U.S. pipeline project pushes Enbridge Energy Partners to US$406-million loss

HOUSTON – Enbridge Energy Partners said it lost US$406 million in its third quarter, primarily due to the indefinite deferral of the proposed Sandpiper pipeline in the U.S. Midwest.

The limited partnership managed by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) announced in September that it would shelve the long-delayed $2.6-billion Sandpiper pipeline because of a drop in expected crude oil production in North Dakota.

The decision followed Enbridge’s formation of a joint venture to buy a stake in the Bakken pipeline system that would transport oil from North Dakota across the Midwest to Texas.

EEP’s US$1.5-billion deal to buy a 27.6 per cent stake in the system has yet to close, though it was originally expected to be finalized by the end of September.

The Bakken pipeline system includes the Dakota Access pipeline that continues to be subject to high-profile protests from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other First Nations.

Protesters have pulled in US$3 million for legal costs to challenge the pipeline as well as for food and other supplies to continue the protest into the winter.

Enbridge Energy Partners declined to say on an analyst conference call Monday what conditions were holding up the closing of the Bakken deal.

After adjustments that excluded the charge related to Sandpiper and other items, EEP’s net income was US$89.3 million or nine cents per share in the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from US$137.4 million or 23 cents per share in the third quarter of 2015.

EEP’s revenue was US$1.12 billion, down from US$1.127 billion a year earlier.