Enbridge reports quarterly profit, North Sea windfarm stake

Enbridge is buying a 50 per cent stake in EnBW’s Hohe See North Sea windfarm. EnBW photo.

Enbridge to invest $1.3 billion in EnBW’s Hohe See

By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Enbridge Inc, Canada’s largest pipeline company, reported a smaller than expected quarterly profit on Friday, and also announced a C$1.7 billion ($1.3 billion) investment in a North Sea windfarm.

The 50 per cent ownership in EnBW’s Hohe See strengthens Enbridge’s footprint in Europe’s booming offshore wind power industry.

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Chief executive Al Monaco said there could be more to come given the push towards renewable energy in a number of European countries.

“The opportunity is generally pretty large and we have got a team in Europe looking at these opportunities, scouring through them, and so hopefully there will be more coming along,” Monaco told investors on a quarterly earnings call.

Closer to home, Calgary-based Enbridge said a deal to buy Spectra Energy Corp is on track to close this quarter after it obtained U.S. antitrust approval for the transaction that will create North America’s largest energy infrastructure company.

In an update on crude oil pipelines, Monaco said the controversial Dakota Access conduit, which has been delayed by fierce environmental and tribal opposition, could be in service by the second quarter. Enbridge has a minority stake in the project.

Last November, the Canadian government approved Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project, which will add 375,000 barrels per day of capacity on the Mainline system, which ships the bulk of Canadian crude exports to the United States.

Monaco said Enbridge had another 400,000 b/d of potential capacity expansion opportunities but the company would be guided by the amount of supply coming out of western Canada. A number of new export pipelines have been proposed including Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain line and TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL.

Enbridge reported a smaller-than-expected fourth quarter profit on Friday and recorded a C$373 million before-tax impairment charge related to its Northern Gateway pipeline, which the Canadian government blocked last year.

Earnings attributable to the company’s shareholders were C$365 million ($279 million), or 39 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter, hurt by charges, including for asset impairment and restructuring.

Excluding items, Enbridge earned 56 Canadian cents per share, missing analysts’ average estimate of 58 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Enbridge said its expenses jumped 11 per cent to about C$9 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Enbridge shares were last down 0.6 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange at C$55.10.

(Additional reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Grant McCool)