Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Great Pipe Debate

Actually, there is no real debate. Enbridge wants to run a pipeline across British Columbia and we who will suffer for it don't. Despite a very poor track record of safety, Enbridge is continuing to beat its chest and show just how safe this is going to be. Just recently they have posted this

Enbridge and the Northern Gateway project team have worked hard to ensure this unique project would be built and operated to the highest standards. The measures contained in the Reply Evidence go above and beyond anything that has ever been done before in the industry.

The extra measures include:

Increasing pipeline wall thickness of the oil pipeline
Additional pipeline wall thickness for water crossings such as major tributaries to the Fraser, Skeena and Kitimat Rivers
Increasing the number of remotely-operated isolation valves. This would increase the number of isolation valves in BC by 50%
Increasing frequency of in-line inspection surveys across entire pipeline system by a minimum 50% over and above current standards
Installing dual leak detection systems
Staff pump stations in remote locations on a 24/7 basis for on-site monitoring, heightened security, and rapid response to abnormal conditions
(the above was taken from here)

All of these additions sound really good. Extra monitoring, extra people on the ground to deal with abnormal conditions (that means a burst pipe). Go above and beyond anything that has ever been done in the industry - very impressive.

What Enbridge is not addressing is what happens at Kitimat, and to be honest, I don't blame them. 200 VLCC class tanker will be transiting a very long, narrow and twisted channel every year, and when you add the fact that those 200 need to go out, that will mean one of these ships transiting the passage at least every day, every sunny, windy, stormy, foggy day. Before you even look at the quality of the crew of those vessels, you need to know just how manoeuvrable they are.

They aren't.

By the sheer size of them alone, they can't manoeuvre at all. There is no appeal to the laws of physics.  500,000 tonnes of momentum takes a lot of energy to move. Give them a good stretch of open ocean, these ships are the way to go but don't send them through restricted waters. Enbridge knows all of this but they don't care because once the oil is on the tanker, it no longer is Enbridge at fault if it spills

Enbridge is trying to make pipeline history, good for them. All they need to do is get the stuff to Kitimat, from there, they don't care, nor do they need to.

For all of you fighting Enbridge on the ground, keep at it, my fight will be on the sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment