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(Salon)   Six things you need to know about the Arkansas oil spill   (salon.com) divider line 124
    More: Interesting, Keystone Pipeline, Arkansas, Enbridge, Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Pegasus, bodies of water, tax-exempt, anchors  
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13283 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2013 at 1:10 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-05 04:39:28 PM

cashdaddy: BullBearMS: Are you seriously asking if switching an old pipeline to carry much more corrosive materials at much higher pressures could somehow lead to blowouts?

I think we already have the answer to that.

Are you saying that that's what caused this incident? Or are you just guessing, too?\

(And 'much higher pressures' ? Where are you getting that?)


dl.dropbox.com

This just in... Pushing corrosive tar sands sludge through outdated lines never designed for it in the first place requires higher pressures and temperatures than pushing light crude.
 
2013-04-05 05:32:41 PM

BullBearMS: This just in... Pushing corrosive tar sands sludge through outdated lines never designed for it in the first place requires higher pressures and temperatures than pushing light crude.


So, in this incident - what pressure/temperature was the pipeline designed to operate at before, and what pressure/temperature is it operating at now with heavier Canadian crude oil?

And you mentioned "corrosive" - are you sure that the stuff being pumped through this line at the time of the incident is actually corrosive?
 
2013-04-05 05:48:58 PM
Scientific American seems pretty sure:

The chemistry of the tar sands oil could contribute to corrosion as well. In processing, the tar sands are boiled to separate the bitumen from the surrounding sand and water, and then mixed with diluent-light hydrocarbons produced along with natural gas-to make the oil less viscous and able to flow. But even so, the resulting dilbit is among the lowest in hydrogen as well as the most viscous, sulfurous and acidic form of oil produced today.

We're talking about pretty basic physics and pretty basic chemistry here. Highly Viscous tar sands sludge requires higher pressures (and therefore temperatures) than normal crude.

Now, guess how many regulatory hurtles they faced for jacking up the pressure the line ran under so they could pump tar sands sludge instead of oil?
 
2013-04-05 06:07:28 PM

BullBearMS: Now, guess how many regulatory hurtles they faced for jacking up the pressure the line ran under so they could pump tar sands sludge instead of oil?


I don't know, Mr. Pipeline Expert, why don't you tell me?

And you keep saying "jacking up the pressure" - how much more? And are you sure that the pipeline wasn't designed to handle that?

(You know there are other high-acid crude oils out there besides oil sands crude, right? And lots of them come in to refineries in the U.S. from overseas.)

assets.sbnation.com
 
2013-04-05 06:12:56 PM

BullBearMS: Scientific American seems pretty sure


And by the way....I can cherry-pick data out of an article, too:

FTFA:  A study from the Alberta government however, casts doubt on the notion that dilbit is worse for pipelines than any other oil is. It found that dilbit is not corrosive at pipeline temperatures of as much as 65 degrees Celsius, although it is highly corrosive at refinery temperatures above 100 degrees C. Nor is the fine sand that remains in some of the dilbit eroding pipelines, though it does form sludges that must be cleaned. The higher temperature operation may even kill off the bacteria that help to corrode pipelines carrying other types of oil. "There is no evidence that dilbit causes more failure than conventional oil," geologist John Zhou of the provincial government research firm Alberta Innovates said during an interview in November on a trip to the tar sands; Zhou helped prepare the Canadian province's analysis of dilbit. The U.S. National Academies is currently studying the issue.
 
2013-04-05 06:14:06 PM

cashdaddy: You know there are other high-acid crude oils out there besides oil sands crude, right?


Scientific American: "dilbit is among the lowest in hydrogen as well as the most viscous, sulfurous and acidic form of oil produced today."
 
2013-04-05 06:19:29 PM
Let's go ahead and answer that whole regulation question. How much of a regulatory hurtle did Exxon face when they decided to take a pipeline built in the 1940's and jack up the pressure to push through toxic, corrosive tar sands sludge?

Zero.

seven years ago, when Exxon, the pipeline's operator, turned it into a higher-volume line for diluted bitumen from Canada flowing under greater pressure to refineries on the Gulf Coast, federal rules did not require a new permit application or safety reviews, according to federal officials.
 
2013-04-05 06:21:58 PM

BullBearMS: Scientific American: "dilbit is among the lowest in hydrogen as well as the most viscous, sulfurous and acidic form of oil produced today."


Scientific American: "A study from the Alberta government however, casts doubt on the notion that dilbit is worse for pipelines than any other oil is. It found that dilbit is not corrosive at pipeline temperatures of as much as 65 degrees Celsius"

Scientific American: "There is no evidence that dilbit causes more failure than conventional oil"
 
2013-04-05 06:28:27 PM

BullBearMS: Let's go ahead and answer that whole regulation question. How much of a regulatory hurtle did Exxon face when they decided to take a pipeline built in the 1940's and jack up the pressure to push through toxic, corrosive tar sands sludge?

Zero.


Ok.....and I'll ask again - was there a need for a regulatory hurdle for them to do that? If so, based on what? Lots of assumptions people (and lobby groups) are making in a Salon or Scientific American article?
 
2013-04-05 06:31:39 PM
dl.dropbox.com

Odd that they were immediately ordered not to go above 80% of the previous pressure levels that they were operating at, if pumping corrosive tar sands sludge at high temperature and pressure couldn't possibly have been a problem.
 
2013-04-05 06:34:45 PM

cashdaddy: was there a need for a regulatory hurdle


Is there a need for people to not have toxic waste rolling through the backyard where their children play?
 
2013-04-05 06:47:52 PM

BullBearMS: Odd that they were immediately ordered not to go above 80% of the previous pressure levels that they were operating at, if pumping corrosive tar sands sludge at high temperature and pressure couldn't possibly have been a problem.


Are you suggesting that they are being ordered to run at 80% pressure due to fact that they were pumping heavy Canadian crude oil through the pipeline?  Or is there some other reason that you know of for the 80% pressure limit?
 
2013-04-05 06:59:19 PM
BullBearMS:Now, guess how many regulatory hurtles they faced for jacking up the pressure the line ran under so they could pump tar sands sludge instead of oil?

I'll take Jack-Sh*t for $1,000, Alex.
 
2013-04-05 07:03:05 PM

cashdaddy: BullBearMS: Odd that they were immediately ordered not to go above 80% of the previous pressure levels that they were operating at, if pumping corrosive tar sands sludge at high temperature and pressure couldn't possibly have been a problem.

Are you suggesting that they are being ordered to run at 80% pressure due to fact that they were pumping heavy Canadian crude oil through the pipeline?  Or is there some other reason that you know of for the 80% pressure limit?


What with being a pretty obvious industry shill, how is it that you don't know about that ruling?
 
2013-04-05 07:04:27 PM

Speaker2Animals: BullBearMS:Now, guess how many regulatory hurtles they faced for jacking up the pressure the line ran under so they could pump tar sands sludge instead of oil?

I'll take Jack-Sh*t for $1,000, Alex.


Tell him what he's won!

An oil soaked white tailed deer!

/Ooooh
 
2013-04-05 07:25:19 PM

BullBearMS: cashdaddy: BullBearMS: Odd that they were immediately ordered not to go above 80% of the previous pressure levels that they were operating at, if pumping corrosive tar sands sludge at high temperature and pressure couldn't possibly have been a problem.

Are you suggesting that they are being ordered to run at 80% pressure due to fact that they were pumping heavy Canadian crude oil through the pipeline?  Or is there some other reason that you know of for the 80% pressure limit?

What with being a pretty obvious industry shill, how is it that you don't know about that ruling?


Do you know what the ruling says?
 
2013-04-05 07:45:57 PM

cashdaddy: Do you know what the ruling says?


Oooh... Let me guess.

You would like us all to think that high pressure, high temperature tar sands pipelines shouldn't face more stringent regulations than pipelines carrying regular crude, despite the fact that they rupture much more frequently?
 
2013-04-05 09:06:20 PM
BullBearMS: You would like us all to think that high pressure, high temperature tar sands pipelines shouldn't face more stringent regulations than pipelines carrying regular crude, despite the fact that they rupture much more frequently?

Never said that (and no, I'm not some 'industry shill'). If it's proven with engineering or data that pipes carrying oil sands crude cause the lines to be more susceptible to rupturing, then sure - increase the regulations to prevent it from happening.

But you seem to know a lot about this case and this business. When you say "....despite the fact that they rupture more frequently"- one more time, pal: show us where that's the case (especially in this incident).
 
2013-04-05 09:54:58 PM
Oh come on!

How many of you really care about Arkansas?

It's a red state, and you all know it.
 
2013-04-05 09:55:04 PM

chocolate covered poop: kazikian: Also... How hard can it be to build a pipeline that doesn't leak? Or rather, one that contains its leaks? Of course the sort of countermeasures I can envision (like double-wall pipes) cost money.

I suppose there are better materials you can use to prevent corrosion to a greater degree, but with the bitumen stuff there is still some sediment in those pipes so you even will have abrasive wearing down of the pipes and junctions/bends in the lines, to go along with the chemical corrosion.  But to upgrade the alloy of metal or metal thickness on an 850 mile line is ridiculously expensive, even if you're a company that makes $40 bln/yr profit.

There are also technologies out there for better monitoring of the pipeline to try to predict areas that may be prone to leaking and detect a leak ASAP to allow for optimal response.  Most systems have pressure monitors throughout the line, so if you get a leak then you will see pressure dropping, but you still need a lot of these instruments to give you the resolution needed to pinpoint where exactly the leak is taking place.  I've also read that they have probes which get sent through the lines and collect data that can be used to determine pipe thickness etc.  So bottom line there are technological solutions out there to be developed that can help to prevent leaks like this or at lease minimize the enviromental and human health impacts if a leak does indeed occur.

From a risk standpoint, you can't mitigate the risk of a pipeline leaking/rupturing to absolute zero.  Given a long enough timeline, even a technologically advanced pipe might break.  Technological advancements allow us to make the risk smaller and smaller, but its always going to be non-zero.  And to some degree thats where I part ways with the liberal/environmental crusaders who go apeshiat whenever something like this happens.  They seem to have this absolute zero risk tolerance mindset, and with such a mind set the only answer is just to not build the pipeline at all, as thats the only way to have 0.0000000000 risk of anything bad happening.  Sorry guys, I get where you're coming from, but this is just not reality.  Look it sucks that we have this deeply entrenched infrastructure in place that revolves around fossil fuels, but you can't just change that over night.  Its going to have to be a gradual, well planned process, lest there be grave socioeconomic consequences.  Big oil isnt going anywhere for at least 50 years, so antagonizing the industry and driving them away might not be the best diplomatic strategy, man.


Well put. Insert my agreement here.
 
2013-04-05 09:55:05 PM
 
2013-04-05 10:24:34 PM

BullBearMS: First it was a Michigan river. Then a Chicago suburb. Next was a small stream near an Alberta rancher's house, followed by a northern Alberta forest.

Now an oil spill at a North Dakota pipeline pumping station is the latest in a string of incidents over the past year that is heightening public worries about the safety of North America's vast network of oil pipelines. The series of accidents in the different areas has sent oil gushing from cracked pipes or faulty equipment, oozing into waterways and forested land........

The original Keystone tar sands pipeline leaked 14 times in the first year, alone.  Now we have yet another leak.


Not to split hairs, but a leak and a rupture are two different things, especially if you're talking about a leak from a fitting or valve. A rupture indicates a serious pipe structural integrity issue; a leak from a fitting tends to be a bad seal or external corrosion.

In the article you linked, though, not one of the events listed appears to have been caused by "moving corrosive oil sands crude at higher pressures".
 
2013-04-05 10:41:45 PM

cashdaddy: n the article you linked, though, not one of the events listed appears to have been caused by "moving corrosive oil sands crude at higher pressures".


They all just happened to occur on a high pressure, high temperature, tar sands sludge pipelines?
 
2013-04-05 11:39:51 PM

BullBearMS: They all just happened to occur on a high pressure, high temperature, tar sands sludge pipelines?


Are they all identically-built pipelines running at the same temperature or pressure, pumping the same type of oil?
 
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