Monday, January 19, 2009

Economic Collapse Frees The East

Environmental activists are relieved by the indefinite shelving of an oil pipeline proposal that they say would make Ontario too dependent on "dirty oil" from Alberta and bring it to Quebec for the first time.

However, activists with Environmental Defence and ForestEthics are concerned the project put on hold by Calgary-based Enbridge could be resurrected in the future.

So they will go ahead Monday with the release of a joint report asserting the project would soon make Ontario totally dependent on Alberta's tarsands for energy security and would undermine the Ontario government's commitments to reduce carbon pollution.

The "Trailbreaker" project would have enslaved Ontario's energy future to Alberta:

Trailbreaker would reverse the flow of a pipeline that now carries crude oil imports from Montreal to refineries in Sarnia, Ont. Instead, Alberta tarsands oil would flow via Sarnia to Montreal and by pipeline to Portland, Maine, where it would be shipped to U.S. refiners by tankers.

"The impact on Ontario would be to force its refineries to rely exclusively on oil from Alberta, since other sources now imported from Montreal would be cut off," the report said. "Given that Alberta is running out of conventional oil, the proposal would mean that Ontario would receive its oil from the tarsands, which produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as regular oil."

The project's collapse has been put down to current economic conditions. Note that the Gateway Pipeline, which would run West to Kitimat, has also run into trouble, and has been stuck in the "proposal" stage for awhile now. Some in the oilpatch have been hoping that this pipeline would allow the sale of oil to the Chinese, and therefore help Alberta avoid "greening" the tar-sands in response to any environmental initiatives from the Obama administration. With Trailbreaker also in hiatus, it looks like Alberta oil has no way to reach less finicky non-American buyers. Big Oil may have been trapped into acting in a environmentally responsible manner.

3 comments:

Paul S said...

". . . the proposal would mean that Ontario would receive its oil from the tarsands, which produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as regular oil."

Wait a minute. Tar sands oil produces no more C02 then conventional oil.

Only when factoring in the C02 emitted during production is it higher. Adding the C02 emitted during production and the C02 emitted from the barrel of oil results in a total C02 increase of 10% - 30%.

Ti-Guy said...

Wait a minute. Tar sands oil produces no more C02 then conventional oil.

You'd sound more convincing if you learned how to spell "than."

Paul S said...

I'll be more convincing once I'm finished knocking some sense into that thick skull of yours.

Good point though. I do tend to mix up "then" and "than". My bad.