Spectra Energy reports $195 million profit as Enbridge merger looms

Gregory Ebel, President and CEO of Spectra Energy, talks about the Texas Eastern Transmission which has 9,200 miles of pipeline connecting the Gulf Coast to Northeast United States on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Houston.  Gregory Ebel, President and CEO of Spectra Energy, is featured in a Business Q&A  ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle )
Gregory Ebel, President and CEO of Spectra Energy, talks about the Texas Eastern Transmission which has 9,200 miles of pipeline connecting the Gulf Coast to the Northeast United States in 2012. ( Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle )

Houston-based Spectra Energy saw its quarterly profit jump almost 15 percent to $195 million in the third quarter.

The growing income for the pipeline company with more than $1 billion in quarterly revenue comes as it’s merging with Canada-based Enbridge to potentially create North America’s largest energy transportation company.

The $28 billion deal is expected to close early next year.

“As we progress toward completing our proposed merger with Enbridge, we remain highly confident in the strategic value of the combination and the ability of the ‘new’ Enbridge to deliver on the benefits that we outlined for investors when we announced the transaction in September,” Spectra Chief Executive Officer Greg Ebel said Wednesday in a prepared statement.

The deal follows other efforts to consolidate the pipeline sector as oil and gas pipeline projects become tougher to build in the face of environmental protests and regulations.

This summer, Enbridge’s chief rival, TransCanada, completed it’s $10.2 billion acquisition of Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group, giving it a link to a new source of shale gas.

Spectra is attractive to Enbridge largely because of its web of gas pipelines, the Texas Eastern Transmission lines, that runs 9,000 miles from Texas to New York. An explosion along the pipeline system in Pennsylvania left one person severely burned in the spring.

A 125-mile pipeline expansion project from New York to Boston, the Access Northeast, is stalled with no easy path forward after Connecticut rejected the pipeline last week, adding to opposition among northeastern states.

Spectra said Wednesday it’s “extremely disappointed” by the actions of certain states and remains committed to the project as the best solution for the region.

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