Enbridge slowly resumes operations after Fort McMurray wildfire

Enbridge also reported higher than expected Q1 profit

enbridge

Enbridge Cheecham terminal will resume operations beginning on Thursday after a wildfire in the are shut down the facility.  Enbridge photo.

By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER, May 12 (Reuters) – Enbridge Inc said on Thursday it was steadily resuming service on its pipeline network through Canada’s energy heartland about a week after a massive wildfire spread through the Fort McMurray, Alberta, area, forcing a shutdown.

Canada’s largest pipeline company also reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, as crude shipments increased.

The Calgary-based company said the shutdown, which included all pipelines in and out of its Cheecham terminal some 50 km (31 miles) south of the fire-ravaged city, affected some 900,000 barrels per day of volume on its system.

Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said operations had resumed at Cheecham and that the Woodland pipeline was ready to restart. The company was waiting to get access to conduct a fly-over inspection as fire crews were still working in the area.

He added that the roughly 100-km (62.14 mile) portion of the Athabasca line from Cheecham to the Kirby Lake terminal was expected to resume operations over the weekend.

“So (we’re making) good progress on getting our systems back in operations, but the process isn’t like turning on a tap,” Monaco told analysts on a conference call. “You’ve got to expect some period of ramp-up to full capacity.”

Shares were up 1 percent at C$51.79 on the Toronto Stock exchange.

Enbridge delivered about 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil through its Canadian mainline system during the quarter, up from 2.2 million bpd a year earlier.

Deliveries through the company’s Lakehead pipeline system also rose, to 2.7 million bpd from 2.3 million bpd a year earlier, the company said on Thursday.

Enbridge operates thousands of miles of crude oil and natural gas pipelines that extend across North America.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders was C$1.21 billion ($942.4 million), or C$1.38 per share, in the first quarter, compared with a loss of C$383 million, or 46 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 76 Canadian cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate of 64 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. ($1 = C$1.28) (Additional reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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