Pipeline Operator TC Energy Beats Profit Estimates, Eyes Asset Sales to Fund Coastal GasLink Project

(Reuters) — Canada's TC Energy Corp. beat analysts' estimates for first-quarter profit on Friday and said it was active in efforts to sell C$5 billion ($3.67 billion) worth of assets.

While global oil prices have declined 20% from peaks hit last year after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, prices are still high enough for companies to produce profitably, boosting demand for pipelines.

West Texas Intermediate Crude CLc1 averaged $75.75 per barrel during the first quarter.

TC is aiming to sell assets this year to reduce debt and fund other projects, such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia that has seen major cost over-runs.

RELATED: Pipeline Operator TC Energy Says Keystone Oil Spill Caused by Fatigue Crack

"We are at a very commercially sensitive point in our discussions," CEO Francois Poirier said on a conference call with analysts, about asset sales. "We have multiple processes underway."

Poirier has suggested many of TC's assets may be available but given few specifics.

TC's U.S. natural gas pipelines averaged flow of 28.5 billion cubic feet per day with several performing at near-record levels during peak demand, the company said.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company reported comparable earnings of C$1.21 ($0.8864) per share for the quarter, while analysts on average had expected earnings of C$1.15 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

TC shares rose 3% in Toronto.

The company said Coastal GasLink construction was proceeding according to its latest C$14.5 billion budget and schedule. The pipeline, 87% complete, will supply natural gas to Canada's first LNG export facility.

TC has recovered 98% of the 14,000 barrels of oil its Keystone pipeline spilled in rural Kansas in December, which was caused by a crack that originated during construction. The company is now inspecting the rest of the pipeline, which runs from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

($1 = 1.3633 Canadian dollars)

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