Conservative but aggressive wins - Enbridge chief's track record commands respect
BY CLAUDIA CATTANEO, Financial Post
CALGARY • Patrick Daniel has not had an easy year. The man who runs the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system has had to fend off opposition to a proposed oil-sands pipeline to the British Columbia coast, manage the fallout of a leak in Michigan, and lead a national discussion on the need for a Canadian energy strategy.
The leadership the president and chief executive of Enbridge Inc. has displayed in dealing with these challenges has won him Outstanding CEO of the Year for 2011. The Calgary-based company’s share price has also risen 20% this year.
“What is so rewarding for me is to have the employees of this company recognized for having outperformed during very challenging times,” Mr. Daniels said.
Calgary-based Enbridge operates in Canada and the United States, has a growing involvement in the natural-gas transmission and midstream businesses and expanding interests in green-energy technologies.
John Wallace, president and CEO of Caldwell Partners, the founder and manager of the program, said Mr. Daniel was selected because of Enbridge’s outstanding performance under his leadership. The National Post is a partner in the program.
“Pat’s track record shows he is a highly respected leader who has the trust and loyalty of all of Enbridge’s employees, as well as his peers in the business community”
John Wallace, President and CEO of Caldwell Partners
“Pat’s track record shows he is a highly respected leader who has the trust and loyalty of all of Enbridge’s employees, as well as his peers in the business community,” Mr. Wallace said. “His organization is devoted to clean-energy technology and is leading the way in this area by investing in new projects. Both Pat and Enbridge are committed to community efforts through both volunteering and significant financial investment.”
Born on a farm near Entwistle, a small town near Edmonton, Mr. Daniel’s career in Canada’s oil-andgas and pipeline sectors spans nearly four decades.
As Enbridge’s CEO for the past 11 years, Mr. Daniel, 65, promoted a model of high growth, low risk and steady income that made Enbridge an investment safe haven at a time of global financial instability. Meanwhile, Enbridge has been relentless in pursuing expansion opportunities.
Enbridge shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange closed Friday at $33.96, up 1¢. “That may sound very simple, but there might be only two or three or four other companies in North America that have had the same kind of record over a 10-, 20- 30-, 40-year period as Enbridge,” said Mr. Daniel, a chemical engineer. “We had one investor describe us a few years ago as being very conservative but very aggressive. And you don’t think those two things go together. But we don’t think we miss out on many opportunities. We go after absolutely everything.”
The Northern Gateway oil-sands pipeline has been one of Enbridge’s boldest bets yet. The $5.5-billion project would transport oil from the oil sands across northern British Columbia to the West Coast. From there large tankers would transport the oil to markets in Asia. Endorsed by industry, the project is opposed by First Nations and environmentalists.
Mr. Daniel is confident the pipeline will be approved by regulators and move ahead.
“It doesn’t mean to say that it’s going to be easy,” he said. “But the two main criteria that the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will be looking at are: Is this in the national best interest? I don’t think you will find too many people who will argue against that. And then secondly, can it be built in an environmentally sound and effective way? And if we Canadians can’t do it, who can?”
A director of oil-sands developer Cenovus Energy Inc. and of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Mr. Daniel said the biggest challenge facing the oil-sands industry is opposition to pipeline expansions.
“Opponents realize that it’s a bit pointless to come to Alberta and try to hang banners from the Calgary Tower,” he said. “But if they can get attention in Washington with regard to a presidential permit on pipelines, or if they can bring their big foundations up to Canada and fund First Nations opposition to a Gateway project, [they believe] that that is the most effective way to slow the oil sands down. I think that ultimately, most people, when they stop and think about it, will realize [it’s more important to have] security of supply and alternative markets.”
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