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Has Kinder Morgan given up on Keystone XL?  That may be the case, as indicated by its recent application to expand the capacity of a westward oil pipeline in Canada to a deep water port:

The number of oil tankers in Washington state waters could increase almost sevenfold under a proposal by a Canadian pipeline company to expand the amount of crude oil it sends to the Pacific Coast.

The Makah Nation is among the entities studying the risk to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Kinder Morgan Canada filed a formal application with Canadian regulators earlier this month to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline that carries crude oil from Alberta's oil sands to the Vancouver, B.C., area.

Under the proposal, up to 34 tankers a month would be loaded with oil at a terminal outside Vancouver, then generally travel through Haro Strait west of San Juan Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca for export to markets in Asia and the U.S.

That's up from about five tankers a month now.  

That's a major increase in marine traffic and spill potential within the Salish Sea and Straits of Juan de Fuca.  At this time, there is one rescue tug stationed at Neah Bay, WA for the entrance to the Straits.  Kinder touts its safety record in loading tankers at its current operation in Vancouver, but a seven times increase in volume has a commensurate increase in risk, both at the loading terminal and within the Straits itself, an already busy shipping lane.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Odd title -- not a "give up", but a "bet" (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GAS, skymutt, JeffW, Roadbed Guy, lapin, nirbama

    TransCanada is the sponsor of Keystone. KM would like nothing better than for XL not to go, as it opens a business opportunity.

    I'm as anti tar sands as the next guy, but I wonder wether killing Keystone will in the long run make any appreciable difference in tar sands development. And, if it doesn't, are there appreciable environmental benefits to Keystone's demise? I've been concerned for some time about the BC export option; it's been on the table for a couple of years. And environmentally it is MUCH much worse than a pipeline. Meanwhile we're seeing a ton of expansion in rail exports of bitumen -- also much, much worse for the environment. Meanwhile, I just don't see that a couple of extra dollars in transport expense is going to make any material difference in the pace of tar sands development.

    Note that I'm not making an argument that Keystone is a preferable option given real-world alternatives. It might be, but I'm not sufficiently up on the issues. Some questions:

    Is there a systematic assessment of an upper end to rail's export capacity?

    Are prospects for killing KM's pipeline reasonable, given that it's an entirely within-Canada project?

    Is the heart of the anti-Keystone strategy to slow progress enough for just long enough that either: a) oil prices drop by $25/Bbl (rendering economics of tar sands untenable), b) GHG policy somehow catches up towards reality of how screwed we are; c) hope for (a) to get time for (b)?

    •  The Canadian government (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, OleHippieChick

      and the oil companies involved are never going to give up on developing the tar sands.  The best hope is that oil gets so cheap that the relatively expensive tar sand oil is uneconomic.  But even then, there are already so many sunk costs and employment dependent on tar sands that it will be difficult to withdraw from this project.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 11:34:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're doing tar sands because oil ISN'T cheap (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy, nirbama

        and they've already maxed out the exploitation of all the easy to get stuff.

        When it will stop, will be when it costs too much more to get the petroleum than it can be sold for. And yes, that day is coming.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 02:54:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Did you see this Kinder Morgan news story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about them acquiring tankers?

    Also, what is the daily maximum capacity of the KM pipeline to BC?  

  •  Wow, my move to Victoria now needs a (3+ / 0-)


    A ferry that can't turn against a supertanker that can't turn.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 12:28:38 PM PST

  •  I don't get your first sentence (0+ / 0-)

    KXL was never a Kinder Morgan project to my knowledge.

    In any event, Alberta bitumen has long been slated to move west to Seattle area refineries as Alaskan crude dwindles over the next several years.

    •  OK, I found a link . .. . (0+ / 0-)

      that answers the title of the diary in the affirmative - yes, the tarsands oil IS heading west now, right now in fact:

      Seattle residents point out that Canada’s tar sands are already impacting the Salish Sea. All five of Washington’s refineries currently process tar sands materials, transported by Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline
  •  Somewhat related, here's a story (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Not new pipeline proposal (0+ / 0-)

    The expansion of the existing pipeline into Vancouver is not a new proposal.  There was also a proposal to construct a new pipeline into a port in northern B.C., but that may have died.  Either would be to supply the tar sands diluted bitumen to Asian customers.  KXL was for U.S. and other foreign customers on the Atlantic side.

    The tank ships Kinder Morgan are not for this trade.  Much larger ships would be used.  The purchased ships are U.S. Flag and qualified to carry the cargos between U. S. ports...not needed between Canada and the U.S....any flag will do.

    The rescue tug at Neah Bay, Washington, the entrance to lower B.C. Ports and Puget Sound (U. S.) ports is the biggest in the area, but not very substantial to handle a huge supertanker that is in trouble.  The present tug is only 4,300 hp, and a much larger tug in the 10,000 hp range would be better.

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