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Author Topic: Giant oil pipeline in the works from Alberta to the Gulf
Pagan
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Giant oil pipeline in the works from Alberta to the Gulf

By Steve Hargreaves, senior writerDecember 23, 2010: 5:16 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- In the coming weeks, the Obama administration will decide if it wants to significantly increase the amount of oil the country imports from Canada's controversial Alberta oil sands.

The State Department is set to issue what could be a final ruling to allow a massive new pipeline expansion from central Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. A decision is expected early in the new year.

Known as Keystone, the project is an expansion of an existing pipeline that now terminates in Oklahoma. Stretching over 1,600 miles -- four times the length of the Trans-Alaska system -- the new pipeline would be one of the biggest in the country.

Canada's oil sands have drawn numerous critics who say the way the oil is extracted harms the environment.

But they are also the United States' largest single source of foreign oil, contributing over 1 million barrels a day. If built, the pipeline would boost that number by a third.

The pipeline would also be the oil sands' first major access to a deepwater seaport, opening up access to worldwide markets.

Supporters say the Keystone pipeline would create jobs and let the country replace Venezuelan or Middle Eastern imports with well-regulated, dependable Canadian crude. They also say if the United States doesn't want the oil, the Chinese will gladly take it.

Opponents, who have just wrapped up a $500,000 ad campaign in the D.C. area, say the project would bind the country to an unnecessary and dirty form of oil for decades to come.

The State Department is expected to issue an environmental impact statement on the pipeline early in 2011. State must also determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest -- weighing economic, environmental and energy considerations.

Opponents aren't necessarily against the pipeline itself. Instead, they oppose the expansion of oil sands production it would allow.

"We see this as a disaster on many levels," said Ryan Salmon, energy policy advisor at the World Wildlife Fund, one of several environmental groups fighting the pipeline.

The chief knock against oil sands is that they create more greenhouse gasses than regular oil.

Oil sands are just that -- sand mixed with a heavy form of crude. They are found in Canada's Alberta province, covering an area roughly the size of Texas. They are either mined like coal or produced with wells like oil.

If they are mined, vast amounts of water and heat are necessary to separate the oil from the sand. If they are extracted by well, it's often necessary to heat up the rock to get the thick oil flowing.

Either way, extracting oil sands is considerably more energy intensive than pumping normal oil.

On a lifecycle basis, from the extraction process on through to burning the stuff in a motor vehicle, oil sands are estimated to emit 5% to 30% more carbon dioxide than regular oil.

Oil sand extraction is also tough on the landscape, especially if it's mined. The mines are huge, roughly the size of Rhode Island. They have resulted in deforestation of hundreds of square miles of wilderness, at least until the sites are replanted.

Processing the oil also requires thousands of acres of ponds filled with toxic mine tailings. Birds are prone to landing in these ponds, Salmon said, and thousands are killed each year. The runoff can also pollute nearby waterways.

"At the site itself, you're looking at basically wholesale destruction of the ecosystem," said Salmon.

For Salmon and others opposed to the project, the country would do better to put its resources into alternative technology or conservation measures.

Supporters say the companies producing oil sands and the Canadian government are getting better at protecting the environment but a recent Canadian government report says more monitoring is needed.

They note that much new oil sands production is done using techniques similar to normal oil drilling, which minimizes the land disturbance and the need for so much water.

Others point out that Canada's oil comes relatively free of the taint of the complications that arise from oil that comes from unstable parts of the world.

"It's not blood oil," said Peter Tertzakian, chief energy economist at ARC Financial, a Calgary-based private equity firm. "It's clean from a political perspective."

The company that wants to build the pipeline, TransCanada, didn't want to comment on the issues involving production.

But it did highlight the economic benefits -- 13,000 construction jobs, millions in taxes to the communities it crosses, and $20 billion ultimately injected to the U.S. economy over the lifetime of the project.

"This is going to be new additional crude oil for domestic use," said Terry Cunha, TransCanada's spokesman.

And with oil supplies dwindling, the United States is not the only country eyeing Canada's oil sands.

The Chinese, or some other Asian country, will ultimately build their own pipelines to tap that oil, said Tertzakian, the oil industry economist.

Canada's oil sands producers, aware of the hostility their product faces in the United States and of the fast-growing Asian markets, are dying to diversify.

And the Asians are helping them along, investing over $16 billion in Canadian energy projects in the last 16 months alone.

"With this investment is a certain expectation that they will have access to this resource," he said.

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It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

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glassman
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is this pipeline going all the way to the Gulf of Mexico?

why?

if it goes all the way to the gulf? the next logical step is to put it on a ship and send it elsewhere...

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Don't envy the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise.

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Pagan
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
is this pipeline going all the way to the Gulf of Mexico?

why?

if it goes all the way to the gulf? the next logical step is to put it on a ship and send it elsewhere...

Or maybe it could end up in the oil refineries which ring the gulf coast? Afterall, the bulk of the US oil refineries are situated on the gulf.

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It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

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The Bigfoot
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Here in MN we have Flint Hills Resources, formerly known as Koch Refineries (recognize that name Glass?), and have a number of small refineries as well as the Pine Bend Refinery-largest refinery ever built in any non-oil producing state and has a capacity of 265,000 bpd and is being expanded. Most of our oil already comes through Canadian pipelines...Wonder why they want to bypass us on this one?

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Pagan
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quote:
Originally posted by The Bigfoot:
Here in MN we have Flint Hills Resources, formerly known as Koch Refineries (recognize that name Glass?), and have a number of small refineries as well as the Pine Bend Refinery-largest refinery ever built in any non-oil producing state and has a capacity of 265,000 bpd and is being expanded. Most of our oil already comes through Canadian pipelines...Wonder why they want to bypass us on this one?

You do realize that pipeline already runs down to Oklahoma right? You are already probably refining some of that oil. But as I pointed out earlier, there is a huge concentration of refineries on the gulf coast. Unless your a tree hugger, I don't see the issue.

Ah crap...forgot your name is Bigfoot...guess you are actually a tree hugger/humper [Big Grin]

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Pagan
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Btw....why does the US concentrate it's refineries in one general location? Seems ripe for an attack if we were ever at a full blown war with a capable enemy. They should be more spread out IMO.

--------------------
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

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CashCowMoo
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The refineries in Illinois and Kansas are already full with Canadian oil coming in. We import more oil from Canada than anywhere else, which is not THAT big of a deal. There ARE a lot more refineries in the gulf area. Why send it down there? Because the government is a tightwad on allowing any new refineries go in.


Hey everyone, lets just make sure we do everything we can to suppress exploration and production within the U.S. and continue to import more and more. The gulf situation is no better, they lifted the ban, but are not approving permits. Meanwhile, thousands of workers are unemployed along the gulf coast in that industry.


BTW, oil price is over $91 a barrel today. Lets stop these big oil companies from producing and refining in North America and keep those contracts with OPEC rolling on in. (sarcasm).

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glassman
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Or maybe it could end up in the oil refineries which ring the gulf coast? Afterall, the bulk of the US oil refineries are situated on the gulf.


good point, i guess i'm being paranoid again ... what's new about that tho?

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glassman
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quote:
Originally posted by Pagan:
Btw....why does the US concentrate it's refineries in one general location? Seems ripe for an attack if we were ever at a full blown war with a capable enemy. They should be more spread out IMO.

it's cheaper to transport the crude oil to them there (close by) and then sell the refined products and only transport them to wher they need to be....

the oil refinereies were mostly put in before the new environmental lawsand nobody wants to make sure they aren't polluting while all us rednecks down here are just happy to have some work, since nobody else wants to come set up shop here unless we pay them tax dollars to do it...
even then they only stay long enough to satisfy the contracts that they signed to get the fayactory biyilt...

the "funny" aprt? is that those costs to "comply" with environmental laws are real jobs for real people right here in the uSA... somebody gets paid to take the samples, and design the new systems and etc, etc, etc... yes they are highly educamated peeps that don't work cheap, but those people still buy stuff from me when they get paid, and i want customers darnit... lots of customers [Big Grin]


it would be funny... but the Saturn plant is a good example,,, they put it in TN and then ran it into the gorund because they refused to actually sell the darn things... they told people to come by and no sales people will sell them to you.. you just buy... like that works in the USA [Razz] LOL...

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CashCowMoo
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If someone is serious about environmental protection on a GLOBAL scale, then they would rather have oil refined in the US where there are strong laws as opposed to being refined in India and China where you might as well not even try looking for environmental laws and regulations. Its going to get refined SOMEWHERE....China and India are disasters when it comes to the environment. Beijing Olympics remind anyone on air quality or lack of?

I am really tired of the U.N. and the climate gate folks slamming the U.S. every chance they get when they should really be on China and India annnnd Russia like no tomorrow.

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The Bigfoot
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CCM those pictures of Bejing really were eye opening about how bad it can get when you have uncontrolled air pollution weren't they?

You wanna know something sad? While China is the worlds worst creator of smog (the stuff you saw in pictures before the O games) America still creates more than twice as many air pollutants than China does annually and we have 1/5th their population.

The UN should be on China, India, and Russia. They are all bad polluters. We are worse. Much worse, and since we have the worlds largest economy and countries with less have done so much more we have no excuses other than arrogance and obstinacy as to why our programs are not as effective as at least the U.K.'s (not even daring to dream we could ever have the willpower to try and match Japan or the Northern European Countries).

Put simply, despite our EPA and all our laws like the CAA and the CWA, we suck donkey balls at producing without polluting.


Pagan- I only 'Hug' trees in February when the winter crazies set in. Otherwise it is mostly just fist bumps and slightly awkward arm around the shoulders half squeeze type stuff.

The crazies might come a little early this year though...we are within an inch of setting an all new snowiest December on record for MN and I hear the computer models are starting to say we got a doozy lining up to hit us on the last day of 2010.

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glassman
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speaking of polluting, i have this pet peeve that my family thinks i'm a jerk for (only one of many i assure you [Big Grin] )

it is releveant to pollution because pollution will be produce no matter what, we just need to be paying attention the reasons...

we make alot of tea here, about a dozen differnt kinds of hot tea- iced tea with sugar- without, with mint etc etc etc...

anyway a lot of water gets boiled on the stove top, it's actually pretty constant...

well i get really ticked when i go behind somebody who just made cup of tea and the pot is still full....

it's a 3/5 gallon pot if you fill it up totally...

now, i get ticked because they just boiled a half gallon of water for no reason...

sounds stupid?

well. here's my "case": if you were making tea in the 1700's and you were on the Great plains? You'd have had to go pick up buffalo dung to make tea (never mind where you got the water) if you were in New England? You'd have split some wood. If you were in the deep south? you'd have prolly split some fatwood which is heart of pine and actually dribbles sap as it burns. My point is that you'd have thought twice about how much work you are doing for the cuppa. Well today we just turn a knob and it appears on our bill 1 to 3 weeks later and it's really insignificant on the bill.
BUT!

Boiling water is physics. We know exaclty how many calories it takes to boil a specific amount of water, in fact? The definition of a calorie is based in how much energy it takes to heat 1 CC of water which just happens to weigh 1 gram (not an accident i assure you) 1 degreee centigrade....

it never really changes. it's work (calories) and we just don't think about the "work" we are actually using and whether it's worth it becuase we don't really pay that much for it.

so, the boiling teapot on the stove seems like a little thing, but lets assume that over the course of a day that we are boiling 20 million teapots with an extra half gallon of water in them?

that would be 10 million gallons of water boiled for no reason at all...


A calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 kg water by 1 C. Water weighs about 1000 kg per cubic meter, which is equivalent to approximately 3.79 kg per gallon. Assuming the water is at room temperature (25 C), it will take about 284 calories to raise one gallon of water to near boiling (100 C).

In order to actually boil, at least part of the water must be turned into steam. It takes 540 calories per 1 kg to turn water into steam, so it will take some additional energy beyond the 284 to actually bring the water to a boil.


that multiplier is the real problem. it is not PRODUCTIVITY that we need to cut, it's the waste.

being Conservative* should * mean that you are aware of the waste and working hard it fixing it. Being Liberal prolly means you want to make it against the law to boil water if you aren't going to us eit [Big Grin]

being Libertarain means you are going to boil all the damn water you want to, but in secret, and if anybody comes checking up on you? You are going to chase them off with your copy of the Constitution in one hand and Mr's Smith an' Wesson in the other [Wink]

Merry Christmas to all.

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
speaking of polluting, i have this pet peeve that my family thinks i'm a jerk for (only one of many i assure you [Big Grin] )

it is releveant to pollution because pollution will be produce no matter what, we just need to be paying attention the reasons...

we make alot of tea here, about a dozen differnt kinds of hot tea- iced tea with sugar- without, with mint etc etc etc...

anyway a lot of water gets boiled on the stove top, it's actually pretty constant...

well i get really ticked when i go behind somebody who just made cup of tea and the pot is still full....

it's a 3/5 gallon pot if you fill it up totally...

now, i get ticked because they just boiled a half gallon of water for no reason...

sounds stupid?

well. here's my "case": if you were making tea in the 1700's and you were on the Great plains? You'd have had to go pick up buffalo dung to make tea (never mind where you got the water) if you were in New England? You'd have split some wood. If you were in the deep south? you'd have prolly split some fatwood which is heart of pine and actually dribbles sap as it burns. My point is that you'd have thought twice about how much work you are doing for the cuppa. Well today we just turn a knob and it appears on our bill 1 to 3 weeks later and it's really insignificant on the bill.
BUT!

Boiling water is physics. We know exaclty how many calories it takes to boil a specific amount of water, in fact? The definition of a calorie is based in how much energy it takes to heat 1 CC of water which just happens to weigh 1 gram (not an accident i assure you) 1 degreee centigrade....

it never really changes. it's work (calories) and we just don't think about the "work" we are actually using and whether it's worth it becuase we don't really pay that much for it.

so, the boiling teapot on the stove seems like a little thing, but lets assume that over the course of a day that we are boiling 20 million teapots with an extra half gallon of water in them?

that would be 10 million gallons of water boiled for no reason at all...


A calorie (kcal) is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 kg water by 1 C. Water weighs about 1000 kg per cubic meter, which is equivalent to approximately 3.79 kg per gallon. Assuming the water is at room temperature (25 C), it will take about 284 calories to raise one gallon of water to near boiling (100 C).

In order to actually boil, at least part of the water must be turned into steam. It takes 540 calories per 1 kg to turn water into steam, so it will take some additional energy beyond the 284 to actually bring the water to a boil.


that multiplier is the real problem. it is not PRODUCTIVITY that we need to cut, it's the waste.

being Conservative* should * mean that you are aware of the waste and working hard it fixing it. Being Liberal prolly means you want to make it against the law to boil water if you aren't going to us eit [Big Grin]

being Libertarain means you are going to boil all the damn water you want to, but in secret, and if anybody comes checking up on you? You are going to chase them off with your copy of the Constitution in one hand and Mr's Smith an' Wesson in the other [Wink]

Merry Christmas to all.

after reading that, I am going to boil some water and make some green tea!
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glassman
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LOL... i drink Earl Gray after lunch, Earl Gray is what fueled the British Empire [Wink]

That Chinese green stuff makes you think too much and i need to stop think so damn much...

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raybond
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Somthing tells me fossil fuels are hear to stay for a lot longer than most of us think

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by raybond:
Somthing tells me fossil fuels are hear to stay for a lot longer than most of us think

All about costs, and they are most cost effective. I think once the economy turns around and gets back on track (well, IF that happens) then the pace will pick up much more on renewables.

I think nuclear power should be used more. I do not technically consider nuclear "clean" energy due to its byproduct. Only solution I can think of is load the waste on rockets and shoot it at the sun. Kind of a far off thing though and too expensive.

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glassman
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beleive it or not? the way to dispose of nuke waste is to reverse the process in which it was made.

dilute it with something inert like quartz, grind it to small chips, preferably even make samll glass chips out of it and spread those chips over very large areas like in the desert.

i know it sounds counterintuitive, but the stuff was actaully laying out there to begin with, and as long as you don't make it into powder that can be blown around and accumulate in into piles, or big giant boulders? the amount of radioactivity that it can give off would be minmal.

keep in mind that i'm not a physycist and don't know the numbers exaclty, but i do know that we found it as radiaoctive substance laying about to begin with.

the greenies would have a cow over this, but think it thru... the danger is in getting too hot, not form a small dose... and we are constanlty exposed to small amounts allt eh time anyway.

when i was a nukeweps handler? our control badges supposedly showed more radiation from being in the safe, than we got from being in the weps magazine i was a little bit skeptical but unable to prove anything...

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CashCowMoo
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quote:
Originally posted by glassman:
beleive it or not? the way to dispose of nuke waste is to reverse the process in which it was made.

dilute it with something inert like quartz, grind it to small chips, preferably even make samll glass chips out of it and spread those chips over very large areas like in the desert.

i know it sounds counterintuitive, but the stuff was actaully laying out there to begin with, and as long as you don't make it into powder that can be blown around and accumulate in into piles, or big giant boulders? the amount of radioactivity that it can give off would be minmal.

keep in mind that i'm not a physycist and don't know the numbers exaclty, but i do know that we found it as radiaoctive substance laying about to begin with.

the greenies would have a cow over this, but think it thru... the danger is in getting too hot, not form a small dose... and we are constanlty exposed to small amounts allt eh time anyway.

when i was a nukeweps handler? our control badges supposedly showed more radiation from being in the safe, than we got from being in the weps magazine i was a little bit skeptical but unable to prove anything...

Well its working in France.
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