* Project faces strong opposition from green groups, natives
* Hearings underway in British Columbia
* Company aiming for wider promotion of project
By Nicole Mordant
VANCOUVER, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Enbridge Inc needs to do a better job of communicating to most British Columbians and other Canadians the merits of its contentious Northern Gateway oil pipeline planned for the Western Canadian province, a senior company official said on Wednesday.
Janet Holder, executive vice president for western access, told an energy conference in Vancouver that she believed Enbridge had done a "darn good job" of talking to stakeholders along the pipeline's 1,177-km (731-mile) route. But, she added, "We have not done a good job of trying to educate the public in the rest of the Lower Mainland or the rest of British Columbia or the rest of Canada."
Environmentalists, politicians, aboriginal groups and the general public in the West Coast province have raised strong opposition to the Northern Gateway, a 525,000 barrel a day line that would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to Kitimat on British Columbia's Northwest coast for shipment to Asia.
Holder said Enbridge, which is running a television advertising campaign to sell Northern Gateway's merits, was "trying to put our message out there stronger now".
Opponents have expressed concern about the possibility of oil spills, and some are demanding a greater share of the revenue that is expected to come from the C$6 billion (US$6.13 billion) project. Northern Gateway is intended to boost returns for oil producers whose only major export market currently is the United States.
Last week, Enbridge Chief Executive Al Monaco said the project had received a disproportionately large amount of attention in comparison to the company's other major pipeline initiatives, such as expanding its mainline to the U.S. Midwest and getting light crude to Eastern Canadian refineries.
The latest phase of Northern Gateway public hearings, to review engineering and environmental aspects of the project, began in the northern British Columbia town of Prince George this week.
The regulatory process is expected be concluded late in 2013.
(Reporting By Nicole Mordant in Vancouver)
Keywords: ENBRIDGE NORTHERNGATEWAY/