Canadian Manufacturing

Enbridge not threatened by rival’s eastern oil pipeline plans

TransCanada Corp. plans to convert part of its natural gas mainline to crude service

CALGARY—Enbridge doesn’t see a rival pipeline company’s plan to ship western crude east as a threat to its own ambitions, new CEO Al Monaco says.

TransCanada Corp., another major Calgary-based pipeline operator, said its plan to convert part of its natural gas mainline to crude service appears to be economically and technically feasible, and that its customers seem to be keen on the idea.

“Whether or not the other project goes forward, I can’t really comment on,” Monaco told analysts on a conference call.

“All I can say is we’re very comfortable with our position right now.”

Earlier this year, Enbridge said it was eying billions in projects to ship more western crude to eastern markets, which currently rely on costly imported crude to run through their refineries.

The strategy would involve revamping existing pipelines in the Great Lakes region to handle more oil and reversing Line 9 between Montreal and Sarnia, Ont., which currently flows east-to-west.

Enbridge has regulatory approval for the part of Line 9 that runs from Westover to Sarnia, Ont., and will file an application for the remaining stretch to Montreal next month, Monaco said.

The Quebec refining market has the ability to churn out some 370,000 barrels a day, with another 400,000 barrels on top of that on the East Coast, Monaco said.

And beyond that, there are opportunities to ship crude to U.S. markets such as Philadelphia and even to the other side of the Atlantic.

Enbridge is Canada’s dominant crude shipper, with a vast network connecting western supplies to eastern Canadian and U.S. markets, which it aims to further expand, as well as a key regional system in the northern Alberta oilsands area.

In addition to its pipeline business, Enbridge is also a major distributor of natural gas in Ontario, and a growing producer of renewable energy.

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