, without unitholder approval, which would dilute our unitholders’ existing ownership interests.

 

Our partnership agreement does not limit the number of additional limited partner interests that we may issue at any time without the approval of our unitholders. The issuance by us of additional common units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects:

 

·

each unitholder’s proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;

 

·

the amount of cash available for distribution on each unit may decrease;

 

·

because a lower percentage of total outstanding units will be subordinated units, the risk that a shortfall in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution will be borne by our common unitholders will increase;

 

·

the ratio of taxable income to distributions may increase;

 

·

the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding unit may be diminished; and

 

·

the market price of the common units may decline.

 

Future sales of common units in the public markets or otherwise, which sales could have an adverse impact on the trading price of the common units.

 

As of February 19, 2016, Antero holds 40,929,378 common units and all 75,940,957 subordinated units. All of the subordinated units will convert into common units at the end of the subordination period and may convert earlier. Additionally, we have agreed to provide Antero with certain registration rights, pursuant to which we may be required to register the common units they hold under the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. Pursuant to the registration rights agreement and our partnership agreement, we may be required to undertake a future public or private offering of common units and use the net proceeds from such offering to redeem an equal number of common units held by Antero.

 

In November 2014, we filed a registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register common units issuable under the Antero Midstream Partners Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “Midstream LTIP”). Subject to applicable vesting requirements, Rule 144 limitations applicable to affiliates and the expiration of lock-up agreements,

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common units registered under the registration statement on Form S-8 will be available for resale immediately in the public market without restriction.

 

Future sales of common units in public or private markets could have an adverse impact on the price of the common units or on any trading market that may develop.

 

Our general partner has a limited call right that may require unitholders to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price.

 

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates (including Antero) own more than 80% of the common units, our general partner will have the right, but not the obligation, which it may assign to any of its affilites or to us, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the common units held by unaffiliated persons at a price equal to the greater of (i) the average of the daily closing price of the common units over the 20 trading days preceding the date three days before notice of exercise of the call right is first mailed and (ii) the highest per-unit price paid by our general partner or any of its affiliates for common units during the 90-day period preceding the date such notice is first mailed. As a result, unitholders may be required to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price and may not receive any return or a negative return on their investment. Unitholders may also incur a tax liability upon a sale of their units. Our general partner is not obligated to obtain a fairness opinion regarding the value of the common units to be repurchased by it upon exercise of the limited call right. There is no restriction in our partnership agreement that prevents our general partner from issuing additional common units and exercising its call right. If our general partner exercised its limited call right, the effect would be to take us private and, if the units were subsequently deregistered, we would no longer be subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act. Our general partner and its affiliates (including Antero) own an aggregate of 40.8% of our common and all of our subordinated units. At the end of the subordination period, assuming no additional issuances of units, as of February 19, 2016, (other than upon the conversion of the subordinated units), our general partner and its affiliates will own 66.3% of our common units.

 

Your liability may not be limited if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of our business.

 

A general partner of a partnership generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to the general partner. Our partnership is organized under Delaware law, and we own assets and conduct business in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. You could be liable for any and all of our obligations as if you were a general partner if:

 

·

a court or government agency determined that we were conducting business in a state but had not complied with that particular state’s partnership statute; or

 

·

your right to act with other unitholders to remove or replace the general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement or to take other actions under our partnership agreement constitute “control” of our business.

 

Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions that were wrongfully distributed to them.

 

Under certain circumstances, unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under Section 17-607 of the Delaware Act, we may not make a distribution to our unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Delaware law provides that for a period of three years from the date of the impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Delaware law will be liable to the limited partnership for the distribution amount. Substituted limited partners are liable for the obligations of the assignor to make contributions to the partnership that are known to the substituted limited partner at the time it became a limited partner and for unknown obligations if the liabilities could be determined from the partnership agreement. Liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interest and liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.

 

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The price of our common units may fluctuate significantly, which could cause you to lose all or part of your investment.

 

The market price of our common units is influenced by many factors, some of which are beyond our control, including:

 

·

our quarterly distributions;

 

·

our quarterly or annual earnings or those of other companies in our industry;

 

·

events affecting Antero;

 

·

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts or acquisitions;

 

·

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;

 

·

general economic conditions;

 

·

the failure of securities analysts to cover our common units or changes in financial estimates by analysts;

 

·

future sales of our common units; and

 

·

other factors described in these “Risk Factors.”

 

If we fail to develop or maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, current and potential unitholders could lose confidence in our financial reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our units.

 

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports, prevent fraud and operate successfully as a public company. If we cannot provide reliable financial reports or prevent fraud, our reputation and operating results would be harmed. We cannot be certain that our efforts to develop and maintain our internal controls will be successful, that we will be able to maintain adequate controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future or that we will be able to comply with our obligations under Section 404 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. Any failure to develop or maintain effective internal controls, or difficulties encountered in implementing or improving our internal controls, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. Ineffective internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which would likely have a negative effect on the trading price of our units.

 

The New York Stock Exchange does not require a publicly-traded partnership like us to comply with certain of its corporate governance requirements.

 

Our common units are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “AM.” Because we are a publicly-traded partnership, the NYSE does not require us to have a majority of independent directors on our general partner’s board of directors or to establish a compensation committee or a nominating and corporate governance committee. Accordingly, unitholders do not have the same protections afforded to certain corporations that are subject to all of the NYSE corporate governance requirements. Please read “Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers, and Corporate Governance—Management of Antero Midstream Partners LP.”

 

We incur increased costs as a result of being a publicly-traded partnership.

 

We had no history operating as a publicly-traded partnership prior to our initial public offering (“IPO”). As a publicly-traded partnership, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur prior to our IPO. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules implemented by the SEC and the NYSE, require publicly-traded entities to adopt various corporate governance practices that will further increase our costs. Before we are able to make distributions to our unitholders, we must first pay or reserve cash for our expenses, including the costs

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of being a publicly-traded partnership. As a result, the amount of cash we have available for distribution to our unitholders is affected by the costs associated with being a publicly-traded partnership.

 

As a result of our IPO, we became subject to the public reporting requirements of the Exchange Act. We expect these rules and regulations to increase certain of our legal and financial compliance costs and to make activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, as a result of becoming a publicly-traded partnership, we are required to have at least three independent directors, create an audit committee and adopt policies regarding internal controls and disclosure controls and procedures, including the preparation of reports on internal controls over financial reporting. In addition, we incur additional costs associated with our SEC reporting requirements.

 

We also incur significant expense in order to maintain director and officer liability insurance. Because of the limitations in coverage for directors, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board or as executive officers.

 

Tax Risks to Common Unitholders

 

Our tax treatment depends on our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, as well as us not being subject to a material amount of entity-level taxation. If the IRS were to treat us as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, or if we become subject to entity-level taxation for state tax purposes, our cash available for distribution to you would be substantially reduced.

 

The anticipated after tax economic benefit of an investment in our common units depends largely on our being treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.

 

Despite the fact that we are organized as a limited partnership under Delaware law, we would be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes unless we satisfy a “qualifying income” requirement. Based upon our current operations, we believe we satisfy the qualifying income requirement. We have requested and obtained a favorable private letter ruling from the IRS to the effect that, based on the facts presented in the private letter ruling request, income from fresh water distribution services is qualifying income for federal income tax purposes, we have not requested, and do not plan to request, a ruling from the IRS on any other matter affecting us. Failing to meet the qualifying income requirement or a change in current law could cause us to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject us to taxation as an entity.

 

If we were treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, we would pay U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at the corporate tax rate, which is currently a maximum of 35%. Distributions to you would generally be taxed again as corporate distributions, and no income, gains, losses or deductions would flow through to you. Because a tax would be imposed upon us as a corporation, our cash available for distribution to you would be substantially reduced. Therefore, treatment of us as a corporation would result in a material reduction in the anticipated cash flow and after-tax return to the unitholders, likely causing a substantial reduction in the value of our common units.

 

Our partnership agreement provides that if a law is enacted or existing law is modified or interpreted in a manner that subjects us to taxation as a corporation or otherwise subjects us to entity-level taxation for U.S. federal, state or local income tax purposes, the minimum quarterly distribution amount and the target distribution amounts may be adjusted to reflect the impact of that law on us. We own assets and conduct business in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Several states have been evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise or other forms of taxation. For example, Ohio imposes a commercial activity tax of 0.26% on taxable gross receipts with a “substantial nexus” with Ohio. Imposition of a similar tax on us in other jurisdictions that we may expand to could substantially reduce our cash available for distribution to you.

 

The tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships or an investment in our units could be subject to potential legislative, judicial or administrative changes and differing interpretations, possibly on a retroactive basis.

 

The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial changes or differing interpretations at any

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time. For example, from time to time, members of Congress propose and consider such substantive changes to the existing federal income tax laws that affect publicly traded partnerships. One such legislative proposal would have eliminated the qualifying income exception to the treatment of all publicly traded partnerships as corporations upon which we rely for our treatment as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service, on May 5, 2015, issued proposed regulations concerning which activities give rise to qualifying income within the meaning of Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code.  We do not believe the proposed regulations affect our ability to qualify as a publicly traded partnership.  However, finalized regulations could modify the amount of our gross income that we are able to treat as qualifying income for the purposes of the qualifying income requirement.

 

If the IRS were to contest the federal income tax positions we take, it may adversely impact the market for our common units, and the costs of any such contest would reduce cash available for distribution to our unitholders. Recently enacted legislation alters the procedures for assessing and collecting taxes due for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, in a manner that could substantially reduce cash available for distribution to you.

 

The IRS may adopt positions that differ from the positions we take in the future. It may be necessary to resort to administrative or court proceedings to sustain some or all of our counsel’s conclusions or the positions we take. A court may not agree with some or all of our counsel’s conclusions or positions we take. Any contest with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our common units and the price at which they trade. Moreover, the costs of any contest between us and the IRS will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to our unitholders and thus will be borne indirectly by our unitholders.

 

Recently enacted legislation applicable to us for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 alters the procedures for auditing large partnerships and also alters the procedures for assessing and collecting taxes due (including applicable penalties and interest) as a result of an audit. Unless we are eligible to (and choose to) elect to issue revised Schedules K-1 to our partners with respect to an audited and adjusted return, the IRS may assess and collect taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) directly from us in the year in which the audit is completed under the new rules. If we are required to pay taxes, penalties and interest as the result of audit adjustments, cash available for distribution to you may be substantially reduced. In addition, because payment would be due for the taxable year in which the audit is completed, unitholders during that taxable year would bear the expense of the adjustment even if they were not unitholders during the audited taxable year.

 

Even if you do not receive any cash distributions from us, you will be required to pay taxes on your share of our taxable income.

 

You are required to pay federal income taxes and, in some cases, state and local income taxes on your share of our taxable income, whether or not you receive cash distributions from us. You may not receive cash distributions from us equal to your share of our taxable income or even equal to the actual tax due from you with respect to that income.

 

In response to current market conditions, we may engage in transactions to deliver and manage our liquidity that may result in income and gain to our unitholders without a corresponding cash distribution.   For example, if we sell assets and use the proceeds to repay existing debt or fund capital expenditures, you may be allocated taxable income and gain resulting from the sale without receiving a cash distribution.  Further, taking advantage of opportunities to reduce our existing debt, such as debt exchanges, debt repurchases, or modifications of our existing debt could result in “cancellation of indebtedness income” (also referred to as “COD income”) being allocated to our unitholders as taxable income. Unitholders may be allocated COD income, and income tax liabilities arising therefrom may exceed cash distributions. The ultimate effect of any such allocations will depend on the unitholder's individual tax position with respect to its units. Unitholders are encouraged to consult their tax advisors with respect to the consequences to them of COD income.

 

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Tax gain or loss on disposition of our common units could be more or less than expected.

 

If you sell your common units, you will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and your tax basis in those common units. Because distributions in excess of your allocable share of our net taxable income decrease your tax basis in your common units, the amount, if any, of such prior excess distributions with respect to the units you sell will, in effect, become taxable income to you if you sell such units at a price greater than your tax basis in those units, even if the price you receive is less than your original cost. Furthermore, a substantial portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be taxed as ordinary income due to potential recapture items, including depreciation recapture. In addition, because the amount realized includes a unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities, if you sell your common units, you may incur a tax liability in excess of the amount of cash you receive from the sale.

 

Tax-exempt entities and non-U.S. persons face unique tax issues from owning our common units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.

 

Investment in common units by tax-exempt entities, such as employee benefit plans and individual retirement accounts (known as IRAs), and non-U.S. persons raises issues unique to them. For example, virtually all of our income allocated to organizations that are exempt from federal income tax, including IRAs and other retirement plans, will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to them. Allocations and/or distributions to non-U.S. persons will be subject to withholding taxes imposed at the highest effective tax rate applicable to such non-U.S. persons, and each non-U.S. person will be required to file United States federal tax returns and pay tax on their share of our taxable income. If you are a tax exempt entity or a non -U.S. person, you should consult your tax advisor before investing in our common units.

 

We treat each purchaser of common units as having the same tax benefits without regard to the common units actually purchased. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of the common units.

 

Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of our common units and because of other reasons, we have adopted depreciation and amortization positions that may not conform to all aspects of existing Treasury regulations. Our counsel is unable to opine as to the validity of this approach. A successful IRS challenge to those positions could adversely affect the amount of tax benefits available to you. It also could affect the timing of these tax benefits or the amount of gain from your sale of common units and could have a negative impact on the value of our common units or result in audit adjustments to your tax returns.

 

We prorate our items of income, gain, loss and deduction between transferors and transferees of our common units each month based upon the ownership of our common units on the first day of each month, instead of on the basis of the date a particular unit is transferred. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among our unitholders.

 

We prorate our items of income, gain, loss and deduction between transferors and transferees of our units each month based upon the ownership of our units on the first day of each month, instead of on the basis of the date a particular unit is transferred. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently adopted final Treasury Regulations allowing a similar monthly simplifying convention for taxable years beginning on or after August 3, 2015. However, such final regulations do not specifically authorize the use of the proration method we have adopted. If the IRS were to challenge our proration method or new Treasury regulations were issued, we may be required to change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss and deduction among our unitholders. 

 

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A unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan (e.g., a loan to a “short seller” to cover a short sale of units) may be considered to have disposed of those units. If so, the unitholder would no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan and could recognize gain or loss from the disposition.

 

Because there are no specific rules governing the U.S. federal income tax consequence of loaning a partnership interest, a unitholder whose units are the subject of a securities loan may be considered to have disposed of the loaned units. In that case, the unitholder may no longer be treated for tax purposes as a partner with respect to those units during the period of the loan to the short seller and the unitholder may recognize gain or loss from such disposition. Moreover, during the period of the loan, any of our income, gain, loss or deduction with respect to those units may not be reportable by the unitholder and any cash distributions received by the unitholder as to those units could be fully taxable as ordinary income. Unitholders desiring to assure their status as partners and avoid the risk of gain recognition from a securities loan are urged to modify any applicable brokerage account agreements to prohibit their brokers from borrowing their units.

 

We have adopted certain valuation methodologies in determining unitholder’s allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction. The IRS may challenge these methods or the resulting allocations, and such a challenge could adversely affect the value of our common units.

 

In determining the items of income, gain, loss and deduction allocable to our unitholders, we must routinely determine the fair market value of our respective assets. Although we may from time to time consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we make many fair market value estimates using a methodology based on the market value of our common units as a means to measure the fair market value of our respective assets. The IRS may challenge these valuation methods and the resulting allocations of income, gain, loss and deduction.

 

A successful IRS challenge to these methods or allocations could adversely affect the amount, character, and timing of taxable income or loss being allocated to our unitholders. It also could affect the amount of gain from our unitholders’ sale of common units and could have a negative impact on the value of the common units or result in audit adjustments to our unitholders’ tax returns without the benefit of additional deductions.

 

The sale or exchange of 50% or more of our capital and profits interests during any twelve-month period will result in the termination of our partnership for federal income tax purposes.

 

We will be considered to have terminated for federal income tax purposes if there is a sale or exchange of 50% or more of the total interests in our capital and profits within a twelve-month period. As of December 31, 2015, Antero owned 66.3% of the total interests in our capital and profits. Therefore, a transfer by Antero of all or a portion of its interests in us could, in conjunction with the trading of common units held by the public, result in a termination of our partnership for federal income tax purposes. For purposes of determining whether the 50% threshold has been met, multiple sales of the same interest will be counted only once.

 

Our termination would, among other things, result in the closing of our taxable year for all unitholders, which would result in us filing two tax returns for one calendar year and could result in a significant deferral of depreciation deductions allowable in computing our taxable income. In the case of a unitholder reporting on a taxable year other than a calendar year, the closing of our taxable year may also result in more than twelve months of our taxable income or loss being includable in taxable income for the unitholder’s taxable year that includes our termination. Our termination would not affect our classification as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, but it would result in our being treated as a new partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes following the termination. If we were treated as a new partnership, we would be required to make new tax elections and could be subject to penalties if we were unable to determine that a termination occurred. The IRS recently announced a relief procedure whereby if a publicly-traded partnership that has technically terminated requests and the IRS grants special relief, among other things, the partnership may be permitted to provide only a single Schedule K-1 to unitholders for the two short tax periods included in the year in which the termination occurs.

 

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You will likely be subject to state and local taxes and income tax return filing requirements in jurisdictions where you do not live as a result of investing in our common units.

 

In addition to U.S. federal income taxes, you may be subject to other taxes, including foreign, state and local taxes, unincorporated business taxes and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that are imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we conduct business or own property now or in the future, even if you do not live in any of those jurisdictions. You will likely be required to file foreign, state and local income tax returns and pay state and local income taxes in some or all of these various jurisdictions. Further, you may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.

 

We own assets and conduct business in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, each of which imposes a personal income tax on individuals. As we make acquisitions or expand our business, we may own assets or conduct business in additional states that impose a personal income tax. It is your responsibility to file all United States federal, foreign, state and local tax returns. Our counsel has not rendered an opinion on the state or local tax consequences of an investment in our common units.

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

 

Not applicable.

 

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings 

 

Our operations are subject to a variety of risks and disputes normally incident to our business. As a result, we may, at any given time, be a defendant in various legal proceedings and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business.

 

During the third quarter of 2015, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“WVDEP”) issued us a notice of violation (“NOV”) for improper installation of an engine catalyst at the startup of our North Canton Compressor Station.  We continue to negotiate with WVDEP to resolve this matter, but believe that it could result in monetary sanctions exceeding $100,000; however, we do not expect that any ultimate sanction will have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations, or liquidity.

 

We maintain insurance policies with insurers in amounts and with coverage and deductibles that we, with the advice of our insurance advisors and brokers, believe are reasonable and prudent. We cannot, however, assure you that this insurance will be adequate to protect us from all material expenses related to potential future claims for personal and property damage or that these levels of insurance will be available in the future at economical prices.

 

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 

 

Common Units

 

Our common units are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and traded under the symbol “AM.” On February 19, 2016, our common units were held by 22 holders of record.  The number of holders does not include the holders for whom units are held in a “nominee” or “street” name. In addition, as of February 19, 2016, Antero and its affiliates owned 40,929,378 of our common units and 75,940,957 of our subordinated units, which together represent a 66.3% limited partner interest in us.

 

The table below reflects the high and low intraday sales prices per share of our common units on the New York Stock Exchange for each period presented:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Unit

 

Distributions per

 

 

    

High

    

Low

    

Common Unit

 

2015:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarter ended December 31, 2015

 

$

26.00

 

$

17.65

 

$

0.2200

 

Quarter ended September 30, 2015

 

$

29.36

 

$

16.47

 

$

0.2050

 

Quarter ended June 30, 2015

 

$

29.76

 

$

24.10

 

$

0.1900

 

Quarter ended March 31, 2015

 

$

27.75

 

$

20.50

 

$

0.1800

 

2014:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the period from November 5, 2014 through December 31, 2014

 

$

30.77

 

$

22.80

 

$

0.0943

 

 

Prior to November 5, 2014, there was no public market for our common units.

 

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Period

    

Number of
Shares
Purchased

    

Average
Price Paid
per Share

    

Total Number of
Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans

    

Maximum
Number of
Shares that May
Yet be Purchased
Under the Plan

 

October 1, 2015 - October 31, 2015

  

 —

 

$

 —

 

 —

 

N/A

 

November 1, 2015 - November 30, 2015

  

211,198

 

$

22.76

 

 —

 

N/A

 

December 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015

  

 —

 

$

 —

 

 —

 

N/A

 

 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

 

On September 23, 2015, we completed the previously announced sale of 12,898,000 common units at $18.84 per common unit for net proceeds of approximately $241  million. We used the net proceeds of the Private Placement to fund the Water Acquisition. The common units were offered and sold in the Private Placement pursuant to an exemption from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Other exemptions from registration may have applied.

 

Also on September 23, 2015, in consideration for the Water Acquisition, we issued 10,988,421 common units valued at $230 million representing limited partner interests in the Partnership to Antero. The common units were offered and sold pursuant to an exemption from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act. Other exemptions from registration may have applied.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

In connection with the completion of our IPO, our general partner adopted the Midstream LTIP, which permits the issuance of up to 10,000,000 common units.  Restricted unit grants have been made to each of the independent

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directors of our general partner and phantom unit grants have been made to each of the executive officers of our general partner under the Midstream LTIP.  Please read the information under “Item 11Executive Compensation – Compensation Discussion and Analysis – Equity Compensation Plan Information.

 

Our Minimum Quarterly Distribution

 

Our partnership agreement provides for a minimum quarterly distribution of $0.17 per unit for each whole quarter, or $0.68 per unit on an annualized basis.

 

The board of directors of our general partner has adopted a policy pursuant to which distributions for each quarter will be paid to the extent we have sufficient cash after establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses, including payments to our general partner and its affiliates.  Our ability to pay the minimum quarterly distribution is subject to various restrictions and other factors.

 

Our partnership agreement generally provides that we distribute cash each quarter during the subordination period in the following manner:

 

·

first, to the holders of common units, until each common unit has received the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.1700 plus any arrearages from prior quarters;

 

·

second, to the holders of subordinated units, until each subordinated unit has received the minimum quarterly distribution of $0.1700; and

 

·

third, to the holders of common units and subordinated units pro rata until each has received a distribution of $0.1955.

 

If cash distributions to our unitholders exceed $0.1955 per common unit and subordinated unit in any quarter, our unitholders and our general partner, as the holder of our incentive distribution rights (“IDRs”), will receive distributions according to the following percentage allocations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marginal Percentage

 

 

 

Interest in

 

 

 

Distributions

 

 

 

 

 

General Partner

 

Total Quarterly Distribution

 

 

 

(as holder of

 

Target Amount

    

Unitholders

    

IDRs)

 

above $0.1955 up to $0.2125

    

85

%  

15

%

above $0.2125 up to $0.2550

 

75

%  

25

%

above $0.2550

 

50

%  

50

%

 

There is no guarantee that we will make cash distributions to our unitholders.  We do not have a legal or contractual obligation to pay distributions quarterly or on any other basis or at our minimum quarterly distribution rate or at any other rate.  Our cash distribution policy may be changed at any time and is subject to certain restrictions, including our partnership agreement, our credit facility and applicable partnership law.

 

General Partner Interest

 

Our general partner owns a non‑economic general partner interest in us, which does not entitle it to receive cash distributions. However, our general partner owns the IDRs and may in the future own common units or other equity interests in us and will be entitled to receive distributions on any such interests.

 

Subordinated Units

 

Antero owns all of our subordinated units. The principal difference between our common units and subordinated units is that, for any quarter during the subordination period, holders of the subordinated units are not

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entitled to receive any distribution from operating surplus until the common units have received the minimum quarterly distribution from operating surplus for such quarter plus any arrearages in the payment of the minimum quarterly distribution from prior quarters. Subordinated units will not accrue arrearages. When the subordination period ends, all of the subordinated units will convert into an equal number of common units. The subordination period will end on the first business day after we have earned and paid at least $0.68 (the minimum quarterly distribution on an annualized basis) on each outstanding common unit and subordinated unit for each of three consecutive, non-overlapping four-quarter periods ending on or after September 30, 2017 and there are no outstanding arrearages on our common units.

 

To the extent we do not pay the minimum quarterly distribution on our common units, our common unitholders will not be entitled to receive such arrearage payments in the future except during the subordination period. To the extent we have cash available for distribution from operating surplus in any future quarter during the subordination period in excess of the amount necessary to pay the minimum quarterly distribution to holders of our common units, we will use this excess cash to pay any distribution arrearages on common units related to prior quarters before any cash distribution is made to holders of subordinated units.

 

Cash Distributions

 

On January 13, 2016, we announced that the board of directors of our general partner declared a cash distribution of $0.22 per unit for the quarter ended December 31, 2015. The distribution will be payable on February 29, 2016 to unitholders of record as of February 15, 2016.

Item 6.  Selected Financial Data 

 

The following table presents our selected historical financial data, for the periods and as of the dates indicated, for the Partnership and our Predecessor. Our Predecessor for accounting purposes consisted of Antero’s gathering and compression assets and related operations on a carve-out basis. The Partnership was originally formed as Antero Resources Midstream LLC and converted into a limited partnership in connection with the completion of the Partnership’s IPO on November 10, 2014. The information in this report includes periods prior to the Water Acquisition, which occurred on September 23, 2015. Consequently, the Partnership’s combined consolidated financial statements have been retrospectively recast for all periods presented to include the historical results of Antero Water,  because the Water Acquisition was between entities under common control. Antero Water’s operations through September 23, 2015 consist entirely of water distribution.

 

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The selected financial data presented below are qualified in their entirety by reference to, and should be read in conjunction with, ‘‘Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations’’ and our combined consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

 

 

 

(in thousands, except per unit amounts)

 

Revenue:

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Revenue - Antero

 

$

441

 

$

647

 

$

58,234

 

$

258,029

 

$

386,164

 

Revenue - third-party

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

8,245

 

 

1,160

 

Total revenue

 

 

441

 

 

647

 

 

58,234

 

 

266,274

 

 

387,324

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct operating

 

 

802

 

 

698

 

 

7,871

 

 

48,821

 

 

78,852

 

General and administrative (before equity-based compensation)

 

 

397

 

 

2,977

 

 

9,716

 

 

18,748

 

 

28,736

 

Equity-based compensation expense

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

24,349

 

 

11,618

 

 

22,470

 

Depreciation

 

 

997

 

 

1,679

 

 

14,119

 

 

53,029

 

 

86,670

 

Contingent acquisition consideration accretion

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

3,333

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

2,196

 

 

5,354

 

 

56,055

 

 

132,216

 

 

220,061

 

Operating income (loss)

 

 

(1,755)

 

 

(4,707)

 

 

2,179

 

 

134,058

 

 

167,263

 

Interest expense

 

 

2

 

 

8

 

 

164

 

 

6,183

 

 

8,158

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

(1,757)

 

$

(4,715)

 

 

2,015

 

$

127,875

 

$

159,105

 

Pre-IPO net (income) loss attributed to parent

 

 

1,757

 

 

4,715

 

 

(2,015)

 

 

(98,219)

 

 

 —

 

Pre-Water Acquisition net income attributed to parent

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(22,234)

 

 

(40,193)

 

General partner interest in net income attributable to incentive distribution rights

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(1,264)

 

Limited partners' interest in net income

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

7,422

 

$

117,648

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income allocable to common units - basic and diluted

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

3,711

 

$

62,421

 

Net income allocable to subordinated units - basic and diluted

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

3,711

 

 

55,227

 

Limited partner interest in net income - basic and diluted

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

7,422

 

$

117,648

 

Net income per limited partner unit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

0.05

 

$

0.76

 

Subordinated units

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

0.05

 

$

0.73

 

Diluted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

0.05

 

$

0.76

 

Subordinated units

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

 

$

0.05

 

$

0.73

 

Weighted average limited partner units  outstanding:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

75,941

 

 

82,538

 

Subordinated units

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

75,941

 

 

75,941

 

Diluted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common units

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

75,941

 

 

82,586

 

Subordinated units

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

75,941

 

 

75,941

 

 

 

48


 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

    

2012

    

2013

    

2014

    

2015

  

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Balance sheet data (at period end):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

  

$

 —

  

$

 —

  

$

230,192

  

$

6,883

 

Property and equipment, net

 

 

180,249

 

 

793,330

 

 

1,531,595

 

 

1,893,826

 

Total assets

 

 

180,408

 

 

808,337

 

 

1,816,610

 

 

1,980,032

 

Long-term indebtedness

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

115,000

 

 

620,000

 

Total capital

 

 

144,897

 

 

732,061

 

 

1,620,903

 

 

1,082,745

 

Cash flow data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

 

$

(3,236)

 

$

38,245

 

$

169,433

 

$

259,678

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(117,347)

 

 

(598,177)

 

 

(797,505)

 

 

(445,455)

 

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

 

120,583

 

 

559,932

 

 

858,264

 

 

(37,532)

 

Other financial data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

 

 

(3,028)

 

 

40,647

 

 

198,705

 

 

279,736

 


(1)

For a discussion of the non‑GAAP financial measure Adjusted EBITDA, including a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to its most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, please read “—Non‑GAAP Financial Measure” below.

 

Non‑GAAP Financial Measure

 

We use Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow as performance measures to assess the ability of our assets to generate cash sufficient to pay interest costs, support indebtedness and make cash distributions. Adjusted EBITDA is a financial measure reported to our lenders and used as a gauge for compliance with some of the financial covenants included in our revolving credit facility. We define Adjusted EBITDA as net income before equity-based compensation expense, interest expense, interest income, income taxes and depreciation and amortization expense, excluding pre-acquisition income and expenses attributable to the parent. We define Distributable Cash Flow as Adjusted EBITDA less cash interest paid, income tax withholding payments upon vesting of equity-based compensation awards, and ongoing maintenance capital expenditures paid, excluding pre-acquisition amounts attributable to the parent. Distributable Cash Flow should not be viewed as indicative of the actual amount of cash we have available for distributions from operating surplus or that we plan to distribute.

 

We use Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow to assess:

 

the financial performance of our assets, without regard to financing methods in the case of adjusted EDITDA, capital structure or historical cost basis;

 

the ability of our assets to generate cash sufficient to support our indebtedness and make cash distributions;

 

our operating performance and return on capital as compared to other publicly traded partnerships in the midstream energy sector, without regard to financing or capital structure; and

 

the viability of acquisitions and other capital expenditure projects.

 

Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow are non-GAAP financial measures. The GAAP measures most directly comparable to Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow are net income and net cash provided by operating activities. The non-GAAP financial measures of Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow should not be considered as an alternative to the GAAP measure of net income. Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow are not presentations made in accordance with GAAP and have important limitations as an analytical tool because they include some, but not all, items that affect net income. You should not consider Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow in isolation or as a substitute for analyses of results as reported under GAAP. Our definition of Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other partnerships.

 

49


 

Table of Contents

The following table represents a reconciliation of our Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures for the periods presented: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended December 31,

 

 

    

2011

    

2012

    

2013

    

2014

    

2015

  

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

  

$

(1,757)

  

$

(4,715)

  

$

2,015

  

$

127,875

  

$

159,105

 

Interest expense

 

 

2

 

 

8

 

 

164

 

 

6,183

 

 

8,158

 

Depreciation expense

 

 

997

 

 

1,679

 

 

14,119

 

 

53,029

 

 

86,670

 

Contingent acquisition consideration accretion

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

3,333