The bigger picture: pipelines across Canada

Photo credit: Ewan Nicholson. From Globe and Mail.

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Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline isn’t the only proposal on the table in Canada. Today’s article in the Globe and Mail highlights the six main pipelines under review or planned for the future. Here’s what they say about Trans Mountain:

Proponent: Kinder Morgan

Volume: 590,000 barrels per day (current pipeline is 300,000 barrels per day; expansion will take it to 890,000)

Destination: Burnaby, B.C., home of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal, where smaller tankers would take Canadian oil primarily to California, although Asian shipments are also possible

State of play: Kinder Morgan is mid-way through an application asking the National Energy Board to approve commercial tolls for the project. A formal application seeking authority to build the expansion is expected later this year.

Decision expected: Depending on when Kinder Morgan applies, the regulatory review could be completed by 2015, with construction starting in 2016 and operations commencing in 2017.

Opposition: Local forces have begun to marshal against the project, including some first nations and the mayors of Burnaby and Vancouver. British Columbia’s provincial leaders – Premier Christy Clark and Adrian Dix, the NDP Leader expected to gain power this year – have not yet made public their thoughts on the expansion.

Pipe dream: TransMountain hopes its route to approval will be less contentious than the Gateway brouhaha, but the line ends at the waterfront near Vancouver and there is much local opposition to the increased tanker traffic it would bring. 50-50, at best.

Read the whole article

Barge leaking oil after colliding with railroad bridge on the Mississippi river

Eli Baylis, Vicksburg Post / Associated Press / January 27, 2013

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On early Sunday morning, a barge being towed up the Mississippi river by a tugboat hit a railroad bridge and started leaking oil. The river is closed to boat traffic and cleanup operations are underway. From the LA Times:

At least 21 vessels were backed up along the Mississippi River as authorities worked on Monday to clean up an oil spill from a barge that hit a railroad bridge near Vicksburg, Miss.

Officials have placed more than 2,500 feet of boom to contain the spill, Petty Officer Jonathan Lally told the Los Angeles Times by telephone. There was no estimate when the spill will be completely cleaned up, he said.

At most, the spill could reach 80,000 gallons of crude oil from one of the damaged barges in Sunday’s accident, Lally said. It was unclear how much oil had leaked out or how much had been recovered.

River traffic has been blocked in the area around Vicksburg with at least 11 northbound vessels and 10 southbound vessels — including tugboats and barges – delayed, he said.

Read the full article for more information

Oil spill expert says tankers too risky on BC’s coast

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A Vancouver Sun article reports developments in the Enbridge hearings in Victoria this week:

A marine consultant involved in B.C. oil-spill issues for a quarter century says the risks of a tanker oil spill associated with Enbridge Northern Gateway are simply too great for the project to proceed.

Gerald Graham of Victoria-based Worldocean Consulting Ltd. said that calculations based on Enbridge’s own research show there is a 8.7-to-14.1-per-cent chance of at least one tanker spill greater than 31,500 barrels over a 50-year period, depending on whether the pipeline has a 525,000 or 850,000 barrel per day capacity.

“The consequences of a major oil spill along B.C.’s north coast … could be catastrophic and irreversible,” he says in a submission to the Joint Review Panel studying the Enbridge proposal. “Couple this potentially disastrous outcome with a one-in-seven chance of one or more major spills occurring, and the overall threat level posed by Northern Gateway becomes unacceptably high.”

Read the full article here

Kinder Morgan increases proposed expansion

Source: Kinder Morgan Canada

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Kinder Morgan announced today that, due to demand from shippers who want to move products from the oil sands to the coast, they are proposing to expand their Trans Mountain route by 20% more than previously stated. Instead of increasing the pipeline’s capacity to 750,000 barrels per day (current capacity is 300,000) they are now proposing to expand it to at least 890,000 barrels per day. Correspondingly, tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet would rise from 60 tankers per year to over 400 under this new proposal. Although Kinder Morgan has stated that they do not require this scale of export to go ahead with their expansion, some economists, including former head of ICBC Robyn Allen, have claimed that an expanded Trans Mountain route could accommodate up to 1.1 million barrels per day.

More information about the announcement