Skip to comments.Plans to haul big oil refinery loads spark battle
Posted on 09/27/2010 9:24:36 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
KAMIAH, Idaho - Two of America's largest oil companies want to drive mammoth truckloads of refinery equipment along a narrow ribbon of spectacular mountain road that borders national forests, wild and scenic rivers, historic sites and campgrounds.
Local residents are not pleased.
"This is something that weighs 600,000 pounds (272,150 kilograms), is two-thirds the length of a football field and 30 feet (9 meters) high," said Linwood Laughy, who has sued the Idaho Department of Transportation to stop the mega-loads. "I don't think it belongs on the highway."
(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...
This sounds like a job for...
well, linwood laughy, whoever the hell that is, doesn’t “think” this belongs on the highway. what in the name of sam hill is wrong with it? why is ol’ linwood sueing? piss on linwood.
The Ice Road Trucker gang?
I don't think anyone is going to leave it there.
Perhaps he is right. Mount that sucker on self-propelled tracked mega movers and go cross-country with it, then.
They say they’re afraid the tall loads will fall into the neighboring river. Do the truckers of this proposed monster rig consider it to be suicide duty?
This has nothing to do with safety, the environment or integrity of the road. This is about the fact that the refinery in Billings, Montana plans to refine Canadian shale oil and the Indians are going nuts about it.
The fact is that the tribes have no authority to stop traffic across state thorough fares.
The whiners need to shut up and let the over-taxed entities pay the excessive fees to move their equipment on our highway system that our parents paid so much for so that the whiners can have gas for their trips to get lattes.
When the idiots complaining give up their cars and start walking.. I’ll start listing to them.
It’s not their road. It’s not staying in front of their homes.
The Canadians will have a lock on lumber and fuels if these bozos keep it up. What stinks is being in the middle of the Bakken play and still paying $2.80/gallon for 87 octane. I’d just as soon see the refinery here.
Whoever does the driving will want to cash that paycheck. It isn't worth anything if you don't.
Having moved back to Alberta after living in the States for a number of years, in the area mentioned, this is absurd. This kind of equipment moves around Alberta, safely and not infrequently on a regular basis (including mountain passes).
The issue has to do with energy, which everyone needs, particularly people who live in the mountains and in rural areas. You cannot efficiently ride a bike, use a bus, electric batteries do not go far enough, etc. Evidently we are to return to the era of horses, mules and dog sleds for basic transportation if these people have their way.
Be thankful Canada has not yet messed up its environmental regulations, the way they are messed up in the USA, or you would have less oil, natural gas, and electricity.
It has plenty to do with the integrity of the road.
And it has plenty to do with inconvenience to locals.
Most people who like to spout off on this subject have never seen a truly wide load like this moved on a road which they must use, to which there is no alternative.
I have, and it is a huge pain in the ass.
In Nevada, they move huge mining equipment (eg, Cat 797’s) along state and US secondary routes during the summer, and much as Washington states for US 12, the load needs two flag cars in front, one in back, plus two highway patrol officers.
When I’d encounter these processions coming across US-50 or NV-278, the lead highway patrol car would range out in front of the load by five to 10 miles and push everyone off the road into a wide spot and tell you to cool your heels for at least a half hour.
Then the first pilot car would show up, followed in five minutes by the second, followed directly by the load (creeping along at 20 to 30 MPH on a road where everyone else was doing 70 to 75MPH), followed directly by the trailing flag car, then the trailing highway patrol. Then there’d be a huge slug of traffic behind the procession, filled with everything from ranchers to RV’s and OTR trucks, creeping along at however fast the load was moving. Somehow, I always got lucky and was in the opposing lane, where I’d have to wait 30+ minutes, then be on my way. The poor SOB’s stuck behind the load might be doing 25 MPH for 90+ miles.
Now, my inconvenience of seeing a haul-pak moved in three or four loads over two days was a minor piffle compared to this:
“But locals are much more worried about efforts by Exxon Mobil Canada and some subsidiaries to get permission to ship 207 mega-loads of refinery equipment through the two states to the controversial Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada. Those loads will take a year and force temporary closures of U.S. 12 five nights a week.”
Closures five nights a week.... for a year. If that were proposed for the major road through where I lived, I’d be in court with lawyers too. And that’s based on only the issue of restricting my travel with their road closures. Never mind the future inconvenience when they have to rebuild the road due to the roadbed being crushed by these loads, especially if they try to move them during freeze-up or thaws.
I’d say that if the loads are destined for a site in Canada, then they should be moved on Canadian roads. The Canadian taxpayers can suffer the inconvenience, economic losses and increased road repair costs.
Better yet, they should have not outsourced the construction of something so huge offshore. That’s the single most stupid thing I’ve seen. What, we don’t have the heavy manufacturing capability in the US or Canada any more to build this stuff on-site?
Nothing but a bunch of WACK JOBS.
I don’t know. Let’s say that there’s no danger whatsoever to the driver(s) of the load. Let’s just talk about the consequences of load disruption.
The proposal says that if a load upset occurs, they will need a 500 ton crane to pull the load back up onto a transporter.
To get a 500 ton crane set up on the accident site might require a wait of several days for transport of such a large crane to the accident site, situational engineering to allow the crane to set up its outriggers, etc. 500 ton cranes don’t just zip along - they’re over-weight and over-sized loads in and of themselves. They need large working areas on which to set up - and in areas where the road traverses the edge of a rock face on one side, and the river on the other, the crane might have a pretty difficult time setting up for a pick.
All this time, there’s quite possibly no traffic along the affected stretch of US 12, because in many spots there is no alternate route, no possibility of passing the accident site, etc.
With over 200 loads to be moved... something is going to go amiss, at some point, somewhere on this route. Move one or two loads? Yea, OK, get set up, make a big party event out of it, move the load.
200+ loads? Sorry, that’s just stupid. They should have built the stuff on site rather than try to cheapen the bottom line by having it done in South Korea.
Would current U.S. and Canadian regulations prevent the manufacture of these pieces on-site? Would some environ-MENTAL group not sue over the manufacture, claiming that the pieces would eventually contribute to “carbon pollution?”
In any event, w.r.t. wide loads, you have my sympathies. On a roadtrip earlier this year, I planned to drive east across the Hudson River on I-84, just to see the bridge. But lo and behold, when I got there, I get stuck in traffic due to an oversized load being escorted east across the bridge. And we had to negotiate an S-curve prior to the bridge, which had the load crawling at 15 mph, and there was no way the police would let us pass. Fortunately, it picked up to about 30 or so along the bridge, which was straight. Then, the load and escorts pulled off after crossing the bridge, so that we could be on our way.
It would be nice if we could just simply build a super-strong interstate highway, with overpass clearances of, say, 40 feet, from the port to Alberta. Let’s call it I-88 West. The oil companies and Canadians could chip in some billions for the highway, in a PPP. Then the 207 loads could roll on up there nice and easy.
At one point in our history, that could very well be what we would have done. But with all the environ-MENTAL regulations and red tape, it would be a non-starter now.
I don’t see why. They’re just steel welded together into a large structure. The same groups could be suing to block the entire project, regardless of where these assemblies were built.
The four large vessels for the refinery at Billings were made in Japan, and the 207 loads destined for Alberta were made in S. Korea. I’d wager that they got a “deal they couldn’t resist” on the price of the steel if they’d agree to have the fab done overseas as well. They could have shipped the steel here and had the fab done locally, but no, the MBA’s running these outfits wanted to get it done as cheaply as possible, screw the local workers, screw the local taxpayers paying for the roads, screw the local economy and screw anyone who has to get by them.
Unlike in the eastern US, there are lots of places in the western US where if a road is blocked, it can mean your life or someone’s life as you’re trying to get down that road to medical care. Unlike most people here on FR, I have had the experience of having to jump into a car with a loved one, jam the throttle down and proceed to a hospital at 90MPH — for over 100 miles - on the single viable route that was paved. A blockage on that road would have been a serious thing indeed.
An oversized load here and there? Sure, that’s normal. Folks can deal with it, for the most part, and the load drivers can pick and choose their weather conditions.
200+ loads, five nights a week, for a year? That’s going to impact public safety.
That would negate all the wonderful savings the MBA’s obtained by outsourcing the construction of these things to Japan and Korea.
So it ain’t gonna happen.
Ingerity of the road is right!
That’s the first thing that crossed my mind: the asphalt roads will be destroyed, crushed to pieces by that much weight.
Especially in the fall and spring seasons.
Huge loads like this in Nevada are often seasonally restricted to prevent travel during times when the ground is freezing or thawing. I’m very surprised to see that Idaho doesn’t put in the same level of restrictions - then again, I doubt that US 12 has seen the sorts of loads associated with transporting things like a Cat 797 too often on that corridor.
That won't be allowed either. Think of all the horse turds to complain about and of course, there is the PETA pests and the cruelty whine. Can't have poor horsey toting or pulling.
Is the heaviest single item that has to be on one of these transports more than about 113490kg (yes, the load on each transport is projected to be more, but supposedly each one comprises several pieces). There are Boeing 747-based military air transports that can carry a load this large. Why can’t something like that be brought into play. As a bonus, the loads do not need to be shipped 3/4 of the way around the globe on a westward course when they could take a shorter trip on an eastward course.
I don’t think that they are talking about Canada. They are talking about a refinery in Billings, Montana. The equipment that goes to Canada goes through the Great Lakes.
How ‘bout we go the old-school method and just build it on site?
What are you going to propose next? We outsource the building of bridges, canals and roadways and ship them into the US? Why stop at the capabilities of a 747? The Russians have larger heavy-lift aircraft, why not outsource the transport of the modules to the Russkies?
There are some projects that just need to be build in place. Period. Some ass of a MBA made a decision “Well, it is SO much cheaper offshore that we’ll just buy access to the Lewiston Port through political connections and then run roughshod over the locals to truck it up US 12...” No thought to logistics, PR or impact to local communities.
They could have bought the steel from Korea, India or China and shipped that in on conventional trucks and built the projects in place, no wide load permits required. They could have bought steel in North America and shipped it in.
But no, they decided to try to crank the last little bit of expense out of the project by fabricating off-shore and shipping the modules over a ridiculous route inland.
They’re morons. Plain and simple.
Sometimes in engineering, I would have to remind management that some problems really had very simple solutions. They didn’t conform to the latest MBA fad, but the simple solutions were proven, workable and extremely simple to schedule. MBA’s still didn’t like them.
Even if they did continue the shipping for a year, they would not actually close the road. They would have to construct turn outs to stop the traffic and let the load pass. You have to realize, there isn’t much traffic in this area.
As for the out sourcing, you had better get used it. We no longer have the skilled labor to do the work and what we have is all union and way too expensive. Refineries are on such a tight margin of profit, that they cannot afford the union demands.
I read somewhere that a small boat building company that built tugs on the Great Lakes was going out of business because they couldn’t find enough top level welders to build their boats. You don’t want bad welds in boats or refineries.
If you don’t want bad welds in boats or refineries, you don’t want the welding done off-shore. If you’d like to live next to a pipeline, refinery or other chemical processing plant build with third world welds, I invite you to do so. I’ve seen third world welding, and I want nothing to do with it. I’ve also seen third world steel, and I want even less to do with that.
We have plenty of skilled labor and welders in the US. They require payment for what they do. It isn’t an easy job, but it is a critical job. The guys and gals who are really good welders are well worth their money - you don’t need to air-arc out their crap and do it over. It is done once for the ages.
Dave, the local refinery has been trying to recruit welders for a large construction project for the past year. They are having to bring them in from all over.
Yes, well, the oil/gas industry is in a building boom. They went for years without building many pipelines or refineries, and now with CBM and NG exploration and development throughout the west, there are pipe welders on jobs all over the place, pulling down good money.
The welders are out there, companies are competing for the talent and now they’re going to have to pay up for welders. I’ve been in two community college welding programs, taking courses, and there are tons of young people taking up welding. They know the money is out there. Often as the “old fart” in the program, I’m telling them to not waste time on nonsensical twaddle like liberal arts BA’s and go “make something” and then go make some money.
The kids aren’t stupid, they can see where the money is. They’re starting to respond.
There are structural welders being turned loose of commercial real estate jobs all over the place - all these guys need is a quick turn through pipe or boiler certification courses (many of which are held in the union halls), and they’re going to be available. These guys also know the money is out there. Pipe welders in the west are pulling down $30/hour, plus $20 for rig rental. Not bad money, if you ask me.
But the oil industry wants to complain now that there aren’t enough welders to go around. Wellllll.... who decided to put off their expansion for as long as possible, only to ramp up expansion in such a short time? It wasn’t the welders. It was management. There are consequences to bad management decisions, and having to compete for a limited talent pool is one of those consequences.
This is what happens when management sticks their heads up their posteriors and doesn’t plan properly. I’ve seen it time and time again. What this country needs more than anything else is for corporate management to be more accountable to shareholders - and shareholders to hold management accountable. The trouble is, too many mutual funds holding huge blocks of stock just rubber-stamp the proxy votes for boards and management at the annual meetings.
The reason that there have been no new refineries has nothing to do with stock holders or management and everything to do with the permit process and regulations. It can take ten years to get through the permit process under positive circumstances, in states like California, it just won’t happen.
We need energy independence and shale oil has great potential to do that, but it takes a little give and take on the part of the unions and the special interests. Green energy is a flop, so we need to get moving on oil and gas.
It’s a fact that Asian steel and probably welds may not be all that great, but the fact is that oil refineries are not profit making propositions. When regulators, unions and special interests get involved to hinder the projects, the oil companies will need to cut costs wherever possible. It’s like biting the hand that feeds them when unions join forces with the tribes to hurt the oil companies.
I’m just thinking of trying to salvage the situation as best as possible, instead of turning a bunch of already welded assemblies into scrap metal that never leaves Korea. If the road will not work, then the assemblies might be flown in on huge transports. In the future local assembly can be looked into. However I’d want to hear Korea’s side of the story. Maybe they have specialized machinery which can make better assemblies than site-building techniques can. It’s a little like the battle between site built homes and prefab homes.
Is there any reason to believe that modern South Korean quality is any worse than, say, Japan’s?
Depends on the type of steel and processing. At best, Korea mills could produce something as good as Japanese steel. eg, some of POSCO’s technology came from Nippon Steel.
At worst... they’re trying to compete with the Chinese and Indians on price, with all that entails.