A 1,700 mile underground TransCanada pipeline will carry oil from the Canadian tar sands in Western Canada, through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, to the Texas Gulf Coast. This is great news because it could significantly reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil and could also create more jobs for Americans.
It appears that our State Department is on board with the development. A few extremist groups are trying to stop or delay the project, but I don’t think they’ll interfere too much. This country runs on oil and the vast majority of us are behind this type of independence project and job creation.
I think the thrust of the project is independence from Middle Eastern oil, but once the oil arrives and is refined do you think it will lower our energy costs by either being cheaper than OPEC oil or will it cause OPEC oil to drop in price or will prices remain where they are or rise ?
No, it won’t affect the price of oil, because that is set by the international market. Besides, Middle East oil is the cheapest to produce, while oil from oilsands is quite expensive to produce, but is a secure supply from a country that does not plot terrorist acts against the US, and does not practice human rights abuses, and ususally votes WITH the US at the United Nations, rather than AGAINST, which Middle East countries do 70-80% of the time, even while receiving US aid.
Middle East oil and other oil will only drop in price when supply substantially exceeds demand. If you check the financial pages today you’ll find oil has dropped considerably in price already (below $80) due to the economic slowdown and gloomy outlook.
Personally, I would prefer an above ground pipeline, so leaks can be easily found and repaired. Also, this type of project takes jobs away from American truck drivers, so I guess depriving them of jobs fits the Republican strategy of sandbagging the job market and blaming Obama.
The safest way to transport oil or gas is by UNDERGROUND pipelines. The chance of accidental damage on an above-ground line is many times that of a buried one. Just think of Dick Chaney hunting anywhere near an above-ground line!!! Corrosion is also more rapid.
As an ex-pipeline inspector I can assure you that the pressure and corrosion monitoring system will very quickly let the owners know if there is a leak somewhere. The pressure is then shut down and the leak minimized. An above-ground leak will be more extensive and spread further. Only in remote and desert areas (Saudi Arabia, Chile, etc) do we see above-ground lines. They are easily sabotaged as well.
Transporting crude oil by tanker truck is insanely expensive and environmentally risky. Yet at this very moent, oil is trucked from the Northern states to the South by trucks because of a lack of pipeline capacity. The Line from Canada will free up space in exisiting US lines to be used to transport US oil from North to South.
Oil sands crude is already being shipped from Canada to the US; the XL line will increase the capacity to allow up to 700,000 barrels/day.
“significantly reduce dependence on Middle East oil”?? really?!? 2% of our total useage is that significant? I’m calling shenanigans on you CSA.
Doc, I know shipping oil via truck is not the most efficient or safe way to do things. That comment was kind of tongue-in-cheek. Lots of jobs have been lost to efficiency, and nobody can, or should, get in the way of that.
Thanks, Whitey. Years ago I lead a study on getting oil out of the Arctic by railway tank cars. It was feasible but very expensive. Transporting finished products, such as gasoline is already done largely by a “product” pipeline distribution system. Trucks are only used to take the stuff from the tank farm to the service stations. In countries like Nigeria, gasoline is still transported all over the country by decrepit trucks travelling on poor roads, with disastrous results when an accident happens.
In terms of crude oil sources, Canada has already displaced Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela as the largest oil exporter to the US. The US plan is to eliminate all Middle East countries as sources of imported crude. Venezuela will gradually phase out exports to the US, since they have made extensive deals with China which will provide the cash to develop their resources further. Mexico has lots of oil, but PEMEX has the right to all of it (it’s in the constitution), and lacks the money and expertise to rapidly develop these resources. Mexican exports will gradually reduce.
Canadian export capacity will reach 3,000,000 million barrels per day in 5-10 years, mostly aimed at the US market. If the radicals win and stop these exports, Canada will build a pileline (aready under design) to the West coast and sell the excess to China or other Asian countries.
Personally I would like to see less oil used, that to find better ways of using what is there now. I likely not live long enough to see the difference, but I would hope my grandchildren will have enough oil available to them when they need it and that we have not used all the easy oil up now filling the pockets of the oil companies.
I’d agree that properly inspected and maintained pipelines can be VERY safe.
However, we also have a history of companies that are grossly negligent in their maintenance… think BP, PG&E, etc
There was an article about 5 years ago about the Alaska pipeline…the company maintaining the pipeline has done less then 5% of the required maintenance…According to one engineer…it’s a disaster waiting to happen…Leaks occur daily.
eraser 1998; I wholly agree that pipelines need maintenance and regular inspections. Even today with less than perfect legislation, the number of spills due to leaks are very few if you consider the number of pipelines there are. Just Google Gulf Publications and you can buy oil and gas pipeline maps of North America and the rest of the world.
The US map is a real spiderweb with hundreds of thousand of miles of varying size pipelines.
Spectacular spills occurring in Africa and the Middle East are mostly due to sabotage and theft attempts.
I agree that tougher inspection rules and better warning system/response procedures are a must.
The longest liquids (crude oil) pipeline in the world runs from Western Canada through the Great Lakes states to Detroit (3000+ miles) and that one has been in operation since the sixties. During that timespan we’ve had Three Mile Island, Katrina, 9-11, and 1,720,000 Americans have been killed in car accidents.
Risk analysis is an important tool in assessing what programs are needed to maximize safe operation.
Screw Canada. We have enough oil in North Dakota
badbearing…surely you jest. I hope we don’t “screw” Canada. They have too many natural resources for us to casually dismiss. One, fresh water that we waste in abundance. I can see a time when that might be imported more than oil…and not bottled. I agree with Doc’s original comment that the world market controls prices and the Middle East with their easy access oil may have the biggest influence on prices (remember the 70s when they turned the spigot off); not Canadian oil.
That is why I said they can be very safe - if properly maintained and inspected. How we let BP get away with not inspecting pipelines on the north slope for corrosion for 14 YEARS is beyond me.
Thankfully many companies are far more responsible. Without guarantees, though, we just have to hope.
With respect to self-sufficiency, there are very few counrtries in the world that are suffucient in nearly all the resources needed for a modern society to function.
Russia, Australia, Brazil and Canada are among those. Although the US is rich in energy and other minerals, its population size is too large to be self-suffucient in oil, and various other minerals and metals.
Australia is a very large country with half the population of California, but it has oil, gas, uranium, coal, a 300 year supply of iron ore!, and many other riches. In addition, it has a climate that varies from moderate to tropical.
A country’s living standard is not determined by the natural resources it has. Germany, Switserland, Japan, Sweden and Denmark (all rich countries)lack many energy and mineral deposit, for instance, while the Congo Republic, an economic basket case is very rich in resources.
Its pretty common knowledge in Minnesota that our oil comes from Canada. We have some farm land in South Dakota and last year we were paid for the easement to run a gas line. One of the prohibitions is no firearms on the easement. I think the new oil line will be going to a SD or Iowa refinery and will be serving the eastern midwest more. Sure beats dealing with the Saudi’s.
Docnick (And Other Commenters), This Oil Sand “Crude” Isn’t Your Regular Old Crude.
Docnick stated, " . . . while oil from oilsands is quite expensive to produce, . . . "
That’s what I’ve read. I’ve read that it takes much energy to refine this stuff. Do you think it’s possible to get it to market as gasoline or other products at a price that will help lower costs to consumers or will prices likely be higher than Middle East supplied fuel as a result ?
Is it worth it ? Where do you think this going ? Enlighten me, please.
Lets just say thats how i feel about canada.
Canadians make good bear bait
They’re just so da^&( NICE all the time. lol