Enbridge back in the black as oil shipments rise

Enbridge (TSX, NYSE:ENB), Canada’s largest pipeline company, swung back to profit in the first three months of the year, compared with a year ago loss, thanks to increased crude shipments and new projects coming into service.

Net income in the first quarter was Cdn$1.21 billion ($940 million), or $1.38 a share, compared with a loss of Cdn$383 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement Thursday.

The company 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.

Enbridge continues to expand its oil pipelines and it's still seeking support for the Northern Gateway project to the West Coast.

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

"Our ability to generate predictable cash flow growth is a testament to the strength of our asset base and our low risk business model, which is built to withstand the current downturn in commodity markets," said Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco in the statement.

Enbridge added that its Line 18 pipeline, which carries crude from its Cheecham terminal, was back in service on Wednesday, nearly a week after it was shut down due to wildfires that raged through northern Alberta.

Expansions and Renewables

Despite a sustained rout in oil prices that has cast doubts over the future of projects in Western Canada, Enbridge continues to expand its oil pipelines and it's still seeking support for the Northern Gateway project to the West Coast.

Last week, the firm filed a request with Canada’s national energy regulator for a three-year extension of its permit for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to allow for greater legal and regulatory certainty while discussions are held with native communities.

Enbridge is also hunting for European renewable energy investments and said this week it plans to acquire 50% of Eolien Maritime France SAS, which is developing three offshore farms off France’s coast.