David Suzuki: Screw the Environment! The Pipeline Will Hurt Our Economy — The Huffington Post – Canada
By: Dr. David Suzuki January 12, 2012
MY COMMENT — Dr. Suzuki easily destroys the house of cards arguments put up by some people and corporations supporting both the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline.
There are so many billions of dollars invested in the tar sands now and much of it has been invested by China, the U.S. and others, that there is no going back now. The tar-sands will be extracted every day for decades, unless the price of oil drops below the tar-sands extraction price.
My concern is a spill over pristine land or sea. For that reason, an oil pipeline with supertankers is out of the question. If tar sands product is going to be exported to China (it will be, trust me on this) an oil pipeline and supertankers are the absolute worst way to go. What makes way more sense is to highly upgrade the tar sand material to highly-refined ethane and send it to Kitimat by high-pressure gas pipeline. LNG tankers are innocuous compared to crude oil tankers! In case of accident, ethane evaporates (unless ignited) into the air instead of destroying thousands of miles of coastline and countless sea-life.
Even exporting the raw tar-sand itself — delivered by rail to the port and carried inside bulk carrier ships (the same way as coal is exported every day in BC) is light-years better than shipping crude oil!!
Exporting crude to China from Kitimat, really is the worst option of all the available choices.
My second comment on this same article by Dr. Suzuki:
OPEC could care less about Canada’s tar sands oil, or any other oil, anywhere. Regular readers of Middle Eastern newspapers and Middle East oil industry periodicals know that all the oil OPEC produces every day is already pre-sold — and a year-long waiting list is in place for any extra oil that may become available due to delivery cancellation or additions to supply from bulk oil stockpiles there.
Note: Not all OPEC countries are based in the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia produces about half of OPEC’s total.
Middle Eastern oil costs less, requires much less refining and is of higher quality than any oil in the world — except West Texas sweet crude which is the creme-de-la-creme of petroleum. Saudi oil is rated at about the same ‘sweetness’ as (North Sea) Brent intermediate crude oil which is tied with Saudi oil for 2nd place.
China buys 50% of all Saudi oil extracted and they would buy all of it — and a lot more if they could.
There is no competition between Canada and Saudi or other OPEC countries. If a glut suddenly appears due to market conditions, buyers always line up to purchase the ‘good’ crude as it is often cheaper especially when you factor in refining cost. ‘Sour’ crude sits until the market picks up again.
Here is a huge dump of information on the Saudi petrochemical industry for you in PDF form;