* 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 todo a better job of communicating to most British Columbians andother Canadians the merits of its contentious Northern Gatewayoil pipeline planned for the Western Canadian province, a seniorcompany official said on Wednesday.
Janet Holder, executive vice president for western access,told an energy conference in Vancouver that she believedEnbridge had done a "darn good job" of talking to stakeholdersalong 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 inthe rest of the Lower Mainland or the rest of British Columbiaor the rest of Canada."
Environmentalists, politicians, aboriginal groups and thegeneral public in the West Coast province have raised strongopposition to the Northern Gateway, a 525,000 barrel a day linethat would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to Kitimaton British Columbia's Northwest coast for shipment to Asia.
Holder said Enbridge, which is running a televisionadvertising campaign to sell Northern Gateway's merits, was"trying to put our message out there stronger now".
Opponents have expressed concern about the possibility ofoil spills, and some are demanding a greater share of therevenue that is expected to come from the C$6 billion (US$6.13billion) project. Northern Gateway is intended to boost returnsfor oil producers whose only major export market currently isthe United States.
Last week, Enbridge Chief Executive Al Monaco said theproject had received a disproportionately large amount ofattention in comparison to the company's other major pipelineinitiatives, such as expanding its mainline to the U.S. Midwestand getting light crude to Eastern Canadian refineries.
The latest phase of Northern Gateway public hearings, toreview engineering and environmental aspects of the project,began in the northern British Columbia town of Prince Georgethis week.
The regulatory process is expected be concluded late in2013.
(Reporting By Nicole Mordant in Vancouver)
Keywords: ENBRIDGE NORTHERNGATEWAY/