Enbridge brags about North American pipeline plans

Aug. 3 (UPI) — Canadian pipeline company Enbridge said Friday it had billions of dollars of projects slated in a North American market coping with a lack of takeaway capacity.

The company reported second quarter earnings of $841 million, a 65 percent improvement from the same period last year. Enbridge attributed the gains to strong results across all business segments and lower operating costs.

With progress made on plans to overhaul a pipeline in Minnesota, President and CEO Al Monaco said North American corridors would be opening. At least $5.4 billion in projects for this year are advancing as planned, he said.

“We believe that these actions will surface significant value from what we see as the premium energy infrastructure assets in North America,” Monaco said in a statement.

His announcement follows concerns about the lack of pipeline capacity in the United States. Production gains have overtaken what’s available in terms of infrastructure and U.S. trade policies have been met with concerns from trade groups worried about momentum.

In Canada, the provincial government of Alberta said producers are turning to rail because of the lack of pipeline capacity.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission signed off on a certificate of need for the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline through the state in June. The pipeline is a source of controversy and Gov. Mark Dayton said he recognized the opposition to the project, but reminded his constituents the PUC’s decision was only one step in a long process.

“With the Minnesota PUC approval of the certificate of need and route permit on the Line 3 replacement project, we reached a critical milestone for Enbridge and our customers, and we remain on track with cost and schedule,” Monaco said.

Environmental and opposition groups contend the heavier type of oil moving through many of the company’s pipelines is too risky to support.

The heavier type of oil found in Canada has the potential to sink in water and mix in with river sediment, making cleanup operations complex. A spill from an Enbridge system in Michigan in 2010 was the largest inland incident in modern U.S. history.

In Michigan, Enbridge is facing scrutiny over its Line 5 system in the narrow waterway separating the state’s two peninsulas.

The company took immediate action after learning of dents on the pipeline system caused by a maritime incident in April. No leaks were reported.

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