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

Just Posted

Being vegan during the holidays just got a little bit better

Cook up these delicious options during the holidays

Big White’s Big Reds Wine Festival grows in popularity

More than 600 guests attended the event

Crash on Highway 97 south of Vernon slows traffic

There is currently no word on the cause of the single-vehicle incident

Snow tonight in Kelowna

The snowfall will continue through the week

Cookies and puppies at the Kelowna BC SPCA

The Kelowna BC SPCA is hosting it’s annual Christmas bake sale on Dec. 15

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

Okanagan Valley to see snow tonight

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Update: Sicamous and Tumbler Ridge neck and neck in the Sled Town Showdown

Both communities in the final round have amassed over 10,000 votes

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

Most Read