* Pipeline now has northern and southern legs
* Plan would allow access for Canadian, Bakken shippers
* Q2 EPS C$0.34 vs. C$0.18 (New throughout with CEO comments)
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) has expanded plans to ship oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast from the glutted Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub to include new capacity from the U.S. Midwest, executives said on Friday.
Enbridge, while reporting a higher than expected second-quarter profit, said its Monarch pipeline proposal now comprises a northern and a southern leg as Canada’s No. 2 pipeline company tries to win support in a race that now includes at least three other proposed projects.
The new northern part of the Enbridge plan would move 200,000-300,000 barrels a day to Cushing from Flanagan, Illinois, near Chicago. That would be in addition to Enbridge’s previously announced 350,000 bpd Cushing-Texas link.
Chief Executive Pat Daniel said Enbridge made the addition after finding customers wanted to ship crude from Western Canada and the Bakken regions of Saskatchewan and North Dakota right through to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, in similar fashion to rival TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) proposed $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline.
“We’re currently out discussing that with potential shippers. We’ve been very encouraged with the initial discussion we’re having on the prospects of being able to move crude all the way through,” Daniel told analysts on a conference call.
Companies have sought to bolster their options for moving crude from Cushing, where oversupply has contributed to a sharp discount on the price of land-locked North American oil versus seaborne crude.
Other players vying to add capacity to the Gulf from Cushing include a joint venture of Enterprise Product Partners (EPD.N) and Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP.N), as well as Magellan Midstream Partners LP (MMP.N).
The northern portion of the new Enbridge line would likely include a combination of new construction and existing facilities, executives said.
Unlike Keystone XL, which has been delayed as the U.S. State Department weighs the proposal against a backdrop of opposition from environmentalists and some politicians, Monarch would not require a U.S. presidential permit because it would not cross any international border, Daniel said.
It could be in service around late 2012, he said.
In the second quarter, Enbridge earned C$259 million ($265.6 million), or 34 Canadian cents a share, up 87 percent from year-earlier C$138 million, or 18 Canadian cents.
Adjusted profit rose 12 percent to C$260 million, or 35 Canadian cents, from C$232 million, or 31 Canadian cents.
Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 33 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said its results were helped by a bigger contribution from its gas distribution arm due to favorable operating performance and the impact of colder weather.
“During the second quarter we continued to run slightly ahead of our original expectations and the outlook for the full year is now trending toward the upper half of our adjusted earnings per share guidance range of C$1.38 to C$1.48,” Daniel said in a release.
Enbridge, whose lines carry the lion’s share of Canadian oil exports to the United States, is also looking to build the C$5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would take oil from the Alberta tar sands to a tanker port on British Columbia’s coast for export to Asian and U.S. Pacific Coast refineries.
Enbridge shares were off 15 Canadian cents at C$30.04 on the Toronto Stock Exchange amid a broad-based selloff. They are up nearly 7 percent from the start of the year.
$1=$0.98 Canadian Addition reporting by Aftab Ahmed; editing by Rob Wilson