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Lecture 12

GEOG 3EE3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Energy East, Transcanada Corporation, Enbridge

Course Code
Maureen Padden

of 2
Oct 23 Energy
Fossil Fuels
Issues with the oil sands
- habitat
- tailings ponds, over flow
- energy resource intensive
Oil has been pulled out of Alberta since 1914
Ways to get oil out of oil sands
Steam-assisted gravity drainage
- drill two holes into the reservoir
- one injects steam into the reservoir that then becomes pressurized
- the well is usually horizontal
- two wells mean twice the expense of drilling
- 80% is too deep to open pit mine
Environmental advantage
- less land surface required, less disruption
- less sediment coming up that you have to deal with
- less tailing ponds
Environmental disadvantage
- large use of water
- push to recycle the water used, and use salt water
- no one wants the salt water, in deeper reservoirs
- salt water is hard on the equipment
Separating the oil from sand
- use petroleum to mix in the
2 tonnes of oil sands produce one barrel of oil
3-5 barrels of water are needed for one barrel of oil
550 million meters cubed in licensed water
- extremely low price for large quantities of water
- the Alberta government sets the low price, also are the people that get royalties from the oil
sand profits because they leased out the land
Tailings ponds
- occupy 77 km squared and growing
- takes 125-150 years to settle solution
- steeled tailings have high water content and can’t support weight
- toxic to aquatic life
Bird Deaths
- noise making cannons used to deter birds from landing in tailing ponds
- 1600 birds died in one incident in 2008, stuck in half frozen ponds that didn’t have noise
- $3.2 million dollar fine, under provincial and federal law
- few years later another 550 birds died close by in tailings pond
- open pit mining roughly 85-95 dollars, not cost worthy when it sells for just over 80
Leaks in 2010
- 19500 Kalamazoo river Michigan
- 6,100 in industrial park Illinois
- warnings were received in 2008 and 2009 about corrosion
- continued to restart oil flow over 12 hour leak
- 16 hours to send employees to find the leak
- no one physically looked at it for a long time
Enbridge NWT leak
- 1500 barrels from a pinhole
Northern Gateway Pipeline
- capacity of pipe suggest increasing production rates by 30%
- objective of getting it to Asian markets
Environmental Assessment
- federal review panel assembled to assess whether or not to let the project move forward
- almost always accepted in Canada
- did not look at impacts from increased production, only issues with the construction of the
TransCanada Energy East pipeline
- proposal to convert 3,000 km stretch of gas line to carry oil
- going through multiple provinces means everyone wants a cut of the profit