Pipeline operator Enbridge profit rises to $300 million in fourth quarter

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CALGARY - Calgary-based pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) says its fourth-quarter net earnings increased 14 per cent to $300 million.
That was the equivalent of 80 cents per common share on a diluted basis, before adjustments, up from 71 cents a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, Enbridge earned $239 million or 64 cents per common share.
Analysts had been expecting 65 cents of earnings per common share in Enbridge's fourth quarter, up from 55 cents per share a year earlier.
Enbridge's total revenue for the quarter was down 17 per cent from the comparable period of 2008, falling to $3.2 billion from $3.9 billion.
The company operates the world's longest pipeline system for carrying oil and liquids, running from Canada's northern reaches to the southern United States.
It's also a major distributor of natural gas in some parts of Canada and the United States.
The company also announced Wednesday, ahead of the earnings report, that its pipeline system has been chosen to carry production from the Leismer oilsands project owned by Statoil Canada Ltd.
The Statoil Leismer project becomes the sixth to use Enbridge's regional oilsands system, an important element in getting energy from northern Alberta to users.
The initial contract provides for Enbridge to carry up to 30,000 barrels per day of bitumen from Phase 1 of the Leismer project, starting in late 2011.
The four Statoil oilsand leases are expected to eventually produce 220,000 barrels per day of bitumen.
Enbridge said last week it has inked a deal to build new pipeline and terminal infrastructure for Cenovus Energy Inc (TSX:CVE) and ConocoPhillips' (NYSE:COP) joint Christina Lake oilsands projet.
Enbridge, Canada's largest crude oil transporter, it expects the project to cost about $250 million and come into service in late 2011.
The Christina Lake expansion follows another contract Enbridge inked last year with Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) and its U.S. parent ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) for their Kearl Lake oilsands project.
Two other major pipeline projects - Alberta Clipper and Southern Lights - are slated to come into service later this year.
Alberta Clipper would run 1,600 kilometres from Alberta to Wisconsin.
Southern Lights is designed to carry light oil from the Chicago area to Alberta's oilsands. The light oil, or diluent, is blended with the thick, heavy oilsands crude so that it can flow more easily in a pipeline.
Enbridge is expected to file a regulatory application within the next few months for its controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.
That pipeline would carry oilsands crude to the Northern British Columbia port city of Kitimat, where it could travel by sea to lucrative Asian markets.
Aboriginal groups along Northern Gateway's route worry about the pipeline's effect on salmon populations in nearby rivers, as well as the possibility an oil spill could harm the pristine ecosystem.

Organizations: Enbridge Inc., TSX, Statoil NYSE Cenovus Energy ConocoPhillips Imperial Oil Ltd. ExxonMobil

Geographic location: Canada, United States, CALGARY Leismer Christina Lake Southern Lights Alberta Northern Alberta Northern Gateway Wisconsin Chicago Northern British Columbia Kitimat

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