Customer Satisfaction in Natural Gas Midstream Sector Shows Modest But Welcome Improvement

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MarkWest Energy Partners and Copano Energy rank highest among 19 major suppliers in EnergyPoint research study.

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Customer satisfaction scores for suppliers of natural gas midstream services rose from two years ago, an encouraging sign given the instrumental role the segment plays in the natural gas story that continues to unfold in the U.S.

Against a backdrop of increased shale gas development and production across the U.S., EnergyPoint Research’s newest survey indicates domestic natural gas midstream providers now enjoy a modest increase in overall customer satisfaction levels compared to two years ago. The study, completed in November 2011, is the industry’s biennial benchmark measuring customers’ satisfaction with providers of gathering, processing, treating and related gas-servicing needs.

Taking first place in the survey in terms of total satisfaction was MarkWest Energy Partners. The company’s ratings were driven by top marks in the category of project development, and by its ratings in the ArkLaTex and Marcellus regions. Copano Energy was this year’s runner-up in terms of total satisfaction, taking top spots in the areas of operations and systems and administration. Copano also rated first in the categories of onshore gathering, processing and treating, and gas/NGL purchasing, as well as in the Mid-continent and onshore Gulf Coast regions.

“Overall, customer satisfaction scores for suppliers of natural gas midstream services rose by an adjusted 4.9 percent from two years ago, an encouraging sign given the instrumental role the segment plays in the natural gas story that continues to unfold here in the U.S.,” said Doug Sheridan, managing director of EnergyPoint Research. “Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of work to do before the segment closes the relatively large gap that exists between its customers’ satisfaction levels and those of other industry segments we track.”

Other companies rating in the top half of this year’s survey in terms of total satisfaction, listed in descending overall rank, include: Williams, which rated first in the category of NGL transportation and storage, as well as in the Rockies & San Juan Basin region; CenterPoint Energy Field Services, which rated first in category of gas compression; Kinder Morgan, which rated first in the category of gas transportation and storage; Regency Energy Partners, which rated first in the Permian Basin region; DCP Midstream; Targa Resources; and ONEOK.

Suppliers rating in the bottom half of the survey, listed alphabetically, include: Anadarko Midstream/Western Gas Partners; Crosstex Energy Services; Eagle Rock Energy; Enbridge; Energy Transfer, Enterprise Products; and Southern Union. Energy Transfer rated first overall in the survey in the Texas Intrastate region, while Enterprise Products took top honors for NGL fractionation and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Survey results indicate one of the sector’s largest players, DCP Midstream, has improved its customer satisfaction levels materially since two years ago, with total satisfaction scores rising a strong 15.9 percent from 2009 levels. The company showed particular improvement in the category of systems and administration.

“As one of the largest gatherers and processors in the industry, DCP Midstream has shown that improving customer satisfaction does not have to be the exclusive realm of smaller or niche players,” said Sheridan.

The survey was conducted as part of EnergyPoint Research’s ongoing industry-wide survey process and included more than 760 in-depth evaluations performed over several months ending in November 2011 by over 230 qualified professionals at companies regularly utilizing domestic natural gas midstream services. The survey succeeds similar studies conducted and published by EnergyPoint Research in 2006 and 2009.

Suppliers were evaluated in various areas including total satisfaction, pricing and contract terms, operations, project development, service and professionalism, personnel, systems and administration, and corporate capabilities. They were also evaluated across multiple service segments and producing regions. A total of 19 major suppliers received the minimum number of evaluations needed to be included in the survey’s final rankings.

For categories in which ratings existed, 2009 ratings were included at lesser weightings in the 2011 category-winner calculations. In no case were historical ratings assigned a weighting of more than 20 percent for the purposes of calculating 2011 category winners.

For more information concerning EnergyPoint Research, its independent surveys, or its detailed research offerings, visit the company’s web site at
About EnergyPoint Research, Inc.

EnergyPoint Research provides independent research regarding the oil and gas industry’s satisfaction with the products and services it purchases and utilizes. Founded in 2003, the firm offers oil and gas industry professionals and organizations opportunities to both provide and gather confidential ratings and customer feedback in areas important to oil and gas industry suppliers through objective and independent evaluation processes. For more information regarding EnergyPoint Research and its surveys, research and data, visit the company’s website at or contact the company at


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