Enbridge CEO floats new light-oil pipeline plans

Wed Oct 3, 2012 4:04pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO: Quote) new chief executive kicked off his tenure as head of the main transporter of Canadian oil exports on Wednesday with new plans to get growing volumes of light crude to Eastern markets and prospects for richer earnings.

Al Monaco, who took over as CEO on Monday, said a boom in light oil production from sources like the North Dakota Bakken has drastically altered North America's supply outlook, forcing deep price discounts for supplies not linked to international Brent crude and prompting the need for new pipeline routes.

The company is in talks with oil shippers to get more light-grade crude to refiners in Ohio and Eastern Canada through a multibillion-dollar series of expansions and extensions of Enbridge's pipeline network before 2015, he said.

"North America is in the process of being re-piped, both in terms of additional capacity required and the flow direction of crude and natural gas," Monaco told investors and analysts at a company-sponsored symposium. "Enbridge is right in the middle of that transformation."

It now has up to C$35 billion ($35.4 billion) of secured and potential projects on the drawing board, and C$27 billion of that is for crude oil and liquids transportation.

Enbridge has already announced a host of new pipelines to boost access for Canadian crude to new markets, including the contentious C$6 billion Northern Gateway line to the Pacific Coast from Alberta, now the subject of public hearings.

It also plans a C$3.2 billion series of expansions across its system to move Canadian and North Dakota oil eastward, including a reversal of Enbridge's Line 9 between Sarnia, Ontario, and Montreal to reduce the need for pricey imported oil at Quebec and Atlantic Canada refineries.

The company is talking to shippers about next steps.   Continued...