The pipeline sector is primed to transport the cleaner fuels of the future but attracting capital has emerged as a huge challenge because of what was termed the “tobaccofication” of the oil and gas industry, members of a North American infrastructure panel said during the recent CERAWeek by IHS Markit virtual conference.

“In terms of equity capital, the markets are severely depressed,” said Peter Bowden, managing director and global head of energy investment banking for Jefferies. “Our view is that most of these companies trade well below where we see intrinsic value.”

In 2013 through 2015, average equity issuance a year for midstream companies was $25 billion, Bowden said. In 2018 through 2020, that average nosedived to $1 billion. MLPs alone were raising about $4 billion a year in the middle of the last decade. Since 2016, they’ve raised effectively zero, he said. Oil and gas has become a social and investing pariah, much like the tobacco industry.

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