The Canadian pipeline behemoth Enbridge is set to acquire Texas-based Spectra Energy in a US$28-billion deal that will make it North America's largest energy infrastructure company. Activists have dubbed the merger “Frackopoly.”
“The proposed merger of Enbridge and Spectra Energy, two fossil fuel pipeline giants that already control much of the oil and gas flow throughout the country, would be bad news for energy consumers and terrible news for the clean energy revolution on which the future of our planet depends,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch and author of “Frackopoly,” in a statement.
The merger would value the company at a staggering US$127 billion. Enbridge is already responsible for operating the world's longest crude oil pipeline system across both Canada and the United States, and the merger would add Spectra Energy's 21,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines to its inventory.
This massive takeover, unmatched in size and scale, alarms clean energy activists.
“For more than 100 years, political influence peddling has facilitated the consolidation and control of our energy system by a handful of corporations and financial institutions,” explained Hauter. “The proposed Enbridge-Spectra Energy merger is just the latest example of an evolving corporate energy monopoly—call it the Frackopoly—that is working to bind our society to a long future of dirty, dangerous fossil fuel extraction and consumption by aggressively developing an extensive network of pipelines and infrastructure projects that the oil and gas industry requires to survive and profit.”
The monopoly has animated disputes between energy corporations and civil society activists who oppose fracking.
Jamie Henn, 350.org’s communications director, tweeted the merger "directly connects" the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline in the Midwest with the fight against Spectra in the Northeast.
In an interview with Common Dreams, Henn said the deal will make Enbridge find itself in the middle of "some of the highest profile climate fights in the nation," which he predicted is likely to bolster ongoing protests "as pipeline fighters find common cause."