By Nia Williams and Rithika Krishna
(Reuters) - Canadian energy pipeline company Enbridge Inc reported on Friday a rise in first-quarter profit, and outlined expansion plans as global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) surges in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Europe is scrambling to replace gas from Russia and improve long-term energy security by becoming less reliant on supplies controlled by Moscow.
That has led to record U.S. LNG export volumes this year and renewed interest in expanding Canada's LNG industry beyond a lone Shell-led facility under construction in Kitimat, northern British Columbia.
"LNG exports are a big opportunity, with momentum building across the U.S. Gulf Coast, and now more so in western Canada," Enbridge Chief Executive Al Monaco told an earnings call.
Enbridge supplies about 2 billion cubic feet a day(bcf/d) of gas to four LNG plants on the Gulf Coast. Monaco said the company has inked agreements to supply three more Gulf Coast projects that could add up to 7 bcf/d of gas and over $2 billion in new investments.
In western Canada, Enbridge has launched an open season to gauge shipper demand for a C$1 billion ($777.24 million)expansion of the T-North section of its gas pipeline system in British Columbia to support growing production and west coast LNG demand.
The company is also targeting an open season on its T-south section later this year, providing the new Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish goes ahead as planned. Woodfibre, a Pacific Energy Ltd subsidiary, issued a notice to proceed to its main contractor last month.
The company also said it would jointly develop a low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia production and export facility with energy portfolio company Humble Midstream in Texas.
Vince Paradis, Enbridge's vice president of business development in the United States, said the final investment decision would depend on customer support and regulatory approvals, but it was expected to be a $2.5 billion-$3 billion project with annual capacity to produce one million tonnes of ammonia.
Increased demand for oil and gas boosted Calgary-based Enbridge's pipeline volumes in the first quarter. The company moves about 20% of all gas consumed in the United States and most of Canada's crude exports south of the border.
Adjusted earnings rose to C$1.7 billion ($1.33 billion), or 84 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter, from C$1.63 billion, or 81 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
($1 = 1.2827 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Rithika Krishna; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Richard Chang)