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Enbridge (ENB) Faces Objection on Minnesota Pipeline Construction

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Enbridge Inc.’s (ENB - Free Report) Line 3 has been a significant component of its pipeline transportation network, which transports crude oil needed by refiners to address the rising energy demand. However, the company’s Line 3 oil pipeline replacement in northern Minnesota was opposed by environmental activists at the pipeline construction site, alleging that it could worsen climate change.

Initiated in the 1960s, Line 3 is an existing 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline, which extends from Edmonton, AB, to the company’s terminal in Superior, WI. In 2014, Enbridge proposed the Line 3 Replacement project, a proposed pipeline expansion, which involves the replacement of the existing 34-inch pipe with a new 36-inch pipe along most of the Line 3 route.

Notably, the $2.9-billion U.S. portion of the project consists of replacing the existing pipelines with new ones for 13 miles in North Dakota, 337 miles in Minnesota and 14 miles in Wisconsin. The project is responsible for improving the company’s pipeline infrastructure to ensure that Minnesota and the nearby areas are connected to reliable and growing supplies of North American crude oil.

The Line 3 replacement project has been more complicated in Minnesota as environmental groups and government agencies resisted the project to avoid environmental and social consequences. Despite opposition, Enbridge began the construction of the pipeline across northern Minnesota in December 2020, right after final permits were issued.

The company mentioned that the Line 3 pipeline is degrading and can function at only 50% of its original capacity. The new line, which will be made from stronger steel, will better protect the environment and be able to carry at least twice as much oil as the current line to ensure reliable shipments to U.S. refineries.

As Enbridge is preparing for a final construction push on Line 3, project opponents protested against the company’s continuous efforts to replace the aging pipeline. Environmental and indigenous groups claimed that the replacement pipeline, which would carry Canada tar sands oil and regular crude, could lead to global warming and put sensitive areas at risk of oil spills.

The pipeline’s Canada and Wisconsin replacement segments are already carrying oil and Enbridge is more than halfway through building the project across northern Minnesota. However, the pipeline is still facing significant opposition and the fight to stop Line 3 continues on different fronts. Notably, the company plans to put the line into service by late 2021 and is expecting a decision from the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Company Profile

Headquartered in Calgary, AB, Enbridge is a leading energy infrastructure company.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

The company currently carries a Zack Rank #2 (Buy).

Some other top-ranked players in the energy space are Oasis Petroleum Inc. (OAS - Free Report) , currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Smart Sand, Inc. (SND - Free Report) and Crescent Point Energy Corporation (CPG - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Oasis’s earnings for 2021 are expected to increase 24.3% year over year.

Smart Sand’s earnings for 2021 are expected to surge 130.4% year over year.

Crescent Point’s earnings for 2021 are expected to rise 27.6% year over year.

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