UPDATE 1-Enbridge says U.S. permit for Alberta Clipper expansion likely delayed

Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:15pm EST

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc Chief Executive Al Monaco said on Thursday that an amendment to the U.S. presidential permit for its Alberta Clipper pipeline, which the company needs to expand the line's capacity, will likely be delayed past a previous target of mid-2014.

"Whereas we had assumed we could get that permit for the phase to move forward in the first, or I guess by mid-year - we now think that's going to be later," Monaco said at a conference in Whistler, British Columbia.

The Alberta Clipper pipeline is part of the Enbridge Mainline, which connects Alberta's oil sands to the United States and is the single largest source of U.S. oil imports.

The line has a current capacity of 450,000 barrels-per-day (BPD) and is being expanded to 570,000 BPD. The Calgary-based company ultimately plans to expand the line to 800,000 BPD capacity.

Monaco did not give a new timeline for U.S. permitting, but said the company has some flexibility to move capacity on its other pipelines.

"I think we can pretty much handle the amount we're expecting to come on in mid-year by optimizing the system," he said. "So the hope is it shouldn't detract from where we thought we should be overall."

The Alberta Clipper pipeline was briefly shut down on Saturday, after a 125-barrel-spill at a pump station in Saskatchewan.

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