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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

Or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from             to       
WESTERN MIDSTREAM PARTNERS, LP
WESTERN MIDSTREAM OPERATING, LP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Commission file number:State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization:I.R.S. Employer Identification No.:
Western Midstream Partners, LP001-35753Delaware46-0967367
Western Midstream Operating, LP001-34046Delaware26-1075808
Address of principal executive offices:Zip Code:Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
Western Midstream Partners, LP9950 Woodloch Forest Drive, Suite 2800The Woodlands,Texas77380(346)786-5000
Western Midstream Operating, LP9950 Woodloch Forest Drive, Suite 2800The Woodlands,Texas77380(346)786-5000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbolName of exchange
on which registered
Western Midstream Partners, LPCommon unitsWESNew York Stock Exchange
Western Midstream Operating, LPNoneNoneNone
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Western Midstream Partners, LPYes
þ
No
¨
Western Midstream Operating, LPYes
þ
No
¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Western Midstream Partners, LPYes
¨
No
þ
Western Midstream Operating, LPYes
¨
No
þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Western Midstream Partners, LPYes
þ
No
¨
Western Midstream Operating, LPYes
þ
No
¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Western Midstream Partners, LPYes
þ
No
¨
Western Midstream Operating, LPYes
þ
No
¨




Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Western Midstream Partners, LPLarge Accelerated FilerAccelerated FilerNon-accelerated FilerSmaller Reporting CompanyEmerging Growth Company
þ
Western Midstream Operating, LPLarge Accelerated FilerAccelerated FilerNon-accelerated FilerSmaller Reporting CompanyEmerging Growth Company
þ
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Western Midstream Partners, LP
¨
Western Midstream Operating, LP
¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Western Midstream Partners, LP
Western Midstream Operating, LP
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Western Midstream Partners, LP
Western Midstream Operating, LP
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).
Western Midstream Partners, LP
Western Midstream Operating, LP
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Western Midstream Partners, LPYesNo
þ
Western Midstream Operating, LPYes
No
þ
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common units representing limited partner interests held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2023, based on the closing price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.
Western Midstream Partners, LP$5.1 billion
Western Midstream Operating, LPNone
Common units outstanding as of February 14, 2024:
Western Midstream Partners, LP380,483,668
Western Midstream Operating, LPNone
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
None
Auditor NameAuditor LocationAuditor Firm ID
Western Midstream Partners, LPKPMG LLPHouston, Texas185
Western Midstream Operating, LPKPMG LLPHouston, Texas185




FILING FORMAT

This annual report on Form 10-K is a combined report being filed by two separate registrants: Western Midstream Partners, LP and Western Midstream Operating, LP. Western Midstream Operating, LP is a consolidated subsidiary of Western Midstream Partners, LP that has publicly traded debt, but does not have any publicly traded equity securities. Information contained herein related to any individual registrant is filed by such registrant solely on its own behalf. Each registrant makes no representation as to information relating exclusively to the other registrant.

Part II, Item 8 of this annual report includes separate financial statements (i.e., consolidated statements of operations, consolidated balance sheets, consolidated statements of equity and partners’ capital, and consolidated statements of cash flows) for Western Midstream Partners, LP and Western Midstream Operating, LP. The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, which are included under Part II, Item 8 of this annual report, and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, which is included under Part II, Item 7 of this annual report, are presented on a combined basis for each registrant, with any material differences between the registrants disclosed separately.




TABLE OF CONTENTS
ItemPage
1 and 2.
1A.
1B.
1C.
3.
4.
5.
7.
7A.
8.
9.
9A.
9B.
9C.
4


5


COMMONLY USED ABBREVIATIONS AND TERMS
References to “we,” “us,” “our,” “WES,” “the Partnership,” or “Western Midstream Partners, LP” refer to Western Midstream Partners, LP (formerly Western Gas Equity Partners, LP) and its subsidiaries. The following list of abbreviations and terms are used in this document:
Defined TermDefinition
AnadarkoAnadarko Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiaries, excluding our general partner, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental upon closing of the Occidental Merger on August 8, 2019.
Barrel, Bbl, Bbls/d, MBbls/d42 U.S. gallons measured at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, barrels per day, thousand barrels per day.
BoardThe board of directors of WES’s general partner.
Cactus II
Cactus II Pipeline LLC, in which we held a 15% interest that we sold in November 2022 (see Note 3—Acquisitions and Divestitures in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K).
Chipeta
Chipeta Processing, LLC, in which we are the managing member of and own a 75% interest.
Chipeta LLC agreement
Chipeta’s limited liability company agreement, as amended and restated as of July 23, 2009.
CondensateA natural-gas liquid with a low vapor pressure compared to drip condensate, mainly composed of propane, butane, pentane, and heavier hydrocarbon fractions.
DBM water systems
Produced-water gathering and disposal systems in West Texas.
Delivery pointThe point where hydrocarbons are delivered by a processor or transporter to a producer, shipper, or purchaser, typically the inlet at the interconnection between the gathering or processing system and the facilities of a third-party processor or transporter.
DJ Basin complex
The Platte Valley, Fort Lupton, Wattenberg, Lancaster, and Latham processing plants, and the Wattenberg gathering system.
EBITDA
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. For a definition of “Adjusted EBITDA,” see Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures under Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K.
Equity-investment throughput
Our share of average throughput from investments accounted for under the equity method of accounting.
Exchange ActThe Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
Floating-Rate Senior Notes due 2023WES Operating’s floating-rate Senior Notes due 2023, which were fully repaid in January 2023.
FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FRP
Front Range Pipeline LLC, in which we own a 33.33% interest.
GAAP
Generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.
General partner
Western Midstream Holdings, LLC, the general partner of the Partnership.
Imbalance
Imbalances result from (i) differences between gas and NGLs volumes nominated by customers and gas and NGLs volumes received from those customers and (ii) differences between gas and NGLs volumes received from customers and gas and NGLs volumes delivered to those customers.
Marcellus Interest
The 33.75% interest in the Larry’s Creek, Seely, and Warrensville gas-gathering systems and related facilities located in northern Pennsylvania.
Mcf, MMcf, MMcf/d
Thousand cubic feet, million cubic feet, million cubic feet per day.
Meritage
Meritage Midstream Services II, LLC, which was acquired by the Partnership on October 13, 2023.
MIGCMIGC, LLC.
Mi Vida
Mi Vida JV LLC, in which we own a 50% interest.
MLP
Master limited partnership.
Mont Belvieu JV
Enterprise EF78 LLC, in which we own a 25% interest.
Natural-gas liquid(s) or NGL(s)
The combination of ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and natural gasolines that, when removed from natural gas, become liquid under various levels of pressure and temperature.
NYSENew York Stock Exchange.
Occidental
Occidental Petroleum Corporation and, as the context requires, its subsidiaries, excluding our general partner.
Occidental Merger
Occidental’s acquisition by merger of Anadarko pursuant to the Occidental Merger Agreement, which closed on August 8, 2019.
6


Defined TermDefinition
OTTCOOverland Trail Transmission, LLC.
Panola
Panola Pipeline Company, LLC, in which we own a 15% interest.
Powder River Basin complex
The Hilight system and assets acquired from Meritage, which includes a gathering system, processing plants, and the Thunder Creek NGL pipeline (see Note 3—Acquisitions and Divestitures in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K).
Produced water
Byproduct associated with the production of crude oil and natural gas that often contains a number of dissolved solids and other materials found in oil and gas reservoirs.
Ranch Westex
Ranch Westex JV LLC, in which we owned a 50% interest through August 2022, and a 100% interest thereafter (see Note 3—Acquisitions and Divestitures in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K).
RCF
WES Operating’s $2.0 billion senior unsecured revolving credit facility.
Red Bluff Express
Red Bluff Express Pipeline, LLC, in which we own a 30% interest.
Red Desert complex
The Red Desert gathering lines and related facilities.
Related parties
Occidental, the Partnership’s equity interests (see Note 7—Equity Investments in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K), and the Partnership and WES Operating for transactions that eliminate upon consolidation.
Rendezvous
Rendezvous Gas Services, LLC, in which we own a 22% interest.
Residue
The natural gas remaining after the unprocessed natural-gas stream has been processed or treated.
Saddlehorn
Saddlehorn Pipeline Company LLC, in which we own a 20% interest.
SEC
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Services Agreement
That certain amended and restated Services, Secondment, and Employee Transfer Agreement, dated as of December 31, 2019, by and among Occidental, Anadarko, and WES Operating GP.
Springfield system
The Springfield gas-gathering system and Springfield oil-gathering system.
Stabilization
The process to reduce the volatility of a liquid hydrocarbon stream by separating very light hydrocarbon gases, methane and ethane in particular, from heavier hydrocarbon components. This process reduces the volatility of the liquids during transportation and storage.
TailgateThe point at which processed natural gas and/or natural-gas liquids leave a processing facility for end-use markets.
TEG
Texas Express Gathering LLC, in which we own a 20% interest.
TEP
Texas Express Pipeline LLC, in which we own a 20% interest.
WES Operating
Western Midstream Operating, LP, formerly known as Western Gas Partners, LP, and its subsidiaries.
WES Operating GP
Western Midstream Operating GP, LLC, the general partner of WES Operating.
West Texas complex
The Delaware Basin Midstream complex and DBJV and Haley systems.
WGRAH
WGR Asset Holding Company LLC, a subsidiary of Occidental.
White Cliffs
White Cliffs Pipeline, LLC, in which we own a 10% interest.
Whitethorn LLC
Whitethorn Pipeline Company LLC, in which we own a 20% interest.
Whitethorn
A crude-oil and condensate pipeline, and related storage facilities, owned by Whitethorn LLC.
$1.25 billion Purchase Program
The $1.25 billion buyback program ending December 31, 2024. The common units may be purchased from time to time in the open market at prevailing market prices or in privately negotiated transactions.
$250.0 million Purchase Program
The $250.0 million buyback program ending December 31, 2021. As of December 31, 2021, the entire $250.0 million authorized program had been fulfilled.

7

PART I

Items 1 and 2.  Business and Properties

GENERAL OVERVIEW

WES and WES Operating. WES is a Delaware master limited partnership formed in September 2012. Our common units are publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol “WES.” Our general partner is a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental. WES Operating is a Delaware limited partnership formed by Anadarko in 2007 to acquire, own, develop, and operate midstream assets. WES owns, directly and indirectly, a 98.0% limited partner interest in WES Operating, and directly owns all of the outstanding equity interests of WES Operating GP, which holds the entire non-economic general partner interest in WES Operating.
WES’s assets include assets owned and ownership interests accounted for by us under the equity method of accounting, through our 98.0% partnership interest in WES Operating, as of December 31, 2023 (see Note 7—Equity Investments in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K).
We are engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing, and transporting natural gas; gathering, stabilizing, and transporting condensate, NGLs, and crude oil; and gathering and disposing of produced water. In our capacity as a natural-gas processor, we also buy and sell natural gas, NGLs, and condensate on behalf of ourselves and our customers under certain contracts.
Our gathering systems transport raw, or untreated, natural gas from our customers’ wellheads or production facilities to a central location for treating and processing. During processing, unwanted contaminants are removed and natural gas is separated into pipeline quality natural gas, or residue gas, and a mixed NGLs stream that are then transported and marketed to end-use markets or for additional processing. Our crude-oil assets gather raw, high and low vapor-pressure oil at the well site to be processed at oil stabilization facilities before being delivered to crude-oil terminals, storage facilities, long-haul crude-oil pipelines, and refineries. In addition, our produced-water gathering and disposal systems provide the link between well sites or nearby collection points and disposal facilities that (i) remove hydrocarbon products and other sediments from the produced water and re-inject the produced water utilizing permitted disposal wells in compliance with applicable regulations or (ii) sell the produced water to third parties to be treated and recycled.

Available information. We electronically file our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and other documents with the SEC under the Exchange Act. From time to time, we may also file registration and related statements with the SEC pertaining to equity or debt offerings.
We provide access free of charge to all of these SEC filings, as soon as reasonably practicable after filing or furnishing such materials with the SEC, on our website located at www.westernmidstream.com. The public may also obtain such reports from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, Partner Code of Conduct, and the charters of the Audit Committee, the Special Committee, the ESG Committee, and the Compensation Committee of our Board are available on our website. We will also provide, free of charge, a copy of any of our governance documents listed above upon written request to our general partner’s secretary at our principal executive office. Our principal executive office is located at 9950 Woodloch Forest Drive, Suite 2800, The Woodlands, TX 77380. Our telephone number is 346-786-5000.

8

ASSETS AND AREAS OF OPERATION

wesusmap2023.jpg
9

As of December 31, 2023, our assets and investments consisted of the following:
Wholly
Owned and
Operated
Operated
Interests
Non-Operated
Interests
Equity
Interests
Gathering systems (1)
18 
Treating facilities38 — — 
Natural-gas processing plants/trains24 — 
NGLs pipelines— — 
Natural-gas pipelines— — 
Crude-oil pipelines— 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Includes the DBM water systems.

These assets and investments are located in Texas, New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming), and North-central Pennsylvania. The following table provides information regarding our assets by geographic region, as of and for the year ended December 31, 2023:
AreaAsset Type
Miles of Pipeline (1)
Compression (1) (2)
Processing or Treating Capacity (MMcf/d) (1)
Processing, Treating, or Disposal Capacity (MBbls/d) (1)
Average Throughput for Natural-Gas Assets
(MMcf/d) (3)
Average Throughput for Crude-Oil and NGLs Assets
 (MBbls/d) (3)
Average Throughput for Produced-Water Assets
(MBbls/d) (3)
Horsepower% Electric Driven
Texas / New MexicoGathering, Processing, Treating, and Disposal4,280896,95133 %2,0402,4482,050 289 1,029 
Transportation1,978— — — — 324 220 — 
Rocky MountainsGathering, Processing, and Treating7,147673,362 50 %3,160 221 1,986 71 — 
Transportation2,243— — — — 113 85 — 
North-central PennsylvaniaGathering14615,180 — %— — 120 — — 
Total15,7941,585,493 39 %5,200 2,669 4,593 665 1,029 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)All system metrics are presented on a gross basis and include owned and leased compressors at certain facilities. Includes horsepower associated with liquid pump stations. Includes bypass capacity at the DJ Basin and West Texas complexes.
(2)Excludes compression horsepower for transportation.
(3)Includes throughput for all assets owned and ownership interests accounted for by us under the equity method of accounting. For further details see Properties below.

Our operations are organized into a single operating segment that engages in gathering, compressing, treating, processing, and transporting natural gas; gathering, stabilizing, and transporting condensate, NGLs, and crude oil; and gathering and disposing of produced water. See Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for disclosure of revenues and operating income (loss) for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021, and total assets for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022.

10

ACQUISITIONS AND DIVESTITURES

Meritage. In October 2023, we closed on the acquisition of Meritage for $885.0 million (subject to certain customary post-closing adjustments) funded with cash, including proceeds from our $600.0 million senior note issuance in September 2023 and borrowings on the RCF.

Cactus II. In November 2022, we sold our 15.00% interest in Cactus II to two third parties for $264.8 million, which includes a $1.8 million pro-rata distribution through closing. Total proceeds were received during the fourth quarter of 2022, resulting in a net gain on sale of $109.9 million that was recorded as Gain (loss) on divestiture and other, net in the consolidated statements of operations.

Ranch Westex. In September 2022, we acquired the remaining 50% interest in Ranch Westex from a third party for $40.1 million. Subsequent to the acquisition, (i) we are the sole owner and operator of the asset, (ii) Ranch Westex is no longer accounted for under the equity method of accounting, and (iii) the Ranch Westex processing plant is included as part of the operations of the West Texas complex.

See Note 3—Acquisitions and Divestitures and Note 13—Debt and Interest Expense under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

STRATEGY

Our primary business objective is to create long-term value for our unitholders through continued delivery of profitable operations and return of capital to stakeholders over time. Our foundational principles of operational excellence, superior customer service, and sustainable operations influence our decision making and long-term strategy. To accomplish our primary business objective, we intend to execute the following strategy:

Capitalizing on core assets and organic growth opportunities. We intend to grow certain of our systems organically over time by meeting our customers’ midstream service needs that arise from drilling activity in our areas of operation. We continually pursue economically attractive organic business development and expansion opportunities in existing or new areas of operation that allow us to leverage our infrastructure, operating expertise, and customer relationships, to meet new or increased demand of our services.

Controlling our operating, capital, and administrative costs. We intend to maintain our focus on generating efficiencies between our commercial, engineering, and operations teams, as well as optimizing and maximizing the operability of our existing assets to realize cost and capital savings. We expect to continue to drive operational efficiencies and sustainable cost savings throughout the organization.

Optimizing the return of cash to stakeholders. We intend to operate our assets and make strategic capital decisions that optimize our leverage levels consistent with investment-grade metrics in our sector while returning additional excess cash flow to stakeholders that enhances overall return.

Generating stable cash flows. We intend to continue generating low-volatility cash flows through commodity-price cycles by pursuing fee-based contracts with risk-reducing protections in place, such as minimum-volume commitments and cost-of-service provisions.

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COMPETITIVE STRENGTHS

We believe that we are well positioned to successfully execute our strategy and achieve our primary business objective because of the following competitive strengths:

Substantial presence in basins with historically strong producer economics. Our core operating areas are in the Delaware, DJ, and Powder River Basins, which historically have seen robust producer activity and are considered to have some of the most favorable producer returns for onshore North America. Our assets in these areas are capable of servicing hydrocarbon production that contains natural gas, crude oil, condensate, and NGLs. Our systems in the Delaware Basin also include significant produced-water takeaway capacity, which makes us a uniquely positioned, full-service midstream provider in the basin.

Well-positioned and well-maintained assets. We believe that our large-scale asset portfolio, located in geographically diverse areas of operation, provides us with opportunities to expand and attract additional volumes to our systems from multiple productive reservoirs. Moreover, our portfolio consists of high-quality, well-maintained assets for which we have implemented modern processing, treating, measurement, and operating technologies. We believe our forward-looking facility designs enable customers to reduce their environmental impact and enhance operational efficiency.

Sustainability and safety. Our culture of safety and focus on protecting the environment inform decision making throughout the organization. We strive to minimize emissions by thoughtfully designing, constructing, and operating our assets, and collaborating with state and federal regulatory agencies and environmental groups, producers, and industry partners to reduce or offset emissions in our operations. Through our company-wide safety initiatives, we are committed to the safe and efficient delivery of energy for our customers, with an emphasis on true care and concern for each other, a standardized safety training program, and significant investments in asset integrity.

Commodity-price and volumetric-risk mitigation. We believe a substantial majority of our cash flows are protected from direct exposure to commodity-price volatility, as 95% of our wellhead natural-gas volume (excluding equity investments) and 100% of our crude-oil and produced-water throughput (excluding equity investments) were serviced under fee-based contracts for the year ended December 31, 2023. This type of contract provides us with a relatively stable revenue stream that is not subject to direct commodity-price risk, except to the extent that (i) actual recoveries differ from contractual recoveries under certain of our processing agreements or (ii) we retain and sell drip condensate that is recovered during the gathering of natural gas from the wellhead or production facility. In addition, we mitigate volumetric risk through minimum-volume commitments and cost-of-service contract structures. For the year ended December 31, 2023, we had approximately 2.6 Bcf/d for our natural-gas assets (excluding equity investments), approximately 465 MBbls/d for our crude-oil and NGLs assets (excluding equity investments), and approximately 860 MBbls/d for our produced-water assets that were supported by either minimum-volume commitments with associated deficiency payments or cost-of-service commitments.

Liquidity to pursue expansion and acquisition opportunities. We believe our operating cash flows, borrowing capacity, long-dated debt maturity profile, long-term relationships, and reasonable access to capital markets provide us with the liquidity to competitively pursue acquisition and expansion opportunities and to execute our strategy across capital-market cycles. As of December 31, 2023, there was $1.4 billion in effective borrowing capacity under the RCF after taking into account the $613.9 million of outstanding commercial paper borrowings, for which we maintain availability under the RCF as support for our commercial paper program.

Affiliation with Occidental. We continue to optimize our assets by sizing and planning growth initiatives in a manner that highlights the strength of our asset portfolio to service Occidental’s upstream development plans. Our relationship with Occidental enables us to pursue more capital-efficient projects that enhance the overall value of our business. See WES and WES Operating’s Relationship with Occidental Petroleum Corporation below.

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We plan to effectively leverage our competitive strengths to successfully implement our business strategy. However, our business involves numerous risks and uncertainties that may prevent us from achieving our primary business objective. For a more complete description of the risks associated with our business, read Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.

WES AND WES OPERATING’S RELATIONSHIP WITH OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION

The officers of our general partner manage our operations and activities under the direction and supervision of the Board of our general partner, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental. Occidental is among the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world. Occidental’s upstream oil and gas business explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and condensate, NGLs, and natural gas.
As of December 31, 2023, Occidental held (i) 185,181,578 of our common units, representing a 47.7% limited partner interest in us, (ii) through its ownership of the general partner, 9,060,641 general partner units, representing a 2.3% general partner interest in us, and (iii) a 2.0% limited partner interest in WES Operating through its ownership of WGRAH, which is reflected as a noncontrolling interest within our consolidated financial statements. As of December 31, 2023, Occidental held 48.8% of our outstanding common units.
For the year ended December 31, 2023, 59% of Total revenues and other, 34% of our throughput for natural-gas assets (excluding equity-investment throughput), 86% of our throughput for crude-oil and NGLs assets (excluding equity-investment throughput), and 78% of our throughput for produced-water assets were attributable to production owned or controlled by Occidental. While Occidental is our contracting counterparty, these arrangements with Occidental include not just Occidental-produced volumes, but also, in some instances, the volumes of other working-interest owners of Occidental who rely on our facilities and infrastructure to bring their volumes to market. In addition, Occidental provides dedications, minimum-volume commitments with associated deficiency payments, and/or cost-of-service commitments under certain of our contracts.
Historically, we sold a significant amount of our natural gas and NGLs to Anadarko Energy Services Company (“AESC”), Occidental’s marketing affiliate. In addition, we purchased natural gas from AESC pursuant to purchase agreements. While we still have some marketing agreements with affiliates of Occidental, on January 1, 2021, we began marketing and selling substantially all our crude oil and residue gas, and a majority of our NGLs, directly to third parties.
Pursuant to the Services Agreement entered into on December 31, 2019, Occidental has performed certain centralized corporate functions for the Partnership and WES Operating. Most of the administrative and operational services previously provided by Occidental fully transitioned to the Partnership by December 31, 2021, with certain limited transition services remaining in place pursuant to the terms of the Services Agreement.
Although we believe our relationship with Occidental enables us to pursue more capital-efficient projects that enhance the overall value of our business, it is also a source of potential conflicts. For example, Occidental is not restricted from competing with us. See Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A and Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence under Part III, Item 13 of this Form 10-K for more information.

13

PROPERTIES

The following sections describe in more detail the services provided by our assets in our areas of operation as of December 31, 2023.

GATHERING, PROCESSING, TREATING, AND DISPOSAL

Overview - Texas and New Mexico
LocationAssetTypeProcessing / Treating Plants
Processing / Treating Capacity (MMcf/d) (1)
Processing / Treating / Disposal Capacity (MBbls/d)
Compression Horsepower (2)
Gathering Systems
Pipeline Miles (3)
West Texas / New Mexico
West Texas complex (4)
Gathering, Processing, & Treating15 1,640 53 624,074 1,914 
West Texas
DBM oil system (5)
Gathering & Treating16 — 310 12,648 654 
West TexasDBM water systemsGathering & Disposal— — 1,825 92,395 799 
West Texas
Mi Vida (6)
Processing200 — 20,000 — — 
East Texas
Mont Belvieu JV (7)
Processing— 170 — — — 
South TexasBrasada complex Gathering, Processing, & Treating200 15 29,400 58 
South Texas
Springfield system (8)
Gathering & Treating— 75 118,434 855 
Total402,0402,448896,951124,280
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Includes 215 MMcf/d of bypass capacity at the West Texas complex.
(2)Includes owned and leased compressors and compression horsepower.
(3)Includes 19 miles of transportation related to the residue lines (regulated by FERC) at the West Texas complex and 15 miles of transportation related to a crude-oil pipeline at the DBM oil system.
(4)The West Texas complex includes the DBM complex, DBJV and Haley systems, and the Ranch Westex processing plant.
(5)The DBM oil system includes three central production facilities and two Regional oil treating facilities.
(6)We own a 50% interest in Mi Vida, which owns a processing plant operated by a third party.
(7)We own a 25% interest in the Mont Belvieu JV, which owns two NGLs fractionation trains. A third party serves as the operator.
(8)We own a 50.1% interest in the Springfield system and serve as the operator.

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West Texas and New Mexico

wtx2023.jpg

West Texas gathering, processing, and treating complex

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Occidental’s production represented 42% of the West Texas complex throughput, and the two largest third-party customers provided 32% of the throughput.

Supply. Supply of gas and NGLs for the complex comes from production from the Delaware Sands, Avalon Shale, Bone Spring, Wolfcamp, and Penn formations in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin.

Delivery points. Gas is dehydrated, compressed, and delivered to the Mi Vida plant (see below) and within the West Texas complex for processing, while lean gas is delivered into Enterprise GC, L.P.’s pipeline for ultimate delivery into Energy Transfer LP’s (“ET”) Oasis pipeline (the “Oasis pipeline”). Residue gas from the West Texas complex is delivered to the Red Bluff Express pipeline, Whitewater Midstream, LLC’s Agua Blanca pipeline, Oasis pipeline, Transwestern Pipeline Company LLC’s pipeline (“Transwestern pipeline”), and Kinder Morgan, Inc.’s interstate pipeline system. NGLs production is primarily delivered into the Sand Hills pipeline and Lone Star NGL LLC’s pipeline (“Lone Star pipeline”).

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Mentone Train III. WES is currently constructing a third cryogenic processing train at the Mentone processing plant within the West Texas complex. Mentone Train III will have a capacity of 300 MMcf/d, and WES expects this train to be completed at the end of the first quarter of 2024. Upon completion of Mentone Train III, the West Texas complex will have a total processing capacity of 1,940 MMcf/d.

North Loving Plant. WES is currently constructing a new cryogenic processing plant in the North Loving area of our West Texas complex. The North Loving Plant will have a capacity of 250 MMcf/d, and WES expects this plant to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.

DBM oil-gathering system, treating facilities, and storage

Customers. As of December 31, 2023, DBM oil system throughput was from Occidental and one third-party producer. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Occidental’s production represented 98% of the total DBM oil system throughput and is subject to the Texas Railroad Commission tariff.

Supply. The DBM oil system is supplied from production from the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin.

Delivery points. Crude oil treated at the DBM oil system is delivered into Plains All American Pipeline.

DBM produced-water disposal systems

Customers. As of December 31, 2023, DBM water systems throughput was from Occidental and numerous third-party producers, with Occidental’s production representing 78% of the throughput.

Supply. Supply of produced water for the systems comes from crude-oil production from the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin.

Disposal. The DBM water systems gather and dispose produced water via subsurface injection or offload to third-party service providers. The systems’ injection wells are located in Loving, Reeves, and Ward Counties in Texas.

Mi Vida processing plant

Customers. As of December 31, 2023, Mi Vida plant throughput was from Occidental and one third-party customer.

Supply and delivery points. The Mi Vida plant receives volumes from the West Texas complex and ET’s gathering system. Residue gas from the Mi Vida plant is delivered to the Oasis pipeline or Transwestern pipeline. NGLs production is delivered to the Lone Star pipeline.
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East Texas
etx2023.jpg

Mont Belvieu JV fractionation trains

Customers. The Mont Belvieu JV does not contract with customers directly but is allocated volumes based on available capacity and the allocation structure set forth in the Operating Agreement between Mont Belvieu JV and Enterprise Products Operating, LLC.

Supply and delivery points. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (“Enterprise”) receives volumes at its fractionation complex in Mont Belvieu, Texas via a large number of pipelines, including Skelly-Belvieu Pipeline Company, LLC’s pipeline, TEP’s pipeline, and the Panola pipeline (see Transportation within these Items 1 and 2). NGLs are delivered to end users either through customer-owned pipelines that are connected to nearby petrochemical plants or via export terminals.
17

South Texas
stx2023.jpg

Brasada gathering, stabilization, treating, and processing complex

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Brasada complex throughput was from two third-party customers.

Supply. Supply of gas and NGLs is sourced from throughput gathered by the Springfield system.

Delivery points. The facility delivers residue gas to the Eagle Ford Midstream system operated by NET Midstream, LLC. Stabilized condensate is delivered to Plains All American Pipeline, and NGLs are delivered to the Enterprise-operated South Texas NGL Pipeline System.

Springfield gathering system, stabilization facility, and storage

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Springfield system throughput was from multiple third-party customers.

Supply. Supply of gas and oil is sourced from third-party production in the Eagle Ford Shale Play.

Delivery points. The gas-gathering system has a delivery point to our Brasada complex and other interruptible points (the Raptor processing plant owned by Carnero G&P LLC and operated by Targa Resources Corp. and the Dos Hermanos plant owned and operated by ET). The oil-gathering system delivers oil to Plains All American Pipeline, Kinder Morgan, Inc.’s Double Eagle Pipeline, Hilcorp Energy Company’s Harvest Pipeline, and NuStar Energy L.P.’s Pipeline.

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Overview - Rocky Mountains - Colorado and Utah
LocationAssetTypeProcessing / Treating Plants
Processing / Treating Capacity (MMcf/d) (1)
Processing / Treating Capacity (MBbls/d)Compression HorsepowerGathering Systems
Pipeline Miles (2)
Colorado
DJ Basin complex (3)
Gathering, Processing, & Treating16 1,750 59 354,444 1,798 
ColoradoDJ Basin oil systemGathering & Treating— 155 6,095 448 
Utah
Chipeta (4)
Processing790 — 76,125 — 
Total252,540214436,66432,248
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Includes 200 MMcf/d of bypass capacity at the DJ Basin complex.
(2)Includes 12 miles of transportation related to a crude-oil pipeline at the DJ Basin oil system.
(3)The DJ Basin complex includes the Platte Valley, Fort Lupton, Wattenberg, Lancaster Trains I and II, and Latham Trains I and II processing plants, and the Wattenberg gathering system.
(4)We are the managing member of and own a 75% interest in Chipeta, which owns the Chipeta processing complex.

Colorado
co2023.jpg
19

DJ Basin gathering, treating, and processing complex

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Occidental’s production represented 51% of the DJ Basin complex throughput, and the two largest third-party customers provided 34% of the throughput.

Supply. The DJ Basin complex is supplied primarily by the Wattenberg field.

Delivery points. As of December 31, 2023, the DJ Basin complex had various delivery-point interconnections with DCP Midstream LP’s (“DCP”) gathering and processing system for gas not processed within the DJ Basin complex. The DJ Basin complex is connected to the Colorado Interstate Gas Company LLC’s pipeline (“CIG pipeline”), Tallgrass Energy’s Cheyenne Connector pipeline, and Xcel Energy’s residue pipelines for natural-gas residue takeaway and to Overland Pass Pipeline Company LLC’s pipeline, FRP’s pipeline, and DCP’s Wattenberg NGL pipeline for NGLs takeaway. In addition, the NGLs fractionators and associated truck-loading facility at the Platte Valley and Wattenberg plants provides access to local NGLs markets.

DJ Basin oil-gathering system, stabilization facility, and storage

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, all of the DJ Basin oil system throughput was from Occidental’s production.

Supply. The DJ Basin oil system, which is supplied primarily by the Wattenberg field, gathers high-vapor-pressure crude oil and delivers it to the centralized oil stabilization facility (“COSF”). The COSF includes two 250,000 barrel crude-oil storage tanks.

Delivery points. The COSF has market access to the White Cliffs pipeline, Saddlehorn pipeline, Tallgrass Energy’s Pony Express pipeline and rail-loading facilities in Tampa, Colorado, and local markets.

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Utah
ut2023.jpg

Chipeta processing complex

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Chipeta complex throughput was from numerous third-party customers, with the two largest customers providing 71% of the throughput.

Supply. Chipeta’s inlet is connected to Caerus Oil and Gas LLC’s Greater Natural Buttes gathering system, the MountainWest Pipeline, LLC system (“MountainWest Pipeline”), and Three Rivers Gathering, LLC’s system, which is owned by MPLX LP (“MPLX”).

Delivery points. The Chipeta plant delivers NGLs via the GNB NGL pipeline to Enterprise’s Mid-America Pipeline Company pipeline (“MAPL pipeline”), which provides transportation through Enterprise’s Seminole pipeline (“Seminole pipeline”) and TEP’s pipeline in West Texas, and ultimately to the NGLs fractionation and storage facilities in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The Chipeta plant has residue gas delivery points through the CIG pipeline, MountainWest Pipeline, and Wyoming Interstate Company’s pipeline (“WIC pipeline”) that deliver residue gas to markets throughout the Rockies and Western United States.

Expansion activity. Additional compression is in the process of being installed at the Chipeta complex, which will allow for up to 100 MMcf/d of incremental inlet gas via MountainWest Pipeline and is expected to be in service in July 2024.
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Overview - Rocky Mountains - Wyoming
LocationAssetTypeProcessing / Treating PlantsProcessing / Treating Capacity (MMcf/d)Processing / Treating Capacity (MBbls/d)Compression HorsepowerGathering Systems
Pipeline Miles (1)
Northeast Wyoming
Powder River Basin complex (2)
Gathering, Processing, & Treating620 185,816 2,715 
Southwest WyomingGranger complexGathering— — — 21,673 779 
Southwest WyomingRed Desert complexGathering— — — 20,809 1,119 
Southwest Wyoming
Rendezvous (3)
Gathering— — — 8,400 286 
Total66207236,69854,899
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Includes 120 miles of transportation related to a FERC-regulated NGL pipeline at the Powder River Basin complex.
(2)The Powder River Basin complex includes the Hilight system and assets acquired from Meritage (Steamboat and 50 Buttes gas-processing plants, Buckshot amine plant, Thunder Creek gathering system, and Thunder Creek NGL pipeline).
(3)We have a 22% interest in the Rendezvous gathering system, which is operated by a third party.

wy2023.jpg
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Northeast Wyoming

Powder River Basin gathering, processing, and treating complex

The Powder River Basin complex includes the Hilight system and assets acquired with the closing of the Meritage acquisition in October 2023. See Acquisitions and Divestitures within these Items 1 and 2.

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, gas gathered and processed at the Powder River Basin complex was from numerous third-party customers, with the largest customer providing 36% of the system throughput.

Supply. The Powder River Basin complex serves the gas-gathering needs of several conventional producing fields in Converse, Campbell, Johnson, and Natrona Counties, Wyoming.

Delivery points. The Hilight plant delivers residue gas to our MIGC transmission line (see Transportation within these Items 1 and 2). Hilight is not connected to an active NGLs pipeline, resulting in all fractionated NGLs being sold locally through truck and rail loading facilities. The Steamboat and 50 Buttes gas-processing plants deliver natural gas to the Thunder Creek and Chalk Buttes delivery points owned by Wyoming Interstate Company (“WIC”), a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Inc. The NGLs from the Steamboat and 50 Buttes gas-processing plants, as well as EOG’s Jewell gas-processing plant, are delivered via our Thunder Creek NGL pipeline to ONEOK, Inc.’s Well Draw delivery point.

Southwest Wyoming

Granger gathering system

The Granger processing plant was shut down in December 2023. The gathering system continues to be operational, and gas gathered by the system is delivered to a third party for processing.

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Granger complex throughput was from third-party customers, with the two largest customers providing 77% of the throughput.

Supply. The Granger complex is supplied by the Moxa Arch and the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields.

Delivery points. Residue gas from the Granger complex is delivered to a third party for processing and can then be delivered to the CIG pipeline; The Williams Companies, Inc.’s MountainWest Pipeline, Overthrust Pipeline, and Northwest Pipeline (“NWPL”); our OTTCO pipeline; and our Mountain Gas Transportation LLC pipeline. The NGLs have market access to the MAPL pipeline, which terminates at Mont Belvieu, Texas, and other local markets.

Red Desert gathering system

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Red Desert complex throughput was from third-party customers, with the three largest customers providing 59% of the throughput.

Supply and delivery points. The Red Desert complex gathers and compresses natural gas produced from the eastern portion of the Greater Green River Basin and delivers to a third party for processing.

Rendezvous gathering system

Customers. For the year ended December 31, 2023, Rendezvous system throughput primarily was from two shippers that have dedicated acreage to the system.

Supply and delivery points. The Rendezvous system provides high-pressure gathering service for gas from the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields and delivers to MPLX’s Blacks Fork gas-processing plant, which connects to the MountainWest Pipeline, NWPL, and the Kern River pipeline via the Rendezvous pipeline.

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Overview - North-central Pennsylvania
LocationAssetTypeCompression HorsepowerGathering SystemsPipeline Miles
North-central Pennsylvania
Marcellus (1)
Gathering15,180 146 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)We own a 33.75% interest in the Marcellus Interest gathering systems.
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Marcellus gathering systems

Customers. As of December 31, 2023, the Marcellus Interest gathering systems had two priority shippers. The largest producer provided approximately 89% of the throughput for the year ended December 31, 2023. Capacity not used by priority shippers is available to other third parties as determined by the operating partner, a subsidiary of EQT Corporation.

Supply and delivery points. The Marcellus Interest gathering systems have access to Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC’s pipeline.
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TRANSPORTATION

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LocationAssetTypeOwnership InterestPipeline Miles
Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma
White Cliffs (1) (2)
Oil & NGLs10.00 %1,066 
Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma
Saddlehorn (1) (2)
Oil20.00 %604 
Utah
GNB NGL (1)
NGLs100.00 %33 
Northeast Wyoming
MIGC (1)
Gas100.00 %244 
Southwest WyomingOTTCOGas100.00 %234 
Southwest WyomingWamsutterOil100.00 %62 
Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas
FRP (1) (2)
NGLs33.33 %452 
Texas
TEG (2)
NGLs20.00 %138 
Texas
TEP (1) (2)
NGLs20.00 %594 
Texas
Whitethorn LLC (2)
Oil20.00 %418 
Texas
Panola (1) (2)
NGLs15.00 %253 
Texas
Red Bluff Express (1) (2)
Gas30.00 %123 
Total4,221 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Regulated by FERC.
(2)Operated by a third party.

Rocky Mountains - Colorado

White Cliffs pipeline. The White Cliffs dual pipeline system had multiple committed shippers, including Occidental, as of December 31, 2023. Other parties may also ship on the White Cliffs pipeline at FERC-based rates. The pipeline provides crude-oil and NGL takeaway capacity from Platteville, Colorado, to ET’s storage facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, which ultimately delivers to Gulf Coast and mid-continent refineries. It is supplied by production from the DJ Basin. At the point of origin, there is a storage facility adjacent to a truck-unloading facility.

Saddlehorn pipeline. The Saddlehorn pipeline had multiple committed shippers, including Occidental, as of December 31, 2023. Other parties may also ship on the Saddlehorn pipeline at FERC-based rates. The pipeline has multiple origin points including: Cheyenne and Ft. Laramie, Wyoming, and Carr and Platteville, Colorado. Saddlehorn is supplied by the DJ Basin and basins that connect to a Wyoming access point. The pipeline delivers crude oil and condensate to storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma.

Rocky Mountains - Utah

GNB NGL pipeline. There were three primary shippers on the GNB NGL pipeline as of December 31, 2023. The GNB NGL pipeline provides capacity at the posted FERC-based rates and has the ability to receive NGLs from Chipeta’s gas-processing facility and MPLX’s Stagecoach/Iron Horse gas-processing complex. The GNB NGL pipeline delivers NGLs to the MAPL pipeline, which provides transportation through the Seminole pipeline and TEP’s pipeline, and ultimately to NGLs fractionation and storage facilities in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

Rocky Mountains - Wyoming

MIGC transportation system. For the year ended December 31, 2023, throughput on the MIGC system was from numerous third-party customers, with the two largest customers providing 80% of the system throughput. All parties on the MIGC system ship pursuant to a tariff on file with FERC. The system receives gas from the Hilight system, EOG’s Jewell plant, and from WBI Energy Transmission, Inc. MIGC volumes can be redelivered to the hub in Glenrock, Wyoming, which has access to interstate pipelines including the CIG pipeline, Tallgrass Interstate Gas Transmission pipeline, and WIC pipeline. Volumes can also be delivered to Black Hills Corporation’s Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power and several industrial users.


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OTTCO transportation system. For the year ended December 31, 2023, throughput on the OTTCO transportation system was from numerous third-party shippers. Revenues on the system are generated from contracts that contain minimum-volume commitments and volumetric fees paid by shippers under firm and interruptible gas-transportation agreements. Supply points include approximately 30 active wellheads, the Granger complex, and ExxonMobil Corporation’s Shute Creek plant, which are supplied by the eastern portion of the Greater Green River Basin, the Moxa Arch, and the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline fields. Primary delivery points include the Red Desert complex, two third-party industrial facilities, and an inactive interconnection with the Kern River pipeline.

Wamsutter pipeline. For the year ended December 31, 2023, 96% of the Wamsutter pipeline throughput was from one third-party shipper. Revenues on the pipeline are generated from tariff-based rates regulated by the Wyoming Public Service Commission. The Wamsutter pipeline has active receipt points in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, and delivers crude oil to MPLX LP’s SLC Core Pipeline System.

Texas

Front Range Pipeline. FRP provides NGLs takeaway capacity from the DJ Basin in Northeast Colorado. FRP has receipt points at gas plants in Weld and Adams Counties, Colorado (including the DJ Basin complex) (see Rocky Mountains—Colorado and Utah within these Items 1 and 2). FRP connects to TEP near Skellytown, Texas. As of December 31, 2023, the pipeline had multiple committed shippers, including Occidental. FRP provides capacity to other shippers at the posted FERC tariff rate.

Texas Express Gathering. TEG consists of two NGLs gathering systems that provide plants in North Texas and the Texas panhandle with access to NGLs takeaway capacity on TEP. TEG had one committed shipper as of December 31, 2023.

Texas Express Pipeline. TEP delivers to Enterprise’s NGL fractionation and storage facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas. TEP is supplied with NGLs from other pipelines or systems including FRP, the MAPL pipeline, and TEG. As of December 31, 2023, the pipeline had multiple committed shippers, including Occidental. TEP provides capacity to other shippers at the posted FERC tariff rates.

Whitethorn. Whitethorn is supplied by production from the Permian Basin. Whitethorn transports crude oil and condensate from Enterprise’s Midland terminal to Enterprise’s Sealy terminal and connects with Enterprise’s Rancho II pipeline in Sealy to deliver into ECHO storage and greater Houston market. Shippers have access to refineries in Houston, Texas City, Beaumont, and Port Arthur, Texas, and Enterprise’s crude-oil export facilities.

Panola pipeline. The Panola pipeline transports NGLs from Panola County, Texas, to Mont Belvieu, Texas. As of December 31, 2023, the Panola pipeline had multiple committed shippers. The pipeline provides capacity to other shippers at the posted FERC-based rates.

Red Bluff Express pipeline. As of December 31, 2023, the Red Bluff Express pipeline had multiple committed shippers, including Occidental. The pipeline also provides capacity to other shippers at the posted FERC-based rates. In December 2020, WES entered into a five-year transportation contract, which became effective on January 1, 2021, with a volume commitment on the Red Bluff Express pipeline. The pipeline is supplied by production from our West Texas complex and other third-party plants. The Red Bluff Express pipeline transports natural gas from Reeves and Loving Counties, Texas, to the WAHA hub in Pecos County, Texas.
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COMPETITION

The midstream services business is extremely competitive, and our competitors include other midstream companies, producers, and intrastate and interstate pipelines. Competition primarily is based on reputation, commercial terms, operational reliability, service levels, location, available capacity, capital expenditures, and fuel efficiencies. Competition levels vary in our geographic areas of operation and is greatest in areas experiencing heightened producer activity and during periods of high commodity prices. Notwithstanding, Occidental and third-party producers provide certain dedications and/or minimum-volume commitments in our significant areas of operation. We believe that our assets located outside of dedicated areas, whether in or out of the aforementioned significant areas of operation, are geographically well-positioned to retain and attract both Occidental and third-party volumes.
We believe the primary advantages of our assets include proximity to established and/or future production and the available service flexibility provided to producers. We believe we can efficiently, and at competitive and flexible contract terms, provide services that customers require to gather, compress, treat, process, and transport natural gas; gather, stabilize, and transport condensate, NGLs, and crude oil; and gather and dispose of produced water.

REGULATION OF OPERATIONS

Pipeline Safety and Maintenance
Many of the pipelines we use to gather and transport oil, natural gas, and NGLs are subject to regulation by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”), an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”). Natural-gas pipelines are subject to PHMSA pursuant to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, as amended (the “NGPSA”). Crude-oil and NGLs pipelines are subject to PHMSA pursuant to the Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Safety Act of 1979, as amended (the “HLPSA”). The NGPSA and HLPSA govern the design, installation, testing, construction, operation, replacement, and management of natural-gas, crude-oil, NGLs, and condensate pipeline facilities. Pursuant to these acts, PHMSA has promulgated regulations governing, among other things, pipeline wall thicknesses, design pressures, maximum allowable operating pressures (“MAOP”), pipeline patrols and leak surveys, minimum depth requirements, emergency procedures, and other matters intended to ensure adequate protection for the public and to prevent accidents and failures. Additionally, PHMSA has promulgated regulations requiring pipeline operators to develop and implement integrity-management programs for certain gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that, in the event of a pipeline leak or rupture, could affect high consequence areas (“HCAs”), where a release could have the most significant adverse consequences, including high population areas, certain drinking water sources, and unusually sensitive ecological areas. Past operation of our pipelines with respect to these NGPSA and HLPSA requirements has not resulted in the incurrence of material costs; however, the possibility of new or amended laws and regulations or reinterpretation of PHMSA enforcement practices or other guidance with respect thereto exists, and future compliance with the NGPSA, HLPSA, and new or amended PHMSA regulations could result in increased costs that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position.
The following are examples of proposed and/or final pipeline safety and maintenance regulations or other regulatory initiatives that could have a potentially material impact on our business:

The Mega Rule. PHMSA has issued what it calls the “Mega Rule,” which is grouped into three tranches of rules published over several years, with roll out and implementation spanning more than a decade. In October 2019, PHMSA published Mega Rule Part One, which, among other things, requires operators of certain gas transmission pipelines to determine the material strength of their lines by reconfirming the MAOP and to identify moderate consequence areas (“MCAs”), which are extended covered segments of pipeline. In addition, the rule updates reporting and records retention standards for gas transmission pipelines. This rule took effect on July 1, 2020. In November 2021, PHMSA published Mega Rule Part Two focused on improving pipeline integrity management best practices. This rule implements changes to integrity, operating, and compliance procedures, and includes new requirements for natural-gas pipelines, including regulated onshore gathering lines and pipeline segments. The rule also includes increased regulatory requirements for operations and maintenance, integrity management, and data integration. In August 2022, PHMSA published Mega Rule Part Three, which became effective in May 2023. This rule increases corrosion control requirements, requires inspections following extreme weather events, extends the management of change process to areas that are not HCAs, and strengthens repair criteria. Compliance with the Mega Rule will increase operational costs for our business as we seek to develop and implement appropriate compliance procedures.
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Leak Detection and Repair. In May 2023, PHMSA proposed revisions to the pipeline safety regulations to enhance leak detection and repair requirements for gas distribution, gas transmission, gas gathering, underground natural-gas storage, and liquefied natural-gas storage facilities. The proposed rule requires use of commercially available, advanced technologies to find and fix leaks of methane and gases. If finalized, the rule would, among other things, increase frequency of leakage survey and patrolling requirements, require advanced leak detection technology, lower the minimum reporting threshold for leaks, and establish specific criteria and timeframes for fixing equipment. If implemented, the rule could increase manpower and equipment expenditures for implementation and ongoing compliance.

Gas Gathering Safety. In August 2023, PHMSA proposed a rule to strengthen safety requirements for gas distribution pipelines, incorporating revisions mandated by Congress to the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, enacted as part of the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (“PIPES”) Act of 2020, as well as to address National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) recommendations. The proposal includes requirements regarding construction procedures to minimize the risk of over-pressurization incidents, Distribution Integrity Management Program revisions to prepare for over-pressurization incidents, design of regulator stations with secondary pressure relief valves and remote gas monitoring, enhanced emergency response plans, and other requirements. As with other regulatory requirements, if implemented, these rules can increase implementation and ongoing compliance costs.

New laws or regulations adopted by PHMSA, like those summarized above, may impose more stringent requirements applicable to integrity-management programs and other pipeline-safety aspects of our operations, which could cause us to incur increased capital and operating costs and operational delays. In addition, while states are largely preempted by federal law from regulating pipeline safety for interstate lines, most are certified by PHMSA to assume responsibility for enforcing federal intrastate pipeline regulations and inspection of intrastate pipelines. In practice, because states can adopt stricter standards for intrastate pipelines than those imposed by the federal government for interstate lines, states vary considerably in their authority and capacity to address pipeline safety. Historically, our intrastate pipeline-safety compliance costs have not had a material adverse effect on our operations; however, there can be no assurance that such costs will remain immaterial in the future.
See risk factor, “Federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to pipeline safety and integrity management that require the performance of ongoing assessments and implementation of preventive measures, the use of new or more-stringent safety controls or result in more-stringent enforcement of applicable legal requirements could subject us to increased capital costs, operational delays, and costs of operation” under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K for further discussion on pipeline safety standards.

Interstate Natural-Gas Pipeline Regulation
Regulation of pipeline-transportation services may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our products and services. The operations of our MIGC pipeline and the West Texas complex residue lines (exiting our Ramsey and Ranch Westex processing plants) are subject to regulation by FERC under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (the “NGA”). Under the NGA, FERC has authority to regulate natural-gas companies that provide natural-gas pipeline-transportation services in interstate commerce. Federal regulation extends to such matters as the following:
rates, services, and terms and conditions of service;
types of services that may be offered to customers;
certification and construction of new facilities;
acquisition, extension, disposition, or abandonment of facilities;
maintenance of accounts and records;
internet posting requirements for available capacity, discounts, and other matters;
pipeline segmentation to allow multiple simultaneous shipments under the same contract;
capacity release to create a secondary market for transportation services;
relationships between affiliated companies involved in certain aspects of the natural-gas business;
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initiation and discontinuation of services;
market manipulation in connection with interstate sales, purchases, or transportation of natural gas and NGLs; and
participation by interstate pipelines in cash management arrangements.

Interstate natural-gas pipelines regulated by FERC also are required to comply with numerous regulations related to standards of conduct, market transparency, and market manipulation. FERC’s standards of conduct regulate the manner in which interstate natural-gas pipelines may interact with their marketing affiliates (unless FERC has granted a waiver of such standards). FERC’s market oversight and transparency regulations require annual reports of purchases or sales of natural gas meeting certain thresholds and criteria and certain public postings of information on scheduled volumes. FERC’s market manipulation regulations make it unlawful for any entity, directly or indirectly in connection with the purchase or sale of natural gas subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, or the purchase or sale of transportation services subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, to engage in fraudulent conduct. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) also holds authority to monitor certain segments of the physical and futures energy commodities market pursuant to the Commodity Exchange Act. FERC and CFTC have authority to impose civil penalties for violations of these statutes and regulations, potentially in excess of $1.0 million per day per violation. Should we fail to comply with all applicable statutes, rules, regulations, and orders administered by FERC and CFTC, we could be subject to substantial penalties and fines.

Interstate Liquids-Pipeline Regulation
Regulation of interstate liquids-pipeline services may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our products and services. Our GNB NGL and Thunder Creek NGL pipelines provide interstate service as a FERC-regulated common carrier under the Interstate Commerce Act, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and related rules and orders. We also own interests in FRP, TEP, Saddlehorn, Panola, and White Cliffs, each of which provides interstate services as a FERC-regulated common carrier under the same statues and regulations. FERC regulation requires that interstate liquid-pipeline rates, including rates for transportation of NGLs and crude oil, be filed with FERC and that these rates be “just and reasonable” and not unduly discriminatory. Rates of interstate NGLs and crude-oil pipelines are currently regulated by FERC primarily through an annual indexing methodology, under which pipelines increase or decrease rates in accordance with an index adjustment specified by FERC. The FERC’s indexing methodology is subject to review and revision every five years, with the most recent five-year review occurring in 2020. On December 17, 2020, FERC established the index level for the five-year period commencing on July 1, 2021, which will end on June 30, 2026, at the Bureau of Labor’s producer-price index for finished goods (“PPI-FG”) plus 0.78%. On January 20, 2022, the FERC granted rehearing of certain aspects of the final rule and revised the index level to PPI-FG minus 0.21%, effective March 1, 2022, through June 30, 2026. FERC ordered pipelines with filed rates that exceed their index ceiling levels based on PPI-FG minus 0.21% to file rate reductions effective March 1, 2022. Pending appellate review could result in a further change to the index. An indexed rate is subject to challenge if the increase is substantially in excess of changes in the pipeline’s operating costs. Under FERC’s regulations, an NGLs or crude-oil pipeline can request a rate increase that exceeds the rate obtained through application of the indexing methodology by using a cost-of-service approach, but only after the pipeline establishes that a substantial divergence exists between the actual costs experienced by the pipeline and the rates resulting from application of the indexing methodology. A pipeline also can support a rate by showing that it has been agreed to by all shippers or by obtaining advance approval to charge market-based rates. Both White Cliffs and Saddlehorn pipelines have been granted market-based rate authority by the FERC.
The Interstate Commerce Act permits interested persons to challenge proposed new rates and authorizes FERC to suspend the effectiveness of such rates for up to seven months pending an investigation. If, upon completion of an investigation, FERC finds that the new or changed rate is unlawful, it is authorized to require the pipeline to refund revenues collected in excess of the just and reasonable rate during the term of the investigation. The just-and-reasonable rate used to calculate refunds cannot be lower than the last tariff rate approved as just and reasonable. FERC may also investigate, upon complaint or on its own initiative, a changed rate and may order a carrier to reduce its rates prospectively. Upon an appropriate showing, a shipper may obtain reparations for charges in excess of a just-and-reasonable rate for a period of up to two years prior to the filing of a complaint. FERC’s Revised Policy on Treatment of Income Taxes (“Revised Policy Statement”), that no longer permits MLPs to recover an income tax allowance in cost-of-service rates, applies to our pipelines regulated under the Interstate Commerce Act. The Revised Policy Statement may result in an adverse impact on revenues associated with the indexed or cost-of-service rates of our FERC-regulated interstate pipelines.
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As discussed above, the CFTC holds authority to monitor certain segments of the physical and futures energy commodities market. The Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) has authority to monitor petroleum markets to prevent market manipulation. The CFTC and FTC have authority to impose civil penalties for violations of these statutes and regulations, potentially in excess of $1.0 million per day per violation. Should we fail to comply with all applicable statutes, rules, regulations, and orders administered by the CFTC and FTC, we could be subject to substantial penalties and fines.

Natural-Gas Gathering Pipeline Regulation
Regulation of gas-gathering pipeline services may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our products and services. Natural-gas gathering facilities are exempt from the jurisdiction of FERC. We believe that our gas-gathering pipelines meet the traditional tests that FERC has used to determine that a pipeline is not subject to FERC jurisdiction, although FERC has not made any determinations with respect to the jurisdictional status of any of our gas pipelines other than those owned by MIGC and the West Texas complex residue lines. However, the distinction between FERC-regulated gas-transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services has been the subject of substantial litigation, so the classification and regulation of our gathering facilities are subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts, or Congress. FERC makes jurisdictional determinations on a case-by-case basis. State regulation of gathering facilities generally includes various safety, environmental, and, in some circumstances, nondiscriminatory take requirements and complaint-based rate regulation. Our natural-gas gathering operations could be adversely affected should they be subject to more stringent application of state or federal regulation of rates and services. Our natural-gas gathering operations also may be or become subject to additional safety and operational regulations relating to the design, installation, testing, construction, operation, replacement, and management of gathering facilities. Additional rules and legislation pertaining to these matters are considered or adopted from time to time. We cannot predict what effect, if any, such changes might have on our operations, but the industry could be required to incur additional capital expenditures and increased costs depending on future legislative and regulatory changes.
Our natural-gas gathering operations are subject to ratable-take and common-purchaser statutes in most of the states in which we operate. These statutes generally require our gathering pipelines to take natural gas without undue discrimination as to source of supply or producer. These statutes are designed to prohibit discrimination in favor of one producer over another producer or one source of supply over another source of supply. The regulations under these statutes can have the effect of imposing some restrictions on our ability as an owner of gathering facilities to decide with whom we contract to gather natural gas. The states in which we operate have adopted a complaint-based regulation of natural-gas gathering activities, which allows natural-gas producers and shippers to file complaints with state regulators in an effort to resolve grievances relating to gathering access and rate discrimination. We cannot predict whether such a complaint will be filed against us in the future. Failure to comply with state regulations can result in the imposition of administrative, civil, and criminal remedies. To date, there has been no adverse effect to our systems resulting from these regulations.
FERC’s anti-manipulation rules apply to non-jurisdictional entities to the extent the activities are conducted “in connection with” gas sales, purchases, or transportation subject to FERC jurisdiction. The anti-manipulation rules do not apply to activities that relate only to intrastate or other non-jurisdictional sales or gathering, but only to the extent such transactions do not have a “nexus” to jurisdictional transactions. In addition, FERC’s market oversight and transparency regulations also may apply to otherwise non-jurisdictional entities to the extent annual purchases and sales of natural gas reach a certain threshold. FERC’s civil penalty authority, described above, would apply to violations of these rules.

Intrastate-Pipeline Regulation
Regulation of intrastate pipeline services may affect certain aspects of our business and the market for our products and services. Intrastate natural-gas and liquids transportation is subject to regulation by state regulatory agencies. The basis for intrastate regulation of natural-gas transportation and the degree of regulatory oversight and scrutiny given to intrastate pipeline rates and services varies from state to state. Regulations within a particular state generally will affect all intrastate pipeline operators within the state on a comparable basis; thus, we believe that the regulation of intrastate transportation in any state in which we operate will not disproportionately affect our operations.
We own an interest in Red Bluff Express, which offers natural-gas transportation services under Section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978. Red Bluff Express is required to meet certain quarterly reporting requirements, providing detailed transaction information that could be made public. This pipeline also is subject to periodic rate review by FERC. In addition, FERC’s anti-manipulation, market-oversight, and market-transparency regulations may
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extend to intrastate natural-gas pipelines, although they may otherwise be non-jurisdictional, and FERC’s civil penalty authority, described above, would apply to violations of these rules.

Financial-Reform Legislation
For a description of financial reform legislation that may affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations, read Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K for more information.

ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS

Our business operations are subject to numerous federal, regional, state, tribal, and local environmental and occupational health and safety laws and regulations. The more significant of these existing environmental laws and regulations include the following legal standards that exist currently in the United States, as amended from time to time:
the Clean Air Act, which restricts the emission of air pollutants from many sources and imposes various pre-construction, operational, monitoring, and reporting requirements for new, reconstructed, modified, and existing sources, and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) has relied on as the authority for adopting climate-change regulatory initiatives relating to greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions;
the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act, which regulates discharges of pollutants from facilities to state and federal waters and establishes the extent to which waterways are subject to federal jurisdiction and rulemaking as protected waters of the United States;
the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which subjects, among others, owners and operators of onshore facilities and pipelines to liability for removal costs and damages arising from an oil spill in waters of the United States;
regulations imposed by the Bureau of Land Management (the “BLM”) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, agencies under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which govern and restrict aspects of oil and natural-gas operations on federal and Native American lands, including the imposition of liabilities for pollution damages and pollution clean-up costs resulting from such operations;
regulations imposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) that govern and restrict activities that may affect federally regulated waters and wetlands;
the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, which imposes liability on generators, transporters, and arrangers of hazardous substances at sites where hazardous substance releases have occurred or are threatening to occur;
the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which governs the generation, treatment, storage, transport, and disposal of solid wastes, including hazardous wastes;
the Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates the quality of the nation’s public drinking water through adoption of drinking-water standards and control over the injection of waste fluids into non-producing geologic formations that may adversely affect drinking water sources;
the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, which requires facilities to implement a safety-hazard communication program and disseminate information to employees, local emergency planning committees, and response departments on toxic chemical uses and inventories;
the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which establishes workplace standards for the protection of the health and safety of employees, including the implementation of hazard communications programs designed to inform employees about hazardous substances in the workplace, potentially harmful effects of these substances, and appropriate control measures;
the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), which restricts activities that may affect federally identified endangered and threatened species or their habitats through the implementation of operating restrictions or a temporary, seasonal, or permanent ban in affected areas, and similar protections for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”);
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the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires federal agencies to evaluate major agency actions having the potential to impact the environment and that may require the preparation of environmental assessments and more detailed environmental impact statements that may be made available for public review and comment; and
U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, which relate to advancing the safe transportation of hazardous materials, pipeline safety, and emergency response preparedness.

Additionally, regional, state, tribal, and local jurisdictions exist in the United States where we operate that also have, or are developing or considering developing, similar environmental laws and regulations governing many of these same types of activities. While the legal requirements imposed under state law may be similar in form to federal laws and regulations, in some cases, the actual implementation of these requirements may impose additional, or more stringent, conditions or controls that can significantly alter or delay the permitting, development, or expansion of a project or substantially increase the cost of doing business. These federal and state environmental laws and regulations, including new or amended legal requirements that may arise in the future to address potential environmental concerns such as air and water impacts and oil and natural-gas development in close proximity to specific occupied structures and/or certain environmentally sensitive or recreational areas, are expected to continue to have a considerable impact on our operations.
In connection with our operations, we have acquired certain properties supportive of oil and natural-gas activities from third parties whose actions with respect to the management and disposal or release of hydrocarbons, hazardous substances, or wastes were not under our control. Under environmental laws and regulations, we could incur strict joint and several liability for remediating hydrocarbons, hazardous substances, or wastes disposed of or released by prior owners or operators. We also could incur costs related to the clean-up of third-party sites to which we sent regulated substances for disposal or recycling, and for damages to natural resources or other claims related to releases of regulated substances at or from such third-party sites.
These federal and state laws and their implementing regulations generally restrict the level of pollutants emitted to ambient air, discharges to surface water, and disposals, or other releases, to surface and below-ground soils and ground water. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in the assessment of sanctions, including administrative, civil, and criminal penalties; the imposition of investigatory, remedial, and corrective-action obligations or the incurrence of capital expenditures; the occurrence of delays or cancellations in the permitting, development, or expansion of projects; and the issuance of injunctions restricting or prohibiting some or all of our activities in a particular area. Moreover, there exist environmental laws that provide for citizen suits, which allow individuals and environmental organizations to act in the place of the government and sue operators for alleged violations of environmental law. See the following Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K for further discussion on environmental matters such as ozone standards, climate change, including methane or other GHG emissions, hydraulic fracturing, and other regulatory initiatives related to environmental protection: “We are subject to stringent and comprehensive environmental laws and regulations that may expose us to significant costs and liabilities,” “Adoption of new or more stringent climate-change or other air-emissions legislation or regulations restricting emissions of GHGs or other air pollutants could negatively impact us, our producer customers, or downstream customers by increasing operating costs and reducing volumetric throughput on our systems due to reduced demand for the gathering, processing, compressing, treating, and transporting services we provide,” “Changes in laws or regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing could result in increased costs, operating restrictions, or delays in the completion of oil and natural-gas wells, which could decrease the need for our gathering and processing services,” and “Adoption of new or more stringent legal standards relating to induced seismic activity associated with produced-water disposal could affect our operations.” The ultimate financial impact arising from environmental laws and regulations is neither clearly known nor determinable, as existing standards are subject to change and new standards continue to evolve.
We have incurred and will continue to incur operating and capital expenditures, some of which may be material, to comply with environmental and occupational health and safety laws and regulations. Historically, our environmental compliance costs have not had a material adverse effect on our results of operations; however, there can be no assurance that such costs will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows in the future, or that new or more stringently applied existing laws and regulations will not materially increase our costs of doing business. Although we are not fully insured against all environmental risks, and our insurance does not cover any penalties or fines that may be issued by a governmental authority, we maintain insurance coverage that we believe sufficient based on our assessment of insurable risks and consistent with insurance coverage held by other similarly situated industry participants. Nevertheless, it is possible that other developments,
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such as stricter and more comprehensive environmental laws and regulations, and claims for damages to property or persons or imposition of penalties resulting from our operations, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
The following are examples of proposed and/or final regulations or other regulatory initiatives that could have a potentially material impact on us:

Ground-Level Ozone Standards. In 2015, the EPA issued a rule under the Clean Air Act, lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”) for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion under the primary standard to 70 parts per billion under the secondary standard to provide requisite protection of public health and welfare. In 2017 and 2018, the EPA issued area designations with respect to ground-level ozone as either “attainment/unclassifiable,” “unclassifiable,” or “non-attainment.” Additionally, in November 2018, the EPA issued final requirements that apply to state, local, and tribal air agencies for implementing the 2015 NAAQS for ground-level ozone. By law, the EPA must review each NAAQS every five years. In December 2020, the EPA announced that it was retaining without revision the 2015 NAAQS for ozone. Subsequently, in January 2021, the Biden Administration announced that it will reconsider the December 2020 final action in favor of a more stringent ground-level ozone standard. Ongoing state implementation of the 2015 NAAQS, as well as potential implementation of even more stringent ground-level ozone standards, could, among other things, require installation of new emission controls on some of our or our customer’s equipment, result in longer permitting timelines, and significantly increase our capital expenditures and operating costs.

Reduction of Methane and Other Emissions by the Oil and Gas Industry. In 2016, the EPA published a final rule establishing new emissions standards for methane and additional standards for volatile organic compounds (“VOC”) from certain new, modified, and reconstructed oil and natural-gas production, processing, and transmission facilities. The EPA’s rule is comprised of New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”), known as Subpart OOOOa, which require certain new, modified, or reconstructed facilities in the oil and natural-gas sector to reduce methane gas and VOC emissions. These Subpart OOOOa standards expand previously issued NSPS to, among other things, hydraulically fractured oil and natural-gas well completions, fugitive emissions from well sites and compressors, and equipment leaks at natural-gas processing plants and pneumatic pumps. In December 2023, the EPA finalized the new NSPS and Emissions Guidelines (“EGs”), known as Subpart OOOOb and Subpart OOOOc, respectively, to further reduce methane and VOC emissions from new, modified, reconstructed, and existing sources in the oil and natural-gas sector, including previously unregulated sources. The rules set more stringent standards and requirements for a variety of sources including flares, wells, storage vessels, compressors, pumps, sweeting units, performance leak detection, and others. Among the many additional requirements, one notable addition is the creation of a Super Emitter Program that, among other things, authorizes third parties to remotely monitor regulated facilities and notify the EPA when certain emissions events are detected. Subpart OOOOb generally becomes effective within 60 days after the rule is published, with certain exceptions. Subpart OOOOc, which will apply to existing sources, has a longer implementation timeline, requiring each state to submit a plan to the EPA for appropriate emissions reductions within two years of the date that the rule is published, and regulated entities are required to comply with state or federal rules within three years after the deadline for state plan submittals. Although any state rules implementing the methane rules must be more stringent than the federal rules, we cannot predict the full scope of any final methane regulatory requirements imposed by the states or the cost to comply with such requirements. Also, at the state level, some states where we conduct operations, including Colorado, have issued requirements for the performance of leak detection programs that identify and repair methane leaks at certain oil and natural-gas sources. Compliance with these rules or with any future federal or state methane regulations could, among other things, require installation of new emission controls on some of our equipment and increase our capital expenditures and operating costs.

Reduction of GHG Emissions. The U.S. Congress and the EPA, in addition to some state and regional authorities, have in recent years considered legislation or regulations to reduce GHG emissions. These efforts have included consideration of cap-and-trade programs, carbon taxes, methane fees, GHG-reporting and tracking programs, and regulations that directly limit GHG emissions from certain sources. In the absence of federal GHG-limiting legislation, the EPA has determined that GHG emissions present a danger to public health and the environment and has adopted regulations that, among other things, restrict GHG emissions under existing Clean Air Act provisions and may require the installation of “best available control technology” to limit GHG emissions from any new or significantly modified facilities that we may seek to construct in the
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future if they would otherwise emit large volumes of GHGs together with other criteria pollutants. Also, certain of our operations are subject to EPA rules requiring the monitoring and annual reporting of GHG emissions from specified onshore and offshore production, processing, and gathering and boosting sources. Additionally, in April 2016, the United States joined other countries in entering into a United Nations-sponsored non-binding agreement negotiated in Paris, France (“Paris Agreement”) for nations to limit their GHG emissions through individually determined reduction goals every five years beginning in 2020, which became effective in November 2016, and to which the United States formally rejoined in February 2021. The United States has established an economy-wide target of reducing its net GHG emissions by 50% - 52% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero GHG-emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. To seek to meet that goal, in 2022, Congress enacted the Inflation Reduction Act, which, among other things, added Section 136 to the Clean Air Act and imposed the first-ever direct federal “charge” on methane emissions called the “Waste Emissions Charge” for applicable facilities within nine segments of the oil and natural gas industry. The IRA states that it will apply to methane emissions beginning in 2024, with the first charge for 2024 emissions due in 2025. On January 26, 2024, the EPA proposed rulemaking to establish a regulatory program for assessing and remitting a fee on methane emissions. Additionally, 2021 state legislation in Colorado requires the development of air quality regulations that will result in a 20% reduction in combustion greenhouse gas emissions from the midstream sector by 2030 as compared to a 2015 baseline. Rulemaking that is responsive to this legislation is expected in December 2024, and could require the replacement of gas-fired compressor engines with electric-driven compressor motors at a significant cost to us. In 2024, Colorado is rulemaking for a GHG emissions fee and likely SIP rulemaking to address severe nonattainment. Additionally, in December 2021, the AQCC adopted regulations that increase leak detection and repair inspections at certain oil and natural gas facilities, require the reduction of methane emissions from certain oil and natural gas operations, and impose certain GHG intensity standards. Generally, GHG intensity standards set numerical limits of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions per barrel of oil produced. In July 2023, the AQCC adopted a new rule to define how certain oil and gas facilities must calculate their greenhouse gas intensity, monitor operations to ensure compliance with intensity standards, new standards for engines, and keep records to accurately account for emissions from their operations. The implementation of substantial limitations on GHG emissions in areas where we conduct operations could result in increased compliance costs to acquire emissions allowances or comply with new regulatory or reporting requirements, which developments could adversely affect demand for oil and natural gas that our customers produce, reduce demand for our services, and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We also dispose of produced water generated from oil and natural-gas production operations. The legal standards related to the disposal of produced water into producing or non-producing geologic formations by means of underground injection wells are subject to change based on concerns of the public or governmental authorities, including concerns relating to seismic events near injection wells used for the disposal of produced water. In response to such concerns, regulators in some states have imposed, or are considering imposing, additional requirements in the permitting of produced-water disposal wells or are otherwise investigating the existence of a relationship between seismicity and the use of such wells. For example, Colorado has issued regulations governing the issuance of underground injection-control permits that limit the maximum injection pressure, rate, and volume of water. Similarly, the Texas Railroad Commission has adopted rules for wastewater disposal wells that impose certain permitting and operating restrictions and reporting requirements on disposal wells in proximity to faults and seismic activity and has also issued directives requiring certain wells to restrict or suspend disposal-well operations near where faults exist or where seismic events have occurred. Another consequence of seismic events near produced-water disposal wells is the introduction of class action lawsuits, which allege that disposal well operations have caused damage to neighboring properties or otherwise violated state and federal rules regulating waste disposal. One or more of these developments could result in additional regulation and restrictions on our use of injection wells to dispose of produced water, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, capital expenditures and operating costs, and financial condition.

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TITLE TO PROPERTIES AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY

Our real property is classified into two categories: (i) parcels that we own in fee title and (ii) parcels in which our interest derives from leases, easements, rights-of-way, permits, or licenses from landowners or governmental authorities, permitting the use of such land for our operations. Portions of the land on which our plants and other major facilities are located are owned by us in fee title, and we believe that we have satisfactory title to these lands. The remainder of the land on which our plant sites and major facilities are located is held by us pursuant to surface leases between us, as lessee, and the fee owner of the lands, as lessor. We or our affiliates have leased or owned these lands for many years without any material challenge known to us relating to the title to the land upon which the assets are located, and we believe that we have satisfactory leasehold estates or fee ownership of such lands. We have no knowledge of any challenge to the underlying fee title of any material lease, easement, right-of-way, permit, or license held by us or to our title to any material lease, easement, right-of-way, permit, or lease, and we believe that we have satisfactory title to all of our material leases, easements, rights-of-way, permits, and licenses.
Some of the leases, easements, rights-of-way, permits, and licenses transferred to us by Occidental required the consent of the grantor of such rights, which in certain instances was a governmental entity. We believe we have obtained sufficient third-party consents, permits, and authorizations for the transfer of the assets necessary to enable us to operate our business in all material respects. With respect to any remaining consents, permits, or authorizations that have not been obtained, we have determined these will not have a material adverse effect on the operation of our business should we fail to obtain such consents, permits, or authorization in a reasonable time frame.

HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES

The officers of our general partner manage our operations and activities under the direction and supervision of the Board. As of December 31, 2023, WES employed 1,377 persons, all of whom reside in the United States. None of these employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, and WES considers its employee relations to be good. Our 2023 voluntary attrition rate was 9.73%, which we believe is reasonable for our industry and market conditions during the year.
Our ability to provide exceptional customer service and generate value for our stakeholders is dependent on our success in recruiting and retaining top talent. To that end, we offer our employees competitive compensation packages and incentive-based awards, as well as a comprehensive offering of health and retirement benefits. In addition, we offer our employees a wide range of programs to help foster work-life balance and support working families, including flexible work schedules and a generous paid-time-off program. We have also implemented social involvement and volunteering programs to support our people and the communities in which we live and work.
Through regular training and orientation for employees and contractors and the inclusion of safety metrics in our incentive compensation program, we endeavor to create a culture in which safety underpins all decision making throughout the organization.
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Item 1A.  Risk Factors

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

We have made in this Form 10-K, and may make in other public filings, press releases, and statements by management, forward-looking statements concerning our operations, economic performance, and financial condition. These forward-looking statements include statements preceded by, followed by, or that otherwise include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “estimates,” “projects,” “target,” “goal,” “plans,” “objective,” “should,” or similar expressions or variations on such expressions. These statements discuss future expectations, contain projections of results of operations or financial condition, or include other “forward-looking” information.
Although we and our general partner believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, neither we nor our general partner can provide any assurance that such expectations will prove correct. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, but are not limited to, the following:

our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders and the amount of such distributions;

our assumptions about the energy market;

future throughput (including Occidental production) that is gathered or processed by, or transported through our assets;

our operating results;

competitive conditions;

technology;

the availability of capital resources to fund acquisitions, capital expenditures, and other contractual obligations, and our ability to access financing through the debt or equity capital markets;

the supply of, demand for, and price of oil, natural gas, NGLs, and related products or services;

commodity-price risks inherent in percent-of-proceeds, percent-of-product, keep-whole, and fixed-recovery processing contracts;

weather and natural disasters;

inflation;

the availability of goods and services;

general economic conditions, internationally, domestically, or in the jurisdictions in which we are doing business;

federal, state, and local laws and state-approved voter ballot initiatives, including those laws or ballot initiatives that limit producers’ hydraulic-fracturing activities or other oil and natural-gas development or operations;

environmental liabilities;

legislative or regulatory changes, including changes affecting our status as a partnership for federal income tax purposes;

changes in the financial or operational condition of Occidental;
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the creditworthiness of Occidental or our other counterparties, including financial institutions, operating partners, and other parties;

changes in Occidental’s capital program, corporate strategy, or other desired areas of focus;

our commitments to capital projects;

our ability to access liquidity under the RCF and commercial paper program;

our ability to repay debt;

the resolution of litigation or other disputes;

conflicts of interest among us and our general partner and its related parties, including Occidental, with respect to, among other things, the allocation of capital and operational and administrative costs, and our future business opportunities;

our ability to maintain and/or obtain rights to operate our assets on land owned by third parties;

our ability to acquire assets on acceptable terms from third parties;

non-payment or non-performance of significant customers, including under gathering, processing, transportation, and disposal agreements;

the timing, amount, and terms of future issuances of equity and debt securities;

the outcome of pending and future regulatory, legislative, or other proceedings or investigations, and continued or additional disruptions in operations that may occur as we and our customers comply with any regulatory orders or other state or local changes in laws or regulations;

cyber attacks or security breaches; and

other factors discussed below and elsewhere in this Item 1A, under the caption Critical Accounting Estimates included under Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K, and in our other public filings and press releases.

Risk factors and other factors noted throughout this Form 10-K could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Common units are inherently different from capital stock of a corporation, although many of the business risks to which we are subject are similar to those that would be faced by a corporation engaged in similar businesses. We urge you to carefully consider the following risk factors together with all of the other information included in this Form 10-K in evaluating an investment in our common units.
If any of the following risks were to occur, our business, financial condition, or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In such a case, the common units’ trading price could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

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RISKS INHERENT IN OUR BUSINESS

We are dependent on Occidental for over 50% of revenues related to the natural gas, crude oil, NGLs, and produced water that we gather, treat, process, transport, and/or dispose. A material reduction in Occidental’s production that is gathered, treated, processed, or transported by our assets would result in a material decline in our revenues and cash available for distribution.
We rely on Occidental for over 50% of revenues related to the natural gas, crude oil, NGLs, and produced water that we gather, treat, process, transport, and/or dispose. For the year ended December 31, 2023, 59% of Total revenues and other, 34% of our throughput for natural-gas assets (excluding equity-investment throughput), 86% of our throughput for crude-oil and NGLs assets (excluding equity-investment throughput), and 78% of our throughput for produced-water assets were attributable to production owned or controlled by Occidental. Occidental may decrease its production in the areas serviced by us and is under no contractual obligation to maintain its production volumes dedicated to us pursuant to the terms of our applicable gathering agreements. The loss of a significant portion of production volumes supplied by Occidental would result in a material decline in our revenues and our cash available for distribution. In addition, Occidental may determine that drilling activity in areas other than our areas of operation is strategically more attractive. A shift in Occidental’s focus away from our areas of operation could result in reduced throughput on our systems and a material decline in our revenues and cash available for distribution.
Because we are dependent on Occidental as our largest customer and the owner of our general partner, any development that materially and adversely affects Occidental’s operations, financial condition, or market reputation could have a material and adverse impact on us. Material adverse changes at Occidental could restrict our access to capital, make it more expensive to access the capital markets, or increase the costs of our borrowings.
We are dependent on Occidental as our largest customer and the owner of our general partner, and we expect to derive significant revenue from Occidental for the foreseeable future. As a result, any event, whether in our area of operations or otherwise, that adversely affects Occidental’s production, financial condition, leverage, market reputation, liquidity, results of operations, or cash flows may adversely affect our revenues, leverage, and cash available for distribution. Accordingly, we are indirectly subject to the business risks of Occidental, including, but not limited to, the volatility of oil and natural-gas prices, the availability of capital on favorable terms to fund Occidental’s exploration and development activities, the political and economic uncertainties associated with Occidental’s foreign operations, transportation-capacity constraints, and shareholder activism.
Further, we are subject to the risk of non-payment or non-performance by Occidental, including with respect to our gathering and transportation agreements. We cannot predict the extent to which Occidental’s business would be impacted if conditions in the energy industry were to deteriorate, nor can we estimate the impact such conditions would have on Occidental’s ability to perform under its commercial agreements with us. Accordingly, any material non-payment or non-performance by Occidental could reduce our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.
Any material limitations to our ability to access capital as a result of adverse changes at Occidental could limit our ability to obtain future financing on favorable terms, or at all, or could result in increased financing costs in the future. Similarly, material adverse changes at Occidental could adversely impact our unit price, thereby limiting our ability to raise capital through equity issuances or debt financing, or adversely affect our ability to engage in or expand or pursue our business activities and also prevent us from engaging in certain transactions that might otherwise be considered beneficial to us.
See Occidental’s reports filed under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, with the SEC (which are not, and shall not be deemed to be, incorporated by reference herein), for a full discussion of the risks associated with Occidental’s business.
Occidental’s ownership of our general partner may result in conflicts of interest.
Occidental owns our general partner. Occidental’s ownership of our general partner may result in conflicts of interest. The directors and officers of our general partner and its affiliates have duties to manage our general partner in a manner that is beneficial to Occidental. At the same time, our general partner has duties to manage us in a manner that is beneficial to our unitholders. Therefore, our general partner’s duties to us may conflict with the duties of its officers and directors to Occidental. As a result of these conflicts of interest, our general partner may favor the interests of Occidental or its owners or affiliates over the interest of our unitholders.
Our future prospects depend, in part, on Occidental’s growth strategy, midstream operational philosophy, and drilling program, including the level of drilling and completion activity by Occidental on acreage dedicated to us. Additional conflicts also may arise in the future associated with future business opportunities that are pursued by
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Occidental and us. For example, Occidental is not prohibited from owning assets or engaging in businesses that directly or indirectly compete with us.
Any future credit-rating downgrade could negatively impact our cost of and ability to access capital.
Our costs of borrowing and ability to access the capital markets are affected by market conditions and the credit rating assigned to WES Operating’s debt by the major credit rating agencies. Any future downgrades in WES Operating’s credit ratings could adversely affect WES Operating’s ability to issue debt, including commercial paper, in the public debt markets and negatively impact our cost of capital, future interest costs, and ability to effectively execute aspects of our business strategy. For example, WES Operating currently has $2.8 billion of outstanding senior notes that provide for changes to the coupon rates following changes in WES Operating’s credit ratings. Future credit-rating downgrades also could trigger obligations to provide financial assurance of our performance under certain contractual arrangements. We may be required to post collateral in the form of letters of credit or cash as financial assurance of our performance under certain contractual arrangements, such as pipeline transportation contracts and NGLs and gas-sales contracts. At December 31, 2023, there were $5.1 million in letters of credit or cash-provided assurance of our performance under contractual arrangements with credit-risk-related contingent features.
Sustained low natural-gas, NGLs, or oil prices and volatility of such prices could adversely affect our business.
Sustained low natural-gas, NGLs, or oil prices impact natural-gas and oil exploration and production activity levels and can result in a decline in the production of hydrocarbons over the medium to long term, resulting in reduced throughput on our systems. Such declines also potentially affect the ability of our vendors, suppliers, and customers to continue operations. As a result, sustained lower natural-gas and crude-oil prices could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and our ability to pay cash distributions to our unitholders.
In general terms, the prices of natural gas, oil, condensate, NGLs, and other hydrocarbon products fluctuate in response to changes in supply and demand, market uncertainty, and a variety of additional factors that are beyond our control. For example, during 2020, oil and natural-gas prices were negatively impacted by the worldwide macroeconomic downturn that followed the global outbreak of COVID-19. Although commodity prices have recovered from those lows, they remain subject to volatility that could negatively impact our and our customers’ financial outlooks and activity levels.
Because of the natural decline in production from existing wells, our success depends on our ability to compete for new sources of oil and natural-gas throughput, which is dependent on certain factors beyond our control. Any decrease in the volumes that we gather, process, treat, and transport could affect our business and operating results adversely.
The volumes that support our business are dependent on, among other things, the level of production from natural-gas and oil wells connected to our gathering systems and processing and treating facilities. This production will naturally decline over time. As a result, our cash flows associated with production from these wells also will decline over time. To maintain or increase throughput levels on our systems, we must obtain new sources of oil and natural-gas throughput. The primary factors affecting our ability to obtain sources of oil and natural-gas throughput include (i) the level of successful drilling activity near our systems, (ii) our ability to compete for volumes from successful new wells to the extent such wells are not dedicated to our systems, and (iii) our ability to capture volumes currently gathered or processed by third parties. Our industry is highly competitive, and we compete with similar companies in our areas of operation. In addition, our customers, including Occidental, may develop their own midstream systems in lieu of using ours.
While Occidental and other third-party producers have dedicated production from certain of its properties to us, we have no control over the level of drilling activity in our areas of operation, the amount of reserves associated with wells connected to our systems, or the rate at which production declines. We also have no control over producers or their drilling or production decisions, which are affected by, among other things, the availability and cost of capital, prevailing and projected commodity prices, demand for hydrocarbons, levels of reserves, geological considerations, governmental regulations, the availability of drilling rigs, and other production and development costs. Sustained reductions in exploration or production activity in our areas of operation would lead to reduced utilization of our gathering, processing, and treating assets.
Because of these factors, producers (including Occidental) may be deterred from developing known oil and natural-gas reserves existing in areas served by our assets. Moreover, Occidental and other third-party producers may not develop the acreage it has dedicated to us. If competition or reductions in drilling activity result in our inability to
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maintain the current levels of throughput on our systems, it could reduce our revenue and impair our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
Our profitability may be negatively impacted by inflation in the cost of labor, materials, and services.
Although inflation in the United States has declined during 2023, the prices of key inputs to the midstream industry have continued to be significantly impacted by inflation relative to historical levels. This continued inflation has raised our costs for steel products, automation components, power supply, labor materials, fuel, chemicals, and services, thereby increasing our operating costs and capital expenditures, and these costs may continue to increase. While we cannot predict any future trends in the rate of inflation, sustained or further increases in inflation would negatively impact our profitability and cash flows available for distribution to unitholders to the extent we are unable to recover such higher costs through our commercial agreements.
The amount of cash we have available for distribution to holders of our common units depends primarily on our cash flows rather than on our profitability, and we may not have sufficient cash from operations following the establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses to enable us to pay distributions at previously announced levels to holders of our common units, or at all, even during periods in which we record net income.
The amount of cash we have available for distribution primarily depends on our cash flows and not solely on profitability as determined by GAAP, which will be affected by non-cash items. As a result, we may make cash distributions for periods in which we record losses for financial accounting purposes and may not make cash distributions for periods in which we record net earnings for financial accounting purposes.
To pay the announced fourth-quarter 2023 distribution of $0.57500 per unit per quarter, or $2.30000 per unit per year, we require per-quarter available cash of $223.4 million, or $893.6 million per year, based on the number of common units outstanding at February 1, 2024. We may not have sufficient available cash from operating surplus each quarter to enable us to pay distributions at currently announced levels. The amount of cash we can distribute on our units principally depends on the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which will fluctuate from quarter to quarter.
Certain of our natural-gas processing agreements provide our producer customers with contractually specified NGL recoveries that, under expected operating conditions, may generate commodity price exposure and could, under certain circumstances, generate financial or physical-delivery obligations for us.
Under certain of our natural-gas processing agreements, we provide our producer customers with contractually specified NGL recoveries. To the extent actual recoveries exceed the contractually specified recoveries, we retain the excess NGL volumes and sell such volumes for our own account along with NGL and natural-gas volumes retained by us under our percent-of-proceeds and keep-whole processing agreements, bearing commodity-price risk on these volumes.
Conversely, if actual plant recoveries are below the contractually specified recoveries, we would still be obligated to deliver the contractually fixed amount of NGLs (or in some cases, the financial equivalent thereof) to such customers. For this reason, our inability to efficiently operate our natural-gas processing facilities could result in diminished NGL sale proceeds for our account, or could result in losses when we settle shortfalls between actual and contractually specified recoveries with our customers. Accordingly, the failure to achieve operational plant efficiency to support the contractually specified recoveries could negatively impact our profitability and cash flows available for distribution to unitholders.
We are exposed to the credit risk of third-party customers, and any material non-payment or non-performance by these parties, including with respect to our gathering, processing, transportation, and disposal agreements, could reduce our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.
Across our asset portfolio, we rely on third-party customers for a substantial amount of our revenues. The loss of a portion or all of these customers’ contracted volumes, as a result of competition, creditworthiness, inability to negotiate extensions, replacements of contracts, or otherwise, could reduce our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders. Further, to the extent any of our third-party customers is in financial distress or enters bankruptcy proceedings, the related customer contracts may be renegotiated at lower rates or altogether rejected.
Implementation of Colorado Senate Bill 19-181 may increase costs and limit oil and natural-gas exploration and production operations in the state, which could have a material adverse effect on our customers in Colorado and significantly reduce demand for our services in the state.
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On April 16, 2019, Senate Bill 19-181 was signed into law in Colorado. This legislation reforms oversight of oil and natural-gas exploration and production activities in the state. The mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, now renamed as the Energy & Carbon Management Commission (“ECMC”), has changed from fostering energy development in the state to regulating the industry in a manner that is protective of public health and safety and the environment. The new legislation also authorizes Colorado cities and counties to assume an increased role in regulating oil and natural-gas operations within their jurisdictions in a manner that may be more stringent than state-level rules. Effective January 15, 2021, the ECMC began implementing the new Senate Bill 19-181 rules that include a unified permitting process, increased setbacks from schools, limitations on venting and flaring, enhanced wildlife protections, and, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, requirements to evaluate the cumulative impacts of oil and gas operations. Since July 2019, the ECMC has conducted rulemaking hearings to adopt rules required in the bill, and adopted rules in 2019, 2020 and 2021 to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 19-181. Rules adopted include those related to wellbore integrity, financial assurance, worker certification, and the like. Operators are adjusting to the new requirements, but are experiencing delayed drilling permit issuance and potentially will face increased operating costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our customers in Colorado, which in turn could reduce statewide demand for our midstream services significantly.
Changes in laws or regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing could result in increased costs, operating restrictions, or delays in the completion of oil and natural-gas wells, which could decrease the need for our gathering and processing services.
While we do not conduct hydraulic fracturing, our oil and natural-gas exploration and production customers do conduct such activities. Hydraulic fracturing is an essential and common practice used by many of our customers to stimulate production of natural gas and oil from dense subsurface rock formations such as shales. Hydraulic fracturing is typically regulated by state oil and natural-gas commissions, but several federal agencies, including the EPA and the BLM, also have asserted regulatory authority over, proposed or promulgated regulations governing, and conducted investigations relating to certain aspects of the hydraulic-fracturing process.
At the state level, some states have adopted, and others are considering adopting, legal requirements that could impose more stringent disclosure, permitting, or well-construction requirements on hydraulic-fracturing operations, and states could elect to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing altogether, following the approach taken by the State of New York. Local governments also may seek to adopt ordinances within their jurisdictions regulating the time, place, and manner of drilling activities in general or hydraulic-fracturing activities in particular. If new or more-stringent federal, state, or local legal restrictions, prohibitions or regulations, or ballot initiatives relating to the hydraulic-fracturing process are adopted in areas where our oil and natural-gas exploration and production customers operate, those customers could incur potentially significant added costs to comply with such requirements and experience delays or curtailment in the pursuit of exploration, development, or production activities, which could reduce demand for our gathering and processing services. Moreover, increased regulation of the hydraulic-fracturing process also could lead to greater opposition to, and litigation over, oil and natural-gas production activities using hydraulic-fracturing techniques. Any one or more of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Adoption of new or more stringent legal standards relating to induced seismic activity associated with produced-water disposal could affect our operations.
We dispose of produced water generated from oil and natural-gas production operations. The legal requirements related to the disposal of produced water into producing or non-producing geologic formation by means of underground injection wells are subject to change based on concerns of the public or governmental authorities, including concerns relating to recent seismic events near injection wells used for the disposal of produced water. In response to such concerns, regulators in some states have imposed, or are considering imposing, additional requirements in the permitting of produced-water disposal wells or are otherwise investigating the existence of a relationship between seismicity and the use of such wells. These developments could result in additional regulation and restrictions on our use of injection wells to dispose of produced water, including a possible shut down of wells, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Adverse developments in our geographic areas of operation could disproportionately impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
Our business and operations are concentrated in a limited number of producing areas. Due to our limited geographic diversification, adverse operational developments, regulatory or legislative changes, or other events in an area in which we have significant operations could have a greater impact on our business, results of operations,
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financial condition, and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders than if our operations were more diversified.
Our indebtedness may limit our ability to capitalize on acquisitions and other business opportunities or our flexibility to obtain financing.
The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in the indentures governing our publicly traded notes, (collectively, the “Notes”), the RCF, and any future financing arrangements could restrict our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to expand or pursue business activities associated with our subsidiaries and equity investments. See Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K for a further discussion of the terms of the RCF, Notes, and the commercial paper program.
Furthermore, our indebtedness and related debt-service costs could impair our ability to obtain additional financing, reduce funds available for operations and business opportunities, make us more vulnerable to competitive pressures or market downturns, and limit our financial and operational flexibility.
Our ability to service our debt will depend on, among other things, our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory, and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. If our operating results are not sufficient to service indebtedness in the future, we will be forced to take actions such as reducing distributions; reducing or delaying our business activities, acquisitions, investments, or capital expenditures; selling assets; or seeking additional equity capital. We may not be able to execute any of these actions on satisfactory terms or at all.
We may not be able to obtain funding on acceptable terms or at all. This may hinder or prevent us from meeting our future capital needs.
Global financial markets and economic conditions have been, and continue to be, volatile, especially for companies involved in the oil and gas industry. While the oil and gas industry has rebounded from the lows seen in 2020, the repricing of credit risk and the relatively weak industry conditions in recent years have made, and will likely continue to make, it difficult for some entities to obtain funding. Future downturns in our industry could increase our cost of obtaining financing from the credit markets as a result of increased rates of return required by many lenders and institutional investors. In such a situation, our lenders could tighten lending standards, refuse to provide funding on terms similar to our current debt, or reduce, or in some cases, refuse to provide funding. Further, we may be unable to obtain adequate funding under the RCF if our lending counterparties become unable to meet their funding obligations. Due to these factors, we cannot be certain that funding will be available if needed and to the extent required on acceptable terms. If funding is not available when needed, or is available only on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to execute our business plans, complete acquisitions or otherwise take advantage of business opportunities, or respond to competitive pressures, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
Our failure to maintain an adequate system of internal control over financial reporting could adversely affect our ability to accurately report our results.
Management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Our internal control over financial reporting is designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in our internal controls that result in a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Effective internal control is necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and deter and detect any material fraud. If we cannot provide reliable financial reports or prevent material fraud, our reputation and operating results will be harmed. Our efforts to develop and maintain our system of internal controls and to remediate material weaknesses in our controls may not be successful, and we may be unable to maintain adequate control over our financial processes and reporting in the future, including future compliance with the obligations under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation or other effective improvement of our internal controls, could harm our operating results. Ineffective internal control also could cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information.
Our business could be negatively affected by security threats, including cyber-threats, and other disruptions.
We face various security threats, including cyber-threats to the security of our facilities and infrastructure, attempts to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or to render data or systems unusable, and terrorist acts. Additionally, destructive forms of protests by activists and other disruptions, including acts of sabotage or eco-
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terrorism, against oil and natural-gas-related activities could potentially result in damage or injury to persons, property, or the environment, or lead to extended interruptions of our or our customers’ operations. Our implementation of procedures and controls to monitor and mitigate security threats and to increase security for our facilities, infrastructure, and information may result in increased costs. There can be no assurance that such procedures and controls will be sufficient to prevent security breaches from occurring.
Cyber-attacks, in particular, are becoming more sophisticated and include malicious software intended to gain unauthorized access to data and systems, electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in critical systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information, and corruption of data. For example, the gathering, processing, treating, and transportation of natural gas from our gathering systems, processing facilities, and pipelines are dependent on communications among our facilities and with third-party systems that may be delivering natural gas into or receiving natural gas and other products from our facilities. Disruption of those communications, whether caused by cyber-attacks or otherwise, may disrupt our ability to deliver natural gas and control these assets.
There is no assurance that we will not suffer material losses from future cyber-attacks, and as such threats continue to evolve, we may be required to expend additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate or remediate any cyber vulnerabilities. Any terrorist or cyber-attack against, or other disruption of, our assets or computer systems could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
We typically do not obtain independent evaluations of hydrocarbon reserves connected to our systems. Therefore, in the future, throughput on our systems could be less than we anticipate.
We typically do not obtain independent evaluations of hydrocarbon reserves connected to our systems. Accordingly, we do not have independent estimates of total reserves connected to our systems or the anticipated life of such reserves. If the total reserves or estimated life of the reserves connected to our systems are less than we anticipate, or the timeline for the development of reserves is greater than we anticipate, and we are unable to secure additional sources of oil and natural gas, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by asset impairments.
If commodity prices decrease, and producer activity reduces accordingly, we may be required to write down the value of our midstream properties if the estimated future cash flows from these properties fall below their respective net book values. Because we are a related party of Occidental, the assets we previously acquired from Anadarko were recorded at Anadarko’s carrying value prior to the transaction. See the discussion of material impairments in Note 9—Property, Plant, and Equipment in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
If third-party pipelines or other facilities interconnected to our gathering, transportation, treating, or processing systems become partially or fully unavailable, or if the volumes we gather or transport do not meet the quality requirements of such pipelines or facilities, our revenues and cash available for distribution could be adversely affected.
Our gathering, transportation, treating, and processing systems are connected to other pipelines or facilities, the majority of which are owned by third parties. The continuing operation of such third-party pipelines or facilities is not within our control. If any of these pipelines or facilities becomes unable to transport, treat, store, or process crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs, or if the volumes we gather or transport do not meet the quality requirements of such pipelines or facilities, our revenues and cash available for distribution could be adversely affected. If production is shut-in for these or for other reasons, affected producers may become insolvent or seek to avoid their contractual obligations with us, in which case, our earnings, cash flows from operations, and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders could be materially and adversely impacted.
A change in the jurisdictional characterization of some of our assets by federal, state, or local regulatory agencies or a change in policy by those agencies could result in increased regulation of our assets, which could cause our revenues to decline and operating expenses to increase.
We believe that our gas-gathering systems meet the traditional tests FERC has used to determine if a pipeline is a gas-gathering pipeline and is, therefore, not subject to FERC jurisdiction. FERC, however, has not made any determinations with respect to the jurisdictional status of any of these gas-gathering systems. The distinction between FERC-regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services has been the subject of ongoing litigation and, over time, FERC policy concerning which activities it regulates and which activities are excluded from
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its regulation has changed. State regulation of gathering facilities generally includes various safety, environmental and, in some circumstances, nondiscriminatory take requirements and complaint-based rate regulation. In recent years, FERC has regulated the gas-gathering activities of interstate pipeline transmission companies more lightly, which has resulted in a number of such companies transferring gathering facilities to unregulated affiliates. As a result of these activities, natural-gas gathering may begin to receive greater regulatory scrutiny at the state and federal levels.
FERC makes jurisdictional determinations for natural-gas gathering and liquids lines on a case-by-case basis. The classification and regulation of our pipelines are subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts, or Congress. A change in the jurisdictional characterization of some of our assets by federal, state, or local regulatory agencies or a change in policy by those agencies could result in increased regulation of our assets, which could cause our revenues to decline and operating expenses to increase. For additional information, read Regulation of Operations–Natural-Gas Gathering Pipeline Regulation under Items 1 and 2 of this Form 10-K.
Adoption of new or more stringent climate-change or other air-emissions legislation or regulations restricting emissions of GHGs or other air pollutants could negatively impact us, our producer customers, or downstream customers by increasing operating costs and reducing volumetric throughput on our systems due to reduced demand for the gathering, processing, compressing, treating, and transporting services we provide.
The threat of climate change continues to attract considerable attention in the United States and foreign countries. Numerous proposals have been made and could continue to be made at the international, national, regional, and state levels of government to monitor and limit emissions of GHGs, as well as to restrict or eliminate such future emissions. Further, new legislation, policies, or regulations may inhibit development plans of our producer customers, which could result in lower volumes transported across our assets. Changes to climate-change or other air-emissions laws and regulations, or reinterpretations of enforcement or other guidance with respect thereto, that govern the areas in which we operate may impact our operations negatively by increasing our compliance costs and the compliance costs of our customers. In addition, in response to concerns related to climate change, companies in the fossil fuel sector may be exposed to increasing financial risks. Financial institutions, including investment advisors and certain sovereign wealth, pension and endowment funds, may elect in the future to shift some or all of their investment into non-fossil fuel related sectors. A material reduction in capital available to the energy industry could make it more difficult to secure funding for exploration, development, production, and transportation activities, which could result in decreased demand for our services, or difficulty in securing capital for new construction projects. For additional information read, “Environmental Matters” under Items 1 and 2 of this Form 10-K.
Federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to pipeline safety and integrity management that require the performance of ongoing assessments and implementation of preventive measures, the use of new or more-stringent safety controls or result in more-stringent enforcement of applicable legal requirements could subject us to increased capital costs, operational delays, and costs of operation.
Legislation adopted in recent years has resulted in more-stringent mandates for pipeline safety and has charged PHMSA with developing and adopting regulations that impose increased pipeline-safety requirements on pipeline operators. For instance, pursuant to its authority under federal law, PHMSA has promulgated regulations requiring pipeline operators to develop and implement integrity-management programs for certain gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that, in the event of a pipeline leak or rupture, could affect HCAs, which are areas where a release could have the most significant adverse consequences, including high-population areas, certain drinking water sources, and unusually sensitive ecological areas. These regulations require the operators of covered pipelines to, among other things, perform ongoing assessments of pipeline integrity and implement preventive and mitigating actions. The imposition of new pipeline safety or integrity management requirements pursuant to existing federal laws or any issuance or reinterpretation of guidance by PHMSA or any state agencies with respect thereto could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue additional capital projects, or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, any or all of which could result in our incurring increased capital expenditures and operating costs that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position. For additional information regarding PHMSA regulations, read Regulation of Operations—Natural-Gas Gathering Pipeline Regulation under Items 1 and 2 of this Form 10-K.
Additionally, while states are largely preempted by federal law from regulating pipeline safety for interstate lines, most are certified by PHMSA to assume responsibility for enforcing federal intrastate pipeline regulations and inspection of intrastate pipelines. In practice, because states can adopt stricter standards for intrastate pipelines than those imposed by the federal government for interstate lines, states vary considerably in their authority and capacity to address pipeline safety. Moreover, PHMSA and one or more state regulators, including the Texas Railroad Commission, have expanded the scope of their regulatory inspections in recent years to include certain in-plant
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equipment and pipelines found within NGLs fractionation facilities and associated storage facilities, to assess compliance with hazardous liquids pipeline safety requirements. To the extent that PHMSA and/or state regulatory agencies are successful in asserting their jurisdiction in this manner, midstream operators of NGLs fractionation facilities and associated storage facilities may be required to make operational changes or modifications at their facilities to meet standards beyond current OSHA and EPA requirements, where such changes or modifications may result in additional capital costs, possible operational delays, and increased costs of operation that, in some instances, may be significant.
Some portions of our pipeline systems have been in service for several decades, and we have a limited ownership history with respect to certain of our assets. There also could be unknown events or conditions, or increased maintenance or repair expenses, and downtime associated with our pipelines that could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Some portions of the pipeline systems that we operate were in service for many decades, prior to our purchase of these systems. Consequently, there may be historical occurrences or latent issues regarding our pipeline systems that we may be unaware of and that may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. The age or condition of our pipeline systems also could result in increased maintenance or repair expenditures, and any downtime associated with increased maintenance and repair activities could materially reduce our revenue. In addition, we may be unable to complete maintenance or repairs due to the unavailability of necessary materials as a result of supply chain disruptions (including those caused by geopolitical events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine), which may result in the suspension of operations of the impacted assets until such activities can be completed. Any significant increase in maintenance and repair expenditures, loss of revenue due to the age or condition of our pipeline systems, or delays in completing necessary maintenance or repairs could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We are subject to stringent and comprehensive environmental laws and regulations that may expose us to significant costs and liabilities.
Our operations are subject to stringent and comprehensive federal, tribal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. These environmental laws and regulations may impose numerous obligations that are applicable to our operations, including: (i) the acquisition of permits to conduct regulated activities; (ii) restrictions on the types, quantities, and concentrations of materials that can be released into the environment; (iii) limitations on the generation, management, and disposal of wastes; (iv) limitations or prohibitions of construction and operating activities in environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, urban areas, wilderness regions, and other protected areas; (v) requiring capital expenditures to limit or prevent releases of materials from our pipelines and facilities; and (vi) imposition of substantial restoration and remedial liabilities and obligations with respect to abandonment of facilities and for pollution resulting from our operations or existing at our owned or operated facilities. Numerous governmental authorities, such as the EPA and analogous state agencies, have the power to enforce compliance with these laws and regulations and the permits issued under them, oftentimes requiring difficult and costly remedial or corrective actions. Failure to comply with these laws, regulations, and permits or any newly adopted legal requirements may result in the assessment of sanctions, including administrative, civil, and criminal penalties, the imposition of investigatory, remedial or corrective action obligations, the incurrence of capital expenditures, the occurrence of delays or cancellations in the permitting, development or expansion of projects, and the issuance of injunctions limiting or preventing some or all of our operations in particular areas.
We may incur significant environmental costs and liabilities in connection with our operations due to our handling of natural gas, crude oil, NGLs, and other petroleum products, because of pollutants from our operations emitted into ambient air or discharged or released into surface water or groundwater, and as a result of historical industry operations and waste-disposal practices. For example, an accidental release as a result of our operations could subject us to substantial liabilities arising from environmental cleanup and restoration costs, claims made by owners of the properties through which our gathering or transportation systems pass, neighboring landowners, and other third parties for personal injury, natural-resource and property damages, and fines or penalties for related violations of environmental laws or regulations. Joint and several strict liabilities may be incurred, without regard to fault, under certain of these environmental laws and regulations. In addition, stricter laws, regulations, or enforcement policies could increase our operational or compliance costs and the costs of any restoration or remedial actions that may become necessary, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. The adoption of any laws, regulations, or other legally enforceable mandates could increase our oil and natural-gas exploration and production customers’ operating and compliance costs and reduce the rate of production of oil or natural gas by
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operators with whom we have a business relationship, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.
Our construction of new assets is subject to regulatory, environmental, political, legal, and economic risks, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
One of the ways we intend to grow our business is through the construction of new midstream assets. The construction of additions or modifications to our existing systems and the construction of new midstream assets involve numerous regulatory, environmental, political, and legal uncertainties that are beyond our control. These uncertainties also could affect downstream assets, which we do not own or control, but which are critical to certain of our growth projects. Delays in the completion of new downstream assets, or the unavailability of existing downstream assets, due to environmental, regulatory, or political considerations, could have an adverse impact on the completion or utilization of our growth projects. In addition, construction activities could be subject to state, county, and local ordinances that restrict the time, place, or manner in which those activities may be conducted. If we undertake these projects, they may not be completed on schedule, at the budgeted cost, or at all. In addition, we could construct facilities to capture anticipated future growth in production in a region in which such growth does not materialize.
We may fail to successfully combine our business with the assets and business of Meritage, which could have an adverse impact on our future results.

The Meritage acquisition closed on October 13, 2023. The integration of these acquired assets involve potential risks, including the failure to realize expected profitability, growth, or accretion; environmental or regulatory compliance matters or liabilities; diversion of management’s attention from our existing business; and the incurrence of unanticipated liabilities and costs for which indemnification is unavailable or inadequate.
If any of the risks described above or other anticipated or unanticipated liabilities were to materialize, it could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We are subject to increased scrutiny from institutional investors with respect to our governance structure and the social cost of our industry, which may adversely impact our ability to raise capital from such investors.
In recent years, certain institutional investors, including public pension funds, have placed increased importance on the implications and social cost of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) matters. ESG initiatives generally seek to divert investment capital from companies involved in certain industries or with disfavored governance structures. The energy industry as a whole has received the attention of such activists, as have companies with our partnership governance model.
Investors’ increased focus and activism related to ESG and similar matters may constrain our ability to raise capital. Any material limitations on our ability to access capital as a result of such scrutiny could limit our ability to obtain future financing on favorable terms, or at all, or could result in increased financing costs in the future. Similarly, such activism could negatively impact our unit price, limiting our ability to raise capital through equity issuances or debt financing, or could negatively affect our ability to engage in, expand or pursue our business activities, and could also prevent us from engaging in certain transactions that might otherwise be considered beneficial to us.

We have partial ownership interests in several joint-venture legal entities that we do not operate or control. As a result, among other things, we may be unable to control the amount of cash we receive or retain from the operation of these entities, and we could be required to contribute significant cash to fund our share of joint-venture operations, which could affect our ability to distribute cash to our unitholders adversely.
Our inability, or limited ability, to control the operations and/or management of joint-venture legal entities in which we have a partial ownership interest may result in our receiving or retaining less cash than we expect. We also may be unable, or limited in our ability, to cause any such entity to effect significant transactions such as large expenditures or contractual commitments, the construction or acquisition of assets, or the borrowing of money.
In addition, for the equity investments in which we have a minority ownership interest, we are unable to control ongoing operational decisions, including the incurrence of capital expenditures or additional indebtedness that we may be required to fund. Further, the other owners of our equity investments may establish reserves for working capital, capital projects, environmental matters, and legal proceedings, that would similarly reduce the amount of cash available for distribution. Any of the above could adversely impact our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
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Further, in connection with the acquisition of our membership interest in Chipeta, we became party to the Chipeta LLC agreement. Among other things, the Chipeta LLC agreement provides that to the extent available, Chipeta will distribute available cash, as defined in the Chipeta LLC agreement, to its members quarterly in accordance with those members’ membership interests. Accordingly, we are required to distribute a portion of Chipeta’s cash balances, which are included in the cash balances in our consolidated balance sheets, to the other Chipeta member.
We do not own all of the land on which our pipelines and facilities are located, which could result in disruptions to our operations.
We do not own all of the land on which our pipelines and facilities have been constructed, and we therefore are, subject to the possibility of more onerous terms and/or increased costs to retain necessary land use if we do not have valid rights-of-way or if such rights-of-way lapse or terminate. Any loss of rights with respect to our real property, through our inability to renew existing rights-of-way contracts or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial position, and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
Our business involves many hazards and operational risks, some of which may not be fully covered by insurance. If a significant accident or event occurs for which we are not fully insured, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected.
Our operations are subject to all of the risks and hazards inherent in gathering, processing, compressing, treating, and transporting natural gas, crude oil, NGLs, and produced water, including (i) damage to our assets and surrounding properties and disruption of our operations as a result of weather, natural disasters, or acts of terrorism; (ii) inadvertent damage from construction, farm, and utility equipment; (iii) leaks or losses of hydrocarbons or produced water; (iv) fires and explosions; and (v) other hazards that could also result in personal injury, loss of life, pollution, property or natural resource damages, and/or curtailment or suspension of operations.
These risks could result in substantial losses due to personal injury and/or loss of life, severe damage to and destruction of property and equipment, and pollution or other environmental or natural-resource damage. These risks also may result in curtailment or suspension of our operations. A natural disaster or other hazard affecting the areas in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our operations. We are not fully insured against all risks that may occur in our business. In addition, although we are insured for environmental pollution resulting from environmental accidents that occur on a sudden and accidental basis, we may not be insured against all environmental accidents that might occur, some of which may result in toxic tort claims. If a significant accident or event occurs for which we are not fully insured, it could adversely affect our operations and financial condition. Furthermore, we may not be able to maintain or obtain insurance of the type and amount we desire at reasonable rates. As a result of market conditions, premiums and deductibles for certain of our insurance policies may substantially increase. In some instances, certain insurance could become unavailable or available only for reduced amounts of coverage. Additionally, we may be unable to recover from prior owners of our assets, pursuant to certain indemnification rights, for potential environmental liabilities.

RISKS INHERENT IN AN INVESTMENT IN US

Our general partner’s liability regarding our obligations is limited.
Our general partner has included provisions in its and our contractual arrangements that limit its liability so that the counterparties to such arrangements have recourse only against our assets and not against our general partner or its assets. Our general partner may, therefore, cause us to incur indebtedness or other obligations that are nonrecourse to our general partner. Our partnership agreement provides that any action taken by our general partner to limit its liability is not a breach of our general partner’s duties, even if we could have obtained more favorable terms without the limitation on liability. In addition, we are obligated to reimburse or indemnify our general partner to the extent that it incurs obligations on our behalf. Any such reimbursement or indemnification payments would reduce the amount of cash otherwise available for distribution to our unitholders.
Our partnership agreement limits our general partner’s fiduciary duties to holders of our common units and restricts the remedies available to holders of our common units for actions taken by our general partner that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duty.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that modify and reduce the fiduciary standards to which our general partner otherwise would be held by state fiduciary duty law. For example, our partnership agreement permits our general partner to make a number of decisions in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general
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partner, or otherwise free of fiduciary duties to us and our unitholders. This entitles our general partner only to consider the interests and factors that it desires and relieves it of any duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of, or factors affecting, us, our affiliates, or our limited partners. By purchasing a common unit, a common unitholder agrees to become bound by the provisions in the partnership agreement, including the above-described provisions.
Furthermore, our partnership agreement contains provisions that restrict the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken by our general partner that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duty under state fiduciary duty law. For example, our partnership agreement:
provides that whenever our general partner makes a determination or takes, or declines to take, any other action in its capacity as our general partner, our general partner is required to make such determination, or take or decline to take such other action, in good faith, and will not be subject to any other or different standard imposed by our partnership agreement, Delaware law, or any other law, rule or regulation, or at equity;
provides that our general partner will not have any liability to us or our unitholders for decisions made in its capacity as a general partner so long as such decisions are made in good faith, meaning that it believed that the decision was in the best interest of the Partnership;
provides that our general partner and its officers and directors will not be liable for monetary damages to us, our limited partners or their assignees resulting from any act or omission unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that our general partner or its officers and directors, as the case may be, acted in bad faith or engaged in fraud or willful misconduct or, in the case of a criminal matter, acted with knowledge that the conduct was criminal; and
provides that, in the absence of bad faith, our general partner will not be in breach of its obligations under the partnership agreement or its duties to us or our unitholders if a transaction with an affiliate or the resolution of a conflict of interest is approved in accordance with, or otherwise meets the standards set forth in, our partnership agreement.
The general partner interest in us may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.
Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of our unitholders. Furthermore, Occidental, the owner of our general partner, may transfer its ownership interest in our general partner to a third party, also without unitholder consent. Our new general partner or the new owner of our general partner would then be in a position to replace the Board and officers of our general partner and to control the decisions taken by the Board and officers.
We may issue additional units without unitholder approval, which would dilute existing ownership interests.
Our partnership agreement does not limit the number of additional limited partner interests that we may issue at any time without the approval of our unitholders. The issuance by us of additional common units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will dilute our existing unitholders’ ownership interests and voting strength and may reduce the market price for our common units and cash available for distribution or increase the ratio of taxable income to distributions.
The market price of our common units could be affected adversely by sales of substantial amounts of our common units in the public or private markets, including sales by Occidental or other large holders.
We had 379,519,983 common units outstanding as of December 31, 2023. Occidental currently holds 185,181,578 common units, representing 48.8% of our outstanding common units. Occidental’s shelf registration statement currently allows for the offer and sale of approximately 30.3 million common units, or 8% of our common units as of December 31, 2023, from time to time. Sales by Occidental or other large holders of a substantial number of our common units in the public markets, or the perception that such sales might occur, could have a material adverse effect on the price of our common units or could impair our ability to obtain capital through an offering of equity securities. In addition, under our partnership agreement, our general partner and its affiliates, including Occidental, have registration rights relating to the offer and sale of any units that they hold, subject to certain limitations.
Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions that were wrongfully distributed to them.
Under certain circumstances, unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under Section 17-607 of the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, we may not make a distribution to unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Delaware
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law provides that for a period of three years from the date of an impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Delaware law will be liable to the limited partnership for the impermissible distribution amount. Substituted limited partners are liable for the obligations of the assignor to make contributions to the partnership that were known to the substituted limited partner at the time it became a limited partner and for those obligations that were unknown if the liabilities could have been determined from the partnership agreement. Neither liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interest nor liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.
Unitholders’ liability may not be limited if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of our business.
A general partner of a partnership generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to the general partner. Our partnership is organized under Delaware law, and we conduct business in a number of other states. The limitations on the liability of holders of limited partner interests for the obligations of a limited partnership have not been clearly established in some of the other states in which we do business. A unitholder could be liable for any and all of our obligations as if that unitholder were a general partner if a court or government agency were to determine that we were conducting business in a state, but had not complied with that particular state’s partnership statute, or such unitholder’s right to act with other unitholders to remove or replace our general partner, to approve some amendments to our partnership agreement, or to take other actions under our partnership agreement constitute “control” of our business.

TAX RISKS TO COMMON UNITHOLDERS

Our taxation as a flow-through entity depends on our status as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and our not being subject to a material amount of entity-level taxation by individual states. If the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) were to treat us as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or if we were to become subject to material additional amounts of entity-level taxation for state tax purposes, then our cash available for distribution to our unitholders could be reduced substantially.
The anticipated after-tax economic benefit of an investment in our common units depends largely on our being treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Notwithstanding our status as a limited partnership under Delaware law, it is possible in certain circumstances for a partnership such as us to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes unless it satisfies a “qualifying income” requirement and is not treated as an investment company. Based on our current operations, we believe that we satisfy the qualifying income requirement and are not treated as an investment company. Failing to meet the qualifying income requirement, being treated as an investment company, a change in our business activities, or a change in current law could cause us to be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject us to entity-level taxation.
If we were treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, we would pay federal income tax on our taxable income at the applicable corporate tax rate and likely would pay state income tax at varying rates. Distributions to our unitholders generally would be taxed as corporate distributions, and no income, gains, losses, deductions, or credits would flow through to our unitholders. If we are subject to corporate taxation, our cash available for distribution to our unitholders would be reduced substantially. Likewise, our treatment as a corporation would result in a material reduction in the anticipated cash flows and after-tax return to our unitholders, likely causing a substantial reduction in the value of our common units.
At the state level, several states have been evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity-level taxation through the imposition of state income or franchise taxes or other forms of taxation. For example, we are required to pay Texas margin tax on our gross income apportioned to Texas. Imposition of similar taxes on us in other jurisdictions in which we operate, or to which we may expand our operations, could reduce the cash available for distribution to our unitholders substantially.
The tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships or an investment in our common units could be subject to potential legislative, judicial, or administrative changes and differing interpretations, possibly on a retroactive basis.
The current U.S. federal income tax treatment of publicly traded partnerships, including us, or an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative, legislative, or judicial interpretation at any time. From time to time, members of Congress have proposed and considered substantive changes to the existing U.S. federal income tax laws that would affect publicly traded partnerships, including elimination of partnership tax treatment for publicly traded partnerships. Any modification to the U.S. federal income tax laws and interpretations thereof may or may not
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be retroactively applied and could make it more difficult or impossible to meet the exception for certain publicly traded partnerships to be treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes or increase the amount of taxes payable by unitholders in publicly traded partnerships. You are urged to consult with your own tax advisor with respect to the status of regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on your investment in our common units.
If the IRS were to contest the federal income tax positions we take, it may impact the market for our common units adversely, and the costs of any such contest would reduce the cash available for distribution to our unitholders.
We have not requested a ruling from the IRS with respect to the pricing of our related-party agreements with Occidental or our treatment as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The IRS may adopt positions that differ from the positions we take. It may be necessary to resort to administrative or court proceedings to sustain some or all of the positions we take, and a court may not agree with some or all of those positions. Any contest with the IRS may materially and adversely impact the market for our common units and the price at which they trade. Moreover, the costs of any contest with the IRS will result in a reduction in cash available for distribution to our unitholders and thus will be borne indirectly by our unitholders.
If the IRS makes audit adjustments to our income tax returns, it (and some states) may assess and collect any taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from us, in which case our cash available for distribution to our unitholders might be substantially reduced.
If the IRS makes audit adjustments to our income tax returns, it (and some states) may assess and collect any taxes (including any applicable penalties and interest) resulting from such audit adjustment directly from us. To the extent possible under applicable rules, our general partner may pay such amounts directly to the IRS or, if we are eligible, elect to issue a revised Schedule K-1 to each unitholder with respect to an audited and adjusted return. No assurances can be made that such election will be practical, permissible, or effective in all circumstances. As a result, our current unitholders may bear some or all of the economic burden resulting from such audit adjustment, even if such unitholders did not own units in us during the tax year under audit. If, as a result of any such audit adjustment, we are required to make payments of taxes, penalties, and interest, our cash available for distribution to our unitholders might be substantially reduced.
Our unitholders are required to pay taxes on their share of our income even if they do not receive any cash distributions from us.
Our unitholders are required to pay any U.S. federal income taxes on their share of our taxable income irrespective of whether they receive cash distributions from us. Unitholders may not receive cash distributions from us equal to their share of our taxable income or even equal to the actual tax liability attributable to their share of our taxable income.
Tax gain or loss on the disposition of our common units could be more or less than expected.
If a unitholder sells common units, the unitholder will recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and that unitholder’s tax basis in those common units. Because distributions in excess of a unitholder’s allocable share of our net taxable income result in a decrease in that unitholder’s tax basis in its common units, the amount, if any, of such prior excess distributions with respect to the units sold will, in effect, become taxable income to that unitholder, if that unitholder sells such units at a price greater than that unitholder’s tax basis in those units, even if the price received is less than their original cost. A substantial portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be taxed as ordinary income due to potential recapture items such as depreciation. In addition, because the amount realized includes a unitholder’s share of our nonrecourse liabilities, if they sell their units, unitholders may incur a tax liability in excess of the amount of cash they receive from the sale.
Tax-exempt entities face unique tax issues from owning our common units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.
Investment in common units by tax-exempt entities, such as employee benefit plans, and individual retirement accounts (or “IRAs”) raises issues unique to them. For example, virtually all of our income allocated to organizations that are exempt from federal income tax, including IRAs and other retirement plans, will be unrelated business taxable income and will be taxable to them. Tax-exempt entities should consult a tax advisor before investing in our units.
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Non-U.S. unitholders will be subject to U.S. taxes and withholding with respect to their income and gain from owning our units.
Non-U.S. unitholders are subject to U.S. federal income tax on income effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business (“effectively connected income”). A unitholder’s share of our income, gain, loss and deduction, and any gain from the sale or disposition of our units will generally be considered to be effectively connected income and subject to U.S. federal income tax. As a result, distributions to non-U.S. unitholders will be reduced by withholding taxes at the highest applicable effective tax rate and a non-U.S. unitholder who sells or otherwise disposes of a unit will also be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the gain realized from the sale or disposition of that unit. Additionally, distributions to non-U.S. unitholders occurring on or after January 1, 2023, will be subject to an additional 10% withholding tax on the amount of any distribution in excess of our cumulative net income that has not been previously distributed. The determination of cumulative net income is complex and unclear in certain respects, and we intend to treat all of our distributions as being in excess of our cumulative net income for such purposes and subject to the additional 10% withholding tax. Accordingly, distributions to a non-U.S. unitholder will be subject to a combined withholding tax rate equal to the sum of the highest applicable effective tax rate and 10%.
Moreover, the transferee of an interest in a partnership that is engaged in a U.S. trade or business is generally required to withhold 10% of the amount realized by the transferor unless the transferor certifies that it is not a foreign person. Treasury regulations provide that the “amount realized” on a transfer of an interest in a publicly traded partnership will generally be the amount of gross proceeds paid to the broker effecting the applicable transfer on behalf of the transferor. Treasury regulations and recent Treasury guidance further provide that for transfers of interests in a publicly traded partnership occurring on or after January 1, 2023, the obligation to withhold is imposed on the transferor’s broker. Non-U.S. unitholders should consult their tax advisor before investing in our common units.
We generally prorate our items of income, gain, loss, and deduction between transferors and transferees of our common units each month based on the ownership of our common units on the first day of each month, instead of on the basis of the date a particular common unit is transferred. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss, and deduction among our unitholders.
We generally prorate our items of income, gain, loss, and deduction between transferors and transferees of our common units each month based on the ownership of our common units on the first day of each month (the “Allocation Date”), instead of on the basis of the date a particular common unit is transferred. Similarly, we generally allocate certain deductions for depreciation of capital additions, gain or loss realized on a sale or other disposition of our assets, and, in the discretion of the general partner, any other extraordinary item of income, gain, loss, or deduction based upon ownership on the Allocation Date. Treasury Regulations allow a similar monthly simplifying convention, but such regulations do not specifically authorize all aspects of our proration method. If the IRS were to challenge our proration method, we may be required to change the allocation of items of income, gain, loss, and deduction among our unitholders.
We have adopted certain valuation methodologies in determining a unitholder’s allocations of income, gain, loss, and deduction. The IRS may challenge these methodologies or the resulting allocations, which could affect the value of our common units adversely.
In determining items of income, gain, loss, and deduction allocable to our unitholders, we must routinely determine the fair market value of our assets. Although we may, from time to time, consult with professional appraisers regarding valuation matters, we make many fair market value estimates using a methodology based on the market value of our common units as a means to measure the fair market value of our assets. The IRS may challenge these valuation methods and the resulting allocations of income, gain, loss, and deduction.
A successful IRS challenge to these methods or allocations could diminish the amount of tax benefits available to our unitholders, affect the timing for recognition of these tax benefits or the amount of gain from any sale of common units, impact the value of our common units negatively, or result in audit adjustments to unitholders’ tax returns.
Our unitholders are subject to state and local taxes and return-filing requirements in jurisdictions where they do not live as a result of investing in our common units.
In addition to U.S. federal income taxes, our unitholders are subject to other taxes, including foreign, state, and local taxes; unincorporated business taxes; and estate, inheritance, or intangible taxes that are imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we conduct business or own property now or in the future, even if they do not live in any of those
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jurisdictions. Our unitholders likely will be required to file tax returns and pay taxes in some or all of these various jurisdictions, or be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 1C.  Cybersecurity

Our cybersecurity program is designed to promote actions that protect our computer systems and networks, delivering safe, secure, and reliable operations. Our digital technology group is led by a dedicated Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”). Our CISO has 15 years of experience as a chief information security officer, over four decades of experience in the energy industry, a degree in computer science, and manages a team at WES that is responsible for leading enterprise-wide cybersecurity strategy, policy, standards, architecture, governance, and risk management. The CISO also leads WES’s Cybersecurity Council, which is a cross-functional internal team including members of WES senior management, that meets regularly to review current information-technology and cybersecurity issues and initiatives and to collaborate on key decisions. Additionally, the CISO provides quarterly reports to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. These reports include updates on WES’s cybersecurity risks and threats, the status of projects to strengthen our information security systems, assessments of the information security program, and the emerging threat landscape. Our cybersecurity program is regularly evaluated by internal and external experts with the results of those reviews reported to senior management and the Audit Committee. In addition, in our continuing commitment to cybersecurity education and preparedness, we also engage with industry peers, vendors, intelligence organizations, and law enforcement communities to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of our information security policies and procedures.
Our business strategy, results of operations, and financial condition have not been materially affected by risks from cybersecurity threats, but we cannot provide assurance that they will not be materially affected in the future by such risks or any future material incidents. For more information on our cybersecurity related risks, see Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.

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Item 3.  Legal Proceedings

On October 29, 2020, WGR Operating, LP (“WGR”), on behalf of itself and derivatively on behalf of Mont Belvieu JV, filed suit against Enterprise Products Operating, LLC (along with its affiliates, collectively “Enterprise”) and Mont Belvieu JV (as a nominal defendant) in the District Court of Harris County, Texas (the “Mont Belvieu JV Lawsuit”). In the Mont Belvieu JV Lawsuit, we sought a declaratory judgment regarding proper revenue allocation as set forth in the Operating Agreement between the Mont Belvieu JV (in which WGR was a 25% owner) and Enterprise related to fractionation trains at the Mont Belvieu complex in Chambers County, Texas. Separately, on November 22, 2022, WGR filed suit against Enterprise in the District Court of Harris County, Texas (the “Whitethorn Lawsuit”). In the Whitethorn Lawsuit, we alleged, among other things, that Enterprise breached a contract related to its hydrocarbon trading activity that utilized the Whitethorn pipeline, and that Enterprise, as operator of the Whitethorn pipeline, breached its duties to act as a reasonable and prudent operator and for the sole benefit of the Whitethorn joint venture (in which WGR was a 20% owner). In response, Enterprise filed counterclaims related to alleged overpayments to WGR of approximately $12.0 million. In connection with the sales of our interests in both the Mont Belvieu JV and Whitethorn LLC on February 16, 2024, the Mont Belvieu Lawsuit and the Whitethorn Lawsuit were settled.
Except as discussed above, we are not a party to any legal, regulatory, or administrative proceedings other than proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. Management believes that there are no such proceedings for which a final disposition could have a material adverse effect on results of operations, cash flows, or financial condition, or for which disclosure is otherwise required by Item 103 of Regulation S-K.
    
Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.
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PART II

Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

MARKET INFORMATION

Our common units are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “WES.” As of February 14, 2024, there were 24 unitholders of record of our common units. This number does not include unitholders whose units are held in trust by other entities. The actual number of unitholders is greater than the number of holders of record. We also have 9,060,641 general partner units issued and outstanding; there is no established public trading market for any such general partner units. All general partner units are held by our general partner.

OTHER SECURITIES MATTERS

Securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans. Our general partner has the authority to grant equity compensation awards to our outside directors, executive officers, and employees under the Western Gas Partners, LP 2017 Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “2017 LTIP”) and the Western Midstream Partners, LP 2021 Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “2021 LTIP”). The 2017 LTIP and the 2021 LTIP permit the issuance of up to 3,431,251 and 9,500,000 units, respectively, of which 1,226,875 and 9,479,648 units, respectively, remained available for future issuance as of December 31, 2023. Read the information under Part III, Item 12 of this Form 10-K, which is incorporated by reference into this Item 5. See Note 15—Equity-Based Compensation in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

Purchases of equity securities by the issuer and affiliated persons. The following table sets forth information with respect to repurchases made by WES of its common units in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions under the $1.25 billion Purchase Program during the fourth quarter of 2023:
PeriodTotal number of units purchasedAverage price paid per unit
Total number of units purchased as part of publicly announced plans or programs (1)
Approximate dollar value of units that may yet be purchased under the plans or programs (1)
October 1-31, 2023
— $— — $627,807,310 
November 1-30, 2023
— — — 627,807,310 
December 1-31, 2023
— — — 627,807,310 
Total— — — 
______________________________________________________________________________________
(1)In February 2022, WES announced a $1.0 billion buyback program, pursuant to which we may purchase up to $1.0 billion in aggregate value of our common units through December 31, 2024. In November 2022, the Board authorized an increase in the program to $1.25 billion. See Note 5—Equity and Partners’ Capital in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for additional details.

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SELECTED INFORMATION FROM OUR PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

Set forth below is a summary of the significant provisions of our partnership agreement that relate to cash distributions.

Available cash. Under our partnership agreement, we distribute all of our available cash (beyond proper reserves as defined in our partnership agreement) to unitholders of record on the applicable record date within 55 days following each quarter’s end. The amount of available cash generally is all cash on hand at the end of the quarter, plus, at the discretion of the general partner, working capital borrowings made subsequent to the end of such quarter, less the amount of cash reserves established by the general partner to provide for the proper conduct of our business, including (i) reserves to fund future capital expenditures; (ii) to comply with applicable laws, debt instruments, or other agreements; or (iii) to provide funds for unitholder distributions for any one or more of the next four quarters. Working capital borrowings generally include borrowings made under a credit facility or similar financing arrangement and are intended to be repaid or refinanced within 12 months. In all cases, working capital borrowings are used solely for working capital purposes or to fund unitholder distributions.

General partner interest. As of December 31, 2023, our general partner owned a 2.3% general partner interest in us, which entitles it to receive cash distributions. Our general partner may own our common units or other equity securities and would be entitled to receive cash distributions on any such interests.

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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion analyzes our financial condition and results of operations and should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, wherein WES Operating is fully consolidated, and which are included under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K, and the information set forth in Risk Factors under Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.
Discussion of 2021 items and comparison of the year ended December 31, 2022, to the year ended December 31, 2021, that are not included in this annual report on Form 10-K can be found under Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, which is included under Part II, Item 7 of our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and is available via the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and our website at www.westernmidstream.com.
The Partnership’s assets include assets owned and ownership interests accounted for by us under the equity method of accounting, through our 98.0% partnership interest in WES Operating, as of December 31, 2023 (see Note 7—Equity Investments in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K). We also own and control the entire non-economic general partner interest in WES Operating GP, and our general partner is owned by Occidental.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We are a midstream energy company organized as a publicly traded partnership, engaged in the business of gathering, compressing, treating, processing, and transporting natural gas; gathering, stabilizing, and transporting condensate, NGLs, and crude oil; and gathering and disposing of produced water. In our capacity as a natural-gas processor, we also buy and sell natural gas, NGLs, and condensate on behalf of ourselves and our customers under certain contracts. To provide superior midstream service, we focus on ensuring the reliability and performance of our systems, creating sustainable cost efficiencies, enhancing our safety culture, and protecting the environment. We own or have investments in assets located in Texas, New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming), and North-central Pennsylvania. As of December 31, 2023, our assets and investments consisted of the following:
Wholly
Owned and
Operated
Operated
Interests
Non-Operated
Interests
Equity
Interests
Gathering systems (1)
18 
Treating facilities38 — — 
Natural-gas processing plants/trains
24 — 
NGLs pipelines— — 
Natural-gas pipelines
— — 
Crude-oil pipelines
— 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
(1)Includes the DBM water systems.

Significant financial and operational events during the year ended December 31, 2023, included the following:

On October 13, 2023, we closed on the acquisition of Meritage for $885.0 million (subject to certain customary post-closing adjustments). See Items Affecting the Comparability of Our Financial Results within this Item 7 for additional information.

WES Operating completed the public offering of $600.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.350% Senior Notes due 2029. Net proceeds from the offering were used to fund a portion of the aggregate purchase price for the Meritage acquisition, to pay related costs and expenses, and for general partnership purposes. See Liquidity and Capital Resources within this Item 7 for additional information.

WES Operating completed the public offering of $750.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.150% Senior Notes due 2033. Net proceeds from this offering were used to repay borrowings under the RCF and for general partnership purposes. See Liquidity and Capital Resources within this Item 7 for additional information.

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WES Operating redeemed the $213.1 million total principal amount outstanding of the Floating-Rate Senior Notes due 2023 at par value with cash on hand.

WES Operating purchased and retired $276.7 million of certain of its senior notes via open-market repurchases.

In November 2023, WES operating entered into an unsecured commercial paper program under which it may issue (and have outstanding at any one time) an aggregate principal amount up to $2.0 billion. See Liquidity and Capital Resources within this Item 7 for additional information.

Our fourth-quarter 2023 per-unit distribution is unchanged from the third-quarter 2023 per-unit distribution of $0.575.

The Board approved an Enhanced Distribution of $0.356 per unit, or $140.1 million, related to our 2022 performance. This Enhanced Distribution was paid, along with our regular first-quarter 2023 distribution, on May 15, 2023, to our unitholders of record at the close of business on May 1, 2023.

We repurchased 5,387,322 common units, which includes 5,100,000 common units repurchased from Occidental, for an aggregate purchase price of $134.6 million.

Natural-gas throughput attributable to WES totaled 4,432 MMcf/d for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 5% increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Crude-oil and NGLs throughput attributable to WES totaled 652 MBbls/d for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 4% decrease compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Produced-water throughput attributable to WES totaled 1,009 MBbls/d for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 21% increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Gross margin was $2,341.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 4% increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2022. See Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures within this Item 7.

Adjusted gross margin for natural-gas assets (as defined under the caption Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures within this Item 7) averaged $1.28 per Mcf for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 3% decrease compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Adjusted gross margin for crude-oil and NGLs assets (as defined under the caption Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures within this Item 7) averaged $2.48 per Bbl for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 1% increase compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

Adjusted gross margin for produced-water assets (as defined under the caption Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures within this Item 7) averaged $0.83 per Bbl for the year ended December 31, 2023, representing a 12% decrease compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.

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The following table provides additional information on throughput for the periods presented below:
Year Ended December 31,
20232022Inc/
(Dec)
Throughput for natural-gas assets (MMcf/d)
Delaware Basin1,635 1,470 11 %
DJ Basin1,322 1,331 (1)%
Powder River Basin120 33 NM
Equity investments466 483 (4)%
Other1,050 1,049 — %
Total throughput for natural-gas assets
4,593 4,366 %
Throughput for crude-oil and NGLs assets (MBbls/d)
Delaware Basin214 198 %
DJ Basin71 82 (13)%
Powder River Basin5 — 100 %
Equity investments333 373 (11)%
Other42 37 14 %
Total throughput for crude-oil and NGLs assets
665 690 (4)%
Throughput for produced-water assets (MBbls/d)
Delaware Basin1,029 853 21 %
Total throughput for produced-water assets
1,029 853