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0 Introduction
Over the last half century Master Limited Partnerships have provided investors with a
unique investment opportunity. This type of business structure has become increasingly
popular within industries of low growth and sufficient continuous cash flow with the
majority of them residing within the oil and gas industry. In order to maintain their MLP
status these organizations are required to report 90% of their revenue from transporting
some type of natural resource. MLPs are unique in that they are registered as limited
partnerships while also having a portion of their units publicly traded. This puts them in a
similar category as corporate stock while avoiding the double taxation consequences
suffered by dividend recipients.
The Master Limited Partnership structure was created in the early 1980s and redefined
with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the Revenue Act of 1987. The first Master Limited
Partnership was Apache Petroleum Company, formed in 1981 from the consolidation of
33 oil and gas operations from Apache Corporation. Soon after, there was an influx of
Master Limited Partnerships in the market place from various industries including
restaurants, investment advisors, and even entertainment including the Boston Celtics.
Since 1995, the number of Master Limited Partnerships created has increased annually,
though many of the partnerships have either gone out of business or been acquired. As
of 2010, there were approximately 72 publicly traded Master Limited Partnerships.