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View Diary: Obama's decision on northern leg of Keystone XL pipeline could fuel November's mid-term elections (210 comments)

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  •  shipping by rail raises its cost (14+ / 0-)

    which makes it less economically viable to mine, and constricts its flow to overseas markets. both things reduce the likelihood that the carbon in that coal makes it into the atmosphere.

    •  Those factors have not dampened (0+ / 0-)

      the Bakken output at all.

      In fact, rail is now cheaper than new pipelines.

      •  Operating costs for transporting oil by ... (16+ / 0-)

        ...rail are not cheaper than operating costs for transporting oil by pipeline.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 04:14:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you read my post carefully you might have (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, Skyye, Sam I Am

          noticed I said "new" pipeline - which, when financing costs, etc are factored in, make the overall shipping costs more expensive than by rail, which uses existing infrastructure in which there is plenty of currently unused capacity.

          The finances are particularly favorable for  bitumen transportation, for which rail can bring back diluent, improving the finances even more compared to pipelines, which are one-way enterprises.

          I've posted the actual $$ numbers at least 10 times  - no one cares so I'm not going to bother any more.

          I do know, however, we've been having this conversation for 3 or 4 years, and everything I've predicted is coming true (e.g., that a lack of KXL won't slow down tar sands extraction one bit ( it hasn't) as well as the idea that massive amounts of crude can be moved by rail  ( which is now reality) ).

          •  So far, despite growing by leaps (44%... (19+ / 0-)

            ...in 2013 if you extrapolate the whole year from the actual data of the first three quarters) the TOTAL amount of crude moved by rail was 376,000 carloads or 263 million barrels. A single pipeline, the Keystone XL (if it is built and meets its design capacity) will move 302 million barrels a year. It's not hard to see why there is such a push on to build it.

            Nobody, not I, ever said that rail can't move lots of oil. Or that new rail projects have flexibility and speed-of-completion not enjoyed by pipelines.

            As for slowing down extraction of the tar sands, it is true that hasn't happened so far in the absence of the pipeline. But when the March 2013 briefing notes of Joe Oliver, the natural resources minister of Canada, state flat out that “in order for crude oil production to grow, the North American pipeline network must be expanded through initiatives, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline project,” I'll take him at his word.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:20:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Correx: Or that new rail projects DON'T have...n/t (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Just Bob, lunachickie, Assaf

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:25:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  But Oliver also stated (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy
              http://www.nytimes.com/...

              In a statement, Mr. Oliver did not address questions about the apparent change in the government analysis of the pipeline’s effect on oil sands production. But, he said: “We agree with the U.S. State Department that should Keystone XL not be approved, alternative modes of transporting natural resources, including rail, would likely deliver the crude intended for the Keystone XL market.”

              The black shit is going to reach salt water no matter what. There has been too much money already invested in the upstream and downstream operations to stop this. There is no political will and the citizens demand cheap gasoline and a houseful of plastic junk.

              2 million barrels per day is about 2 1/2 Keystone XL pipelines.

              North American Rail Car Market
              Crude Oil by Rail
              Jan. 2013

              Railroads

              Of the 11,021 railcars ordered during the 4th quarter, 6,839 were tank cars, raising the number of backlogged units to 48,206. It is estimated that the number of tank cars ordered for moving petroleum crude and expected to be delivered by the end of 2014 will be enough to move 2 million barrels of oil per day, almost three times what is currently being extracted from the Bakken Shale Rock Formation. Many of these cars are also being used to move oil from the Canadian Oil Sands and are equipped with heating coils for that viscous crude, but the exact number is not known. As for railroad carloads, 2M bpd equals almost 1M carloads per year, more than replacing the traffic that has recently been lost in the coal sector.

              •  The simplest explanation is that the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac

                Harper Government is in the pocket of the pipeline owners / operators (e..g, Koch Brother types) and therefore make such statements.

                IOW, the statements reflect political posturing, not "on the ground" reality.

                And yes, there are three huge factories right now pumping out rail cars for moving crude, which is good insofar as it might allow some of the older, flawed design cars to be retired - but that doesn't seem to be happening, they're all being used for NEW capacity.

                •  It is not only the pipeline operators. (0+ / 0-)

                  All the huge multinational oil companies have stakes in both the upstream and downstream production processes and they have invested 100's of billions of dollars in the last decade. They are determined to get a payoff by bringing their product to their refineries.

                  Entities such as the Koch Brothers and Warren Buffet have stakes in all three - upstream, midstream and downstream.

            •  By the end of 2013, 800,000 bbls per day (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              todamo13

              were being shipped from the Bakken (plus about 1/4 of that additionally from Northern Alberta).

              So with continuing growth (basically as fast as the factories can spit out the rail cars) that's now 1 million bbls per day or 365 million per year (i.e., considerably more than the year-old numbers you give of 263 million barrels).  When all is said and done, 2014 will likely experience 50 to 80% year over year growth to well over 400 million barrels.

              But still that's a drop in the bucket compared to the 15,000,000 rail car loadings in North America each year (a little over 2%) - meaning the system barely notices it.

              Another comparison is coal, which is at about 6,000,000 car loadings (down by at least a million lately and probably going to continue to slump).  If crude oil ramps up to those levels, it would be enough capacity to ship ALL domestically-produced (including Canada) crude .  And really, who has ever heard government officials saying coal production was being held back by a lack of pipelines, which is of course silly because coal doesn't move well in pipelines.  So silly in fact that even politicians don't bother saying it. But the clear point is that a lack of pipelines WILL NOT SLOW crude oil production ONE IOTA.  It will only shuffle the profits to different sets of the 1%ers, that's what the whole kerfuffle is about.

      •  really? what about all these accidents? (13+ / 0-)

        the costs on lives and cleanup?

        After investigating multiple fiery accidents involving crude oil trains that have derailed and crashed, The National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] is now calling for tougher regulations on the practice — including recommendations that those trains stay far away from urban population centers
        .

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