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Enbridge aims to drastically cut carbon footprint as global climate pressures rise


(Reuters) - Canada's largest pipeline operator Enbridge Inc on Friday set emissions reduction targets, hoping to be a net zero emitter of greenhouse gases by 2050, as the industry faces intense pressure from investors to limit carbon discharge.

Reported greenhouse gas emissions from Canada's oil patch have more than doubled in the first half of the year as changes to how they are measured revealed a more extensive picture of environmental damage.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, which has set a goal of making Canada carbon neutral by 2050, launched a national program on Jan. 1 to better measure and reduce methane emissions.

Enbridge, which reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, said it hopes to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2030.

To meet the targets, the company said it would invest in lower carbon infrastructure as well as in wind and solar power generation, hydrogen and renewable natural gas.

The pipeline operator earned 48 Canadian cents per share in the quarter, lower than the 53 Canadian cents analysts expected, as a coronavirus-induced slump in demand hurt the volumes transported on its mainline system.

A sharp decline in global crude prices and demand destruction cause by the pandemic has battered Canada, the world's fourth-largest crude producer, which was already facing steep discounts for its oil.

Fuel demand however has picked up with the easing of restrictions, but a resurgence in COVID-19 infections could derail that recovery.

Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said he expects a gradual pace of demand recovery over the balance of 2020 and into 2021.

The Calgary-based company transported 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil on its Mainline system across Canada and the United States during the quarter, down from 2.7 million bpd in the year-ago quarter.

(Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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