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Old 07-31-2012, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 900,163 times
Reputation: 957
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Your definition of feasible could use some work.

An average tanker railcar is about 30,000 US Gallons. Northern Gateway is expected to flow 500,000+ bbl/d (Barrels of oil per day)

1 Barrel = 42 Gallons

500,000 bbl = 21,000,000 gallons

21,000,000 gallons / 30,000 = 700 rail cars. Train length is about 120-150 cars. So you're looking at five two mile+ long trains a day, every day just to compete with the pipeline.

Beside the fact that there isn't enough rail capacity to support that much freight, or the infrastructure at either end, what do you think the environmental hurdles are for something like that v. a pipeline that can be buried and protected?

We're also missing the pipeline capacity and infrastructure on one end. What is a damning argument against rail movement is apparently no issue to pipeline development. I'd be curious to know, however, how much of an expansions we'd need to accommodate that much traffic and what the cost would be. Hence the prefacing of "feasible" with "might be".

The environmental hurdles to putting in rail are considerably less, particularly as much of it could conceivably be built through existing transportation corridors. Since an assessment is required for both pipelines and railways built along new right of ways, the ability to build most infrastructure into or alongside existing right of ways would lessen the scope of the assessment considerably.

More importantly, even if you were to use entirely new right of ways for the entire system, the Environmental Assessment process allows for public input, and the public perception of rail compared to that of pipelines is considerably more favourable, and I doubt any pushback from fringe environmental groups nor obstinate Native bands would gain much public support.

As for actual environmental impact, I do have some reservations about some areas of buried pipeline. In particular, I've never been a fan of running pipe through predominantly organic soils, like those found on the furthest areas of the west coast, as they can be quite acidic, depending on the parent material underneath (limestones and basalts are less so, granite more so). There are some Brunisolic soils along the western edge of the Rocky Mountains that I'm also not particularly thrilled with, in terms of pipeline use. As they're generally very coarse (they range from sands to cobbles) they leach much faster than the soils to the east of the Mountains, which tend to be heavier clays. Fast leaching soils over a shallow aquifer could be a potential environmental nightmare.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
2,796 posts, read 4,804,704 times
Reputation: 2717
The basic logistics of building an additional rail line through three mountain ranges, finding adequate space in Vancouver for a terminal (if we're utilizing existing line right of ways) never mind the actual cost of rolling stock make the operation cost prohibitive. I doubt you'll find a rail company willing to spend the tens of billions of dollars that it would take. The operating costs of a pipeline are effectively nil when compared with a railway. The product moves regardless of weather or human issues.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 900,163 times
Reputation: 957
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
The basic logistics of building an additional rail line through three mountain ranges, finding adequate space in Vancouver for a terminal (if we're utilizing existing line right of ways) never mind the actual cost of rolling stock make the operation cost prohibitive. I doubt you'll find a rail company willing to spend the tens of billions of dollars that it would take. The operating costs of a pipeline are effectively nil when compared with a railway. The product moves regardless of weather or human issues.
Fair point. There are rail links further north, though I would expect they'd need more expansion than the lines running to Vancouver.

Last edited by Stubblejumper; 08-01-2012 at 07:53 AM..
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
2,796 posts, read 4,804,704 times
Reputation: 2717
I can't give you more rep at the moment, but I appreciate having a well thought out discussion between reasonable people.
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:09 PM
 
28 posts, read 47,891 times
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Being someone with a vested interest in the energy industry, I would think it makes more sense to ship the oil to the East than to China. Ontario is a net importer of oil (700,000 barrels a day).

The media has much of this pipeline resistance pegged wrong. While BC is against the pipeline, it's real issue is with tankers along the coast. If you've never visited that area of BC, understand the coast is rough, rocky & you'd probably say "that's not a good place to ship oil". Shipping with rail car isn't going to stop the opposition to tankers along the coast.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
2,796 posts, read 4,804,704 times
Reputation: 2717
Quote:
Originally Posted by AntiElvis View Post
Being someone with a vested interest in the energy industry, I would think it makes more sense to ship the oil to the East than to China. Ontario is a net importer of oil (700,000 barrels a day).
Ontario doesn't have the appropriate refining capability for heavy crude. If you think getting a pipeline approved is difficult, look and see when the last time a new refinery was approved.

The lack of refining is why Keystone XL is being pushed. Texas has the capability, and capacity with the large reduction in Venezuelan crude coming in.
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