Letter: Transporting petroleum products to U.S.A. is inefficient

A Kelowna Capital News reader weighs in to the debate

To the editor:

In all of the Trans Mountain Pipeline debate, the inherent inefficiency of transporting unrefined Alberta bitumen to the U.S. and offshore nations for refinement seems to be lost. Moving bitumen, whether by rail, pipeline or marine vessels means moving extra weight and volume. Bitumen contains waste products such as sand, sulfur and toxins. It must be diluted with condensates to create diluted bitumen (dilbit) to become a flowable liquid. But this increases volume by 30 per cent or more, necessitating larger, more dangerous pipelines. And most condensates must be transported to bitumen mines for the dilution process, adding more inefficiencies and costs.

Does this make economic sense?

Why not refine oil sand resources where they are mined? We overcome many of the inefficiencies mentioned. We increase employment opportunities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northern B.C. We extract more tax revenue from thousands of well-paid Canadians engaged in the refining process. Piping dilbit offers few long-term employment opportunities for western Canadians.

Western Canada is suffering from a lack of Canadian refining capacity. Much of B.C.’s diesel and gasoline comes from Washington. Western Canada should ensure that it is not dependent on the U.S. for these products. Who knows what the Trump administration has in store for us.

And there is an environmental bonus to “refine it where we mine it!” Moving refined petroleum products through pipelines and marine transport is far less risky than moving dilbit. Refined products are more volatile and more disbursable. We know very little about how to contain a dilbit spill and the long-term environmental consequences. We know a lot more about spills of refined products and how to minimize their impacts.

I fault our federal government for investing $4.5 billion in the 70-year-old Trans Mountain Pipeline and a potential $10 billion expansion to export bitumen refining jobs to the U.S. and offshore companies. I fault them and the industry for not tackling the inherent inefficiencies. Why not invest in western Canada and western Canadian workers?

This makes economic sense.

Steve Burke

West Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rockets’ Nolan Foote traded to New Jersey Devils

The Devils acquired Foote and a 2020 first-round pick from the Lightning in exchange for Blake Coleman

Smalltown DJs to bring sounds of Shambhala and Bass Coast to Sapphire Nightclub

The Electronic Dance Music duo is known for their bass-heavy beats

The Coldest Night of Year walk returns to Kelowna Feb. 22

The event raises money for charities serving hungry, homeless and hurting people in the community

Rockets lose 3-2 to Rebels in close game

The Rockets are back in action on Monday when they host the Calgary Hitmen at Prospera Place

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read