Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Enbridge First-Quarter Net Earnings Beat Street, Eyeing Eastern Oil Pipelines: Enbridge Eyeing Eastern Oil Proposals

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Enbridge First-Quarter Net Earnings Beat Street, Eyeing Eastern Oil Pipelines: Enbridge Eyeing Eastern Oil Proposals

Article excerpt

CALGARY - Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday it is eyeing upwards of $2 billion in projects to ship more western crude to eastern markets as it reported first-quarter profits that beat analyst expectations.

The strategy would involve revamping existing pipelines in the Great Lakes region to handle more oil and reversing another line so that crude can flow to Montreal, said Al Monaco, who will become CEO later this year.

Many refineries in the U.S. Midwest have been configured to handle heavy oil, like that in the oilsands, which means light oil, like that from Saskatchewan and North Dakota, "needs to find a home to retain its value."

Refineries in the east, which buy imported crude that's costlier than North American varieties, are also "clamouring" for alternative sources, said Monaco, who is currently in charge of Enbridge's gas pipelines, green energy and international operations.

Monaco made his remarks on a conference call to discuss Enbridge's (TSX:ENB) first-quarter results, in which the Calgary-based company delivered better-than-expected adjusted earnings.

Stripped of one-time items, profits were $376 million, or 50 cents per share, versus $330 million, or 44 cents per share year over year.

That beat the average analyst estimate of 48 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Net earnings were $264 million, or 35 cents per share, compared to $364 million, or 49 cents, a year earlier, due to hedging losses.

Revenues increased to $6.6 billion from $6.5 billion.

The first commercially secured steps of Enbridge's eastern plan involve reversing the flow of a portion of Line 9 between Westover and Sarnia, Ont. and expanding Line 5 between Superior, Wisc. and Sarnia.

The next phases, which are in their early phases, would involve boosting the capacity of Line 6B from Griffith, Ind. to Sarnia, expanding Line 17 to Toledo, Ohio, and enabling crude to flow on Line 9 all the way to Montreal.

It was Enbridge's West Coast pipeline ambitions that dominated the company's annual general meeting in Toronto on Wednesday. Scores of B.C. First Nations and their supporters staged a noisy and colourful protest outside while inside retiring CEO Pat Daniel fielded a bevy of questions and concerns. …

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