ENBRIDGE may eventually be stymied in its attempt to build an oil-carrying pipeline through northern B.C. to the coast but if a massive deal announced today goes through, it will still have a stake in the region’s potential energy future.
The $37 billion all-stock deal would have Enbridge buy Spectra Energy which has a 50 per cent share in Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission, a natural gas pipeline which would feed a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Prince Rupert.
The other half of the planned pipeline was owned by BG Group which also owned the planned Prince Rupert LNG plant until Shell took over BG Group in a deal which closed earlier this year.
“The combination of Enbridge and Spectra Energy creates what we believe will be the best, most diversified energy infrastructure company in North America, if not the world,” Spectra CEO Greg Ebel said today in a statement of the all-stock deal.
Spectra Energy is a major natural gas transporter in B.C. thanks to a 1,751 mile pipeline which begins in Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C. and at a location on the B.C./Alberta border which then runs south to the Canadian/U.S. border in the Fraser Valley.
That system transports 60 per cent of the gas produced in B.C., supplying all of the province’s natural gas needs and half of the natural gas demand in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, indicates Spectra’s website.
The Enbridge-Spectra deal comes at a time when Enbridge’s planned oil-carrying Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to a marine export terminal at Kitimat faces an uncertain future because of court rulings and a proposed federal ban on oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s north coast.