* Alberta Clipper gets U.S. presidential permit
* State Department says line serves U.S. interests
* Enbridge says pipeline construction to start soon
(Adds details and comments; changes dateline, previous
WASHINGTON. In U.S. dollars unless noted)
CALGARY, Alberta, Aug 20 The United States has
approved Enbridge Inc's (ENB.TO) $3.3 billion Alberta Clipper
pipeline project, granting the project, which will deliver
Canadian oil to U.S. refineries, a presidential permit, the
State Department said in a release on Thursday.
The department said that allowing construction of the
450,000 barrel per day line serves U.S. interests by adding
secure oil supplies from outside the OPEC nations at a time
when political tensions in some producing regions threaten to
interfere with oil shipments.
"The department found that the addition of crude oil
pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will
advance a number of strategic interests of the United States,"
it said in a statement.
The department also said construction of the line would
create construction jobs for U.S. workers in what it called a
difficult economic period.
Enbridge, which hopes to have the 1,000-mile
(1,600-kilometer) line up and running by mid-2010, said it
expects to begin construction soon, creating more than 3,000
"We're pleased we've reached this latest milestone and are
in the process of mobilizing well over 3,000 workers and will
begin construction within hours or days," said Denise Hamsher,
a spokeswoman for Enbridge.
Most of the oil shipped on the line will come from Canadian
oil sands producers, which have been under from some U.S.
environmental groups and legislators for boosting greenhouse
gas emissions because of expanding production in the oil sands
-- a Florida-sized region of northern Alberta that contains the
largest oil reserves outside the Middle East.
The State Department said it took greenhouse gas emissions
into account when deciding to issue the permit, saying that the
issue is best addressed through the domestic policies of the
United States and Canada and through international agreements.
Enbridge shares fell 32 Canadian cents to C$41.00 on
Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Scott Haggett and Sue Pleming; editing by Peter