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

Take-home naloxone may be replacing 911 calls in Fraser Health area

Naloxone kits handed out up 29% over 2017, ambulance calls and emergency visits down 22-24%, deaths hold steady

UPDATE: Anonymous tip leads DFO night patrol to Fraser River poachers

Charges pending after poachers arrested at night while fishing, 48 sockeye, harbour seal seized

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

Hope filmmaker showing back-to-back documentaries Thursday

B.C. premiere of Edna’s Bloodline to be shown, followed by local historical doc Canyon War

Two RiverMonsters to represent at weekend swim championships

Swimmers Eli Reist and Violette Freimark heading to Aug. 13 to 19 competition in Surrey

Happy birthday Boler: An anniversary gathering of the cutest campers in Winnipeg

Hundreds of the unique trailers in Winnipeg to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Manitoba invention

Reported home invasion led to seven arrests in Maple Ridge

Port Coquitlam home invasion suspects tracked to Albion neighbourhood

Tim Hortons says its China expansion will include menu with congee, matcha

Coffee chain plans to open 1,500 stores in Asia over the next decade

How to help B.C. wildfire victims

Donations being taken by many organizations, BC Hydro waiving bills

5 to start your day

Mt. Hicks fire near Agassiz 15% contained, man dead in Surrey motorcycle incident and more

Two 23-year-old men die in separate Surrey motorcycle crashes in three days

One man died Thursday night after his motorcycle crashed on Highway 10, and another man died following a Tuesday crash

Whole city of Kimberley on an evacuation alert due to wildfires

Residents woke up Friday morning being told to get ready to leave any moment

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

Most Read