ONEOK ("one oak") is OK with its singled-minded pursuit of profits from natural gas activities. Through its 43%-owned ONEOK Partners (of which it is the general partner) it operates 17,100 miles of gas-gathering pipeline and 7,600 miles of transportation pipeline, as well as gas processing plants and storage facilities. The unit also owns one of the US's top natural gas liquids (NGL) systems. ONEOK's energy services unit focuses on marketing natural gas across the US. The company's regulated utilities -- Oklahoma Natural Gas, Kansas Gas Service, and Texas Gas Service -- distribute natural gas to more than 2 million customers. ONEOK also has a parking garage and leases office space in Tulsa.
ONEOK has 10,900 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines in the Mid-Continent and 6,200 miles in the Rocky Mountains. Its largest distribution markets are Austin and El Paso, Texas; Kansas City, Wichita, and Topeka, Kansas; and Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is the largest natural gas distributor in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the third largest in Texas.
ONEOK's natural gas distribution segment is made up of the company's regulated public utilities. Its energy services segment markets natural gas to wholesale customers.
Kansas Gas Service, largest natural gas distribution company in Kansas, delivers natural gas service to more than 630,000 customers in 342 communities. Oklahoma Natural Gas, the #1 natural gas distributor in Oklahoma, serves 829,000 customers. Texas Gas Service, the third largest natural gas distribution company in that state, serves 603,000 customers.
ONEOK's revenues declined by 15% in 2012 due to lower natural gas and NGL product prices, offset partially by higher natural gas and NGL sales volumes from ONEOK Partners’ projects that came online in 2012.
Higher natural gas supply from North America shale areas and a warmer-than-normal winter resulted in lower natural gas prices. NGL prices, particularly ethane and propane, also dropped in 2012 due primarily to increased NGL production growth from NGL-rich shale gas plays. Propane prices also were negatively affected by a warmer-than-normal winter.
The company reported net income of $360.6 million in 2012 (just 0.01% up on 2011). Higher operations and maintenance costs, depreciation and amortization, goodwill impairments, and taxes were offset by a gain on the sale of discontinued operations and an increase in the allowance for equity funds income and other income.
ONEOK's strategy is to deliver consistent growth and sustainable earnings by both internal investments and strategic acquisitions.
The company's primary growth vehicle, ONEOK Partners, has committed $3 billion to growth projects between 2011 and 2014, primarily in the high-yielding NGL market. It is investing heavily in that unit's growth projects in the Williston Basin (Bakken Shale) in North Dakota and the Cana-Woodford Shale and Granite Wash areas in Oklahoma and Texas.
In a major reorganization, in 2013 ONEOK announced plans to spin off its natural gas distribution business, resulting in two independent, highly focused energy companies. The new public company, ONE Gas, Inc., will consist of Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, Kansas Gas Service and Texas Gas Service. ONEOK will continue to hold interests in ONEOK Partners.
As part of the restructuring, that year ONEOK also announced plans to wind down its energy services segment. The company's ONEOK Partners segment will continue to market natural gas, natural gas liquids, and condensate as a service to its producers and customers.
To keep pace with the growing shale gas market, in late 2011 ONEOK Partners opened a processing plant to process Bakken Shale gas. It plans to open two more by the end of 2013. It is also building NGL pipelines to transport Cana-Woodford Shale and Granite Wash output to fractionators.
In 2012 ONEOK Partners announced that it will spend up to $1.8 billion to build a crude oil pipeline from the Bakken Shale to the major crude oil storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma.