UPDATE 3-Enbridge eyes oil sands gains as profit rises

* Planning to benefit from oil sands recovery

* Q4 EPS C$0.80, vs C$0.71 a yr ago

* Adjusted EPS C$0.64, vs estimate of C$0.65

* Shares up C$0.82 at C$47.71 on TSX
(Updated throughout with comments on oil sands)

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO: )
is poised to take advantage of the quickening recovery in
Canada’s oil sands sector as more developers sign deals to move
the tar-like crude on its oil pipeline network, the company’s
chief executive said on Wednesday.

After reporting a 14 percent jump in fourth-quarter
earnings, Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel said he is not surprised by
the pickup in oil sands activity, which has accelerated in
recent weeks as several companies have moved projects forward.

“With each and every one of the announcements that have
come along, we have been working with the parties well in
advance of their announcements to try to ensure that we’re able
to secure their business and bring them into our
infrastructure,” Daniel told analysts and reporters.

“None of them have caught us by surprise by any means, and
we think we’ve got a very good chance because of the
competitive positioning that we’ve got to bring a lot of this
volume on.”

The company, best known as operator of the main artery for
Canadian oil exports to the United States, said on Wednesday it
signed up Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL: ) as the sixth shipper on its
Regional Oil Sands System in northern Alberta.

Statoil has agreed to ship 30,000 barrels a day initially
from its Leismer project on Enbridge’s Waupisoo Pipeline
starting in 2011. Executives said the line could support that
volume, but future production phases will require expansion.

That would cost C$170 million ($160 million), but Daniel
said he believes more shippers in the region will need space so
an expansion project will likely be bigger.

Other oil sands ventures that have moved forward in recent
weeks include the Surmont expansion, run by ConocoPhillips
(COP.N: ) and Total SA (TOTF.PA: ), and the Sunrise development,
planned by Husky Energy Inc (HSE.TO: ) and BP Plc (BP.L: ).

Enbridge can dominate that part of the oil sands business
because of the location of pipelines it has built up over
several years, Edward Jones analyst Lanny Pendill said.

“They are going to be the logical choice because they are
already there, so they’re going to be the lowest cost source of
connecting these new projects to the existing infrastructure,”
Pendill said.

But it has also attracted shippers by consulting with
producers in advance of expansions and finding ways to get
crude to markets offering high returns, he said.

Enbridge is in the middle of a C$12 billion expansion to
boost its capacity to the United States and elsewhere.

One of those new projects, a 450,000 barrel per day
expansion of its main line to the United States, dubbed Alberta
Clipper, will open on April 1, three months ahead of schedule.
The other, the 180,000 bpd Southern Lights project, is due to
start up in the second half.

HIGHER Q4 PROFIT

In the fourth quarter, Enbridge, also known for its North
American gas pipelines and distribution businesses, earned
C$300 million, or 80 Canadian cents a share, up from a
year-earlier C$264 million, or 71 Canadian cents a share.

Adjusted profit, which excludes most one-time time items,
rose 18 percent to C$239 million, or 64 Canadian cents a share,
from C$202 million, or 55 Canadian cents a share.

On that basis, analysts had forecast earnings of 65
Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said strength in the oil pipeline business was
the biggest factor in the profit gain.

Enbridge shares, which have risen about 16 percent over the
past 12 months, were up 82 Canadian cents at C$47.71 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.06 Canadian)

Stock Trading

(Additional reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; editing by Rob
Wilson)

UPDATE 3-Enbridge eyes oil sands gains as profit rises