The question anti-Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion activists refuse to answer

This weekend both pro- and anti-Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMX) rallies were held. Sadly I couldn’t attend either. I did take advantage of the interest to try to figure out what was going on in the heads of the people fighting TMX so I asked them a question:

My challenge to #StopKM protestors: Show me a safer way than the @TransMtn to get the fossil fuels we need to run our society to the West Coast What is your alternative to #KinderMorgan?

I tagged so I figured that I would get some informed discussion. Some people tried to change the topic but not one addressed the question at hand. At last count the tweet had over 16,000 views with no one actually addressing the question posed. Later in the day I sent out a follow-up which said:

This morning I asked the question: Show me a safer way than @TransMtn to get the fossil fuels we need to run our society to the West Coast What is your alternative to #KinderMorgan? 10,000 views and not 1 response

It got 6,000+ views. I got more non-responses with Tzeporah Berman providing the prototypical answer:

The alternative is don’t expand production.

My reply thread is here 

This blog post will provide the details and the references that I could not fit into a Twitter thread. I hope it will show just how hollow the arguments of the anti-TMX protesters really are.

There is a common misconception about the role of pipelines in our daily lives. We live in a society that is dependent on oil and oil products. These products aren’t just refined into gasoline and diesel to run our vehicles; they also serve as the feedstocks for the petrochemical industry which provides the building blocks of our plastics, cell phones and many of the drugs we take when we are sick. Without fossil fuels our economy would simply stop. Every calorie eaten by David Suzuki has fossil fuels carbon incorporated into it. There is literally no food a Vancouverite can eat that wasn’t in some direct way, obtained using fossil fuels.

As I have written previously, British Columbia is nowhere close to reaching a fossil fuel-free status. So let’s acknowledge the reality, we need gasoline, diesel and oil to run our society. So where do these oil products come from? In coastal B.C. most of it comes via the Trans-Mountain pipeline. So let’s look at what the pipeline currently does:

The Trans-Mountain currently has a capacity of about 300,000 barrels a day (b/d).

Now you will notice that I said that only half of Parkland’s raw crude comes via the pipeline. You might ask: why? The reason so much of the Parkland refinery’s crude comes by rail is that the current pipeline is typically oversubscribed by about 30% on a month-to-month basis. This means that only about 60% of the product that shippers want to send on the pipeline actually ends up on the pipeline. There is simply not enough room to get all the crude and refined fuel we need on the West Coast to the West Coast using the existing pipeline. So when activists say we have enough capacity that is simply wrong the pipeline is already unable to ship all the production that we need to move.

Because of the shortage of volume on the pipeline Vancouver Island is supplied with almost all of its refined products via barges from Vancouver and the Puget Sound.

So let’s talk about the TMX because this is another case of the activists always getting their facts wrong. I cannot count the number of people who claimed on my timeline this weekend that the pipeline was only to export bitumen to Asia. That is what they have been told and heaven help the person who directs them to the National Energy Board documents that say otherwise. Well here is what the NEB submission actually says:

The TMX has two major components:

  • Line 1 would consist of existing pipeline segments (with pump upgrades) and could transport 350,000 b/d of refined petroleum products and light crude. It has the capability to carry bitumen but at a much reduced volume per day. Notice that absent the heavier bitumen it can carry an extra 50,000 b/d. Line 1 is intended to help mitigate the supply bottleneck that has Vancouver drivers paying such high prices for gasoline and diesel (as I will explain later).
  • The proposed Line 2 would have a capacity of 540,000 b/d and is allocated to the transportation of heavy crude oil. This new pipeline and configuration setup would, add 590,000 b/d to the existing system for a total capacity of 890,000 b/d.

A big complaint is that much of the increased pipeline capacity is for “export” but “export” can mean a lot of things. Thanks to the lack of refining capacity in the Vancouver region, we actually “export” oil and almost immediately need to re-import it as aviation and jet fuel from the Cherry Point refinery in Washington (or as refined fuels on Vancouver Island).

Most Canadians don’t know that there are five major refineries in the Puget Sound with a combined capacity of 647,000 b/d. So why is that important? For the last 20 years, up to 600,000 b/d of Alaskan crude have traveled down the coast of B.C., in tankers, and into the Puget Sound. Now let’s talk about some hypocrisy. US NGOs bragged about sending busloads of protesters to the Saturday rally. One of their complaints was the increased tanker traffic. In response Stewart Muir of ResourceWorks tweeted this:

Muir

It is a map from the TankerTracker App that shows that at the same time as Seattle protesters were driving up the coast to complain, eight tankers were in US waters. Unlike the tankers under the TMX none of these tankers are carrying local pilots while attached to two rescue tugs. These American protesters came up to Vancouver to fight against seven tankers a week when they have eight tankers in their waters at the same time. Could these activists be any more hypocritical?

Now a not well-known fact is that the Alaskan oil fields are drying up and new sources are needed to keep the Pacific Northwest in fuel. As a result, new railway capacity is being built to supply up to 725,000 b/d of Bakken crude to the West Coast and the Puget Sound refineries. The route will travel over any number of rivers including the headwaters of the Kootenay River and alongside the Columbia River to the Puget Sound.

Transporting oil and gas by pipeline or rail is in general quite safe. But when comparing rail to pipelines, rail is over 4.5 times more likely to experience an occurrence than pipelines, and when it does, we get more Gogamas, Galenas and Lac Megantics. But the big ones and the ones we hear about, they aren’t the only ones, let’s not forget the dozen or so other rail issues that didn’t make our local press. As for the protectors of our coast they never mention the Mosier derailment that came within feet of hitting the Columbia River. We share the Columbia with our American cousins and if they need to transport crude along the Columbia it is only a matter of time before a big spill happens there and then what will the activists be saying?

In a previous blog post I did the math and realized that because of where the rail lines run (along the river valleys), the 4.5 times number is not even relevant in BC, Washington or Oregon. The number is actually much higher. The environmentalists claim to want to protect our fragile ecosystem but instead they will greatly increase the likelihood of a spill and when that spill happens it could wipe out the Columbia or Fraser River fisheries…something the activists choose not to talk about while simultaneously complaining that the TMX will put those fisheries at risk.

To put my number into perspective according to industry statistics, in 2014 about 185,000 b/d of Western Canadian crude oil was transported to market by rail. In 2018, rail volumes are estimated at around 500,000 b/d to 600,000 b/d if Keystone XL is not available.

Now before I finish up I have to point out another way in which the anti-TMX activists are talking out of both sides of their mouths. I can’t count the number of activists who declare that Alberta should refine bitumen in Alberta. Well had any of them bothered to do their research they would discover that Alberta is about to open up its first new refinery in decades: the Sturgeon refinery It is the first refinery built exclusively to refine bitumen and has cost billions to build.  Now that the refinery is almost ready to go online guess what one of its biggest headaches will be? That’s right getting its production to market. The Trans Mountain is oversubscribed and the rail lines are full. One of the big benefits of the TMX will be the space opened up in Line 1 for refined fuels. British Columbia could finally have a steady supply of clean, Canadian diesel. But only if the pipeline is upgraded.

So I’ve thrown a lot of numbers around but let’s go back to my original question to the activists. We have now clearly demonstrated that the current pipeline capacity to the West Coast is inadequate to supply demand. The volume in excess of demand still needs to get here so what is their solution?

  • Absent the TMX we will be seeing more foreign tankers in Washington waters. Those tankers will not meet the stringent safety requirements that the NEB has imposed on the TMX ships but those tankers will be still sailing through the same “treacherous” waters. So we see a significant increase in risk from tanker spills.
  • Absent the TMX upgrade we will see a significant increase in oil-by-rail to the Puget Sound (Bakken oil transported along the Columbia River Valley).
  • Absent the TMX we will see continued movement of oil-by-rail to the Lower Mainland down the Thompson and Fraser River valleys. A spill on any of the rivers is more likely by rail than by pipeline and would cause untold damage to endangered fisheries.

Remember the complaint about all the oil being exported? Well it is likely that a major “export” location for Trans-Mountain oil will be the Puget Sound with most of that increase traveling along the existing upgraded pipeline. Much of the remaining export will be to California which is also suffering from a heavy oil shortage. Due to its proximity, tankers from Vancouver to California will be the cheapest way for California to get heavy fuel which means Albertans will get the best price for that oil (as there will not be a transportation premium).

We need to move towards a society where oil products are not used for power or fuel but that is not going to happen in the next decade or even two. Until that day comes, we need these products and the safest, most environmentally responsible way to get them to us over land is via pipelines. While we transition away from fossil fuels lets ensure that we use the safest modes of transport in order to protect our joint ecological heritage. The argument that we can do without simply doesn’t hold water. Currently (and for the next 20+ years) our transportation and food systems will remain utterly dependent on fossil fuels to keep our communities and economies alive. Given those real needs a pragmatic environmentalist looks for the safest way to move those fossil fuels and in this case that means pipelines like the Trans-Mountain.

Addendum:

Dr. Andrew Leach has used NEB data to graph what has gone through the pipeline since 2006. This is presented below:

Leach Graph

note that in the last few years Westbridge terminal has not been receiving its full allotment for export as the domestic light going to Burnaby (and presumably Parkland – see below) has displaced some of the marine exports.

Correction:

The best thing about a blog is when someone reads it and can provide help to make it better. In this case I received information from Parkland that updates the information that I have relied on from a previous source. In this blog post, I reported that that the Parkland refinery in Burnaby gets about half  of its 55,000 b/d from the Trans Mountain and half by rail due to the lack of space on the existing pipeline. That reference is now out of date. I have been contacted by a representative from Parkland who informs me that unlike Chevron, Parkland now gets all its supply from the Trans Mountain. I will be editing my blog posts accordingly.

This entry was posted in Canadian Politics, Pipelines, Trans Mountain, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

92 Responses to The question anti-Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion activists refuse to answer

  1. Gorge Kitten says:

    The opposers have stated their opinion, the NDP’s Transportation Minister has said she is agnositc about oil being transported by rail. https://youtu.be/0doElQ2_3Y4 https://youtu.be/pcm0DUSeC4w

    During Estimates she said so.

    Like

  2. Ed says:

    Very excellent article.

    Like

  3. Fay Truhamchuk says:

    Thank-you for taking the time to explain this. I am impressed with the thoughtful and noncombatant way you have delivered the message. I hope people will take the time to read this, regardless of where they stand on the issue.
    Regards
    Fay T

    Liked by 1 person

  4. M.Kucher says:

    The saddest part of this protesting is that these people are being lead blindly by foreign interests and money with no solutions to offer or the consequences of what they are trying to accomplish. Keeping Alberta oil from foreign markets hurts every Province in our great country and benefits the US oil, Saudi oil and other oil producing countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry Williams-Freeman says:

      “We need to move towards a society where oil products are not used for power or fuel”… just curious as to the solution the author had in mind when making this statement… it’s seems hypocritical to say anti pipeline people have no solutions when the author provides zero answers to the greater problem of anthropogenic global warming… and… it is obvious that more production is NOT a viable solution.

      Like

    • netwealthbg says:

      Correct and insightful. Thanks.

      Like

  5. hotyogi says:

    This is a very well researched and thought-out article. I hope people will read it with an open mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tom McEwen says:

    Wow…Finally the truth of the matter..However protesters will never give up no matter what facts are presented.Majority being snowflakes with tunnel vision and the “what if mentality” ingrained by the anti everthing movement coupled with never ending plethora of doomsday scenarios related to production and delivery of petro chemical products.
    Seems our NDP/Green coalition major concern relates to a massive oil spill with a lack of massive spill responsive.Are coastlines not the responsibility of Federal government? If so it’s up to them to deal with it… Why are they not concerned about the amount of air traffic coming and going from YVR? What response plan is in place for a 767 crashing into downtown high rises spreading jet fuel throughout the area and all the collateral carnage…Does that mean we stop all air traffic for the what if scenario? All risks are calculated and mostly mitigated through Input from all levels of government, policy and regulations drafted and finalized before any project is approved. Its not done In a vacuum lIke some think……If there was no risk to any project,nothing would ever be accomplished to improve the quality of life for everyone..
    Just my thoughts. ..

    Like

    • netwealthbg says:

      The Revolution Starts NOW. Great commentary. As an Albertan originally from SW Ontario I must challenge everyone to bury their MPs and Provincial members with calls and emails….even campaigns Message to People Allegedly In Charge: PLEASE get the act together, please.

      Like

    • A Higgs says:

      Tom I think that you are being rude and unfair and clearly demonstrate your ignorance to the intelligence of the people fighting for your and your children’s future. For decades science has been screaming about the direction our planet is headed if we don’t change our over consumptive behavior. Billions of dollars have been spent by big oil to cover up the reality- so FINALLY governments and people are listening and you say THESE people have the tunnel vision??? I have been asking and asking and asking for someone to please explain why this pipeline has to expand if we already have one AND when we are supposed to be weaning ourselves off of oil. This is the first time I have seen any semblance of that explanation. It’s time for everyone to take their blinders off and start questioning governments and industry that are too powerful and too focused on a bottom line that focuses on money as opposed to the health and survival of our ecosystems which are far more important to our survival than anything – I can’t eat my phone but I can plant a seed.

      Like

  7. Jerome listhaeghe says:

    It is very refreshing to finally read an article that is based on fact and not myth.
    If more activists were able to obtain the proper data before creating biases toward something that is needed and safe.
    I work in the pipeline industry and Canada has the toughest environmental standards on the planet.
    I hope people can start to gather correct information and realize oil products are here for now and there is no solution to faxing them out in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jerome listhaeghe says:

    It is very refreshing to finally read an article that is based on fact and not myth.
    If more activists were able to obtain the proper data before creating biases toward something that is needed and safe.
    I work in the pipeline industry and Canada has the toughest environmental standards on the planet.
    I hope people can start to gather correct information and realize oil products are here for now and there is no solution to faxing them out in the near future.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Karl Johanson says:

    Candu.
    Fossil fuels are here today, but nuclear energy is here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Paul says:

    Great detail of the energy traffic through the straight. I will defiantly share to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Seppo Votkin says:

    Saskatchewan farmers are negatively affected by lack of available rail space to transport their wheat to market due to lack of pipeline capacity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dean says:

      Great point!

      Like

    • vernaharnett says:

      Maybe you should form a group of farmers to look out for your interests. Oh, you did that but you disbanded it and gave the money in the coffers to general revenue.

      Like

    • netwealthbg says:

      Alberta here. It is heating up here, Calgary is a city of engineers and entrepreneurs.
      There is more brainpower in Saskatoon than there is in Ottawa.
      Watch for the referendum on Alberta cancelling our equalization payments. And I know in my heart that my Saskatchewan brothers and sisters will support us. .

      Like

  12. Gary says:

    No acknowledgement of the fact that expanding production in the tarsands (which this pipeline would facilitate) would make it impossible for Canada to meet it’s climate commitments. Do you pipeline cheerleaders care at all about the future? Scientists have warned that 80% of fossil fuel reserves need to remain in the ground if we want to have a safe climate for our children and grandchildren.

    No acknowledgement that this pipeline was approved using a flawed Harper era NEB process that was rigged – a process that Justin Trudeau told BC during the last election would be changed. He lied! So, this rigged process forbid the consideration of upstream and downstream GHG emissions! Imagine that, we are in a climate crisis and the GHG emissions from a major fossil fuel project were forbidden from being considered? That’s totally unethical! In addition – pipeline opponents (including First Nations) were forbidden from cross examining Kinder Morgan but Kinder Morgan was allowed to cross examine opponents. Unethical and unjust! That gives this pipeline zero social license!

    “So the pending Trans Mountain pipeline plan to triple tar sands/oil sands exports, and increase oil tanker traffic under the Lions Gate Bridge up to seven-fold, is doomed. So is the plan to expand tar sands/oil sands output by 40%. No amount of cheerleading, or demonizing, or pixie dust will change the raw laws of global oil economics.”
    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/03/07/opinion/fatal-flaw-albertas-oil-expansion

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joey says:

      What a bunch of crap….by the way….NO countries are achieving their “carbon targets”. The NEB process was not rigged in any way. Trudeau, like you, doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. As for upstream and downstream emissions, why does Alberta have to account for downstream emissions? That is the responsibility of the end user. The pipeline doesn’t require a “social license”. That is just a nonsensical phrase….like your entire post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Blair says:

        Your comment really doesn’t contribute much but I will leave it out there as it expresses a world-view….one I don’t share but a worldview nonetheless

        Like

      • Joe Smith says:

        “No countries are achieving their carbon target”
        False: http://www.climateinstitute.org.au/verve/_resources/TCI_On_track_factsheet.pdf

        Yes, the NEB was rigged. Two members of the panel quit in protest because of the rigged process: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/robyn-allan-pulls-out-from-trans-mountain-pipeline-review-1.3080544

        “Why does AB have to account for downstream emissions?” Because they are partly responsible for creating those emissions. Nobody gets to wash their hands for their part in global warming.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Twolf says:

        I’m sure Kinder Morgan would ship Unicorn farts and pixie dust in the pipeline if there was a reliable supply and market for such products. Kinder Morgan is just the conduit, not the supplier or end user, and as such the only things that the NEB should consider are those items directly related to the building and operation of the pipeline, pumping stations and terminals. By your logic we should regulate telephone companies because of the phone scammers and obscene phone calls made on them, shut down the internet because some Nigerian Prince is trying to scam you over E-mail, shut down all production of automobiles because sometimes evil people use them in the commission of crimes, regulate out of existence all alcoholic beverages, firearms, fatty foods, illicit drugs and every other thing that the wing nuts deem “possibly” harmful to humanity. Blair goes out of his way to be fair and expresses his views in plain language which is virtually impossible to misunderstand but apparently you don’t care about that.
        Picture wanting to have a nice evening out for supper with your significant other and having to negotiate first with the taxi driver for about a week about the fare, then when he finally agrees to take you to the area where the restaurant of your choice is located (he won’t take you to it because it doesn’t measure up to some arbitrary standard he has imposed on it), you must deal with people protesting about some other arbitrary standard that they want enforced at your choice of restaurant and having to make a promise not to have the menu items that you specifically wanted for your meal. Once you finally negotiate safe passage into the establishment the Host/Hostess will only address you after you remove your undergarments because you have no proof that the cotton they are made of is from a “Fair Trade” source and only after this will they agree to seat you, but not in the area where you have been seated on the many occasions you have eaten there, but in a dimly lit corner. Once you are given a menu you are informed that you can only order the deep-fried baloney sandwich with sauerkraut and milk chocolate, as all other items on the menu are deemed “not available” to you because of the unfavorable seating.
        This scenario is the metaphoric equivalent of what all the pipeline companies are up against, except they soldier on in good faith expecting that those they are negotiating with are doing the same.

        Liked by 2 people

    • George says:

      Gary, there are so many things wrong with your statements here. I will only focus on one. That 80% of fossil fuels reserves MUST stay in the ground. The law of supply and demand comes into play here. Only allowing 20% of oil out of the ground would have a tsunami effect on the economy as demand would continue apace while supply would decrease dramatically. Are you so wealthy you can afford an 80% increase in the cost of everything you buy? Food? I know 80% isn’t completely accurate but my point is the increase would be HUGE.

      Liked by 1 person

    • FYI National Observer as it is, is a Tides foreign funded online media initiative whose Executive Editor is Tzeporah Berman’s husband Chris Hatch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Steve O says:

      Thank You. I accept the source of the National Observer is 350.org. More of the same. Please provide solutions not road blocks to progress.

      Like

    • jeff says:

      No acknowledgement of the fact that massively increasing the population of Canada alone is going to prevent meeting ANY climate commitments. Trudeau claims to be reducing ghg, but is increasing immigration by 400 000 plus per year. You can’t have it both ways.
      Gary, I really think you didn’t read the article because you make it sound as if cancelling KMTM is going to stop oil consumption. You really don’t get the concept that importing oil means someone else is increasing their exports.
      Your nonsense about the Lions Gate Bridge being impossible to navigate means you really have an issue with the BC Pilotage Authority and are claiming they are incompetent.

      Like

  13. C Crawford says:

    Is there any room in your thinking that would suggest that any one ‘not’ for the Kinder Morgan Project is not an eco terrorist?
    I agree almost point by point with the author of this article, his math and his conclusions EXCEPT it’s not the pipeline, it’s the product.
    I have my concerns about increasing container traffic through what is already a busy, geographically constrained, port. I wonder why it is the only option when we have already bitten the bullet on one of the largest coal trans-loads on the coast just down the road. Would adding oil tankers be such a stretch?
    But as a non-supporting non extremist, I agree that they have to get the product to market and we all going to live with some compromises.
    NOT THIS PRODUCT … it is, by industry definition, toxic. It will refine out, again by industry definition as about 750,000 b/d of heavy crude oil and right around 1,800 metric tons of Pet Coke. A friable, hot burning coal absolutely loaded with every nasty earth chemical you can find. Don’t take my word for it … google petroleum coke dumps and look for yourself.
    I laugh when I hear NEB. This is the same NEB that Justin has deemed corrupt, unworkable and morally bankrupt? And then disbanded?
    The NEB’s own environmental scientists recommended we don’t put this product in marine water because we simply do not know, not have the technology, to clean it up. There are indications that it may even be easier to clean up then crude oil in some situations … a cherry picked factoid the extremist supporters are now touting. Read the summary …. they studied a marine spill of Alberta crude only enough to tell that it does not clean up like current products and the recommendation was that until you know that you can clean it up, don’t do it.
    I’m not a John Horgan fan … but isn’t this just common sense? It’s all he’s called for.

    Let’s not even worry about the moral imperative of shipping someone else 1,800 metric tons of poison so they can burn it to heat and feed their children. Who cares? They are poor and far away and we need to make money :-(. Can you say asbestos? I thought we were better than that.

    Here’s a thought … refine it in Alberta. Put the bad stuff back where it came from and ship value added product that the world can respect, if not like, preferably not through Vancouver harbor … but we can talk about that.
    The Sturgeon Refinery (https://nwrsturgeonrefinery.com/), referred to above is driven by a guy who has been screaming for 20 years that they needed to refine at source and is a private / public collaboration that is about to show this could work.
    Why don’t Albertan’s and Kinder Morgan-ites see this as a solution … because it would cost a lot and take too long.

    Here’s the thing. I don’t f$#^ing care! Alberta and every one of it’s government have been to busy spending oil profits like drunken sailors when they are in the black and crying like poor little rich girls when they suddenly find the country is against them. Try a couple of less state of the art community centers and YMCAs that would look at home on Mars and do what have been recommended by EVERY sustainability study done of the ‘tar sands’ since 1972.
    Send us finished Heavy Crude, Light Crude, Jet Fuel, Gasoline … anything but that poisonous crap that no western nation will have on it’s shores, let alone in it’s waters … and we can talk.
    “You’re failure to plan does not constitute an emergency for me”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joey says:

      A long diatribe of nonsense. Too much swill to bother responding to it all. But just one point. Just because Trudeau said the NEB process was flawed means absolutely nothing. Trudeau really isn’t an expert in much of anything.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Harry says:

        Refining it in Alberta, creating more jobs for Canadians then shipping crude rather than diluted bitumen is nonsense? Your and idiot Joey.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ian Chisholm says:

      I own a safety training company in Alberta….When I register my students, around 2/3 of them have out of province ID. Alberta “exports” a lot more than dilbit. It exports cold hard cash that is pouring into BC. So you really feel that strongly about Alberta and out oil money, how come so very many of you from outside Alberta make a heck of a commute to work here? Perhaps Alberta should stop hiring out of province workers. Your comments of the “sustainability” of the Oil Sands are just factually wrong. Your “poison” comments on bitumen is factually incorrect. You comments on Dilbit spills is factually incorrect. You need to read real studies, not a eco blogs….they tell lies. Oh and by they way, unlike COUNTRIES like Norway, we don’t get to keep all of our oil money. Other than sending it home with the thousands of out of province workers. Alberta purchases products from all over the country. Alberta pours money into BC. Alberta also has a bunch of BRITISH COLUMBIA PIPELINES running through our province. They run from Ft St John BC through Alberta into the US. Do you hear us bitching? We also send a very large pile of it to Ottawa to distribute as they see fit. We have subsidized every province in confederation including interest free loans to other provinces from out Heritage Trust Savings Plan, and we get this hateful drivel. You don’t like our oil but you use it anyway, you hate us but you don’t mind taking our money. Last point, the “Your failure to plan” comment. The Trans Mountain expansion was announce in 2012. Keystone XL was announced in 2009 and went through 6 years of review before Obama suspended it. Energy East was announced in Aug 2013. It went through 5 years of review before the 2017 cancellation. So this is not our “failure to plan”. This is complete obstruction and special interest groups funded by US money playing despicable games and telling outright lies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Harry says:

        In response to “a failure to plan does not constitute an emergency” to you, the Kinder Morgan Pipeline (formerly Trans Mountain) has been planning since before 1954. How much earlier did you want us to plan?!? The twinned section that was added in front of my house in 2007/8, was planned for and negotiated with the federal government starting back in the 1950’s. I do not call this failure at planning.

        Like

      • David says:

        What a crock!! Alberta miners have been employed in B.C. For many many years as well. Further, where do you get your FACTS from?? The oil companies who tell you what their “facts” should be. As far as employing out of province workers, lets see how productive the tar sands would be without all the knowledge and skills that come from all across this nation to make that “PRODUCTION” happen! What would it look like if we said no more vacation homes in. B.C., for all the Albertans that come here with their oil money and buy up property, only as a result inflating real estate prices to the point where folks who have lived and worked their entire lives in this province can no longer afford to live here! These ARE real facts! But I guess that doesn’t matter when you can afford to live where ever you want riding on the backs of all those “out of province workers” that keep the tar sands rolling and producing and the big fat pay checks coming in! Oh and further I have been a miner most of my life (30yrs) and as far as I’m concerned everyone who works up there is WAY overpaid for what they do!! Talk about hypocrisy? You vanish from Alberta on days off so fast you leave a dust trail behind you, headed for B.C., to any body of water you can find, with your trailers and boats and quads and snowmobiles, oh and, lets not forget about the endless supply of jerrycans of cheap Alberta fuel so you don’t have to support the oil companies in purchasing that “ sooooo expensive” fuel that B.C., residents have to pay for! So you want to be condescending when you visit thinking you make our world go around? It’s been going around a long long time in BC before TARSANDS MONEY 💰 showed up here! Really sucks doesn’t it? Being all revved up and having no place to go.(pipeline)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rod Hailey says:

      Long a verbiage short on fact. Your language comes directly from the barrage of anti oil sands propaganda. manuals. Dilbit is a Class 3 Heavy crude oil….Dilbit has been successfully marketed by pipeline and tanker for half a century and studied more than any other HC…Its properties and handling have conclusively established to be the same as conventional crudes.

      Like

    • Perhaps we should send BC nothing at all. Enjoy $6 a litre gasoline and also hey BC cannot ship LNG through Alberta. You will so soon freeze in the dark. Think about it you green hipocrits !!

      Like

    • Eric says:

      As the other post indicated, a long diatribe of non-sense.

      Like

    • Al says:

      Just curious? Without the transfer payments from Alberta’s oil revenues, who is going to pick up the bill for the other provinces shortfalls? Like it or not, Oil makes the world go round.

      Like

    • arffway says:

      Harry,
      The issue is that we don’t have an export market for refined products. We do for crude feedstock.
      Nobody is going to build a 30 billion dollar refinery without a market beyond our domestic shortfall.

      Like

  14. Brian Stewart says:

    .A good well argued article. My question is WHY are tankers coming down the inside passage between the mainland and Vancouver Island? The ships from Alaska should be coming around the outside of Vancouver Island and then through Juan de Fuca to reach Bremerton or Washington refineries. The inside passage is narrow, full of islands and very strong currents. A tanker wreck on the inside will be a disaster. The Northern gateway also intends to run tankers down the inside passage and until that is absolutely forbidden the pipeline should not be built.

    Like

    • Blair says:

      The tankers are not coming down the inside passage, they run just outside the tanker exclusion zone until they hit the entrance to Juan de Fuca then they stay on the US side of the Strait.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Russ Mack says:

    First of all, many thank for your articles and the (obvious) care you put into them. You articulate everything that I try to say to people that oppose Alberta oil. I continued to read Tzeporah Berman’s Twitter account and came across this article:
    https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/02/20/opinion/oilsands-pollution-collision-course-canadas-climate-plan
    Not a quick read… but it looks like so many American articles that support the war on Canadian oil. I find these pieces of data so hard to believe. They don’t make sense to me at all. Interesting that every article I’ve ever read in the National Observer is vehemently opposed to Canadian oil. Could they have an agenda? It seems to me that there is something bigger at play – the fact that we can only sell to USA, perhaps? It keeps the price low. I wish I had the power and ability to set my own prices when I buy things…
    It’s getting so difficult to wade through all of the information out there and determine what is true and what isn’t. I do believe that we are being blinded by BS and this great nation of ours is divided as a result. So, with that said, keep up the good work Blair. I will share your articles.

    Like

  16. Craig Lees says:

    Thank you Blair for your very interesting and non-confrontational articles on this very divisive but current topic here in B.C. I also appreciate that the comments from most of your readers are very polite & well written. Quite different than many sites I follow where “alternate facts” are thrown around as facts and the vicious name calling keeps most reasonable people on both sides of the debate from participating.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Jack Matches says:

    I live in Kamloops and an ‘old’ railway man told me that there are approx. 350 trains rolling through town every week and all of them have a great number of oil tank cars…..that will only increase without the pipeline expansion. The route of those travelling to the lower mainland is down the Fraser Canyon alongside the Fraser River and its treasured fishery. I shudder to think of the effects that a derailment would have on that resource.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Cal says:

    The question put forward by Blair, is an interesting question but it is not as simple as what it appears.

    While it is true that most crude oils are transported by pipeline safer and more economic than by other means.

    There is a crude oil, it’s from Fort McMurray, it doesn’t fit into that category. This crude is unique in that it can be either a liquid or a solid.

    As a liquid, it’s cost to transport in a pipeline can be double what a conventional crude oil can be transported for. Enbridge’s website shows this.

    A liquid, has a potential to spill, and I believe that’s what frightens people most.

    As a solid (a semi-solid technically 2-3 million centipoise) it’s much safer to transport. We had a sample of what we call BitCrude tested at an accredited lab, they did what’s called an LC50, which is a toxicity test on fish.

    It resulted in Zero Fish Mortality.

    The transportation infrastructure also currently exists in every country.

    So my clarification is, if we are really talking about crude oil from Fort McMurray, then there definitely is a safer way than pipeline.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Tracy says:

    Perfect timing. I shared you information on Reality & Truth. The Oil & Gas Industry for the people there to read and also share I hope. Excellent article with data and facts and common sense reasoning.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. dubya says:

    Pipelines are the safest way to move oil. But I hear these protesters quoting rubbish like this: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0091-3
    That says we have to start reducing the use of fossil fuels by 2020! That’s in 2 years! Hell, I just bought a new 5.7 L pickup; I’m not going to go live in a cave. Then net zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050 – the pipeline will barely be paid off by then. It’s going to take decades for us to figure out a way to keep from dumping plastic in the ocean, and until then we need to increase the amount of single-use plastic as it is essential to the modern industrial economy.
    Honestly; the scientists just make shit up. How about this classic:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171019100927.htm
    Well, I for one am happy that there are fewer insects around.

    Or this shit: http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/
    What, there is some guy up there with a yardstick? Jesus, what kind of morons do they take us for?

    At least we know that once this pipeline is complete it will be contributing fossil fuels to the economy for 60 years or so – then there will still be plenty of time to do all that socialist climate bullshit we’re supposed to do before 2100.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. G Porter says:

    I appreciate the research and the reasoned argument here. I would like to respond to 2 points.

    First, that Line 2 would free up capacity on Line 1 to carry an additional 50,000 barrels/day of refined products and light crude, which could increase supply to the Lower Mainland market and put downward pressure on local fuel prices. My take on that is to ask why the same result could not be obtained by simply not shipping bitumen through Line 1 in the first place. That would surely be feasible given the new refinery being built in Alberta to process bitumen. I think British Columbians would warmly welcome such a move.

    Second, the argument that the destination for much of the bitumen proposed to be shipped by TMX would be US ports. I have seen this line of reasoning elsewhere and have no reason to doubt it. However, it negates the twin rationales for TMX of getting a higher price for Alberta’s petroleum products that is obtainable in North America, and diversifying Canada’s markets for its crude. I believe these are the main reasons cited by Notley and Trudeau for the necessity of TMX and the reasons why TMX is deemed to be in the National Interest. So is the basic rationale for TMX phoney, and should BC take a risk for that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blair says:

      Your second point ignores the fact that once the bitumen reaches the coast it is sold at world price (the discount disappears) so even though it is sold in California and Washington, it gets a full (not discounted) price. Actually for California they can get a premium because the transportation costs are lower.

      Liked by 3 people

  22. Dave Paton says:

    Great analysis – I’m a retired pipeline engineer living on one of the Gulf Islands off the BC coast surrounded by eco-warriors singing from the same hymn sheet. I get so frustrated with the misinformation touted mantra-like by people with absolutely no idea of how our oil industry functions and the science involved. I always get a laugh looking at the bumper stickers (“NO TANKERS NO PIPELINES”) on the gas guzzlers in front of me in the ferry line-up – do they have their own oil well and refinery on island? Just what do they think the ferry runs on? World oil consumption is running at roughly 100m bbl/d and likely to rise to 120m through to 2030/40. Significant supplies will be needed for many years after that – less for autos but more for shipping and aviation. Paradoxically every barrel of oil they lock into AB facilitates more production in the US – unconventional oil production there has doubled total US production in the last decade. And all while we forgo tax revenues and employment here.
    Dave Paton.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Bob says:

    Blair .. unfortunately your information is very good but the eco terrorists are hell bent on shutting the resource economy of Canada down. Transfer of wealth. In my opinion, it would be in all our interests to break up Canada as it clearly has not worked in a quite a number of years and get the districts to negotiate with their southern neighbors independently of what Trudeau and band of eco terrorists want. Time to move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Floyd Barnes says:

    I try too follow this pipeline debate as much as possible so I can become educated. I support the pipeline by the way. Why are uneducated people so willingly wanting too jump on the “ band the pipeline BS wagon”? In some countries they could be considered terrorist and traitors.
    It’s hurting our country and our Federal government is not owning up too their responsibilities.

    Like

  25. Trish Armstrong says:

    How about this technology? Solid form, they float, seems environmentally safe and could be shipped in open coal cars. Jobs added in Alta and revitalize our railways which would mean more jobs. The biggest fear for BCers is the 7x increase in tanker traffic carrying dilbit. When a spill happens in the inner passages or the salish sea it will decimate these areas affecting them for decades or more. In effect trading the health of BC’s economy for Alberta’s. Think fishing, tourism and the film industry which are a sizable portion of our GDP.
    These pucks would alleviate those fears and protest/resistance would melt away. This seems like a perfect compromise. The oil companies should be required to do this. Alberta bitumen pucks! What could be more Canadian? 🍁🏒🍁

    https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2017-09-06/pipeline-pain-relief-horizon-spill-resistant-bitumen

    https://fluidhandlingmag.com/display_news/13461/solid_bitumen_pucks_could_help_alleviate_canadas_oil_transport_problems/

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Trish the technology to make and ship a solid form of bitumen has not been developed. Therfore it would take at least a decade to develop such a product, if possible Not to mention there is no market for a solid product, so that means no one buys it. Not really a viable option as you can see. As for the protesters melting away, I some how doubt it.

      Like

      • Blair says:

        Just a note, the technology has not been perfected but presents a potential game changer for bitumen transport because the coating can be used in the refining process. In would be great if they figure out how to scale it up.

        Liked by 2 people

  26. I have read your blog and there are a few things I have issue with. One – you never mention that the TMX upgrade is twinning the existing line. You keep calling it an upgrade yet never mention the true expansion of it. Two – No mention of the exact amount of diluted bitumen to be shipped elsewhere to be refined since BC has no refineries to do it. All that is mention is heavy crude in your article Those living in the area are more concerned with the increased tanker traffic and the problems of diluted bitumen spill. Three – there has never been a fossil fuel pipeline of any kind to Vancouver Island therefore all their petroleum products have to be barged, something you either overlooked or failed to mention. It has nothing to do with and I will quote you here “Because of the shortage of volume on the pipeline Vancouver Island is supplied with almost all of its refined products via barges from Vancouver and the Puget Sound.”

    Also if this whole expansion is to ship the dilbit elsewhere to be refined I will agree with a few of the commentators above and say ship it in it’s solid state. Solids are so much easier to cleanup if a spill happens. And there is the answer to your question of how else to ship it.

    Like

    • Blair says:

      I think you should re-read my blog post. I point out the Line1 is the existing line with pump upgrades which appears to address your primary concern. I don’t mention the exact volume because no one knows. Line 2 is or heavy crudes which would be dilbit and heavy syncrudes. As for Vancouver Island the issue is that they need to import US crude and have for decades. With more capacity they will be able to use Canadian gas on the Island.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In regard to Vancouver Island being able to use Canadian gas. It has always been Canadian gas since the feeder line at Abbotsford would send Canadian crude down to Washington to be refined and from there it came back to Canada. Which probably not change even with the expansion of TM The US up until 2016 could not export their own crude oil from their country. So your comment in regard to this is invalid. And I do not need to reread your blog post. An upgrade is where you remove the old pipe and put in new and replace old pump stations with newer parts. It does not mean reactivating 193 km of deactivated line which will happen. So I ask you is reactivating that part of the line an upgrade or an expansion?

        Like

      • Blair says:

        Katrin, you appear to be confused about the different between crude oil and refined products. The US never had a ban on the export of refined products and have been a major supplier of Vancouver Island’s refined products for decades.

        Like

      • Yes you are correct that the US never had a restriction on exporting petroleum products. Not confused Blair just worded my response in a confusing way. The fact remains that Vancouver Island’s petroleum products are Canadian crude refined in Puget Sound since Vancouver itself does not have enough refining capacity to do it. This has been happening since Trans Mountain first started. Since1953 oil is routed through the Sumas and heads south to Washington to be refined and in turn it’s sold back to us hence the barges coming out of Puget Sound to Vancouver Island. So you are correct Blair it has been happening for decades.. I will also reiterate that I highly doubt there will be much change in the way it already is since most of the expansion is to export the crude oil and even the new owners of the Burnaby refinery say they will have to compete for it. Here’s a quote: ” It’s still not clear whether the refinery will have access to more oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline when it is expanded. Chevron was not among the 13 shippers to sign up for long-term contracts to move oil on the expanded pipeline, which means it has to compete on what what’s left over for the spot market.” https://biv.com/article/2017/04/new-owners-plan-100-million-upgrade-chevron-refine

        Like

  27. Blair Shunk says:

    The NIMBY attitude of the citizens of British Columbia is understood, little do they know that North America is laced with pipelines that have operated safely for years. How much fuel moved vs how much is spilled, the record speaks for itself. My rant is that BC should clean up their own act first. We have barges shipping fuel to Vancouver Island 24/7/365, yet tankers are bad. The lack of a sewage treatment plant in Victoria, sending a bloom of crap all up the Sunshine Coast (the papers shout, an orca died, why?), yet Alberta is killing the planet. No one is flocking to buy electric vehicles in BC, the distances are too vast and the cars are too expensive. So while we need to transition to less fossil fuel dependence, there isn’t a transition plan. We choke the Canadian economy, while our neighbours to the south of us are drilling and exporting as fast as they can. There is an LNG terminal in super green Oregon if you can believe it. Sorry this isn’t a bit rough but I have an alternative energy company to launch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joe Smith says:

      Just because North America is already infested with polluting pipelines, does not make it acceptable to add even more. People in BC are drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough. Yes the record on pipelines speaks for itself: over 250 major pipeline spill per year, almost one per day. Victoria is building a sewage treatment plant, you are behind the times.

      Like

      • Michael Woofter says:

        “People in BC are drawing a line in the sand”
        Excellent metaphor, Joe. If the wind picks up, the line moves, or disappears only to reappear elsewhere.

        This seems to be a preferred tactic of the anti-everything polity, completely unhinged from the reality of our society’s demonstrated needs.

        Like

  28. J P Poirier says:

    I think that we should just stop looking at shipping both oil And gas to BC it’s just to difficult to listen to all the Greenies who don’t want fossil fuel products of any sort. Let BC set up billions and billions of dollars for giant wind farms who kill thousands of birds every year and giant solar farms we all know these are just marginally efficient when the sun shines every day like in Arizona, I’m sure the 100 days of sun shine in the lower mainland would work well for around 200,000 people

    Like

  29. Robert Dobie says:

    Maybe instead of exporting our raw resources to be refined elsewhere we should be refining here in Canada so we can stop importing fossil fuels. Would save a lot of expensive transport and save a lot of energy in the process as well as create a lot more jobs. Anything left over the US will snap up anyway.

    Like

    • arffway says:

      Nobody wants to invest in refineries as long as they have enough capacity across the border to service our domestic shortfall.
      It’s not economical for the majors. Add to that the difficulty now in doing anything energy related in Canada and you aren’t likely to see interest in building one north of the border.

      Like

  30. pwlg says:

    You say its more likely the additional KM Transmountain pipeline will end up at the refineries in Puget Sound. If that was the case why the need for ocean going tankers and why not use the existing pipeline from Bby to Puget Sound?

    You also failed to note the intended increase in production in the bitumen fields of Alberta from 2.5 to 3.5 million barrels and rising to 5 million barrels a day by 2030. It appears they intend to double production. How will Canada make its GHG emissions target?

    If all North American vehicle manufacturers are committed to rapidly end the production of the internal combustion engine what impact will this have on the need for more crude on the west coast? You seem to think all this additional production of tar sands is enroute to the US or the “west coast”, however, the US by 2022 will be a net exporter of crude.

    To pretend this crude is not destined for Asia is misinformation since the backers of this line have been quoted repeatedly as saying the reason to get the crude to tide line is to receive a greater international price than the current discounted price Western Select (tar sands crude) receives in North America.

    The other falsehood within your post is Alaska oil tankers come into Puget Sound unescorted. If that’s the case then every one of them is in violation of a State law. Recently Washington State passed a further regulation that requires all oil barges to be escorted as well as tanker ships.

    I’m beginning to wonder whether more of your posts require fact checks.

    Like

  31. Adr Les says:

    First, you have to realize that protection of the environment is not the goal, it is the excuse. How do Americans get to keep buying cheap oil and gas from Canada? (As each barrel is heavily discounted to the US due to Canada not being able to ship elsewhere). How? They stop Canada from getting their oil to market. How do they do this? By claiming Alberta oil is dirtier than American oil and by protesting pipelines. Funding for so many of these activist groups comes from the US. Leadership and additional protesters come from the US. In six years of Keystone pipeline delays, more than 10,000 miles of US pipelines were built in the US. NO protests for these pipelines, only for Canadian pipelines. Then, US-led activism says pipelines are unsafe. But only in Canada. Using the environment as an excuse, which flies in the face of reality, the US is able to stop Canada’s economy and the energy sector from flourishing. Look at the huge boom in the US oil and gas market and compare it to Canada’s. Not even close. What bothers me the most is how easily Canadians are being led by the nose. This is big business and organizing and funding protests are cheap compared to what big US oil save by buying discounted oil. Perhaps we are the backward hicks that the US believes us to be. On an environmental basis, you cannot argue that any other method is safer – unless you tell ill-informed people often enough, fund opposing groups and make people think that they are saving the world. One of the biggest scams in the world. If Russia was doing this instead of our “good” neighbor it would be tantamount to an act of war.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. jim pearson says:

    Great article.
    The anti s have convinced a lot of folks bitumin is this evil toxic substance when all other arguments fail. This needs to be addressed.
    If you want toxic compare bitumin to raw sewage

    Like

  33. AnneLawrence says:

    I really appreciate the information, very creditable, after reading all comments , I have a question, people, everyone that agrees or disagrees live somewhere! Do you not look around your homes cars boats clothes,etc etc and realize how many by products of oil are used in the production of items? I am a84 yr old that is not a wizard but I do have a brain and use comman sence.
    A Larence

    Like

  34. fireray102 says:

    Blair, Excellent piece, too bad the fanatics won’t read it, their minds are firmly made up, never to be changed. The authorities must start cracking down on the protesters, like the ones swarming the Kinder Morgan tank farms and enforce the injunctions. And the judges should begin enforcing their penalties.
    Ray

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Robert says:

    great article. I shared it widely. Wish mainstream media would acknowledge some of the facts.

    Like

  36. Len Flint says:

    A very good analysis, Blair. As a 47 year veteran of the industry and currently still consulting in the oil sands industry, the comments on the recent Sturgeon refinery need a little context. “Upgraders” are normally classified as upgrading bitumen to a synthetic product still requiring more refining to finished transportation fuels (gasoline, jet and diesel). “Refineries” take any crude source (oil sands-based or conventional) and make those finished products. The first refinery to take 100% oil sands product (SCO) was Shell Scotford, 1984 the last true refinery built in North America. It was converted to a combined Upgrader and Refinery in 2004. So it is technically the first to process 100% bitumen to a full slate of slate of finished fuels and some synthetic crude as well. The Sturgeon refinery is a bit of an “in between”. It makes lots of finished fuels (Diesel and possibly Jet) but also other by-product streams that have to go to refineries for further processing.
    And these tow also are dwarfed in terms of Alberta-based bitumen processing by the original upgraders (Suncor, Syncrude and Husky) all producing bottomless synthetic crudes.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Gerry Reynolds says:

    Enjoy your thoughful and logical arguments. However, the protest movement is akin to the leadership of our neighbour to the south or our neighbour to the north. Methinks too much Guyanese Kool-aid.

    Like

  38. Jonathan Ratzlaff says:

    The major difference with the tanker traffic to the puget sound refineries is the width of the channels and draft of the channels. None is as narrow and shallow as the first and second narrows. The traffic restrictions in that area are not what they are in Vancouver harbour.

    Like

  39. Ian says:

    Thought provoking article & responses. Important to discuss away from the incessant hyperbole & threats. Several issues, separate & interrelated (climate, bitumen safety, refinery locations, refined pricing in BC, transport safety (on land, on sea), pipeline/port location). The question I haven’t heard answered is why ship from Deltaport? So far I’ve never heard the answer. Take the dilbit across the Fraser Delta, far away from Burrard Inlet, and closer to less compromised (narrow channels, islands) sea lanes. Deltaport is already a major coal port. Also piping across the delta is should be cheaper – silted flatland instead of through Burnaby mountain. While it doesn’t answer big climate questions a Delta line would avoid the MetroVan core & deflate much of the opposition.

    Like

  40. John V. says:

    So I have not done nearly as much ‘research’ into this as you seem to have done, but let me try and respond to your blog as an “anti” pipeliner may:

    1) “The EXPANSION of the pipeline is being done solo to export bitumen (dilbit really)” would be a true statement.
    “The Trans-Mountain currently has a capacity of about 300,000 barrels a day (b/d). Of that total 79,000 b/d is allocated for marine exports.

    I cannot count the number of people who claimed on my timeline this weekend that the pipeline was only to export bitumen to Asia.

    The TMX has two major components:
    Line 1 would consist of existing pipeline segments (with pump upgrades) and could transport 350,000 b/d of refined petroleum products and light crude.

    The proposed Line 2 would have a capacity of 540,000 b/d and is allocated to the transportation of heavy crude oil.”

    So you seem to be misleading your readers, as from your above statements “the EXPANSION of the pipeline is being done solo to export bitumen (dilbit really)” would be a true statement. The “new” Line 1 has about the same capacity of the existing Line (hmmm), and the “new” Line 2 is what will be carrying the diluted bitumen, at a capacity of 1.8x the original Line’s capacity.

    2) Large numbers (majority? We will see) of Vancouverites don’t want to see Vancouver become an oil shipping port, and this expansion could be the first step.

    3) Large numbers (majority? Probably a smaller number then those who agree with (2)) of Vancouverites don’t want to contribute to global warming by allowing an “expansion” of oil consumption / expansion of the oil-sands.

    4) Large numbers (majority? We will see) of Vancouverites are starting to feel like they are being bullied by Alberta, and the Feds. If you are an older Albertan all I should have to say is “National Energy Program” for you to understand what Vancouverites are starting to feel towards you guys.

    5) A diluted bitumen spill is an oil spill we have not known, and science is still trying to figure out how to clean-up such a spill when it happens. A spill of bitumen is unlike a spill involving Alaskan crude, so mentioning BC gets significant Alaskan crude shipments along the cost is mixing apples and oranges. But the point is, we shouldn’t be shipping a “product” that we don’t know how to clean-up properly. A lot of the opposition would go away if TMX would not transport bitumen, but some other, known, oil product.

    6) So I don’t have an issue with activists from other parts of North America coming up to protest an issue that may affect them too, and neither should you unless you don’t believe in being allowed to voice one’s opinion. I would be more concerned if these protestors where sponsored by Corporate interests that would benefit from KM expansion being cancelled, then being sponsored from USA NGOs.

    7) Also, it is hardly hypocritical for the activists to be protesting. Just because they failed to stop the 8 tankers a week in their (USA) waters does not mean they are hypocrites for trying to stop the 7 tankers a week that will flow out of Vancouver if the expanded pipeline gets built. If anything they are the opposite of a hypocrite! Unless you are suggesting these protestors *wouldn’t* protest the shipping of an additional 8 tankers a week in Seattle waters (btw saying “US waters” is a pretty large area… I assume you meant Seattle waters.)?

    8) I am sure their would be a lot less protests to this pipeline if it could be *guaranteed* that the extra oil shipped from Alberta would not be shipped off-shore to China but instead refined locally (Washington state counts as local) and if this resulted in a lowering of the costs of local oil products (gasoline/diesel). Same if the product shipped from Alberta was not diluted bitumen but some other product such as a refined fuel.

    There is a lot more that could be said, as your original blog is long 🙂 , but let me wrap up with some quick notes:
    – What is to stop a future government from defunding the oil spill response & cleanup (the spill response being funded sufficiently was one of the conditions for approval of the pipeline project, I think.)
    – The refining capacity of the Sturgeon refinery seems to only be 80,000 b/d. This is small compared to the near 900,000 b/d that TMX wants to bring into Vancouver with new pipeline expansion.
    – What I think anti-TMXers want is no bitumen shipped to Vancouver and ALL this excess pipeline capacity to either: not be present (leave it in the ground) or made up of “locally” refined product… which probably means Alberta refines all the bitumen locally (need a lot more refineries then Sturgeon) and then Alberta ships the refined products out via pipeline/rail. Also anti-TMXers would not mind oil products to rise in price if shipping capacity into Vancouver was not there, as that would push people off of oil products sooner and make alternative even more feasible.
    – side note: The TMX pipeline is not really being “twinned” in Metro Vancouver, as the “new” line has a completely different route then the existing ling and afaik the existing line will still be used.
    – This “article” is interesting:
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/kinder-morgan-trans-mountain-pipeline-bc-coast/article35043172/

    Like

  41. Wayne Masters says:

    Solid bitumen pucks.

    Like

  42. Matt B says:

    I found your comments on BNN today interesting.
    But to say that the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia etc) does not have sediment belies the obvious. As a commercial diver who studied marine science at university, these waters are high in sediment especially during spring run off or following periods of heavy rain. In fact, between April and October visibility around Vancouver requires the use of a light once below the thermocline below 10 metres.

    The other problems with your argument that diluted bitumen can be cleaned up are as follows:

    “Meanwhile, the evidence shows that nearshore and in-port spills are four to five times more expensive to clean up than offshore spills and that heavy oil, such as bitumen, costs nearly 10 times more than light oils because it persists longer in water. And yet, no more than CAN $1.3-billion has been set aside in Canada for a major oil spill—a sum experts find woefully inadequate. According to a University of British Columbia study, a release of 16,000 cubic meters of diluted bitumen in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet would inflict at least $1.2-billion worth of damage on the local economy, which is heavily reliant on tourism and promoting its “natural” beauty. That figure doesn’t include the cost of a “cleanup.”” (See https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/oil-spill-cleanup-illusion-180959783/)

    In other words, the realistic recovery of a significant amount of dilbit or any oil in a marine spill is a pipedream, no matter what you or the oil companies may try to tell us. Those who have visited Alaska post Exon Valdez or the Gulf Coast post BP spill are clear witnesses to the devastation that remains years to decades after that spill. And unfortunately, the history of marine spill response and recovery tells us, we would be lucky to recover even a small portion of any spill in the Salish Sea or West Coast of Vancouver Island!

    Like

    • Blair says:

      Matt, sediment loading is a relative thing and as DFO’s research indicates the sediment loading in the Salish Sea is low from an oil spill perspective and if your concern is below 10 m in depth then you need to be worried about compounds that are heavier than water and not dilbit which has a lower specific gravity than sea water.

      Like

      • Matt B says:

        No, my concern is that the vast majority of sediments and plankton in the Vancouver area are at the surface down to 10 meters, NOT below 10 meters. And actual sediment levels are far higher than you state given the undated satellite photo you’ve posted on your site. It is also true that these waters have a higher concentration of fresh water due to run-off and rainfall, which lower the specific gravity of the surface water – a condition that I have not seen you discuss.

        Also interesting that your comments tend to focus on the specific gravity of bitumen which can vary greatly depending on the amount of diluent which evaporates over time which you have admitted increase the chances of bitumen sinking.

        But you ignore the all-too-obvious elephant in the room and that is the percentage of oil spills whether dilbit or other type of petroleum products that are recovered in spills and the historic costs of cleanup. The percent of spills recovered is small at best and gets smaller as a function of adverse weather conditions. And given the cost of cleaning up past spills, the proposed $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan will disappear quickly in the event of event a moderate spill.

        You also haven’t appeared to address the safety record of Kinder Morgan in past spill events… which by any measure is poor at best.
        (See the “Who is Kinder Morgan” link at http://credbc.ca/assessing-the-risks/)

        Like

  43. ralor9 says:

    The problem with your argument is that you use facts to defend it. Anytime you present facts, or ask the left to defend their position with facts their heads explode ….. They don’t need facts to call you names – which is their go-to response.

    Like

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