AMZ Anniversary Countdown: 2015

05/31/16 | Emily Hsieh

AMZ Total Return: -32.9%
Annualized Standard Deviation: 31.1%
Average Yield: 6.9%
Average Spread to Treasuries: 478 basis points
Top AMZ Performer: Valero Energy Partners (VLP)
Bottom AMZ Performer: Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR)
Median AMZ Daily Liquidity: $964 million

With a -32.9% total return, 2015 marked the second-worst year in AMZ history, as investors panicked watching crude oil prices plummet another 50%. Not to mention, there were 10 distribution cuts, a record in index history.

The index was rebalanced a record nine times, including four quarterly rebalancings and five special rebalancings due to the merger of the following MLPs:

  1. Access Midstream Partners (current ticker: WPZ, former ticker: ACMP) and Williams Partners (former ticker: WPZ)
  2. Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) and Oiltanking Partners (former ticker: OILT)
  3. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Regency Energy Partners (former ticker: RGP)
  4. Crestwood Equity Partners (CEQP) and Crestwood Midstream Partners (former ticker: CMLP)
  5. MPLX (MPLX) and MarkWest Energy Partners (former ticker: MWE)

In early March, the IRS lifted the pause on issuing private letter rulings (PLRs) related to MLP qualifying income. However, proposed regulations were not released until early May and stakeholders were given until August 4th to submit comments.

Black Stone Minerals (BSM) completed its IPO on April 30th, offering a unique step-up distribution policy where their minimum quarterly distribution steps up each year during the first few years the company is public. (This unique policy won BSM a 2016 Ammy for Most Innovative MLP.)

Wrapping up the year, on December 18th, the 40-year old ban on US crude oil exports was lifted. While EPD was the first to publicly announce on December 23rd that it would ship the first export cargo of crude oil the first week of January 2016, NuStar Energy (NS) slid in on December 30th to announce that they were in the process of loading what they believed to be the nation’s first export cargo of domestic light crude oil, with loading completed on December 31st. Technically, load date and export date aren’t the same, and since no follow-up press releases were announced, I guess we’ll never know who really won the race.