Enbridge declines to estimate Line 3 startup despite positive state ruling

Enbridge declines to estimate Line 3 startup despite positive state ruling

CALGARY — The CEO of Enbridge Inc. says an updated environmental review released by a Minnesota state agency on Monday is a “good outcome” but declined to speculate on when its oft-delayed Line 3 pipeline replacement project will be completed.

The state Department of Commerce found no serious threat to Lake Superior if crude oil leaks from the pipeline that carries Canadian crude from Alberta across North Dakota and Minnesota on the way to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wis.

State regulators ordered the update after the Minnesota Court of Appeals in June declared that an earlier review, issued in February 2018, was inadequate because it failed to specifically address the potential impacts of a spill into the Lake Superior watershed.

CEO Al Monaco, speaking on a webcast from Enbridge’s New York investor day on Tuesday, said the Minnesota Public Utilities Board will allow comment on three topics — adequacy of the final environmental impact statement, the certificate of need and the routing permit — at a one-day oral hearing on Dec. 19, with the comment period closing in mid-January.

“We think it’s a good outcome that the PUC is going to have a comment period related to all three of those items,” he said.

“It doesn’t change our approach in that we’re not providing any specific guidance on in-service date but obviously a good, positive outcome here, I think.”

The project would double the capacity of the existing Line 3 pipeline, which was built in the 1960s and is increasingly subject to cracking and corrosion. Environmental and tribal groups have been fighting the project because of the potential for spills in the Mississippi River headwaters region and because the oil would contribute to climate change.

The Canadian portion of the pipeline entered service on Dec. 1. Analysts at Stifel FirstEnergy say they are estimating a Jan. 1, 2022 startup date for the U.S. side — much later than Enbridge’s last official estimate of the second half of 2020.

Growing demand for energy around the globe is a positive signal for Enbridge but growing opposition to midstream projects like pipelines has increased costs and risks, Monaco told investors.

“It’s tougher to get things done so we’ve had to develop and have developed a unique execution capability and skill set that is built for this environment,” he said.

“In terms of how we grow the business, the approach is that we’re going to focus on projects that optimize and expand the existing footprint, diversifying our opportunity set, again, especially on exports.”

On Monday, Enbridge announced it would work with Enterprise Products Partners L.P. to jointly develop a deep-water offshore crude oil export terminal capable of loading Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) on the U.S. Gulf Coast in Texas.

It also announced that it will advance the development of a new oil storage terminal at Houston with ultimate capacity of up to 15 million barrels of storage and access to crude from throughout North America.

Enbridge announced Monday it would raise its quarterly dividend by nearly 10 per cent to 81 cents per share, effective March 1, up from its previous rate of 73.8 cents.

The shares will have a yield of about 6.3 per cent, based on Enbridge’s closing share price on Monday.

In its outlook for 2020, Enbridge says it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $13.7 billion.

Distributable cash flow per share for 2020 is expected to be in a range of $4.50 to $4.80 per share.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police have charged two men after they allegedly tried to break into the Bentley post office with a semi. (Photo courtesy of RCMP)
Red Deer men charged in Bentley post office destruction

Police have charged a pair of Red Deer men after an attempted… Continue reading

Red Deer Fire Chief Ken McMullen remains concerned about “inconsistencies” in the province’s new way of dispatching local ambulances. (Advocate file photo).
A few glitches are already noticed in Red Deer’s new ambulance dispatch system

Local fire-medics need more data about ambulance arrival times

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Cervus Equipment is planning to set up a new location near Highways 2 and 42 in Red Deer County. Graphic contributed
Cervus Equipment eyeing new Red Deer County location

Farm equipment busy looking to set up near Highways 2 and 42

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, left, makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mitch Marner scores game winner for Maple Leafs in 4-3 win over Flames

Mitch Marner scores game winner for Maple Leafs in 4-3 win over Flames

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2007, file photo, Boston Red Sox's Curt Schilling pitches against the Colorado Rockies in Game 2 of the baseball World Series at Fenway Park in Boston. Like many baseball writers, C. Trent Rosecrans viewed the Hall of Fame vote as a labor of love. The results of the 2021 vote will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, and Rosecrans was not alone in finding the task particularly agonizing this time around. With Schilling's candidacy now front and center — and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens still on the ballot as well — voters have had to consider how much a player’s off-field behavior should affect his Hall of Fame chances. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Baseball Hall gets no new members; Schilling 16 votes shy

Baseball Hall gets no new members; Schilling 16 votes shy

Prince Edward Island’s Birt is bubble-bound but first wants provincial title

Prince Edward Island’s Birt is bubble-bound but first wants provincial title

Toronto Arrows await word on where they can play, with Plan B going to the U.S.

Toronto Arrows await word on where they can play, with Plan B going to the U.S.

Former CFL player,-coach Brady understands historical significance of NFL promotion

Former CFL player,-coach Brady understands historical significance of NFL promotion

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, watches during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Darron Cummings
Canadian James Hinchcliffe inks full-time ride with Andretti for 2021 IndyCar season

Canadian James Hinchcliffe inks full-time ride with Andretti for 2021 IndyCar season

Toronto Six down Boston Pride 2-1 for first NWHL victory in franchise history

Toronto Six down Boston Pride 2-1 for first NWHL victory in franchise history

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Copp (9) celebrates his goal against the Edmonton Oilers during first period NHL action in Winnipeg on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Nikolaj Ehlers leads the way, Jets storm back to beat Oilers 6-4

Nikolaj Ehlers leads the way, Jets storm back to beat Oilers 6-4

Most Read