Skip to comments.TransCanada exec says Keystone delays mean increase in dirtier rail transport
Posted on 03/15/2013 6:21:31 AM PDT by thackney
A TransCanada Corp. executive says opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline should consider one consequence of delays in building the oil pipeline an increase in dirtier and more dangerous rail transport.
Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines at the Calgary-based pipeline and utility company, says although rail has an important role to play in moving oilsands crude to market, there are downsides to consider.
"For every mile you move a barrel of oil by rail, you emit three times the (greenhouse gases) that you do by moving it by pipeline and you have an order of magnitude higher risk of having some sort of incident, leak or spill," Pourbaix told an energy conference in New York Thursday.
"So from that perspective, I make the point that if you're actually concerned about the environment, for long-haul movement of oil, you very much want to see that moving by pipeline."
Environmental groups opposed to the US$5.3-billion project have broader concerns about the oilsands crude that's inside the pipe, which they consider to be much dirtier than other types of oil. They see pipelines such as Keystone XL as enabling oilsands extraction and have made them the focus of their campaigns in recent years.
A draft environmental report from the U.S. State Department released earlier this month said the Keystone XL pipeline will have no impact on the pace of development in the oilsands a finding pipeline opponents refute.
Crude transport by rail is not immune to the sort of opposition that has galvanized around pipelines. In January, 16 environmental groups sent a letter to Claude Mongeau, the CEO of Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX:CNR), warning that any potential efforts to bring oilsands crude across British Columbia by rail to the West Coast for export would "face major opposition and risks to the company."
CN moved more than 30,000 carloads of crude to various North American markets last year, and believes it can double that business in 2013. None of that oil is moving to the West Coast, since there is no infrastructure in place to move the oil onto tankers.
In an email, company spokesman Mark Hallman said rail is an energy efficient way to move freight and that the industry has a good record of moving hazardous materials safely.
Citing figures from the Rail Association of Canada, he said that while Canada's rail sector moves more than 70 per cent of all surface goods each year across the country, it only accounts for 3.4 per cent of the transportation sector's greenhouse gas emissions and less than one per cent of Canada's overall emissions.
"Rail complements pipeline in the movement of crude oil," Hallman said.
"Both modes are safe and the risk of accidental releases of product is extremely low for both modes of transport, with no appreciable difference considering both spill frequency and size."
TransCanada expects it will be another two or three months before U.S. President Barack Obama makes a final decision on whether to allow the controversial project to go ahead. By then, the regulatory process will have lasted about five years.
If Keystone XL is approved before mid-year, Pourbaix said a late 2014 startup for the pipeline is possible.
Yes, but Warren Buffet, the Kenyan’s best friend, owns that dirty railroad that the pipeline would replace. Our economy is run in order to make money for backers of the Dem Party.
Of course Buffett owns the railroad!
Well, Warren Buffet owns the railroads, so sorry Canada, no pipeline.
The environmentalist whackos are caught between a rock and a hard place. Blocking the Keystone XL pipeline means not only will Canadian oil be shipped to the US by rail, but the Canadians will soon be loading that oil onto ships bound for China, whose environmental record is worse than abysmal. Railroad lines pass through cities and over rivers and streams so a single train derailment could mean even more environmental damage than any pipeline leak. The environmentalist whackos and Obama don’t want us to have cheap oil and instead run our economy on windmills, solar cells, corn ethanol, algae and unicorn farts none of which can possible ever meet our needs for energy. The Keystone pipeline means a reliable source of oil to run our economy that doesn’t come under the control of the oil sheiks AND thousands of jobs....nothing the Kenyan wants for America.
The end result of the protest, against a fuel because it takes too much energy to produce, results in more energy spent to bring it too market.
Not so brilliant...
“dirtier rail transport”
We all know how filthy dirty and dangerous tank cars are!
And I want to see one of those trains that passes right through the middle of population centers go off the tracks right in the middle of a town. Another great one would be a derail on a bridge across a big river. We would get to see how the back-up safety systems work out then.
Of course we know that trains never come off the tracks.
Trains are totally safe though... o’stoner’s butty told him so. The bastards are getting rich as croseus.
No Problem...the Obama administration is just waiting for an oil tanker derailment so can halt all rail transport of oil until an EPA "assessment" has been made....followed by new regulations to choke off the oil transport.
Now wait a minute...one of the railroad shipping companies advertises that it moves one ton of freight over 400 miles on one gallon of fuel. Doesn't sound real "dirty" to me!
Now, dangerous, that I can buy. Sooner or later the envirowhackos will find a way to derail or detonate a load so they can say "see, we told you it was dangerous"!
Why far more efficient than a truck, rail is about 1/3 efficient than a pipeline. And even more than three times as expensive.