Enbridge on track to close Spectra acquisition in March

Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge is on track to close its $28 billion acquisition of Houston-based Spectra Energy in March as originally planned, the companies said.

They confirmed the U.S. Federal Trade Commission signed off on the deal, and they’re just waiting on clearance under the Canadian Competition Act to create North America’s largest pipeline and energy infrastructure company.

Spectra said Friday its profits rose at the end of 2016, reporting net income of $208 million versus a $188 million loss during the end of 2015. For all of 2016, Enbridge’s $1 billion profit more than doubled its $460 million net gain from 2015.

In the merged company, Enbridge Chief Executive Al Monaco will remain in the CEO role, while Spectra CEO will become chairman of the new Enbridge.

“The combination with Spectra Energy will position Enbridge as the premier energy infrastructure company in North America, significantly enhancing our natural gas footprint and diversifying the company’s organic growth opportunities while maintaining its low risk shareholder value proposition,” Monaco said Friday in a prepared statement.

The merger combines Enbridge’s oil pipeline, rail and electric transmission holdings with Spectra’s 90,000-mile network of gas pipelines.

This week, Enbridge also closed on buying a 27.6 percent stake for $1.5 billion in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline for $1.5 billion, which restarted construction this week after receiving regulatory approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The pipeline project was nearing completion last summer when the Standing Rock Sioux tribe launched protests to block the project, drawing international attention and environmental activists from around the country. Hundreds were arrested and injured during recent protests and skirmishes. Protests remain ongoing, but construction has resumed.

The pipeline project is designed to carry crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale to Illinois, where the pipeline connects to existing networks to bring the oil as far south as Nederland, Texas.