STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Posts Tagged ‘upgraders’

Upgraders not welcome

Posted by mhudema on June 18, 2008

Oil sands upgrader processing strategy under fire

CALGARY — A report cautioning against the construction of more upgraders in Alberta is reopening the question of how best to process Alberta’s hard-to-handle bitumen once it’s extracted from the oil sands.

Crude from Alberta’s oil sands is too heavy for most refineries to process, and can’t travel down a pipeline without being diluted with a lighter petroleum product. Alberta argues the best way to get the bitumen to market is by processing it in an upgrader – a vast industrial complex that removes the heavier parts – allowing output to be received by more refineries and ensuring that valuable processing work stays in the province.

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Posted by mhudema on June 18, 2008

Mordor rises in the north

Posted: June 17, 2008There is a nondescript section of I-94, just west of Johnson Creek, that passes over an underground river of black gold. Within months, a million barrels of crude oil daily will gush under the oblivious traffic. That’s almost 5% of America’s thirst.

Most of the oil will come from a tarry mix of sand and oil scattered over an area the size of Florida in Alberta, Canada. Originally called the tar sands, it’s rebranded as the more palatable oil sands.

While growing up in Canada, I watched the costly attempts to strip-mine the oil when technology was not up to the challenge and the low price of oil never justified it. Above $130 a barrel, after decades of ramping up the technology, the story has changed. Today, there is an oil rush around the town of Fort McMurray — dubbed Fort McMoney.

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Oilsands development has clear, long-term consequences

Posted by mhudema on June 18, 2008

Paul Hanley
The StarPhoenix

Last week I had an opportunity to interview Matt Price, author of the ominously titled report Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth. As I was speaking to him, I was thinking of a film with an equally ominous title — There Will Be Blood — which I had watched the night before.

The film turned out to be a good preparation for the interview.

Price, in town last week to speak at a public meeting about the effects of the oilsands on Saskatchewan, is convincing in his defence of his bold title. Alberta’s tar sands are massive, the size of the state of Florida. They are being steadily converted into a stream of pollutants, such as acid rain, which mostly ends up in Saskatchewan, and greenhouse gases, distributed worldwide. Exploiting Alberta’s tar sands produces higher greenhouse-gas emissions than 145 countries.

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Energy battles boiling over

Posted by mhudema on June 17, 2008

Energy battles boiling over
Industry faces public conflict across Alberta
Richard Cuthbertson and Dan Healing, with files from Renata
Calgary Herald
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Native elder Taz McGillis of Edmonton takes part in a protest Monday at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers symposium at Calgary's Hyatt Regency hotel.
CREDIT: Ted Jacob, Calgary Herald
Native elder Taz McGillis of Edmonton takes part in a protest Monday at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers symposium at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency hotel.

A Wall Street analyst attending Calgary’s prominent energy investment forum found himself in the eye of a growing environmental storm battering Alberta’s oilsands — one of several clashes centred on the energy sector Monday.

About 50 people gathered outside the Hyatt Regency to protest the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers investment conference, an annual event that draws hundreds of oil executives and well-heeled corporate clientele from around the globe.

Ross Levin, a New York hedge fund analyst, decided to find out what the fuss was about, but when Greenpeace spokesperson Mike Hudema offered him a bottle of muddy Lake Athabasca water to drink — the main source of water for the booming oilsands — he declined.

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Signed, sealed and delivered

Posted by mhudema on April 22, 2008

Posted: April 21, 2008
by: Stephanie Woodard
Environmental concerns plague fast-tracked oil pipeline

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – In March 2008, the U.S. Department of State issued a federal permit for the 2,000-mile TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, which would carry heavy crude oil from the oil sands of northern Alberta across seven U.S. states to Oklahoma. The document was signed, even though mandated government-to-government consultations with concerned Native nations were described as ”ongoing” by the State Department.

Issues of importance to tribes that are still unsettled include environmental concerns, protection of sacred sites, and employment opportunities and other economic benefits.

Why the rush?

The problem the State Department needed to solve was surging production in the oil sands region. Output will rise from 2.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2006 to as many as 5.3 million barrels per day in 2020, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. This is occurring just as other reserves of oil are depleting worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Once extracted, the raw product must be sent to refineries. However, Canada can’t expand refinery capacity fast enough to cope with the increase – a situation Canada’s National Energy Board has described as ”urgent.” As a result, major oil companies working in Alberta have to get the oil someplace that can deal with it, said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the Canada Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C.

And that’s where the United States and the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline come in.

However, this one pipeline isn’t all the oil companies need, said Casey-Lefkowitz. She pointed to more pipelines planned or under construction and proposed increases of U.S. refinery capacity.

”Concurrent with the Keystone proposal, U.S. refineries have expansion plans, including a new plant that [Dallas-based] Hyperion Resources is proposing in South Dakota,” she said, adding that this, in turn, means more local pollution and increased U.S. contribution to global warming.
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