Energy Services includes Gas Services and Tidal Energy, the Company's energy marketing businesses. Gas Services markets natural gas to optimize Enbridge's commitments on the Alliance and Vector Pipelines. It also has a growing business of providing fee-for-service arrangements for third parties, leveraging its marketing expertise and access to transportation capacity. Capacity commitments as of December 31, 2008 were 32.7 mmcf/d on the Alliance Pipeline (2.5% of total capacity) and 144 mmcf/d on Vector Pipeline (12.0% of total capacity). Capacity commitments as of December 31, 2007 were 32.2 mmcf/d on the Alliance Pipeline (2.0% of total capacity) and 162.1 mmcf/d on Vector Pipeline (16.4% of total capacity).
Earnings from Gas Services are dependent upon the basis (location) differentials between Alberta and Chicago, for Alliance Pipeline, and between Chicago and Dawn, for Vector Pipeline. To the extent the cost of transportation on these two pipelines exceeds the gas commodity basis differential, earnings will be negatively affected.
Tidal Energy provides crude oil and NGLs marketing services for the Company and its customers in a full range of condensate and crude oil types including light sweet, light and medium sours and several heavy grades. Tidal Energy transacts at many of the major North American market hubs and provides its customers with a variety of programs including flexible pricing arrangements, hedging programs, product exchanges, physical storage programs and total supply management, through the analysis and implementation of different transportation options, reduced quality differentials and tariff structures, and utilizing risk management pricing options. Tidal Energy's business involves buying, selling and storing large quantities of crude oil. Tidal Energy is primarily a physical barrel marketing company and in the course of its market activities, physical receipt or delivery shortfalls can create modest commodity exposures. Any open positions created from this physical business are tightly monitored and must comply with the Company's formal risk management policies.
Results of Operations
Adjusted earnings from Energy Services were $16.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2008 compared with $6.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2007. Energy Services adjusted earnings increased due to higher margins captured on storage and transportation contracts as well as increased transportation and storage volumes in Tidal Energy.
Energy Services earnings were impacted by several non-operating adjusting items; unrealized fair value gains on derivative instruments, resulting from forward risk management positions used to "lock-in" the profitability of forward physical transportation and storage transactions at Tidal Energy, and a $5.7 million write-off as a result of bankruptcies by SemGroup and Lehman Brothers. The full amount of all such receivables has been provided for and some potential for partial recovery exists.
Adjusted earnings from Energy Services were $6.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2007 compared with $10.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2006. The decrease in adjusted earnings was due to outstanding storage transactions in Tidal Energy that were negatively impacted by rising crude oil prices. Tidal Energy buys crude oil, stores it and sells it forward at a higher price, locking in a profit on the transaction. However, during the life of the transaction, Tidal Energy may hold the oil held in storage and use it to satisfy a new forward sale at an additional deferred profit. Tidal Energy then purchases oil at spot prices to satisfy the original sale transaction. As a result, losses will be recognized in periods of rising oil prices and profitability will be deferred until the original transaction settles.