UPDATE 2-TransCanada profit down; sees Keystone approvals

Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:30pm EDT

* Q2 comparable EPS C$0.40 vs estimate C$0.46

* Revenue C$1.92 bln vs C$1.98 bln

* Expects no significant delays to $7 bln Keystone line

* Shares drop 0.4 pct (Recasts with details and comments on Keystone line; updates shares; in U.S. dollars unless noted)

By Scott Haggett

CALGARY, Alberta, July 29 (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), the county's No. 1 pipeline and power company, said on Thursday it does not expect significant delays to its $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline project to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The company said it expects the U.S. State Department, responsible for approving the project, will stick by a 90-day extension to the amount of time other federal agencies have to comment on the line's final environmental impact statement.

"From what we've been told, currently (the State Department) is staying on the schedule they announced over the past couple of days," Russ Girling, the company's chief executive, said on a conference call. "

The planned line will carry 510,000 barrels of day of oil sands crude to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The Canadian crude would replace declining heavy oil supplies from Mexico and Venezuela.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had requested additional details be provided in the project's Environmental Impact Statement before any approval were given.

As well, Henry Waxman, the influential chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, urged the State Department earlier this month to block the planned line.

Still, the company said the additional 90-day comment period would not have a material impact on its plans. However a longer delay of several months or more would change the cost of the project.

If, as TransCanada expects, all approvals are in hand for the project by the first quarter of next year, construction of the line would being shortly after.

PROFIT DROP

The company also reported a 9.2 percent drop in quarterly profit on Thursday, hit by hedging losses as well as lower power prices and higher costs at its part-owned Bruce nuclear station in Ontario.

TransCanada, earned C$285 million ($274 million), or 41 Canadian cents a share, in the second quarter, down from a year-earlier C$314 million, or 50 Canadian cents.

Excluding unusual items, comparable earnings were C$275 million, or 40 Canadian cents a share.

Analysts on averaged had expected comparable earnings of 46 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was C$1.92 billion, down 3.1 percent from C$1.98 billion.

TransCanada, best known for its natural gas pipeline systems in Canada and the United States, said its results were hampered by losses on derivative contracts and foreign exchange, as well as higher costs for refurbishing reactors at the Bruce nuclear plant and lower power prices there.

TransCanada shares fell 16 Canadian cents tot C$36.10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock has risen 19 percent over the past 12 months.

($1=$1.04 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob Wilson)

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