May 9, 2012 / 1:27 PM / in 6 years

Enbridge beats estimates; gets support for Flanagan

(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada’s second-largest pipeline company, reported a quarterly profit above market expectations as it transported more liquids, but said warmer weather hurt its gas distribution business.

The company, operator of the main pipeline network for Canadian crude exports to the United States, also said it received sufficient commitments from shippers to increase the size of its proposed Flanagan South pipeline project.

Enbridge said in March it planned to increase the size of the pipeline from Flanagan, Illinois to Cushing, Oklahoma to a diameter of 36 inches from the originally planned 30 inches.

The company is also expanding its network through such projects as the Seaway pipeline reversal between Cushing and the U.S. Gulf Coast, and a proposal to move crude to refineries in the eastern United States, which would also require a flow reversal of a pipeline in Ontario and Quebec.

“The new upsized Flanagan South Pipeline, combined with our existing Spearhead Pipeline system, will offer shippers 775,000 barrels per day of capacity from Flanagan to Cushing,” said Chief Executive Patrick Daniel, who will retire before the end of this year.

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System reversal and expansion would offer capacity of 850,000 barrels per day from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, Daniel said.

(Map on North America oil pipeline projects: link.reuters.com/puw94s)

Enbridge is seeking regulatory approval for the controversial C$5.5 billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the Pacific Coast from Alberta. The Northern Gateway is aimed at opening up Asian markets for Canadian oil.

Net income in the first quarter fell 27 percent to C$264 million, or 34 Canadian cents per share, on hedging losses.

Adjusted income, however, rose 14 percent to C$376 million, or 50 Canadian cents per share, beating analysts’ average expectation of 48 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said it is on track to achieve full-year adjusted profit of C$1.58 per share to C$1.74 per share.

Enbridge shares closed at C$39.70 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They have risen 4 percent this year.

Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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