Buckeye Partners reported net income attributable to Buckeye's unitholders for the first quarter of 2012 of $52.0 million, or $0.54 per diluted unit, compared to net income attributable to Buckeye's unitholders for the first quarter of 2011 of $66.5 million, or $0.79 per diluted unit. Buckeye's Adjusted EBITDA (as defined below) for the first quarter of 2012 was $115.0 million compared with Adjusted EBITDA of $122.2 million for the first quarter of 2011. Operating income for the first quarter of 2012 was $80.4 million compared to $92.6 million for the first quarter of 2011. Buckeye also incurred $3.7 million in transition expenses during the first quarter of 2012 related to acquisition and integration activities. This compares to $1.8 million in transition expenses incurred during the first quarter of 2011.
"The first quarter of 2012 was challenging for Buckeye as the mild winter and softness in demand for refined products, combined with the short-term negative impact of our Energy Services segment exiting its Midwest positions, adversely affected our financial performance," stated Clark C. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer. "During the quarter, we saw year over year heating oil pipeline volumes decline 32%, impacting results in our Pipelines & Terminals and Energy Services segments. Additionally, our Energy Services segment executed its previously announced strategy of reducing refined product inventories in the Midwest to mitigate basis pricing risk following the extreme volatility experienced in late 2011 and into 2012. This strategy, which should reduce exposure to market volatility in the future, generated losses in the first quarter on product inventory sold."
Mr. Smith continued, "While we are disappointed with our financial performance for the quarter, we are pleased with the significant progress made in 2012 toward positioning Buckeye to take advantage of changing supply/demand dynamics for crude oil and liquid petroleum products." In April, Buckeye entered into an agreement with a major customer for a significant crude oil storage transaction at its BORCO facility in The Bahamas. This long-term contract will support the construction of an additional 1.2 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity, which Buckeye expects to be operational in the third quarter of 2013. This additional capacity is incremental to the previously announced 3.5 million barrel phase one expansion at BORCO. "We are seeing strong customer demand for crude oil capacity at BORCO as new sources of crude oil begin production, expanding the need for segregated storage and custom blending services," noted Mr. Smith.
As previously announced in February, Buckeye reached an agreement with Chevron U.S.A. Inc. to acquire a marine terminal facility for liquid petroleum products in New York Harbor, allowing Buckeye to play an integral role in connecting waterborne imports with end-destination markets through its inland pipeline and terminal networks, while also creating a link between Buckeye's inland pipelines and terminals and BORCO. "Our growth strategy for integrating our assets across the global product logistics chain continues to advance," added Mr. Smith. This transaction is now expected to close late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2012.
Buckeye also announced today that its general partner declared a cash distribution of $1.0375 per limited partner ("LP") unitfor the quarter ended March 31, 2012. Class B unitholders will not receive a distribution of cash, but instead will be issued additional Class B units pursuant to Buckeye's partnership agreement. The distribution will be payable on May 31, 2012 to unitholders of record on May 14, 2012. This cash distribution represents a 3.75% percent increase over the $1.00 per LP unit distribution declared for the first quarter of 2011. Buckeye has paid cash distributions in each quarter since its formation in 1986.