February 22, 2008 / 9:53 PM / in 11 years

Canada regulator OKs C$3 bln Enbridge oil pipeline

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Canada’s national energy regulator said on Friday that Enbridge Inc (ENB.TO) can go ahead with construction of the Canadian portion of its C$3 billion Alberta Clipper pipeline, which will carry 450,000 barrel of oil sands crude a day to U.S. refiners.

The regulator attached a few conditions to its approval, including a requirement that Enbridge, Canada’s No. 2 pipeline company, test its emergency response procedures at the point where the line crosses the South Saskatchewan River.

The clearance is the second approval the regulator has given Enbridge this week as the company moves to complete a $12 billion expansion program for its network.

On Tuesday, the NEB cleared the $2.2 billion Southern Lights line, whic will carry ultralight oils from the U.S. Midwest to the oil sands region, where it will be blended into tar-like bitumen so it can be shipped by pipeline

The 1,607-kilometer (1,000-mile) Alberta Clipper line will run from the storage hub of Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, where it can be distributed on other lines to refiners in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Expected to be in service by the middle of 2010, the line is one of a number being planned to handle a massive increase in Canadian oil exports to the United States as production from the oil sands expands.

Output in the oil sands region of northern Alberta, which contains reserves second only to Saudi Arabia, is expected to nearly triple to 3 million barrels a day by 2015.

While initial capacity on the Alberta Clipper will be 450,000 bpd, it will be expandable to 800,000 bpd if needed.

The Canadian portion of the line is expected to cost C$2 billion and construction should be wrapped up by the end of next year.

Enbridge shares rose 13 Canadian cents to C$40.83 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock has climbed 8.3 percent over the past 12 months.

$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway

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