“Keystone 2” – the Enbridge Endrun

August 20, 2012

I touched on this story shortly after it came to my attention this summer. There is an ongoing effort to get around administrative oversight and outflank the opposition to the transport of tar sands goo across the US, and out to the world market. Closing the spigot on this gigantic carbon source just got more difficult.

Hopefully Matt Pierce and Neela Bannerjee’s article will bring this more national attention.

Above, 5 minute clip from a longer interview with Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation, conducted a few weeks ago in Ann Arbor, MI.


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A major rival to the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project is vastly boosting its U.S. pipeline system, but it’s avoiding the same scrutiny that federal regulators, environmentalists and landowners are giving Keystone owner TransCanada Corp.

Enbridge Inc. is proceeding largely unencumbered with plans to spend $8.8 billion in the U.S. to transport greater volumes of petroleum to the Gulf Coast and other markets than TransCanada would with its Keystone XL pipeline project from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

Rather than building a single new pipeline, Enbridge is replacing smaller, existing pipeline with bigger pipes, adding pumping capacity and installing new supply lines alongside existing ones.

The Calgary, Alberta, energy pipeline and storage company is forging ahead even though it has been bedeviled recently by high-profile oil spills.

TransCanada’s Keystone XL plan, and its additional 830,000 barrels a day, snagged on the so-called presidential permit process, in which the State Department conducts environmental and other reviews of infrastructure projects that cross American borders.

But Enbridge, which runs the longest pipeline system in Canada and the U.S., can proceed without new presidential permits — and the rigorous review they bring — because the company already has permits from the initial construction years ago and because the physical work will take place in the United States.

8 Responses to ““Keystone 2” – the Enbridge Endrun”

  1. neilrieck Says:

    Because bitumen is more solid than a liquid, much higher temperatures and pressures (from steam) are required to pump it which will result in more accidental pollution events. Anyone who thinks this particular pipeline technology is tried-and-true had better think again. Now if the Canadians semi-refined the bitumen at the source (make it would be “more liquid than solid”) then pumping would be much safer. But profits come from refining (if you don’t believe me, compare the barrel-price of crude to the barrel-price of gasoline) and American oil companies do not want “any” refining to take place in Alberta.

    Side note: current liquid pipelines experience ~ 10 releases per year, every year. While most releases are small, cleanup efforts are a joke since they are never able to return the environment to its original pristine state (Prince William Sound is still polluted after the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989). We all live in a democracy so if you think cheap oil is more desirable than a pristine environment, then I say “go for it”. A nation always gets what it deserves and this comes as a result of choices.

  2. Jean Mcmahon Says:

    USA,the NEw Nigeria

  3. MorinMoss Says:

    Perhaps the Canucks should pull up their socks and tell the US corps where to stick it.
    It’s just as easy to build a pipeline to British Columbia and sell partially or fully-refined petroleum to Asia.

    • That assumes that British Columbians are patsies who would be as willing to let their territory used to transport bitumen in a solvent.

    • rayduray Says:

      Hi Morin,

      Re: “It’s just as easy to build a pipeline to British Columbia and sell partially or fully-refined petroleum to Asia.”

      Well, no.

      You see the route from Ft. McMurray, Alb. to Port Arthur, TX is essentially flat terrain, Great Plains and all that sort of thing.

      The routes which the pipeline companies seek into suburban Vancouver and Kitimat, BC are harrowing up-and-down affairs across two mountain ranges. Plus a tremendous number of stream crossings in wilderness settings. It’s an altogether more daunting task to get to the Pacific Coast.

  4. Lee Pillow Says:

    If they’re determined to ram a pipeline down our throats, then I think this is the most reasonable proposal I’ve seen. At least it upgrades existing routes, instead of tearing up a whole new route. It almost feels like the appropriate compromise, unless the goal is to not mine the tar sands at all….(ya right…).

    You fine Canadians are still Bat$#!7 insane for letting them tear apart Alberta like that. It looks like something I’d expect to find in a place with no law or regulation, not the new high tech Canada. Please complain and protest more, in the approved Canadian ways ❤

  5. […] 2012/08/20: PSinclair: “Keystone 2″ – the Enbridge Endrun […]

  6. […] Tar Sands are already being processed in the Great Lakes region, and efforts are gathering to increase the flow exponentially, with an Enbridge pipeline as larger or larger than […]

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