Oil pipelines

Oil pipelines – the pros and the cons

Refer to the article cited at the bottom of this post.

1. Oil is going to be shipped regardless. Period. The only question is how it is to be done while minimizing –

2. -the impact on the environment. The objective must be: zero spills anywhere, any time. This brings up the subject of –

3. -the technology, which will be very expensive. So be it. We’ve been under-pricing oil for at least 100 years. One observer suggested costs such as for three US fleets of warships protecting shipping routes should be included in the cost of every oil shipment. To automate the “no spills” demand, we’d need relays, radios, computers, software, and valving, the costs of all of which can be accurately determined and properly assigned to the right part of the system, i.e. charged to transporting oil. Alternatively, we can accept the huge, indeterminate, and tragic cost of destroying the wilderness. We must not – again – permit a huge and domineering oil industry to run our economy and our governments by, as the economists say, “externalizing their costs” so that someone else (guess who?) gets to pay them. See the book, Juhasz, Antonio, The tyranny of oil.

4. The justifiably strong political overtones will work their way out only when the pipeline proponents find a way to present their case as a result of scientifically sound, expertly interpreted, ethically, objectively, and responsibly based, believably costed, soundly engineered planning and management. They are several miles away from this today and are their own worst enemy. They need to reboot.

Bullet points:

* Spills. In this day and age, why should we have to put up with days of delay in shutting off a leak? As an engineer, I think immediately in terms of remote directional detectors and segmenting valves. This is because of my experience in long-line telephone/telegraphy, which is almost the same problem as pipelines.

* Conflict of Interest. Trans Canada keeps hiring consultancies whose work will, absolutely inevitably, be strongly influenced by the interests of TCP.

* Redactions should be simply inadmissible.

* Considerations of anthropological global warming should be excluded because it is a whole other subject on which the debate is emphatically not “over” despite the overblown screeches of the AGW crowd. If we get into AGW, we’ll never finish.

* Poor cost estimating by TCP. With experience as a cost estimator on multi-million dollar capital projects, I wouldn’t bet a nickel on TCP’s estimating.

* Bad history, right up to this current moment, of Enbridge and others re spills, should worry us.

* There is a recent report to the effect that railcar spills are four times as frequent as pipeline spills. This doesn’t make pipelines good, just not as bad, for spills. We should probably opt for pipelines.

* Eminent domain (E.D.). E.D. is bad enough when used by governments, and I am shocked to find that TCP tried to use it as a private company pretending to be acting as a Government arm. (E.D. is a principle whereby a government can, at the end of the day, do as it wishes with someone’s private property, such as expropriating it even at an artificially low value. I believe there is no appeal possible.)

* Filename PipelineOct15
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