(Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO), the main transporter of Canadian oil to the United States, reported a 3 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as it shipped higher volumes.
Enbridge, which is looking to expand pipeline capacity in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canadian Pacific Coast regions, said it is reviewing commitments from shippers on two components of the Gulf Coast Access project — the Flanagan South pipeline and the Seaway pipeline.
Interest from shippers is strong, Chief Executive Patrick Daniel said.
The Seaway pipeline reversal is expected to start moving 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast from Cushing, Oklahoma, by June, eventually rising to 400,000 bpd.
Enbridge’s C$5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would ship oil sands-derived crude to Canada’s West Coast from Alberta, is currently before regulatory proceedings expected to last through the end of 2013.
The project is aimed at allowing access of large volumes of oil to Asian markets via tanker. It faces stiff opposition from environmental groups and some aboriginal communities.
In the October-December quarter, Enbridge earned C$335 million ($334.9 million), or 44 Canadian cents a share, up from C$326 million, or 43 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, it earned 37 Canadian cents a share.
Revenue rose 31 percent to C$5.44 billion.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 39 Canadian cents a share, on revenue of C$4.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which also operates a gas distribution business in Eastern Canada as well as wind farms, continues to see 2012 adjusted earnings of C$1.58 to C$1.74 a share.
“We remain confident that Enbridge can achieve an average annual growth rate in adjusted earnings per share of 10 percent through 2015,” CEO Daniel said in a statement.
On Thursday, the company said it shut down two pipelines on its Canada-to-U.S. oil transport system after detecting what it termed to be small leak.
Enbridge shares closed at C$39.20 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They are up 37 percent in the past year.
($1 = 1.0003 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel, Sriraj Kalluvila