UPDATE 1-Enbridge says Sinopec backing Northern Gateway
* Sinopec part of consortium providing C$100 mln
* Will have right to capacity on line, equity stake (Adds details; in U.S. dollars unless noted)
CALGARY, Alberta Jan 20 (Reuters) - Sinopec Corp (600028.SS) is among a group of investors providing early-stage funding for Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO) planned C$5.5 billion ($5.5 billion) Northern Gateway pipeline project, Enbridge's chief executive said on Thursday.
Speaking at an investment conference in Whistler, British Columbia, CEO Pat Daniel said Sinopec, China's second-largest oil producer and top refiner, was among a consortium of producers and refiners that had provided about C$100 million to fund the line's regulatory and development costs in exchange for guaranteed space on the line and the right to take an equity stake.
The move adds to Sinopec's Canadian investments. Last year, it bought a 9.03 percent stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd, the biggest Canadian oil sands project, for $4.65 billion, adding to a stake in an undeveloped oil sand mine planned by Total SA (TOTF.PA).
Sinopec is the only member of the Northern Gateway group that has been publicly identified, as Daniel confirmed Canadian media reports that Sinopec included the investment as part of a presentation on the company's Canadian activity.
"One of (the investors) announced themselves and that was Sinopec," Daniel said.
"So I guess we can now speak to them," he added.
The planned pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude from Alberta to a tanker port at Kitimat, British Columbia, on the Pacific Ocean. The line is in the early stages of seeking regulatory approval but it faces significant opposition from environmental organizations and aboriginal groups whose traditional lands would be crossed by the line.
"It is very vocal opposition and it is very influential opposition," Daniel said.
($1=$1.00 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Rob Wilson)
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