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Thread: Oil Trains

  1. #1

    Default Oil Trains

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe...1881460/page1/

    Interesting to read the idea is actually less greenhouse gas intensive than pipelines.

    CN, CP eye shipping oil to West Coast

  2. #2
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    I wonder which has a better safety record.
    www.decl.org

    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  3. #3

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    ^Per below. Whats more important, saftey, local pollution, or greenhouses gasses?

    A PIPELINE ON RAILS

    Benefits

    Uses existing rail lines from Fort McMurray, Alta., to Prince Rupert, B.C., skirting opposition to Pacific crude exports via new pipeline(s).

    Low capital costs. Each 550-barrel tanker car costs roughly $100,000; given a 10-day transit time from Fort McMurray to the West Coast, 55,000 barrels per day of capacity would cost $100-million for 1,000 rail cars, running in 100-car trains every day. CN would also need to build a terminal on the coast, at a cost of $200-million to $500-million.

    Could be put in place quickly, and scaled up or down rapidly.

    Rail, by CN’s calculation, is less greenhouse-gas intensive than pipelines.

    Downsides

    Rail is generally less efficient than pipe on large volumes.

    Canadian oil patch is built around pipe. Shipping by rail would require creation of new facilities to on-load and off-load crude, creating potential logistical problems.

    Pipelines generally have a better safety record than rail lines.

    Is as vulnerable to a proposed tanker ship ban as a pipeline, since both would load onto ships.
    Last edited by moahunter; 24-01-2011 at 06:29 PM.

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    We may have a lot of Lake Wabamun like problems along the way. CN especially has a shaky record for derailments. They are now a US company and their maintenance track record is poor. Can you imagine spills in Jasper National Park and other prestine areas. I think they can do it with strict govt regulation and in the meantime build a pipeline as well. It's something that is very important to the future of Alberta as China will purchase all we could deliver I'm sure.

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    check your facts on "US Compnay"
    Still waiting for the Arlington site to be reborn .......

  6. #6

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    CN corp head office is in Montreal..
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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    I think the CEO is/was American. But that's not unusual. So was Donald Carty when he ran Canadian Airlines.
    ... gobsmacked

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    Great idea if we fill those cars with refined products, not bitumen. In addition to adding value in Alberta, more volatile products are much less environmentally persistent in the event of a spill.

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    Canadian National Railways - Definition


    Canadian National Railway ... CN also has extensive U.S. trackage running along the Mississippi River valley from ..... the company is no longer Canadian, being primarily owned by American stockholders.www.wordiq.com/definition/Canadian_National_Railways

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    It would be great to have the refining and secondary industry before exporting but then ottawa would likely come down hard on us for creating even more pollution so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, i think we should seperate...lol....i was surprised to read that eastern canada still imports most of their oil http://danny.damours.net/wordpress/c...n-oil-importer

  11. #11

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    ^it makes sense, it is cheap to ship oil. Eastern Canada is too far away to build a pipeline to (it would make more sense to pipe to West Coast if we ever had that, or to the Gulf of Mexico, then put on a ship to go to East coast).
    Last edited by moahunter; 26-01-2011 at 07:45 PM.

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    Ya, the Martin boys could ship the oil from Vancouver or Prince Rupert thru Panama and around flying their Liberian flags. I remember an incident at Sydney harbour (NS) when they returned from S. America with a large extra cache of "stuff" under the hull, it was gone from the news the next day. "Anybody could have put that there". It helps when your Pop is the PM. lol http://www.lufa.ca/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=4769 But that's a whole new topic. Corruption in Canada, especially in Quebec.
    Last edited by Drumbones; 27-01-2011 at 02:07 PM.

  13. #13

    Default ...oil-by-rail to Prince Rupert, B.C., in same quantity as Gateway

    Ill revive this thread:

    http://www.timescolonist.com/cn-feds...teway-1.633861

    OTTAWA - CN Rail, at the urging of Chinese-owned Nexen Inc., is considering shipping Alberta bitumen to Prince Rupert, B.C., by rail in quantities matching the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, documents show.

  14. #14

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    ^ this is why I never understood the opposition to building a pipeline. Shipping by rail is more risky of a disaster but the rail is already there and good luck telling cn or cp what they may ship. I knew that prolonged opposition to the pipeline would result in this. Someone choose a river to destroy between here and PG

  15. #15

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    I asked this in another thread, but I'll ask it again here; if you didn't dilute the bitumen to pipe into a tanker car but instead shovelled the molasses thick undiluted product into a water tight shipping container to ship over to China on a container ship to let them dilute and refine it on site, would that provide less of an environmental hazard then shipping a more refined product on a pipeline or via tanker cars?

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    I asked this in another thread, but I'll ask it again here; if you didn't dilute the bitumen to pipe into a tanker car but instead shovelled the molasses thick undiluted product into a water tight shipping container to ship over to China on a container ship to let them dilute and refine it on site, would that provide less of an environmental hazard then shipping a more refined product on a pipeline or via tanker cars?
    I would think this raises the cost of shipping it, plus removes the refining jobs from Canada.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    I asked this in another thread, but I'll ask it again here; if you didn't dilute the bitumen to pipe into a tanker car but instead shovelled the molasses thick undiluted product into a water tight shipping container to ship over to China on a container ship to let them dilute and refine it on site, would that provide less of an environmental hazard then shipping a more refined product on a pipeline or via tanker cars?
    I would think this raises the cost of shipping it, plus removes the refining jobs from Canada.
    I'd prefer to keep the refining jobs in Canada, too, but if we can't build enough refinery capacity to meet China's demand we'll probably ship out the unrefined product anyways, as we've done for years to the US. I agree stuffing thick sludge into the containers would cost more then pouring diluted liquid into tanker cars. I was wondering if undiluted bitumen sludge would be safer to transport then runny diluted liquid bitumen; if so, the environmental safety factor might be worth the cost. This could even apply to ocean shipping from Prince Rupert; if a container ship runs aground you shouldn't have as much leakage of the cargo compared to liquid tanker ship.

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    I would think that undiluted bitumen would weigh more, and it's my understanding that freight is charged by weight.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  19. #19

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    Environment, i would say the same polution- sticky tar. For employment wise, we're on verge of losing that to foerigners. That is not hearsay or conjecture ony my part.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    I would think that undiluted bitumen would weigh more, and it's my understanding that freight is charged by weight.
    True, it would weigh more and cost more to ship, but because its undiluted, the product itself should be worth more.

    I was thinking something like this asphalt shipping container; apparently you can heat the stuff up to make it more runny, squirt into the container, let it cool into relatively stable, slow moving goo for transport, ship on rail cars and then in a container ship, and then heat it up for extraction. You can even get a heater built into the container, if needed.

    Picture from the Alibaba listing:
    Quote Originally Posted by Alibaba
    Specifications

    1. 20ft and 40 ft are aviable 2. double shell and robust 3. multimodel transport 4. heat fast 5. Asphalt/Bitumen container

    Asphalt/Bitumen container
    The asphalt container is made up of no leakage inside case and sealed metal shell. It is shaped the same as the regular container.

    Features and technical data:
    Suitable for transport and storage of asphalt, asphalt emulsion, PMB and heavy oil;
    Match container semi-trailer and truck, ISO standard, ideal to match movable asphalt plant
    Stackable, space and freight saving

    Capacity:
    40ft asphalt container: 60000L
    20ft asphalt container: 24000L

    Ideal for sea, road and railway
    Direct heating (hot oil system is aviable)
    Heated

    Last edited by Ustauk; 23-09-2013 at 12:01 PM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctzn-Ed View Post
    Environment, i would say the same pollution- sticky tar.
    Shh, we don't use the T-word in this province I was wondering if the slow moving, thick leak of undiluted bitumen would represent less of a hazard then diluted bitumen leaking from a pipeline or tanker car. I though most of the issue with oil spills was how easily and rapidly the liquid spread out over top of a water course, or landscape, and the slow thick bitumen would make the spill site more concentrated and easier to clean up. Can someone from the industry inform us? Thanks.

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    The Chinese don't want all of the sand any more than we do. Which is why everyone wants the dilutment
    Still waiting for the Arlington site to be reborn .......

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline View Post
    The Chinese don't want all of the sand any more than we do. Which is why everyone wants the dilutment
    I didn't say ship the sand. I'm talking about shipping bitumen after its been extracted from the oil sand. After it is extracted, the thick bitumen is normally diluted(thinned) with naphtha to make it possible to flow through the pipelines at ambient temperatures. My questions is, if we ship the bitumen in its thick, undiluted form, would that make it less of an environmental hazard for rail shipping then shipping it in diluted, thinned form via tanker car or pipeline?

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    I also think we should be refining more bitumen here instead of trying to ship it, but if we have to ship it unrefined then a method that doesn't require diluent is definitely attractive. Spilling a mix of heavy and light hydrocarbons is an especially bad environmental scenario - the initial lower viscosity allows the mixture to disperse and penetrate into small cracks, then the light fraction evaporates and leaves the heavy goo behind. Light hydrocarbons only (ie. fully refined products) are less harmful because they will eventually fully evaporate, while raw bitumen would probably act a lot like asphalt and mostly stay put until it could be picked up.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    I also think we should be refining more bitumen here instead of trying to ship it, but if we have to ship it unrefined then a method that doesn't require diluent is definitely attractive. Spilling a mix of heavy and light hydrocarbons is an especially bad environmental scenario - the initial lower viscosity allows the mixture to disperse and penetrate into small cracks, then the light fraction evaporates and leaves the heavy goo behind. Light hydrocarbons only (ie. fully refined products) are less harmful because they will eventually fully evaporate, while raw bitumen would probably act a lot like asphalt and mostly stay put until it could be picked up.
    The bolded part above is exactly the question I was trying to get answered; thank you Titanium, sometimes I can be too verbose to make things clear.

    My thought, too, is that the ambient temperature bitumen should stay put like, well, asphalt on a road

    Can someone who works in the petroleum industry confirm Titanium and mine's supposition that ambient temperature bitumen won't be much of a spill hazard? We seem to ship it all over Edmonton without issue when moving it to pave roads. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ustauk View Post
    I asked this in another thread, but I'll ask it again here; if you didn't dilute the bitumen to pipe into a tanker car but instead shovelled the molasses thick undiluted product into a water tight shipping container to ship over to China on a container ship to let them dilute and refine it on site, would that provide less of an environmental hazard then shipping a more refined product on a pipeline or via tanker cars?
    I would think this raises the cost of shipping it, plus removes the refining jobs from Canada.
    One of the benefits of shipping by rail is you do not have to dilute. That is a considerable cost saving that makes it more competitive with a pipeline.
    “Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity,”-Marshall McLuhan

  27. #27

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    Note the propaganda below especially the last point and note that they are now even working on Natural Gas powered engines.

    "Each Evolution Series Locomotive has an annual positive GHG emission impact equivalent to removing 35 cars from the road or planting 55 acres of trees when compared to other heavy-haul freight locomotives operating today.
    • One 12-cylinder Evolution Series Locomotive can pull the equivalent of 170 Boeing 747 jetliners.
    • If every freight train in North America were pulled by an Evolution Series Locomotive, the annual reduction
    of smog-producing pollutants would be like removing 48 million cars from the road each year."

    http://www.getransportation.com/rail...ocomotive.html

  28. #28
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    ^ CN is running a pilot project out of Edmonton using natural gas powered locomotives. The problem is that the natural gas is kept in a tank car beside the locomotive instead of in a tank underneath. At CN, we call it the bomb train lol

  29. #29

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    Here's a Globe and Mail article on on the economics of shipping undiluted bitumen, in relation to shipping to Prince Rupert and as an alternative to the keystone pipeline.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Globe and Mail
    ...
    In a 2010 presentation, CN compares the estimated grams of carbon dioxide emitted in moving a barrel of bitumen one kilometre.
    ...
    For light oil, pipelines have significant advantages. But much of the oil flowing through Keystone XL will be heavy crude from the oil sands – and with heavy oil, rail may be better.

    Bitumen extracted from the oil sands is so thick – it’s thicker than peanut butter – that it can’t flow through pipelines on its own. Instead, it must be thinned with so-called diluent to make a product called diluted bitumen, which is typically 70 per cent bitumen and 30 per cent diluent. That diluent must then be carried back to the oil sands to thin the next batch of bitumen, which effectively doubles the amount of pipeline transport needed to move a single barrel of bitumen.

    Trains, on the other hand, are able to carry undiluted bitumen in cars that can be heated to make the bitumen flow, reducing the number of barrels that need to be moved around. That’s one advantage.

    Another: diluted bitumen is hard to pump through pipelines. It’s more dense than light oil and vastly more viscous, so it creates more friction as it moves. That, in turn, means it takes far more horsepower to get it through a pipeline. A pipeline engineer contacted by The Globe and Mail calculated that, compared to light oil, it would take 100 per cent to 130 per cent more energy to move a barrel of diluted bitumen through a pipeline the size of Keystone XL.

    In a train, the viscosity of oil makes virtually no difference to the ability to move it.

    “Pipelining heavy oil is like pushing a McDonald’s milkshake through a straw, whereas one of the issues with rail cars is that an empty one will actually move from just the wind – there is almost no friction from a steel wheel on a steel line,” said one executive involved with moving oil by rail.

    For that reason, CN has calculated that trains are the second-most efficient way of moving bitumen – worse than ships, but better than pipelines.
    The article also mentions how the likelihood of a spill from rail transport was much greater then that from a pipeline. If the ambient temperature consistency of raw bitumen is that of "molasses" or "thicker then peanut butter", then how fast would the leak from a container or rail car be? If it stays pretty much in place, then that seems to me to be intuitively less of a hazard then a pipeline leaking diluted bitumen, or worse, upgraded crude.

    If a container of bitumen is as stable as I suspect, we could quell a lot of the environmentalists concerns for polluting the coast by shipping it in containers all the way to China. If a ship runs aground, you may end up breaching a few containers, but the majority should stay put; thus, no Exon Valdez disaster off the BC coast. If the ship sinks in a storm, it would also simplify recovery. And it would also provide more flexibility for China as to where they could process the bitumen; they could ship the bitumen to anywhere in China without building a pipeline on their end. I'd rather refine the bitumen in Alberta, but if we don't have the capacity and are going to sell it to China anyways, this seems to be the safest way to ship it.

    Can someone who's worked with oil sand bitumen, asphalt to mix with pavement, or roofing tar post on what how stable it is when cold? Thanks.

  30. #30

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    According to the Daily Oil Bulletin, oil trains are alive and well in Alberta and throughout the rest of North America. It shouldn't be much of a stretch to send trains to Prince Rupert. Of course, one must take the article's information with a sack of salt, since the info is provided by CN and oil companies

    Quote Originally Posted by The Daily Oil Bulletin
    ...
    Regardless of new pipeline projects that come online in the years ahead, James Cairns, vice-president of petroleum and chemicals for Canadian National Railway Co., believes rail will prevail in the heavy crude transportation market for a long, long time.

    "Rail is never going to replace pipeline, but it's a big pie and rail is going to have a bite -- a slice of that pie," he told the TD Securities Calgary Energy Conference on Tuesday.

    "Rail is now not just an afterthought as in, 'Well it's kind of a neat idea, so let me think about it more.' Rail is now an engrained part of the supply chain for crude oil. I believe it's going to be around for a long time, especially when you talk about a heavy barrel."

    According to Cairns, the "first wave" of the modern crude-by-rail movement came with the increased Bakken activity in North Dakota, which required immediate takeaway capacity and rail infrastructure was able to accommodate when pipelines were lacking.

    He said rail offers an advantage with its deep reach into heavy oil-producing regions, and because of its ability to get product to market. He added the fact diluent is not needed with rail transportation is a cost saving for oilsands producers.
    ...
    For a large company with pipeline infrastructure already carrying product to a major hub, Cairns said it might not make sense to use rail, but rail is exceptionally useful for new, smaller producers needing to haul bitumen.

    An example of one company taking advantage of rail transportation for its bitumen products is Grizzly Oil Sands, which also presented at yesterday's conference.

    "We've got a 10-year rail rate with CN now, with a fixed escalator," John Pearce, chief executive officer for the company, said during an afternoon session. "And it's a variable volume of crude, so we can ship 5,000 bbls a day or 500,000 bbls a day, and we know what our rates are."

    According to Pearce, his company is building a car loading site near its operations in Conklin, Alta., which will be an open terminal other companies in the area can use as well. His company is also working on an offloading facility in southern Louisiana.
    ...
    Economics aside, Cairns said rail is also a safe way to transport bitumen, because it can be shipped in a relatively natural, benign form.

    "One thing I love about neat bitumen, just from a safety and security standpoint, is the high flash point. It's not very flammable. There's also low specific gravity, so it's not very flowable. Those are two things you're really worried about with safety and security," he said, adding safety is "engrained in our DNA" at CN.

    "We have a responsibility for the people who work for our company and the people who live in the communities where we operate to run a safe railroad, to make sure nobody gets hurt, everybody goes home at night, and that we protect the environment."

    However, while Cairns discussed the safety aspect of hauling bitumen by rail during the Tuesday luncheon, he would not discuss last week's derailment and explosion of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train carrying crude at Lac-Mégantic, Que."I think the time for that [discussion] is going to come. The time to reflect and the time for introspection to ask 'What could we have done different as an industry,' that will come, but today is not that day."
    ...
    Gibson is in the development stages of a unit train loading facility on a CP Rail line at Hardisty, Alberta, Stewart Hanlon, president and chief executive officer of Gibson, told the TD Securities Calgary Energy Conference. In the joint venture with U.S. Developments it is in the process of contracting for long-term takeaway capacity for the largely merchant (third-party) contracted facility and hopes to be in a position to announce the sanctioning in the coming weeks, he said. "We are very excited about that prospect."

    The company sees its Hardisty terminal, where it also 166 acres of undeveloped land along with 3.7 million bbls of existing storage and 2.3 million bbls under construction, as a tremendous place to be developing such a facility because it believes the long-term success of crude-by-rail is around its optionality. "That means making sure you get the right barrel to the right marketplace at the right time," said Hanlon.
    ...
    At its Edmonton complex, Gibson has two large loading racks on the CN and CP Rail mainlines. It has about 45 acres of undeveloped land and currently is in various stages of discussions and negotiations with customers for development projects.

    Edmonton is an important aggregation and marshalling area for condensate, which will be shipped north for use in bitumen diluent, he said. There also will be the need for large-scale tankage as the diluted bitumen is delivered back to Edmonton. The company is in a good position to take advantage of that along with the existing rail facilities and the land it has available to develop additional rail facilities, analysts heard.

    "We think that crude on a rail car is an enhancement or an enabler for continued growth and production within the WCSB," said Hanlon.

    Just south of Fort McMurray, work on Keyera's operated South Cheecham terminal is well underway and will be commissioned later this year, David Smith, president and chief operating officer, told the conference. The terminal is being developed with Enbridge Inc.

    While Keyera initially saw it as an appropriate site for bringing in diluent, the producers quickly convinced it to build in the capability to load out diluted bitumen, said Smith. "In the first phase of the project we will do both; we can bring in condensate by rail and load out diluted bitumen by rail," he said. "Our key anchor tenant for the first phase is Statoil and they are pretty excited about the capabilities that we will have."

    Smith said Keyera also is looking at the possibility of putting in a diluent recovery unit at Cheecham as a way of recovering the diluent from the blend and recycling it to meet the demand in the area and then shipping undiluted bitumen in heated rail cars to the intended destination.

    At its Alberta Diluent Terminal in the Edmonton area, Keyera is looking at other potential uses, including loading out crude oil, in addition to offloading condensate used as a diluent for bitumen. It's a great site because of its expansion capability and location on both the CN and CP mainlines, he said. The company also is looking at the possibility of some rail terminal investment at its Josephburg terminal in the Fort Saskatchewan area.

    Keyera's intent at ADT and South Cheecham is not to move its own barrels, Smith emphasized. "We are simply providing the service and providing the terminals so that the producers or the refiners who are interested in utilizing that capacity have a place to load and offload."

    The company also has rail terminal facilities capable of moving natural gas liquids at its Rimbey, Gilby and Nevis gas processing plants in central Alberta. The Rimbey plant can move propane or butane to anywhere in North America, he said. "And that rail terminal has become busier and busier over the last couple of years."

    Keyera also recently acquired a mothballed rail facility at Hull in East Texas, near the Mount Belvieu NGL hub. "We focused all of this activity and investment in Western Canada and we realized it was important also to look at the other end of the value chain and the Gulf Coast of the U.S. is one of the key areas for natural gas liquids and crude oil movements and it felt appropriate to us that we had ... a catcher's mitt for the pitches and a pitcher's mound for the catcher's mitt we had in South Cheecham."
    After Lac-Mégantic, if the CN executive is telling the truth and not blowing smoke, I'd rather have them moving the slow flowing, not easily burnable undiluted bitumen then either diluted bitumen or unrefined crude. From the sound of it, there's a mix of everything out there on the tracks, and I hope someone's keeping an eye on things.

    If Nexen or another oil sands company does decide to ship bitumen overseas via Prince Rupert, I think it should be in the form of shipping containers full of undiluted bitumen plucked straight off rail cars. That way, if a ship were to capsize in a storm or run aground, it would keep the bitumen in discreet readily availble packets for recovery, with only a few of the containers breached rather then a giant tank.

    Given Alison Redford and Christy Clark seem to be developing a good working relationship, we might see rail or pipeline shipments to BC sooner then we think.

  31. #31

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    Quite interesting...

    Did the State Department Fail Obama on Keystone XL? - Businessweek
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...keystone-xl#p1

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles...one-xl#r=hp-ls

  32. #32

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    A bit of an old article here, but I understand Kinder Morgans Terminal on Refinery row is on track for opening, due to start in December. Initially 100k barrels, it will grow to 225k, half of the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/busin...402/story.html

  33. #33

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    Alberta Primetime has an interview with a fellow from Innotech Alberta and CN about using plastic coated bitumen pucks for transport. Then density of the puck allows it to float, and the bitumen is a solid mass in the plastic, so it will stay floating and not leak even if the puck was cut open. Cleanup in the event of a spill amounts to picking them up with a net. The pucks themselves are designed to be transported using open top bulk cars into bulk cargo ships, like coal, so they're designed to withstand the force of being flung by a conveyor belt into the hold of a ship or rail car, and to survive the weight of a 50 meter high stack of their brethren above them. The plastic coating is seperated from the bitumen using extreme heat, and readily gravity separates for recycling. If they could get this to work, we could use the process to ship across tidewater from almost any port in a safe manner. We could even bypass BC and Quebec entirely and ship through Churchill in the summer They're planning on doing a full prototype. Hopefully they can prove the viability of the process, as it would give us a good and safe supplement to pipelines.

  34. #34

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    Very interesting information Ustauk. I hope they make it work. Maybe they could even fly them as air cargo. lol. EIA would be busy then.

  36. #36

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    Its might be neat technology for oil sands producers who are not connected to pipelines.

    But many are connected to pipelines and send bitumen to Edmonton with diluent. At that point of receipt of dilbit near Edmonton, I'm not sure how this technology helps - i.e. can it transform dilbit or just bitumen? if it could transform dilbit (such that the diluent needed for pipeline transport down to Edmonton can be extracted when its refined further down the chain), I'd imagine that's even more useful. But how much energy is needed for the transformation into the pellets?

    The rail facilities around Edmonton have been exploring diluent recovery units. However these units would be very expensive, basically, a mini refinery (or an extension to an existing refinery) which would take the valuable diluent out of the dilbit, allowing more bitumen to be loaded onto rail / improving economics. The problem is the cost of a dru - with pipelines pending its questionable if any company is willing to put down the 1 or 2 billion needed - there is basically a window of opportunity until about 2020/21, but that is a very short payback period. Also - anytime you are doing more of what is essentially "refining", then you run into more emission issues, which now days can mean years of permit problems before you can even build it, again an issue given the short window (assuming the 3 major pipelines all get built).
    Last edited by moahunter; 26-01-2018 at 07:48 AM.

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    It might be interesting technology for oil sands producers whose production and revenue are constrained by pipeline capacity. It is a huge assumption that pipelines get built.

  38. #38

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    ^^
    In the video I posted above, they mention the process would be competitive in price in comparison to adding and extracting diluent. They didn't mention the CO2 required in creation and extraction of the Canapux, but I imagine there is some energy involved in extracting the diluent, too.

    Why would you use this process instead of pipelines? Pipeline capacity is still at a premium, and mostly locks you into the North American crude price. Some of the costs of converting the bitumen and shipping it by rail instead of a pipeline can be offset if you could send bitumen anywhere on the planet. Energy-hungry China may be willing to pay more then the States for example. You could load the Canapux on railcars, ship them to Vancouver, Churchill, or Thuder Bay, and then haul them on any number of bulk freighters to China. Tidewater access is critical for us to wean us of of Yankee dependence, and this process could give us that opportunity.

  39. #39

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    Moahunter has a vested personal interest in keeping pipelines front & centre (along with the restoration of a PC-style socialized-losses-privatized-profits regulatory framework for O&G), so keep that in mind whenever he starts beating his drum.
    Giving less of a damn than ever… Can't laugh at the ignorant if you ignore them!

  40. #40

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    ^some companies own rail terminals in Edmonton and pipelines. I just thought the technology is interesting, and pointed out other rail investments are being looked at (to create neatbit), this isn't the only rail technology available, and probably isn't the one that would be implemented in Edmonton, unless it can do dilbit. It looks like its more something that might happen up north at an oil sands site that isn't pipeline connected, and at a downstream refinery somewhere else like the US or the Canadian East Coast.

    http://www.jwnenergy.com/article/201...a-environment/

    https://ca.reuters.com/article/busin.../idCAKCN0XO2R8

    ^^I think there will always be an important role for rail to fill niche needs (e.g. a refinery on the coast not connected to pipelines, or an oil sands plant without pipeline access), and this could be a useful technology for that if it can be proven cost effective. It is going to depend on if that niche is big enough - clearly CN think so.
    Last edited by moahunter; 26-01-2018 at 09:52 AM.

  41. #41

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    ^ you seem to have insider knowledge into that, am I correct? (some companies - ie the one you are employed by, by chance?!)

  42. #42

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    https://energi.news/canada/crude-tra...an-oil-prices/

    Somewhat related, but seems CP (probably CN too) isn't willing to pick up transportation slack without long term contracts.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Its might be neat technology for oil sands producers who are not connected to pipelines.

    But many are connected to pipelines and send bitumen to Edmonton with diluent. At that point of receipt of dilbit near Edmonton, I'm not sure how this technology helps - i.e. can it transform dilbit or just bitumen? if it could transform dilbit (such that the diluent needed for pipeline transport down to Edmonton can be extracted when its refined further down the chain), I'd imagine that's even more useful. But how much energy is needed for the transformation into the pellets?

    The rail facilities around Edmonton have been exploring diluent recovery units. However these units would be very expensive, basically, a mini refinery (or an extension to an existing refinery) which would take the valuable diluent out of the dilbit, allowing more bitumen to be loaded onto rail / improving economics. The problem is the cost of a dru - with pipelines pending its questionable if any company is willing to put down the 1 or 2 billion needed - there is basically a window of opportunity until about 2020/21, but that is a very short payback period. Also - anytime you are doing more of what is essentially "refining", then you run into more emission issues, which now days can mean years of permit problems before you can even build it, again an issue given the short window (assuming the 3 major pipelines all get built).
    I don’t see the window necessarily closing if it is economical it could encourage more production. Production from the oil sands is limitless pipeline construction is not.
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