NL govern­ment needs to pipe up on En­ergy East pipe­line

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

Why isn’t the Govern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador speak­ing out on the En­ergy East Pipe­line? Premier Not­ley, of Al­berta, states that those op­posed to this par­tic­u­lar pipe­line are “naïve”, “ill in­formed”, and “tone deaf.”

So, tak­ing Premier Not­ley’s com­ments se­ri­ously, I have ex­tracted from the CAPP Glos­sary (Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Petroleum Pro­duc­ers) a few def­i­ni­tions to help in­form the New­found­land and Labrador pub­lic about the terms be­ing used in the oil in­dus­try

Con­ven­tional Oil — Con­ven­tional crude oil is oil that flows nat­u­rally or can be pumped to the sur­face with­out be­ing heated or di­luted. This in­cludes light, medium and heavy forms of oil. Con­ven­tional de­posits are found be­tween lay­ers of salt wa­ter and raw nat­u­ral gas. The lay­ers of raw nat­u­ral gas put pres­sure on crude oil reser­voirs, caus­ing it to flow out when a well is ini­tially drilled.

Un­con­ven­tional Oil — Crude oil that does not flow or can­not be pumped with­out be­ing heated or di­luted is called un­con­ven­tional crude oil. Un­con­ven­tional oils de­posits in­clude bi­tu­men and ex­tra heavy oil that is thick, vis­cous and more dif­fi­cult to pro­duce than con­ven­tional oil. Canada’s oil­sands are an ex­am­ple of un­con­ven­tional oil.

Offshore Oil — At­lantic Canada is cur­rently the only re­gion pro­duc­ing oil offshore. How­ever, there is sig­nif­i­cant re­source po­ten­tial in Canada’s Arc­tic and sev­eral com­pa­nies cur­rently hold ex­plo­ration li­censes in the re­gion. At­lantic Canada’s offshore ex­plo­ration, de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion in­dus­try is thriv­ing with five pro­duc­ing projects, one de­vel­op­ment project and ma­jor ex­plo­ration pro­grams planned for the com­ing years.

From Wikipedia: En­ergy East Pipe­line —“The En­ergy East project is a 4,600 km pipe­line with ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent be­ing ex­ist­ing pipe­line (3,000 km) that would be con­verted from nat­u­ral gas to crude oil. Once com­pleted, the pipe­line would pro­vide feed­stock to re­finer­ies in Mon­treal, Que­bec City as well as Saint John. The project would have a ca­pac­ity of 1.1 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil per day.”

The main pur­pose of the pipe­line is to get it to Saint John for trans­ship­ment by su­per tanker. The orig­i­nal pro­posal was to in­clude oil from North Dakota.

This ap­pli­ca­tion may only be a first step and if they get ap­proval, they would prob­a­bly be back in a cou­ple of years look­ing for per­mis­sion to carry North Dakota oil pro­duc­tions. Seems like Churchill Falls all over again by in­ter­fer­ence in our re­new­able re­sources’ op­ti­miza­tion by risk­ing spillage in our waters af­fect­ing the fish­eries.

Th­ese union pro­po­nents who are sup­port­ing this pipe­line should take into ac­count the jobs in build­ing the pipe­line are short term. The jobs in any new re­fin­ery would be long term but the new re­finer­ies can be built with­out ex­ten­sive leaky pipelines by us­ing At­lantic Grade A con­ven­tional oil re­sources as com­pared to a lesser grade un­con­ven­tional oil such as Al­berta Crude.

The re­finer­ies in Mon­treal, Que­bec City, and Saint John are re­quired to spend ex­tra mil­lions of dol­lars to en­able them to re­fine the Al­berta crude into gaso­line. This means that said costs will have to be passed on to the con­sumer through the price per liter for gaso­line.

Fish­ery jobs tend to be sea­sonal but present life time op­por­tu­ni­ties for the fore­see­able fu­ture pro­vided we pro­tect our re­new­able re­sources.

Dur­ing the ex­cit­ing times when N.L. was de­cid­ing on con­fed­er­a­tion, I be­gan my teen years. My Grand­fa­ther had re­tired from the pa­per mill in Cor­ner Brook and had opened a “Mom and Pop” store on Lower Hum­ber Road. On oc­ca­sion my mother would di­rect me to take my sleigh and gro­cery list to his store to pick up the gro­ceries.

I re­mem­ber Grand­fa­ther Will se­cur­ing the gro­cery box to the sleigh and telling me how im­por­tant it was to pro­tect food as it was now my re­spon­si­bil­ity. In fact he told me it was only back in the thir­ties that the peo­ple of N.L. had sent food to Western Canada be­cause they were in dire straits. Now when I think about the oil­sands prod­uct com­ing our way, rep­re­sent­ing a risk to our food source, the fish­eries, I won­der what Grand­fa­ther Will would have said.

“Earth is our home. Pro­tect it!”

Ge­orge E. Col­bourne Cor­ner Brook

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