Let's call a spade a spade
<$BlogMetaData$>April 29th, 2011
Let’s call a spade a spade
Let’s quit playing patty cake about oil and oil refining and call it what it is. It is a Dirty, Disgusting, Debilitating, Diseased gut wrenching industry that preys on communities such as ours and turns them from beautifully landscaped farms and rolling hills to a pariah sucking the very life out of everyone around.
Let’s go to where all this filth begins and follow it to the refinery. The Boreal forests of Canada are pristine wildernesses that are vital to the ecosystem of the world. It is being raped, pillaged and plundered for the wealth that lay below this vital beautiful land. The Athabasca region in Canada, and now the northern Great Plains are home to strip miners that are systematically destroying one of the great wonders of the world. Once the forests are gone they will never be replaced.
Canadas claim that this area contains more sludge than any other part of the world is not going unnoticed. China has also discovered Boreal Forests in their region of the world that has even more sludge than Canada and I’m sure they will commence to mine this as well to satiate their country’s demand for more oil products. Can you see where this is leading?
The vision that I have of these forests being systematically being destroyed is like a scene from an old movie where ‘Fat old king Cole’ is slouched in his big overstuffed chair eating a big hunk of greasy slimy meat and throwing the bone to the dogs. I think this is a great analogy of what the industry is doing to greedy little oil companies that are trying to convince us this is all being done in the name of ‘Economic Development’ for our county. They are tossing us the bones.
The bitumen (tar sands) that is mined in an open pit is not viscous enough to be sent down the pipeline by itself. It must be diluted with other toxic chemicals and heated to enable it to flow to the refinery hence a new acronym is added to your overflowing dictionary. It is called dilbit (diluted bitumen). Kinda like Dilbert (you know the knucklehead that you give this polite name to). That was my first impression when i heard the name. Remember this name, because you are going to become very familiar with it.
The following article was sent to me by one of my readers. This excerpt is taken from the ‘PRAIRIE FIRE’ article written by Julie Meyers. In it she gives a very painted description of Dilbit. “Unlike conventional crude, Dilbit is
• 15 to 20 times higher in acid concentrations.
• Contains 5 to 10 times as much sulfur.
• A high concentration of chloride salts, which can lead to chloride stress corrosion in high-temperature pipelines, and
• Higher quantities of abrasive quartz sand particles.”
Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that with all this corrosive ‘junk’ coming down the line, pipeline failure is going to happen more frequently. Dilbit has been used for years in Canada, and the failure rate of the pipeline is 16 times higher than pipelines in the United States that do not use dilbit. Again, it is not a case of if it fails, it is ‘when’ it fails, and the spills could have catastrophic consequences.
Look at what is happening now in the state of Nebraska. The lawsuit is going all the way to the state supreme court because of the Keystone XL pipeline going across the sandhills. The Ogallala aquifer is very shallow there, and a rupture in the pipeline could have devastating effects on the drinking water in many states, as the aquifer is one of the largest in the United States. This is not something to mess around with folks, mother nature can really get mad. XL is going to rely heavily on computers to monitor the system to enable the folks in the control room to isolate the spill faster to minimize the spill. You can see that they are already planning on spills, it is just how much can they limit it to.
If a pipeline were to come to this area, it would be using dilbit technology because Keystone I pumps regular ‘sweet’ crude. XL is the only one pumping dilbit. Even if Hyperion were to run its own pipeline, it would use dilbit technology because they are pumping tar sands, not crude.
When dilbit gets to the final destination, all those toxic chemicals must be removed before the bitumen can be refined.
Now let’s look at this from another angle.
Thanks to the Madville Times for the following article from The Economist. It gives credence to strengthening my hypothesis (gut feeling) that Hyperion will never show its ugly refinery in union county.
“The refining business has suffered from chronic overcapacity, and thus weak margins, since the 1970s oil shocks, which led to a slump in the use of oil-based fuels for generating electricity and heating homes. A respite came in 2005-07, as a buoyant rich world and increasingly thirsty emerging economies boosted demand. But that was a high point that the rich world may not hit again. Demand for petrol in America has fallen, and may never regain its previous peak. Refining margins, having touched $4.50 a barrel, are down to one-tenth of that and still falling.”
When people read this they are going to think twice about investing in a risky venture where they will not get any return on their money until the refinery starts ‘pumping.’ Big oil companies in the United States are not going to invest because they are trying like hell to dump their refineries and invest in alternative industries like wind and solar. At least they can see the handwriting on the wall. Emerging third world companies are the ones buying up the oil companies that are getting off. That means Hyperion is merely a middleman that will sell their company once they get their permit. So, let’s get it right and call a spade a spade.