CALGARY - Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) is looking to diversify beyond its core North American oil shipping business, eyeing opportunities to grow its presence in natural gas pipelines, power generation and the international space.
CEO Al Monaco told shareholders Tuesday its vast oil network will contribute the "lion's share" of earnings through 2018, but Enbridge will look for ways to become a bigger player in areas that only contribute about 10 per cent of its earnings today.
"We believe developing these new platforms is critical," Monaco said.
He made his remarks as Enbridge laid out for investors a $44-billion slate of projects it has in the hopper through to 2018, $33 billion of which have been commercially secured.
On the gas pipeline front, Monaco said Enbridge is more inclined to build new ones from scratch, though acquiring existing infrastructure is a possibility, too.
Any opportunities abroad will most likely be in oil pipelines, he added.
Monaco repeatedly spoke of how difficult it has become in recent years to get new projects built.
"Executing these projects today is, make no mistake, a bigger challenge, mainly permitting delays that stem from opposition to energy and the need for regulators to really demonstrate a robust review of all projects," he said.
"This is not going to get easier, so a strong project management capability is absolutely essential today."
An Enbridge executive recently said the goal of having its controversial Northern Gateway pipeline built by 2018 is quickly evaporating, as it looks to earn support from B.C. First Nations along its route from Alberta to the West Coast.
Northern Gateway would connect 525,000 barrels of oilsands crude to a tanker port at Kitimat B.C., from which the oil would be shipped to Asia. It received a federal permit to go ahead in June, subject to 209 conditions, but Enbridge has signalled it does not intend to make a final decision to break ground any time soon.
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