Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Compound is far more corrosive to pipelines

Bitumen, commonly referred to as "dirty oil," has many concerned over its environmental impact on the petrochemical industry. Far more corrosive than regular crude oil, bitumen poses a hazard to traditional oil pipelines.

The oil industry maintains that bitumen is safe, but the danger of transporting it is one of the reasons there is so much opposition to the Keystone pipeline expansion.

The oil industry maintains that bitumen is safe, but the danger of transporting it is one of the reasons there is so much opposition to the Keystone pipeline expansion.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Business & Economics

Keywords: Bitumen, dirty oil, transportation, pipeline, Canada


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The United States currently imports over half a million barrels a day of bitumen from Canada's oil sands region. The amount of bitumen transported to the U.S. is set to grow to over 1.5 million barrels, nearly 10 percent of the country's current consumption. Imports are set to triple over the next decade, raising concerns over the environmental impact of extracting it and whether pipelines can safely transport this Canadian oil.

A heavy, tar-like oil, bitumen needs to be heavily processed in order to be turned into lighter, easier to refine, crude oil. As the oil is so thick, in order to make it more fluid and easier to move by pipeline, bitumen gets diluted with natural gas liquids.

The oil industry maintains that bitumen is safe, but the danger of transporting it is one of the reasons there is so much opposition to the Keystone pipeline expansion.

"We've got all this unconventional crude, and we're completely unprepared for it," Michael Marx, a senior campaign director at the Sierra Club says, adding that bitumen is "definitely more dangerous" than regular oil.

Marx says bitumen is not only more abrasive than traditional crude; it's 15 to 20 times more acidic.

The Sierra Club put out a report demonstrating that pipelines in Alberta, where bitumen is commonly transported, had 16 times the number of leaks than pipelines in the United States, which generally don't carry it.

When bitumen does leak, environmentalists say it's harder to clean up, because unlike regular oil, they say it's heavier than water, meaning it will sink to the bottom of lakes, rivers or bays.

"We just don't have the technical sophistication to vacuum oil off the bottom of a river," he said.

Bitumen currently comes into this country via a pipeline running from Alberta to Wisconsin and in the original Keystone pipeline that terminates in Illinois.

Canada says it is planning on vastly increasing the amount of oil and bitumen that it gets out of its oil sands region. To get that oil out, more infrastructures needs to be built.

Some ideas call for pipelines to Canada's West Coast, to the Atlantic Coast through New England, and an expansion of rail lines. However, all of these routes would pass through sensitive ecological areas.

Canada's oil industry vehemently rejects the "dirty oil" moniker, saying it is more energy and water intensive than some forms of light crude, but not more so than many of the other heavy oils used in the Untied States from places like Mexico, Venezuela or California.

The pipeline industry says transporting bitumen isn't any more dangerous than transporting regular crude, pointing to other studies that show it's not any more abrasive or corrosive to pipelines.

The Alberta-to-U.S. bitumen pipeline leak comparison is not accurate, they claim, because Alberta uses a different metric to measure pipeline leaks.

More importantly, the industry says the pipeline companies would not agree to carry this stuff if it really was destroying their systems.

"No pipeline operator would want to spend billions of dollars to transport something their pipeline can't handle," Andy Black, president of the U.S.-based Association of Oil Pipe Lines says.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Business & Economics

Made in the U.S.A.: Lincoln Logs come back home just in time for the holidays Watch

Image of Consumers are preferring 'Made in the U.S.A.' products over those produced overseas.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lincoln Logs, a classic American toy invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, has been a popular iconic toy for many years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The toy is made out of 100 percent real wood, cut straight from tree logs during the manufacturing process. For ... continue reading


OPEC's bust is America's boom! Why cheap oil is a friend to America Watch

Image of Falling oil prices have caused a great deal of pain among OPEC countries, but the group won't cut production until three months after oil drops below $40 a barrel.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The price of a barrel of oil continues to plunge, bringing with it an economic boon to motorists and headaches and potential layoffs to oil producers in the U.S. and around the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Currently the price of a barrel of oil is ... continue reading


Is OPEC over and done with? Bank of America makes startling predictions Watch

Image of OPEC is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Bank of America, the OPEC oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense. Furthermore, crude prices will drop to $50 a barrel over the coming months. This might mean relief at the pump - but this isn't necessarily a good thing, officials warn. ... continue reading


Sears no longer where America shops: 235 stores to close shortly Watch

Image of Analysts called the move a step in the right direction for the company, which has been tapping into its real estate in creative ways to compensate for downward-spiraling sales.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Few retailers are as American as Sears, one of its former and most popular taglines being "Where America Shops." That's no longer the case, as Wal-Mart has long seized that throne. It was a heavy heart that Sears announced that 235 under-performing stores would ... continue reading


36-year-low: Labor participation in the U.S. lowest since 1978 Watch

Image of The year 1978 was marked by the non-ironic use of disco music by Americans who blasted it on the radio to shake their groove things.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

The year 1978 was marked by the non-ironic use of disco music by Americans who blasted it on the radio to shake their groove things. Another, far less nostalgic reminder of the year has been offered up by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: The labor force ... continue reading


Reflects very badly on U.S.: China is now world's largest economy Watch

Image of How did this happen? As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

In the great car rental war that was between Hertz and Avis back in the 1960s, Avis took pride in the fact that they were behind Hertz with the saying: "We're Number Two - so we try harder!" It seems like the United States didn't try hard enough, as for the ... continue reading


Falling oil prices have helped the U.S. economy and revitalized the spending power of the American consumer Watch

Image of The continuing decline in the price of crude oil has brought numerous benefits to the American consumer and the U.S. economy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The recent plummet of oil prices have drained hundreds of billions of dollars from oil-rich exporters and oil companies but has injected a critically needed boost to the faltering economies in Europe and parts of Asia, but more directly to the American consumer, ... continue reading


Internet retail giant Amazon switches to a ROBOT workforce of thousands Watch

Image of Before anyone accuses Amazon of laying off human workers in order to facilitate automation, it must be noted that the company is opening more shipping centers and hiring 80,000 seasonal workers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Internet retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is handling "Cyber Monday" - the online shopping rush that usually occurs on the Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend - all in stride. Anticipating a new influx of customers, Amazon has upgraded and expanded its ... continue reading


Is Apple about to hit $1 trillion? Not if Google has anything to say about it Watch

Image of While Apple dominates the smartphone market, some suspect that its heavy reliance on products will lead to its downfall to companies who offer more services and software.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Silicon Valley tech giant Apple may one day be worth more than a trillion. Just for a second think about how massive that is. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The maker of mac computers, iPods, iPhones and more is already worth more than $670 billion, and has a $260 ... continue reading


Feet on the desk - more and more Americans simply don't want to work anymore Watch

Image of Pew Research says that 39 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds don't want to work, up a substantial amount from 29 percent in 2000.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly four in 10 Americans, or 92 million, are not in the labor force. Many are unemployed for no fault of their own. Many others have simply stopped looking for work. Why? The reasons are complex. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The largest group of people ... continue reading


All Business & Economics News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter