Enbridge says Line 9 testing to wrap by year end; profit beats

Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:29pm EDT
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By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: Quote), Canada's largest pipeline company, said additional testing on its Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal project should wrap up by the end of the year, allowing the company to finally start up the delayed Line 9 oil pipeline.

Canada's energy regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), in June imposed new conditions on the 300,000 barrel-per-day project including hydrostatic tests at three locations, before it will allow the newly reversed line to enter service.

Chief executive Al Monaco said the regulator had approved its testing plan and that field work would proceed, with the results to be submitted to the NEB for final approval.

"Our best estimate is that we can complete the tests by the end of this year," Monaco said on a conference call. "Once we do those tests and the results are reviewed by the NEB, we'll be in a position to bring the line into service."

He added that the Calgary-based company will likely have "full clarity" on when the line can be filled by the fourth quarter.

The reversal of Line 9 is part of Enbridge's massive C$44 billion growth program, as the company looks to expand its network of oil pipelines through 2018.

The company is also eyeing takeover opportunities to build up its natural gas and power generation segments, and boost the diversity of its asset base, Monaco said.

"We've got such a tremendous liquids pipeline franchise," he said. "With that though we do feel very strongly about the fundamentals of both natural gas and power generation, renewables being one part of that. I think it's our desire to expand the diversity of the asset base that we have."   Continued...

The Enbridge Tower is pictured on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton in this August 4, 2012 file photo.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/Files