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Keystone pipe dream, or pipeline?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 8420

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not think more out of the box? Instead of shipping crude by pipeline or rail, why not build the necessary refinery capability near the source of major mining or drilling operations? No doubt about it, we need a next generation of refineries that are far cleaner and designed for the needs of the 21th century and beyond. Think about the wealth of real jobs that would create. Of course, that doesn't necessarily make it easier for the oil companies that want to keep centralized operations in the Gulf states and potentially profit from refined oil exportation. But, when it comes down to development of crucial resources that affect our national interests and security, why leave it up to the oil companies to call all the shots?
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nw30



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 4190
Location: The eye of the universe, Cen. Cal. coast

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All that would do is to change the end product which would still need to be moved, unless all of us car owners would have to go to a refinery for a fill up.
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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 5715
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chandler...for your answer, check the news of the day in nearby Torrance...and NW's right. The logical place for refineries is where water and rail meet.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 8420

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tell me about all the pipelines we have for moving refined regular, mid-grade and premium gasoline to local gas stations.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9613

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chandler—one of the challenges of the extractive industries has always been that they pull the resources out of an area, but the jobs are generally elsewhere. I agree with NW and Boggs that the oil needs to be transported to the refineries. It is hard enough to put together the economics and/or regulatory system for a common carrier for the oil. A stream of different products, from different extractors, would be much more difficult.

The irony of all of this stems from the up is down world of journalism in the Murdoch era. The oilies got out first with the message that this derailing—the third of the weekend, but the most explosive-- is an argument for pipeline transport. Kind of approve Keystone now. (more on that below) That became the rebuttable talking point, even by Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night. Everyone seems to have missed the fact that unsafe methods of transporting oil are a direct product of the Republican mania for deregulation, and in particular the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act passed in 2005—commonly called the Haliburton exemption—at the behest of Cheney. Techno doubles down by finding a way to blame Obama for oil safety issues. Up is truly down in the strange bubble of the right.

It’s interesting to poke around a bit on the business side of the Bakken discovery. It seems to me, from what I have found so far, that the mineral rights have largely been obtained, in huge chunks, from private property owners, not from publicly owned land. See http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ayj1uo_gdNI4. Some public land is coming into consideration for lease, as of 2011, but this appears to be at least initially a small operator, private property operation. Continental Resources Inc. has 487,000 acres of leases, EOG has 320,000 acres, and Petro-Hunt LLC and Marathon Oil are other big players. With no Federal land being leased, and the free pass to fracking under the 2005 amendments, the regulatory role of the Federal government is limited. There is no federal handle to require pipeline transport, so regulation is left to the National Transportation Safety Board. There is a loophole established in 1996 in their regulatory structure for oil transport—in part because it was so minor in scope. No more, oil transport from this Bakken find has increased 40-fold. Production is now at 1.3 million barrels per day, 90% transported by rail.

North Dakota has not taken an aggressive role in regulating the operations—big money speaks loudly. Recently they have proposed regulations for reducing the volatility of the crude, presumably by filtration—but those regulations have been fought by the oil industry.

By the way, I found that there is a connection, albeit tiny, to Keystone. The final supplemental EIS (boy, had I missed some fun reading) projects 65,000 barrels per day from the Bakken—when and if the pipeline is every built. Yes, boys and girls, that is about 5%. Should solve all problems, and Obama just needs to get on with it.

Now for the loony righties who actually want to see responsible development of resources, look back at my post on January 26. Done right, oil can be obtained safely by fracking and transport, whether by pipeline or rail. You need a credible and transparent regulatory system to do so—the system that the Bush oilies worked so hard to dismantle.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 2803

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted for Mac's benefit:
Quote:
Should you chose to respond (no doubt about that), let's discuss rail safety, not rail car safety or rail car content volatility.

Of course, he responded, but was there anything about rail transport safety? NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't think it could have been any more simple, but nevertheless, it still went over Mac's head.

Mac said:
Quote:
The oil industry immediately spun the explosion of rail-transported Bakken crude into an advertisement for the Keystone pipeline, and without any thought you bit.


I saw a piece on the news about the derailment and explosion that also included a short history of the other derailments in the recent past. I alone came to the conclusion that rail safety IS an issue and that pipelines seem to be a better way to transport crude. I smile when you create a story explaining my motivation that suits your agenda, but has little or nothing to do with what I am saying. It is quite bizarre.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9613

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Techno, ginned up by the oil company talking points, decides that it's all about rail safety and it's Obama's fault:

Quote:
Maybe true, so where has Obama been on this issue for the last 6 years? Instead of fighting Keystone, maybe he should have been working on rail safety regulations.


Any Executive can only develop regulations on matters that Congress creates policies for implementation. The scope of rail safety policy is pretty limited. The NTSB has only the ability to make recommendations, something that it has already done on rail transport of oil. But there are no laws that mandate improved safety. Is Techno going to find a Republican that would propose such a law?

From the NTSB web site, what they can do:

Quote:
On the basis of the investigations conducted by this office, the NTSB issues safety recommendations to federal and state regulatory agencies, industry and safety standards organizations,


As I said, the opposition of current Republicans to health and safety regulations is the root cause of this problem.

Of course, Obama's role is not to "fight Keystone"--a word choice that illustrates Techno's bias, but to make sure the pipeline siting complies with the governing laws, and to determine whether approval is in the national interest. The role of the Republicans in the Congress appears to be to leap to conclusions without bothering with facts.

And that approval, if it comes, would leave 95% of the Bakken oil still transported by trains that weren't designed for this purpose. But it's Obama's fault in your bubble.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9613

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for Techno, a little nostalgia. Mac said, on this thread on June 23, 2013:

Quote:
First, it is better to ship the Canadian tar sands oil by pipeline than by trucks and rail, as it is now being shipped.


Goes double for Bakken. But no Republican will require it.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 2803

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally, mac's brain come into focus and discusses the topic at hand.

Mac posted:
Quote:
Techno, ginned up by the oil company talking points, decides that it's all about rail safety and it's Obama's fault:

I also find it interesting that NO one on the right can make an individual assessment on their own. We all simply just regurgitate talking points. What I say is what I believe. If my own thoughts parallel right wing talking points - so be it. Mac needs to compare his post with left wing talking points, and if he is introspective enough, he just might see a parallel.

And by the way, I didn't blame the lack of rail safety on Obama, I just asked what if anything he had done to make improvements? Mac's response: "Any Executive can only develop regulations on matters that Congress creates policies for implementation." So we are to believe that there was nothing he could have done? I wonder if he ever had a discussion with anyone in congress about the issue? I wonder if he ever read any NTSB reports? Is there any reason rail safety would not be a bipartisan issue? Is congress to blame? Probably so, but leadership involves more than waiting for bills to be signed or vetoed.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9613

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Topic at hand: approval of Keystone pipeline. Techno takes an oblique shot at it by describing Obama as opposing it and suggesting that he should have been working on rail safety instead of a safe route for the Keystone. Does this parallel right wing talking points? You betcha.

Here's the commentary by API, who fought regulation of vapor pressure safety measures:

Quote:
The American Petroleum Institute, the leading voice for the oil industry, declined to comment on whether high vapor pressure might have played a role in West Virginia.

"What we need to do now is allow the accident investigators to do their jobs," said Brian Straessle, a spokesman for the trade group.

In the past twelve months, API and the North Dakota Petroleum Council have argued that the dangers of vapor pressure are exaggerated, citing self-funded studies that indicate vapor pressure readings are safe.

Starting in April, North Dakota oil producers will have to tame vapor pressure dangers as part of a statewide plan to reduce dangers on the tracks.


What is of interest, and was clear in early reports, is that these are the "safer" cars under voluntary measures taken by the industry:

Quote:
The train's tanks were a newer model — the 1232 — designed during safety upgrades voluntarily adopted by the industry four years ago. The same model spilled oil and caught fire in Timmins, Ontario on Saturday, and last year in Lynchburg, Virginia.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/02/18/west-virginia-oil-train-1-3-that-recently-derailed-with-tank-cars-meeting-safer/

So I guess we don't need any of that stinking regulation that conservatives have been fighting, the industry will take care of things with voluntary measures, eh? API thinks any further safety measures would be unreasonable:

Quote:
"This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail," said Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

But industry officials say upgrading further from the 1232 cars would be too costly. The Railway Supply Institute says an estimated $7 billion has already been spent to put 57,000 of these cars into service.

"We have billions invested in tank cars," Bob Greco, a senior official with the American Petroleum Institute, told The Associated Press in July. "Every day new, modern 1232 tank cars are coming into service."

Oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana, where pipeline limitations force 70 percent of the crude to move by rail, according to American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
(also Fox)

Making it clear that these voluntary guidelines are a case of the Fox (curious coincidence) watching the hen coop, this from late 2014 from the API website:

Quote:
The American Petroleum Institute published a new set of recommended practices Friday for testing and classifying crude oil for rail shipment and loading it into rail tank cars. The recommend practices provide guidance on a host of issues including procedures for testing and classifying crude and criteria for determining how frequently tests should be undertaken and documented.


Finally, on what Obama should have been doing. The Federal government had almost no role in the approvals that led to the dramatic increase in rail shipments of oil. The projects were approved by State's, not the Federal government. All of the rail routes are in place--that is, fully permitted and vested to continue existing activities. So there was nothing in the normal course of this increase--particularly given the Republican Congress action in 2006 at the behest of the Bush administration--to exempt the increase in fracking from regulation under the Clean Water and Safe Drinking acts.

I repeat, this is the direct result of deliberate Republican policies to eliminate regulations that protect public health and the environment.

Maybe it is time for mrgybe to weigh in and blame it on the enviros, or perhaps he can blame the explosion at the Exxon refinery in Torrance--near where I went to school--on Obama.
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