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After the master plan: Commitments to MLPs have soared, but are there better ways to access shale oil and gas?
These are heady days for U.S. oil and gas. The shale energy boom is now making its impact felt across not just the United States but worldwide, through both huge investments in domestic production of energy-intensive products such as chemicals as well as the prospect of natural gas being exported through the construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals.
Tied to the shale boom, the major financial success story of recent years has been the proliferation of master limited partnerships as the financing vehicle of choice for the construction and operation of infrastructure to move these new fuel resources to market.
MLPs are partnerships traded on major U.S. securities exchanges that, according to legislation dating back to the mid-1980s, must generate 90 percent of their revenues from the exploration, development and transportation of natural resources. More often than not this means the MLP is building and running a natural gas or oil pipeline, with compa