Two giant oil pipelines proposed to speed "doubling" of tar sands

Two major oil pipelines -- the most expensive in Canada -- passed key hurdles this week: Energy East and Line 3 Replacement.  Observers say they lead to “massive” environmental and economic consequences.

Alberta oil sands pollution - Kris Krug
Oil sands operations at Fort McMurray, Alberta - Photo by Kris Krug

In a dizzying week of oil announcements, two new giant west-to-east pipelines passed key milestones.  If built, the pipelines would rapidly expand Alberta’s oil sands, cause massive environmental impacts, and trigger thousands of new jobs, according to several observers.

The first project – TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline – would be the largest oil sands pipeline in North America – a continent-wrapping 4,500-km line to carry Alberta’s oil to Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John.

Energy East oil pipeline - TransCanada

TransCanada filed its project description with the National Energy Board Tuesday – the first step in the approval process.

"Energy East is a critical infrastructure project for all Canadians because it will enhance our country's energy security, allow us to receive greater value for our important natural resources…” said TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling, in a statement last September.

The $12-billion eastward line would pump a neck-breaking 1.1 million barrels of oil per day – a flow double what Northern Gateway proposes to bring to B.C.’s west coast.

“It’s an astonishing amount of oil,” said Alvin Singh, Communications Manager, with the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver.

“Massive climate change impacts…[the] equivalent to adding the emissions of 7 million cars on the road,” said Adam Scott, Climate and Energy Program Manager, with Environmental Defence in Toronto.

Energy East would supply refineries in Montreal, Quebec City, and St.John, as well as for Atlantic export.

Line 3 Replacement

Likewise – Enbridge also announced plans for another massive pipeline - the Line 3 Replacement.  The company said Monday it now has the financial backing for the $7 billion project.

Enbridge Line 3 Replacement map

The project would replace an existing 46-year-old pipeline between Alberta and Wisconsin.  But unlike Keystone XL, this American-bound pipeline may not need Obama’s approval.

“Line 3 already operates under an existing Presidential permit,” said Al Monaco, CEO of Enbridge, to investors from Houston on Monday.

“So what we're doing here is restoring Line 3 to its original condition,” he added. 

But far from just replacing the pipeline, the upgrade would double Line 3’s flow -- from 390,000 barrels of oil per day to 760,000. 

Both projects – Energy East and Line 3 Replacement -- are the most expensive in Canada, and still require a full review by both the National Energy Board and federal cabinet.

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Comments

Separation

I often wonder if any writers here at VO have thought about BC separating from Canada.  I'm certainly tired of Ottawa telling us how we should live our lives.  There is no doubt in my mind that here in BC we have a different view of how we want to live.  Maybe one day someone here will jump out of the box and give separation some thought and write an article on the subject.  I know I am not alone.

Alberta Tar Sands

Regarding Canada's plans to expand tar sands pipelines, I have to wonder how a US carbon tax would change things.  

In order to keep CO2 levels below catastrophic 800ppm, the world needs to do something to lower emissions.  What's the answer?  Is anyone willing to put their career on the line by voting for a carbon tax?  Is it worth gambling with the future of mankind (and every living thing on this little planet)  to keep burning every ounce of oil and gas?  

Maybe someone will invent giant sucking machines that pull CO2 (and methane, too) out of the atmosphere and bury it underground.   Because there is no doubt that without immediate action,  humanity is doomed.  When you tuck your kids in bed tonight, remember what their future looks like.  

TransCanada pipelines are built to rupture

TransCanada pipelines are built to rupture. 

One section of this pipeline has defective welds on approximately half of the 205 welds inspected. 125 sections of pipe were dug up and replaced for welds or dents. When a pipeline is dented, its anti-corrosion layer that protects the pipe from corrosion for ground water is destroyed. The patches applied over dented pipe do not provide adequate corrosion protection. This pipeline is very likely to rupture over and over again, just like TransCanada's Bison pipeline did in its first year of operation.

Read the report http://www.citizen.org/documents/Keystone%20report%20November%202013.pdf

Watch news videos 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBgzlRIo_7E

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+cbs+video+transcanada+pipeli...

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+cbs+video+transcanada+pipeli...


They're oil sands, not tar

They're oil sands, not tar sands. Anyone who says "tar" does so far shock effect, they clearly haven't seen what comes out of the ground and are fully unfamiliar with tar, which is a solid.

The money paid in taxes for every barrel to every province a pipeline passes through is substantial and helps pay for our healthcare system. There is over a million miles of gas and oil pipelines across North America. They fuel the most productive economies in the world which create jobs and tax revenue that is critical for our survival. Indeed, the building of these new pipelines will generate a lot of taxes, create a lot of jobs locally and across the country and secure the futures of many Canadian jobs. They will also keep hundreds of millions of railway cars filled with oil off the railroads, enabling the railways to carry safer products such as wheat and oats to feed the world.

Seeing the hand-wringing comments here is scary. Are you people seriously this deluded? Oil isn't all burned. It's refined into a thousand products including lubricants, plastics, house-building products, etc. Meanwhile, oil interests in the US, trying to protect their markets, are underwriting the anti-oil lobby in Canada which is feeding the propaganda mill.

 

 

So you want to separate?

David Hersanko wrote:

I often wonder if any writers here at VO have thought about BC separating from Canada.  I'm certainly tired of Ottawa telling us how we should live our lives.  There is no doubt in my mind that here in BC we have a different view of how we want to live.  Maybe one day someone here will jump out of the box and give separation some thought and write an article on the subject.  I know I am not alone.



If anything the rest of BC should separate from Vancouver IMO. Vancouver sucks the rest of the province dry.

Pure insanity

The greed of a few will kill us all.

 

looney bin

Dan Cummings wrote:

They're oil sands, not tar sands. Anyone who says "tar" does so far shock effect, they clearly haven't seen what comes out of the ground and are fully unfamiliar with tar, which is a solid.

The money paid in taxes for every barrel to every province a pipeline passes through is substantial and helps pay for our healthcare system. There is over a million miles of gas and oil pipelines across North America. They fuel the most productive economies in the world which create jobs and tax revenue that is critical for our survival. Indeed, the building of these new pipelines will generate a lot of taxes, create a lot of jobs locally and across the country and secure the futures of many Canadian jobs. They will also keep hundreds of millions of railway cars filled with oil off the railroads, enabling the railways to carry safer products such as wheat and oats to feed the world.

Seeing the hand-wringing comments here is scary. Are you people seriously this deluded? Oil isn't all burned. It's refined into a thousand products including lubricants, plastics, house-building products, etc. Meanwhile, oil interests in the US, trying to protect their markets, are underwriting the anti-oil lobby in Canada which is feeding the propaganda mill.

 

 

You are trying to use logic on a bunch who live in a fantasy land where butterfly wings can carry them across the seas.

I suppose we are expected to feel outrage at seeing all that "smoke" billowing from the "smokestacks" in the photo accompanying this article. Well folks, it's not smoke, it's steam. Media in the US and the UK do the same when presenting opinion about how we would be better off without power stations. Whether or not you approve of fossil fuels, you might not appreciate the media influencing your reaction by subliminal persuasion.

I suppose we are expected to feel outrage at seeing all that "smoke" billowing from the "smokestacks" in the photo accompanying this article.

Well folks, it's not smoke, it's steam. Media in the US and the UK do the same when presenting opinion about how we would be better off without power stations.

Whether or not you approve of fossil fuels, you might not appreciate the media influencing your reaction by subliminal persuasion.

CO2

It is stunning that a government of my beautiful Canada would become an unethical, greedy, oil puppet. I am ashamed. Do we still have government, or is this a one man show? What part of fossil fuel CO2 emissions don't they understand?

Alberta Oil Sands produce very little CO2........

David Derbowka wrote:
It is stunning that a government of my beautiful Canada would become an unethical, greedy, oil puppet. I am ashamed. Do we still have government, or is this a one man show? What part of fossil fuel CO2 emissions don't they understand?

Another person on the bandwagon who doesn't understand that the extraction of oil from the oil sands is done with a process using STEAM, which produces NO CO2.  The CO2 is actually produced when you burn the gasoline, diesel and other products which are produced FROM the oil.  Therefore, when you start your car, YOU are the one emitting the CO2, just as the Americans, Asians, or whomever are the RECIPIENTS and end users of our oil from our oil sands.

As for being ashamed of our government, the EXISTING pipeline from eastern Canada that currently FLOWS west is merely being reversed to EXPORT our oil, rather than IMPORTING oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or other Middle East countries like is happening now.  Perhaps you are not aware of the human rights conditions in the majority of these countries.  And you are "ashamed" of our government?  Pleeaase.  

 

Alberta Oil Sands produce very little CO2........

David Derbowka wrote:
It is stunning that a government of my beautiful Canada would become an unethical, greedy, oil puppet. I am ashamed. Do we still have government, or is this a one man show? What part of fossil fuel CO2 emissions don't they understand?

Another person on the bandwagon who doesn't understand that the extraction of oil from the oil sands is done with a process using STEAM, which produces NO CO2.  The CO2 is actually produced when you burn the gasoline, diesel and other products which are produced FROM the oil.  Therefore, when you start your car, YOU are the one emitting the CO2, just as the Americans, Asians, or whomever are the RECIPIENTS and end users of our oil from our oil sands.

As for being ashamed of our government, the EXISTING pipeline from eastern Canada that currently FLOWS west is merely being reversed to EXPORT our oil, rather than IMPORTING oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or other Middle East countries like is happening now.  Perhaps you are not aware of the human rights conditions in the majority of these countries.  And you are "ashamed" of our government?  Pleeaase.  

 

I can agree with you on one point...........

David Hersanko wrote:

I often wonder if any writers here at VO have thought about BC separating from Canada.  I'm certainly tired of Ottawa telling us how we should live our lives.  There is no doubt in my mind that here in BC we have a different view of how we want to live.  Maybe one day someone here will jump out of the box and give separation some thought and write an article on the subject.  I know I am not alone.

In the fiscal year 2013-2014, British Columbia will receive $5.8 BILLION dollars from the federal government in federal transfer payments so that you people can continue your lifestyle to which you have become accustomed.  The current unemployment rate if B.C. (for February, 2014) stands at 6.4%, compared to Alberta's at 4.6% and Saskatchewan's at 3.9%.  

There are MANY of us in the country who have known for quite a while that B.C. people have a "different" point of view on how you want to live.  And there are many of us working very hard in other provinces who contribute to your nice lifestyle.

 

CO2 Recovery Plants

Nancy E. wrote:

Regarding Canada's plans to expand tar sands pipelines, I have to wonder how a US carbon tax would change things.  

In order to keep CO2 levels below catastrophic 800ppm, the world needs to do something to lower emissions.  What's the answer?  Is anyone willing to put their career on the line by voting for a carbon tax?  Is it worth gambling with the future of mankind (and every living thing on this little planet)  to keep burning every ounce of oil and gas?  

Maybe someone will invent giant sucking machines that pull CO2 (and methane, too) out of the atmosphere and bury it underground.   Because there is no doubt that without immediate action,  humanity is doomed.  When you tuck your kids in bed tonight, remember what their future looks like.  

Nancy, Nancy......

First, go back and read my reply explaining how the extraction of oil from the Alberta Oil Sands DO NOT contribute to the CO2 in Canada. 

And, FYI, your "giant CO2 sucking machines" of which you speak - - -  they are called "CO2 Recovery Plants".  I worked on the construction of two of them just outside Red Deer, Alberta in 2007 and 2008.  Now if you guys could just get China, India and the other polluters of the world to do the same, maybe we'd be onto something.  But unless that happens, Canada (and the U.S for that matter) could impose BILLIONS of dollars in carbon taxes, fines, or whatever else you wish to call them, and the only thing it would accomplish would be to SKYROCKET the cost of living in our countries and have very little impact on the CO2 emissions and pollution in this world.  So quit listening to David Suzuki and Al Gore - read some real facts.

 

Oil/Tar Sands

To all those trying to clarify that the smoke shown in the pictures is really steam, and does not generate CO2, can any of them explain the method for producing steam that does not burn massive amounts of natural gas, which definitely produces CO2? And as far as those belittling people for referring to the area as "Tar Sands", I was born and raised in Alberta, and the area was always referred to as the Athabaska Tar Sands. The term "Oil Sands" was merely a language change introduced by the industry and its apologists to make it seem cleaner than it really is. Science and linguistics do not seem to be the strengths of those pushing the pipelines.

Energy Needed to Extract Tar Sands

Catherine,

Tar sands extraction is the most energy intensive process of extracting oil in the world.  Almost 25% more energy is used in the extraction process and more energy is used down the line in the transport of the bitumen.  YYou've got to heat the stuff to move it in and out of trains/tankers. So, yes, it produces more CO2 in Canada. 

Carbon capture and sequestration is not a proven form of emissions reduction.  Where is the CO2 stored...and how long will it stay there? And I meant sucking the CO2 from the air, not at the source.  In order to reduce CO2 levels to safe levels, we need massive industrial-size plants.  Can you point to where these are being built?  

There will be a breakthrough soon in battery technology for energy storage.  That one thing will be the straw that breaks the back of the fossil fuel industry.  When individuals can make their own energy (solar panels) and store it,  it will make a huge difference.  And once algae fuel can compete with current oil prices, you'll see another drop in fossil fuel demand.  

The US and Canada must lead the way.  Others will have to follow.


N.E.

Catherine Brownie wrote:

Nancy E. wrote:

Regarding Canada's plans to expand tar sands pipelines, I have to wonder how a US carbon tax would change things.  

In order to keep CO2 levels below catastrophic 800ppm, the world needs to do something to lower emissions.  What's the answer?  Is anyone willing to put their career on the line by voting for a carbon tax?  Is it worth gambling with the future of mankind (and every living thing on this little planet)  to keep burning every ounce of oil and gas?  

Maybe someone will invent giant sucking machines that pull CO2 (and methane, too) out of the atmosphere and bury it underground.   Because there is no doubt that without immediate action,  humanity is doomed.  When you tuck your kids in bed tonight, remember what their future looks like.  

Nancy, Nancy......

First, go back and read my reply explaining how the extraction of oil from the Alberta Oil Sands DO NOT contribute to the CO2 in Canada. 

And, FYI, your "giant CO2 sucking machines" of which you speak - - -  they are called "CO2 Recovery Plants".  I worked on the construction of two of them just outside Red Deer, Alberta in 2007 and 2008.  Now if you guys could just get China, India and the other polluters of the world to do the same, maybe we'd be onto something.  But unless that happens, Canada (and the U.S for that matter) could impose BILLIONS of dollars in carbon taxes, fines, or whatever else you wish to call them, and the only thing it would accomplish would be to SKYROCKET the cost of living in our countries and have very little impact on the CO2 emissions and pollution in this world.  So quit listening to David Suzuki and Al Gore - read some real facts.

 

  PIPE LINES ARE SAFE ..’MOST’ of the time!Since the 2010 Kalamazoo Michigan incident ,Enbridge are still finding bitumen . Old pipelines CAN be  upgraded .New pipe lines may  include  ;thicker pipe; continual  flow monitoring ;  avoidance of  sensitive areas ,extra  isolation valves; more  surveillance ; support of local community activities,etc.,However,because of inappropriate operating/inspection  procedures, delayed maintenance,design deficiencies,and lack of stewardship by Boards ,pipelines can   fail ! So----pipelines don’t fail !PEOPLE FAIL PIPELINES ! OIL TANKERS ARE SAFE –’MOST of the time !We hear about double hulls,sophisticated navigation aids ,GPS, trained crews,accompanying and tethered tugs,—Then , enter the PEOPLE—who become  distracted, or ? It’s happened throughout history—So----ships don’t sink  !PEOPLE SINK SHIPS !  ‘MOST’ of the time ‘ is NOT GOOD ENOUGH! The public  demand that there be  an ‘absolute minimum’ of oil( bunker) spill incidents ; on land ,in rivers,wet lands,lakes and ocean passes ,narrow inlets and  and bays.THIS WE CAN DO——can anyone imagine dumber location than Douglas Channel with it’s many connecting inlets for a BITUMEN shipping route ??—Now comes Kinder Morgan and their unbelievable scheme to increase ,by orders of magnitude , the bitumen laden tanker sailings and bitumen volumes in our busy Burrard Inlet—and the other critical passages through Haro Strait  and Boundary Pass ?? The proposed Kinder Morgan twinning project is NOT required !Here’s the alternate plan; Form a joint venture(Enbridge and KInder Morgan) and create ONE PIPELINE SYSTEM  from Alberta  to a shipping terminal  just north of Prince Rupert –with access to world markets. And MINIMIZE THE PROBABILITY AND CONSEQUENCES OF BITUMEN SPILLS ,while retaining the benefits of export for Canadians! 

demand drives every market

"The Sierra Club Foundation's director John Bennet said the massive increase in oil production is a “nightmare” scenario for trying to stop climate change."

The nightmare, IMO, is that none of the environmental groups or political parties will go near the fact that the only way to curb fossil fuel caused GHG emissions is to stop buying the crap. 

They refuse to talk about the demand sid, despite it - conservation - being the real gren solution because cuts of any size that would be meaninful would seriously undermine the 'market' paradigm their financial and consumer world requires.

 

We can do so much better than this

Bob Wiley wrote:

"The Sierra Club Foundation's director John Bennet said the massive increase in oil production is a “nightmare” scenario for trying to stop climate change."

The nightmare, IMO, is that none of the environmental groups or political parties will go near the fact that the only way to curb fossil fuel caused GHG emissions is to stop buying the crap. 

They refuse to talk about the demand sid, despite it - conservation - being the real gren solution because cuts of any size that would be meaninful would seriously undermine the 'market' paradigm their financial and consumer world requires.

 

It's ignorant, stubborn people like you who are dooming this planet to catastrophe - including not only the human species but countless others as well. Do you know anything about the importance of biodiversity to all life? There's an indisputable consensus among climate scientists that we've caused unprecedented and irreversible changes to our climate never before seen. We don't even know how this is going to play out. You may be willing to gamble with the future of others (and I don't even have children), but I'm not. We're destroying the planet. Bottom line. I can't wrap my head around how delusional one has to be to think that it's acceptable to take that risk. Your finger pointing exposes you as one of the people who's happy to sit back and watch it burn and are therefore that much more responsible than the rest of us who are trying to pressure the puppets in power to do something that makes sense.

Here's the obvious point you're missing: what the government should be doing is developing sustainable, efficient transportation networks, encourage the reduction of consumerism and waste, localize the production of food and other goods (i.e. how ridiculous is it that we import garlic from China?) and last - but not least - develop truly clean, alternative energy markets, that are not controlled by self-interested corporations, and that do not disproportionately force their impacts onto already marginalized groups such as First Nations. Enough is enough. We won't be able to eliminate our consumption of fossil fuels, but by working together and addressing it at every point of input and output, we can drastically reduce our dependence. By doing all of these things, as an actual strategy, we can generate FAR MORE JOBS than the fossil fuel ever will and we will diversify and strengthen our economy, and our society. True democracy and justice. Imagine that!

Oil export has to diminish by taxing it

Only a global carbon tax can prevent ever increasing oil demand. A global agreement will allow taxing exports without unfair competition. Until a global agreement has been reached world demand will rise and it makes no difference in the GHG emissions whether we supply that extra oil or we let others do it. Taxing carbon does not hurt the economy. It is a tax shift which makes green energy relatively cheap 

“..Northern Gateway (NG) iscommitted to doing everything POSSIBLE to build a safer better project”...see Vancouver Sun , page A 11,Mar 13, 2014 issue.    http://www.vancouversun.com/index.html

Where  in the WORLD can one see this  PROMISED , ‘WORLD CLASS’ (ocean bitumen spill) response system ?  Let’s design a project  that DEFENDS   against  unnecessary bitumen shipping in most  ;inlets,narrow channels, environmentally sensitive areas;busy traffic and congested areas, critical national rail bridges,etc.  and possible damage to BC’ multibillion dollar tourist industry.For both wannabe pipe liners—do the common sense thing and regain public and political support ! Here’s the  new plan—NG, get out of Douglas Channel and move shipping terminal to a point just north of Prince Rupert which gives relatively open ocean access to world markets—Also,before we waste more time with the Kinder Morgan (KM) twinning hearings lets TELL KM to join with Enbridge (NG) to create a joint venture pipe line system from Alberta to the ‘NEW’ joint venture tanker loading terminal !  .Result ,there will no increased bitumen tanker traffic  in Burrard Inlet and the narrow channels in the gulf Islands ;that’s smart DEFENSE !Hopefully our Federal government leaders and local wannabe interveners will have retained neutral  ‘world class’ experts to show the relative benefits of a spill DEFENSE vs. spill OFFENSE ..Such  studies could   assist the NEB to better fulfill their mandate ,that is ,to ensure that the BC PUBLIC INTERESTS are held foremost –with a “BC condition 210 ; change north and south ocean routing”  . 

Shell and Statoil are among 100 multinationals which are frustrated with the lack of political action in the UN climate talks. They want a firm tax agreement so they can plan for the future. The CEO and the chairman of ExxonMobil are both in favor of a carbon tax which would "achieve a uniform and predictable cost for carbon across the economy". If Canada would start a national tax and demand a global tax, other countries would no longer oppose us and allow us to export our present oil production without occurring a loss of $ 20 to 30 billion per year. When a global agreement has been reached we can tax our exports and eventually the flow will diminish because green energy will become competitive.

  

Tar is a viscous black liquid...

Dan Cummings wrote:

They're oil sands, not tar sands. Anyone who says "tar" does so far shock effect, they clearly haven't seen what comes out of the ground and are fully unfamiliar with tar, which is a solid.

The money paid in taxes for every barrel to every province a pipeline passes through is substantial and helps pay for our healthcare system. There is over a million miles of gas and oil pipelines across North America. They fuel the most productive economies in the world which create jobs and tax revenue that is critical for our survival. Indeed, the building of these new pipelines will generate a lot of taxes, create a lot of jobs locally and across the country and secure the futures of many Canadian jobs. They will also keep hundreds of millions of railway cars filled with oil off the railroads, enabling the railways to carry safer products such as wheat and oats to feed the world.

Seeing the hand-wringing comments here is scary. Are you people seriously this deluded? Oil isn't all burned. It's refined into a thousand products including lubricants, plastics, house-building products, etc. Meanwhile, oil interests in the US, trying to protect their markets, are underwriting the anti-oil lobby in Canada which is feeding the propaganda mill.

 

 

Tar, baby http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar Tar is a viscous black liquid. It is made by the destructive distillation of organic matter. Most tar is produced from coal as a byproduct of coke production, but it can also be produced from petroleum, peat or wood. Term misuse The word "tar" is often used to describe several different substances which are not actually tar. Naturally occurring "tar pits" (e.g. the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles) actually contain asphalt rather than tar. Tar sand deposits contain various mixtures of sand (or rock) with bitumen or heavy crude oil and not tar, as does the Tar Tunnel in Shropshire. "Rangoon tar", also known as "Burmese Oil" or "Burmese Naphtha", is actually petroleum. "Tar" and "pitch" are sometimes used interchangeably; however, pitch is considered more solid while tar is more liquid. ----------------------------------------------- Definition of TAR SAND http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tar%20sand :  a natural impregnation of sand or sandstone with petroleum from which the lighter portions have escaped sand or sandstone that is naturally soaked with heavy sticky portions of petroleum