When Kinder Morgan Inc. first left the MLP space, it was an anomaly. Now that ONEOK Inc. and Targa Resources Corp. have both also bought in their MLPs, there is validity to the question of whether the MLP model is still relevant.

One of the original arguments made for the value and expansion of the MLP model was that large energy companies could spin off their midstream assets into an MLP, transforming an internal cost of doing business into a profit center. This is precisely what Hess Corp. did with the IPO of its midstream assets into Hess Midstream Partners LP. Just recently, BP Plc announced the same thing, potentially raising cash while maintaining access to the assets. Analysts are even speculating that Chevron Corp. might try the same thing.

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