Enbridge completes most oil spill cleanup

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday cleanup from two oil spills in the U.S. Midwest over the summer is mostly complete as it reported third-quarter profits fell from the same period a year earlier.

CALGARY — Enbridge Inc. said Wednesday cleanup from two oil spills in the U.S. Midwest over the summer is mostly complete as it reported third-quarter profits fell from the same period a year earlier.

The Calgary-based oil pipeline operator and natural gas distributor (TSX:ENB) said it has met all deadlines Michigan regulators set to remove oil in and around the leak site, chief executive officer Pat Daniel told a conference call with analysts and reporters.

“This, of course, does not mean that we’re all done,” Daniel said, adding the focus is now on longer-term monitoring.

“We will be here until the regulators and local residents are satisfied with our cleanup efforts.”

In July, Line 6B in southern Michigan spilled millions of litres of crude into the Kalamazoo River. Less than two months later, another line on the same system, called 6A, leaked a much smaller amount of crude in the Chicago area.

Those two pipelines, which connect crude from Alberta’s oilsands to the U.S. market, were brought back into service in September. Oilsands producers like Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) and Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) said the outages affected their quarterly earnings.

Enbridge likely won’t know what fines it will be required to pay until some time around the middle of next year.

Insurance should cover most of the costs associated with the spills, with the exception of fines and lost revenues.

The company spent $7 million sending employees from Canada to help with the cleanup.

Earlier Wednesday, Enbridge said its profits dropped to $157 million, or 42 cents per share, from $304 million or 83 cents a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were on average expecting earnings of 47 cents per share.

Revenues were $3.5 billion compared to $2.6 billion in the year-ago period.

The pipeline incidents have provided ammunition to critics who don’t want Enbridge to build a $5.5-billion pipeline connecting oilsands crude to the west coast port of Kitimat, B.C.

Aboriginal groups and environmentalists have been fiercely fighting Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal, which would allow Canadian oilsands producers to sell their product in Asian markets.

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

Enbridge shares dropped nine cents to $55.95 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon.