Transport system can handle diluted bitumen

Oil industry representative responds to David Black's recent columns on the hazards of diluted bitumen and his Kitimat refinery proposal

Tug boats escort oil tanker through Second Narrows. Diluted bitumen has been shipped from Burnaby intermittently for more than 30 years.

Re: Columns by David Black, ‘The greatest threat to the B.C. environment in our lifetime’ (April 22) and ‘The Kitimat refinery proposal: safe pipelines, light fuels and B.C. jobs’ (April 28).

Continued safe marine and pipeline transport of hydrocarbons is in everybody’s interest so Canadians can realize value for resources and oil producers can continue to deliver jobs and economic benefits. No one wants a spill of any product at any time.

The performance track record over the past 50 years is good, but even still, work is ongoing to improve prevention and ensure producers, transportation companies and spill-responders have the best information available to manage products safely and make the best plans possible for response, containment and clean-up in the event of an incident.

Black’s articles incorrectly suggested the Canadian oil industry is not interested in the proposed refinery project and that transporting diluted bitumen is more risky than transporting other types of oil because of its chemical properties.

Fact is, oil producers are seeking increased access to existing and new markets – in Canada, the United States and internationally – to satisfy market demand for increasing Canadian oil production. All options to achieve that goal are worthy of study.

And diluted bitumen – oil sands bitumen diluted with natural gas liquids that allow it to flow – is no more dangerous than other types of crude oil.

Chemically, there’s nothing about diluted bitumen the transportation system cannot be prepared to manage. Whether it moves by pipelines or tankers, diluted bitumen meets all the same specifications and behaves the same as other crude oils.

Oil floats on water if it has an API gravity above water’s 10 degree API gravity. Diluted bitumen has an API gravity of 20-22 degrees. Any type of oil spilled in water, eventually “weathers” and can be driven below the surface by waves or currents. Diluted bitumen behaves the same way.

There have been several scientific studies completed on diluted bitumen. Earlier this year, the federal government released a research study that demonstrated diluted bitumen floats on salt water – even after evaporation and exposure to light.

The study was commissioned by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada as part of the government’s plan to implement a world-class prevention, preparedness and response regime for marine transportation. Results of the study will be used to inform spill responders and help guide more research.

Our industry is focused on responsible development of Canada’s resources. We welcome transparency on our safety and environmental performance, based on sound science.

As producers, we transport oil with care and attention at all times. We expect all transportation providers to deliver safe services in a responsible manner.

Greg Stringham

Vice President, Markets and Oil Sands

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Calgary

Just Posted

LETTER: Concerns about effects of Lark development

Impact on aquifer and ground movement must be considered

LETTER: Internet slow in Garnett Valley

I have a home office like many people and most of my work requires a much higher speed than 2.5 mbps

LETTER: OCP amendment should be considered carefully

Much of what should be discussed is dictated by your community plan and other support documents

LETTER: Thanks for support

Assistance following operation was appreciated

LETTER: Examining claims about development proposal

They are not interested in preserving the land. They are interested in preserving their view

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Team chaplain reflects on time with Silverbacks

Kenny Toews served as a mentor and spiritual leader to the team for six seasons

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

‘Miraculous that nobody was killed’

Tanker full of aviation fuel involved in Highway 3 crash

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Most Read