Are pipeline problems weighing oil stocks down? There’s some evidence of that, at least for one big energy giant. Enbridge Inc. saw its stock price fall from $42 to $40 per share on Aug. 1, as federal regulators nixed the reopening of a ruptured oil pipeline near Grand Marsh, Wisconsin.
The pipeline company said a day earlier that it had made the necessary repairs to get the Line 14 pipeline line flowing again, but had to hold off after the U.S. Department of Transportation blocked the move. According to the federal government, Enbridge must complete more tests and receive operational clearance from an “independent expert” before it gets Uncle Sam’s approval.
"Pipelines operate safely across the country every single day. That's why accidents, like the one in Wisconsin, are absolutely unacceptable," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement this week.
"I will soon meet with Enbridge's leadership team and they will need to demonstrate why they should be allowed to continue to operate this Wisconsin pipeline without either a significant overhaul or a complete replacement," LaHood added.
Nobody is making light of a spill that leaked 1,000 barrels of oil out of 318,000 barrels moved through Line 14 from Superior, Wis. to Mokena, Ill. on a daily basis. But the episode is another black eye for Enbridge, which only two years ago suffered a similar pipeline leak in Michigan, that saw 20,000 barrels of oil stream into the Kalamazoo River during a 17-hour period.
The Kalamazoo leak led to a report from the U.S. National Safety Board that called Enbridge officials “Keystone Kops” and said the company was fostering a “culture of deviance” where disaster procedures were lax and employees in the dark about what steps to take in the event of a pipeline leak.
A $2 decline in share price, as Enbridge saw on Aug. 1, isn’t exactly earth-shaking. But what could be problematic is the advent of another review by the U.S. Government that could chill big plans for an expanded $3-billion transcontinental pipeline effort that needs approval from both Canadian and U.S. energy regulators.
Now that pipeline is in jeopardy, as is Enbridge’s share price, as both The Wall Street Journal and Zacks Equity Research both said the Wisconsin pipeline rupture will make approval of the new pipeline problematic.
This from Zacks:
The incident is likely to affect Enbridge Energy’s plans to make expansions in