Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) announced it is expanding its growing fleet of Jones Act product tankers and has signed a definitive agreement valued at an all-in price of $568 million with Philly Tankers LLC to take assignment of contracts for the construction of four, new 50,000-deadweight-ton, Tier II tankers to be constructed at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The transaction requires approval of shareholders holding 80 percent of the shares of Philly Tankers AS. Philly Tankers AS is the parent of Philly Tankers LLC. Shareholders accounting for over 85 percent of Philly Tankers AS’ outstanding shares have already entered into irrevocable voting undertakings approving the transaction. An extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders of Philly Tankers AS will be scheduled in August 2015 for formal shareholder approval of the transaction.

Each LNG-conversion-ready tanker will have a capacity of 337,000 barrels. The vessels will be delivered to Kinder Morgan between November 2016 and November 2017 and placed in United States domestic service, commonly referred to as the Jones Act trade. The first two that are scheduled for delivery, in late 2016 and early 2017, are under long-term contract to a creditworthy oil company. Contract discussions for the two tankers to be delivered by late 2017 are ongoing with other creditworthy counterparties, and executed contracts are expected to be completed by early 2016. Approximately 10 percent of each vessel’s all-in price will be paid upon construction start, with the pro-rata balance due upon each ship’s delivery.

These four new vessels will increase Kinder Morgan’s Jones Act tanker fleet to 16 ships by late 2017, of which 14 are under long-term contracts with strong, creditworthy counterparties.

“There continues to be strong demand for domestic waterborne transportation to move petroleum products and crude oil, and our fleet of highly efficient tankers will provide stable, fee-based cash flow to KMI shareholders for many years to come through multi-year contracts,” said Kinder Morgan Terminals President John Schlosser. “This latest transaction clearly underscores Kinder Morgan’s commitment to marine transportation of crude oil, condensate and refined products in the U.S. domestic trade.”

“This is just the latest indication that we continue to have good opportunities to deploy capital in our core businesses at attractive returns,” noted Steve Kean, president and chief executive officer of Kinder Morgan, Inc. Prior to this transaction, the company identified a backlog of projects that had grown to $22 billion. “We are seeing numerous opportunities in our core pipelines and terminals businesses as the demand for midstream transportation and storage services continues to grow,” Kean said.

Kinder Morgan currently has seven product tankers on the water and five tankers that are in various stages of design and construction at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, California, scheduled for delivery between late 2015 and mid-2017.

The new Tier II tankers obtained in this latest transaction will deliver cargo flexibility, improved fuel efficiency and incorporate the latest environmental protection features, including a Ballast Water Treatment System.

Kinder Morgan entered the Jones Act product tanker business with an initial purchase of five ships in January of 2014 via the acquisition of American Petroleum Tankers and State Class Tankers for $960 million in cash. (Original Source)

Shares of Kinder Morgan closed last Friday at $32.14. KMI has a 1-year high of $44.71 and a 1-year low of $32.06. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $36.16 and its 200-day moving average is $39.71.

On the ratings front, Kinder Morgan has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 14, Barclays analyst Richard Gross maintained a Buy rating on KMI, with a price target of $46, which implies an upside of 43.1% from current levels. Separately, on June 17, RBC’s Elvira Scotto upgraded the stock to Buy and has a price target of $47.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Richard Gross and Elvira Scotto have a total average return of 11.8% and 2.3% respectively. Gross has a success rate of 63.5% and is ranked #262 out of 3728 analysts, while Scotto has a success rate of 52.0% and is ranked #1694.

The street is mostly Bullish on KMI stock. Out of 4 analysts who cover the stock, 4 suggest a Buy rating . The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $50.00, which represents a potential upside of 55.6% from where the stock is currently trading.

Kinder Morgan, Inc., owns interests in an energy transportation and storage company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates pipelines that transport natural gas, gasoline, crude oil, carbon dioxide and other products.