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California oil fields donít all meet state carbon standard
Fuel Fix ^ | February 12, 2013 | David R. Baker

Posted on 02/12/2013 8:59:08 AM PST by thackney

Environmentalists often call oil from Canada’s tar sands the dirtiest fuel on Earth, because the complex process of extracting it spews huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air.

But by that standard, some of the crude oil pumped in California is just as dirty. In a few cases, it’s even worse.

Several California oil fields produce just as much carbon dioxide per barrel of oil as the tar sands do, state data show. A handful of fields yield even more.

All of them are fields that have been pumped for years and now need injections of steam to squeeze out more oil. Power plants create the steam, releasing greenhouse gases in the process. The gases build up in the atmosphere, slowly warming the globe.

In the past, few people knew or cared about the “carbon intensity” of California crude. Now, however, that intensity is helping fuel the fight over a key California policy to combat global warming.

The state’s “low carbon fuel standard” requires fuel producers to lower the carbon intensity of the products they sell here 10 percent by 2020. To comply, oil companies will probably have to blend more advanced biofuels into their gasoline and diesel.

But California refineries might also have to stop using some of the crude pumped here in the Golden State, according to an industry trade group.

That carbon-intensive oil would be exported abroad, while the state’s refineries would import more low-carbon oil to take its place. And since both the imports and exports would travel in ships – ships burning fuel and releasing carbon dioxide – the added maritime traffic could increase greenhouse gas emissions rather than cut them. The policy, in other words, could backfire.

“We call it crude oil shuffling,” said Gina Grey, vice president of strategic policy for the Western States Petroleum Association. “What’s the effect if we ship California crude oil to other countries and import low-carbon crude oil instead? Actually, that could increase emissions.”

Supporters of the fuel standard point out that most California oil fields aren’t as carbon intensive as the tar sands. And even at fields that require steam injection, oil companies have ways to lower carbon intensity by making their operations more efficient. Some companies – including Chevron Corp., which opposes the fuel standard – are even experimenting with using solar power to generate the steam.

Dirty oil sources

At the same time, environmentalists who back the fuel standard say California and the country as a whole need to pay more attention to the carbon intensity of different oil sources. Those sources that are dirtier than others, they say, should be discouraged for the sake of the planet.

The issue lies at the center of the ongoing struggle over the Keystone pipeline extension, which would bring synthetic oil from the tar sands to America’s Gulf Coast refineries. It’s also being studied by other states – such as Oregon and Washington -that are considering fuel standards of their own.

“There shouldn’t be an advantage given to domestic oil that’s high-carbon,” said Michael Marx, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign. “That’s not to say we should lower our standards for the tar sands. We should raise our standards for domestic oil.”

Extracting oil from the tar sands is a difficult, multistep process that requires a lot of energy – so much that some companies have proposed building nuclear reactors to supply it. The sand is strip mined and mixed with warm water to separate hydrocarbons from the sand grains. The hydrocarbons are then processed into a kind of synthetic crude that can be piped to refineries.

California oil fields don’t require the same treatment. But after more than a century of production, many do need other forms of “enhanced oil recovery” to keep the crude flowing.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: energy; oil

1 posted on 02/12/2013 8:59:16 AM PST by thackney
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To: thackney

Some oil fields, like in Newhall are used only to make asphalt but they try to say the efforts and pollution to make them car fuel to make it seem worse.


2 posted on 02/12/2013 9:09:34 AM PST by edcoil (Manage your own lawsuit: www.jurisdictionary.com?refercode=KK0012)
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To: thackney

The Enviro Whackos have cost this country dearly.


3 posted on 02/12/2013 9:12:00 AM PST by b4its2late (A Liberal is a person who will give away everything he doesn't own.)
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To: edcoil
Plenty of motor fuels made from Lloydminster and Cold Lake...
4 posted on 02/12/2013 9:21:07 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (NRA Life Member)
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To: thackney

Shut them down then.


5 posted on 02/12/2013 9:38:40 AM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable tyranny.)
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To: thackney
I'm beginning to believe that Obama's plan to overwhelm the system is a good idea.

Only once it is overwhelmed we need to kick him out of office and send him back to the Saudis so we can rebuild the right way.

6 posted on 02/12/2013 10:06:45 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (TYRANNY: When the people fear the politicians. LIBERTY: When the politicians fear the people.)
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To: thackney
Kallifornia is trying to force the people back into horse and buggy. Horses produce tons of "natural" methane and also make heating fuel (Solid waste) but also produce an abundance of plant food (CO2).
7 posted on 02/12/2013 10:11:03 AM PST by Foolsgold (Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber)
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To: Foolsgold

Not only do these oil processes release CO2 into the air, they release H20 as well.

Ban the release of H20. It’s killing us. We’re all gonna die.


8 posted on 02/12/2013 10:19:18 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (The monsters are due on Maple Street)
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To: thackney
That carbon-intensive oil would be exported abroad, while the state’s refineries would import more low-carbon oil to take its place.

The stupidity of this is absolutely dumbfounding.

The fact that the more carbon oil has the more BTUs the oil has seems to escape these people entirely.

9 posted on 02/12/2013 10:22:22 AM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: UCANSEE2

Dihydrogen Monoxide is a killer. BAN IT!

Plenty of resources and evidence here:

http://www.dhmo.org/


10 posted on 02/12/2013 10:28:34 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Pontiac

They are talking about the carbon released (energy spent) to produce the oil, not contained within the oil.


11 posted on 02/12/2013 11:27:36 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

OK I guess that makes it even more stupid.

We will produce the oil but we are not allowed to use that oil in the state it is produced because we are just too morally upright and Green.


12 posted on 02/12/2013 12:22:21 PM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Pontiac

Even worse, they are talking about spending more energy to ship the local produced crude farther away for consumption while spending more energy to import other crude from farther away, while no change in the amount used.


13 posted on 02/12/2013 1:03:15 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
I'm beginning to believe that Obama's plan to overwhelm the system is a good idea.

Only once it is overwhelmed we need to kick him out of office and send him back to the Saudis so we can rebuild the right way.

I remember a lot of conservatives promising to sit out the election of 2004 for the very same reason. That worked out well, didn't it.

What makes you think Americans are any smarter now? Fight for what you believe in rather than sitting back and expecting Obama's plans to blow up in his face without any effort on your part.

14 posted on 02/12/2013 4:50:56 PM PST by BfloGuy (Money, like chocolate on a hot oven, was melting in the pockets of the people.)
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To: BfloGuy
Fight for what you believe in rather than sitting back and expecting Obama's plans to blow up in his face without any effort on your part.

Did you get your omniscience, arrogance and condescension from the same gettin' place as Ubama?

15 posted on 02/12/2013 5:52:06 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (TYRANNY: When the people fear the politicians. LIBERTY: When the politicians fear the people.)
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To: FreedomPoster

AKA Oxidane.


16 posted on 02/12/2013 10:52:48 PM PST by no-s (when democracy is displaced by tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote)
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To: thackney
All of them are fields that have been pumped for years and now need injections of steam to squeeze out more oil. Power plants create the steam, releasing greenhouse gases in the process. The gases build up in the atmosphere, slowly warming the globe.

The steam is generated from the waste heat of gas turbine generators. It's much more efficient than burning fuel just to create steam to inject into the wells.

17 posted on 02/12/2013 11:31:03 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you.)
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