(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), Canada’s largest pipeline company, reported a 31 percent rise in first-quarter adjusted profit, driven by higher oil export volumes.
Enbridge, whose pipelines carry the bulk of Canada’s crude oil exports to the United States, said adjusted earnings rose to C$488 million, or 62 Canadian cents per share, from C$373 million, or 49 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
The company said results were driven by strong supply from oil sands projects in Alberta.
Demand for discounted Canadian crude by U.S. Midwest refiners remained high and drove an increase in long-haul barrels, the company said.
Enbridge is looking to expand its mainline system, the key artery for Canadian crude shipments to the U.S. Midwest.
Cash provided by operating activities in the quarter was C$793, up 22 percent from a year earlier.
“Although we are pleased to be off to a good start, we expect more moderate growth for the balance of the year,” said Chief Executive Al Monaco.
First-quarter earnings attributable to common shareholders fell to C$250 million ($249 million), or 31 Canadian cents per share, from C$261 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.
The company reiterated its full-year adjusted earnings forecast of C$1.74 to C$1.90 per share.
Enbridge is also seeking to build the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline system to carry Canadian crude to the country’s Pacific coast, which would open up high-paying Asian markets for Canadian crude oil producers.
Shares of the company closed at C$47.55 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Reporting by Scott Haggett in Calgary and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty