Skip to main content

View Diary: Keystone Isn't Any Normal Pipeline (154 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The diary is ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deward Hastings

    ... sorry to put it bluntly, but the diary is rather bad, not Horace's finest.

    He essentially rehashes factoids about how dirty tar sands are and apparently non-nonsensical and mind boggling to extract and how vile petcoke is (it is). But petcoke is not intrinsic to tar sands processing. For instance, Shell Scotford does not produce any petcoke.

    And his conclusion on products from tar sands is just plain wrong and unsupported by the reference he gives. In the referenced test, NOx are same as conventional diesel and PM are higher on higher fuel density, which is purely a matter of selecting the cut points at the refinery and has nothing to do the origin of the source crude. You would get the same exact result with conventional crude oil depending how you source the diesel cut between straight run gas oil, hydrocracker gas oil and FCC light cycle oil and depending what the target cetane index is.

    That's bad because he tries to give the impression that tar sands are beset by insurmountable technical problems and liable to collapse under them, which is not the case.

    Surface mining is now a completely established activity, now that the industry has given up on draglines and bucketwheels to replace them with trucks and shovels. Upgrading is mature (Syncrude, Suncor, Husky Lloydminster, Shell Scotford, Long Lake). Natural gas availability isn't much of an issue and can be stepped over by burning or gaz'ing the resid pitch (Long Lake, North West Redwater in 2 or 3 years.) SAGD is still to be proven, after with the Nexen fiasco at Long Lake, but it is clearly working at smaller scale on other sites.

    Economically, tar sands are a very robust activity for the companies who can afford the high CAPEX, upfront costs and long lead times they involve. Tar sands are a game only for players with very deep pockets and a lot of patience, which is why you don't see a rush like in Texas in the 80s or Bakken right now.

    But with crude oil benchmarks consistently around $100/bbl, it's now becoming a huge cash cow for those companies who have already set up shop and swallowed the upfront costs, an unfuckingbelievable cash cow. Right now, Shell prints 180 million dollars worth of cash flow out of Scotford, every single week. And they are not going to give it up.

    Tar sands will not collapse under their own weight. No one should be under this delusion, especially those who oppose them.

    There are only 3 things that can stop tar sands:

    1. Oil prices falling below $25/bbl for a prolonged period of time (the industry nearly died in the 90s).
    2. A miracle ... An asteroid impacts Earth in the Fort McMurray area or glaciers start to march again on Alberta.
    3. A carbon tax, or even better, a refunded carbon tax (which would allow to set a very high price on CO2 without crashing the economy).

    1) and 2) are not going to happen.

    Only 3) will make a difference, any difference.

    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

    by Farugia on Fri Mar 07, 2014 at 08:07:52 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  There is another thing that can stop tar sands (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bethann

      Stop subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars. Make the industry pay to dispose of their trash (waste) like any other business.

      Did you know that tar sands are exempt from liability or at least exempt from contributing to the spill contingency fund that would be used to clean up any leaks? Maybe we should remove that exemption.

      What are they going to do with all that pet-coke? Do we need more piles of it on our land? Who should pay for it's disposal?

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 12:41:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That "waste" (0+ / 0-)

        came from "the land", so what's the problem putting it back in "the land"?

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sat Mar 08, 2014 at 10:00:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would require shipping it back to Alberta (0+ / 0-)

          I doubt if Canada would allow the concentrated toxic waste from the refining process to be returned across the border. But in any case, who should pay for it and be responsible for sequestering the waste products of turning tar sands into gas and diesel fuel?

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 11:38:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  when upgrading is done on-site (or near) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Farugia

            that "problem" goes away.  As regards the "pet coke" they'll probably just burn it for process heat (minus what gets shipped out for making steel), that being less expensive than putting it back in the ground where it came from.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 02:54:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The pet-coke produced from refining tar sands (0+ / 0-)

              contain far more heavy metal contaminates than the pet-coke produced from light crude. They are not suitable for burning because these heavy metal would then be released into the atmosphere. China doesn't even want them anymore.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 04:00:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  there is a market for "heavy metals" . . . (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Farugia

                and extracting them with a stack scrubber is not difficult.  It may not pay the whole cost of scrubbing (which ought to be done anyway), but can put a big dent in it.

                I "get it" that you want to believe that tar sand extraction just. can't. work.  Too many "problems".  Unfortunately it can work, does work, and is working as we write.  And there will be more of it, not less.  It's a good thing to pressure them to clean up the process, it's a fools errand to try to stop it.

                The next step in cleaning it up is killing KXL and getting the near-site upgraders completed and on-line.  That puts an end to the whole "dilbit" and "pet-coke" nonsense.

                Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                by Deward Hastings on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 05:53:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If that were the case then why are these waste (0+ / 0-)

                  products from the refining process piling up and blowing around in the wind and flowing into our water? You are under the mistaken assumption that these oil cartels give a damn about anything other than making the most profits possible. They won't do anything with this pet-coke or any other toxic waste produced by the refining process unless they are forced to do so.

                  Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                  by RMForbes on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:20:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Because if you let an extractive industry... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RMForbes, Deward Hastings

                    ..., any extractive industry, one single inch of wiggle room where they can "save" 10 cents a ton by cutting corners, reducing CAPEX 0.1% and dumping crap on someone else, they will always take the 10 cents, every single fucking time.

                    And the Koch brothers are truly the epitome of that wretched, truly psychotic state of mind. Hence, this.

                    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

                    by Farugia on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 01:13:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site