Too Much Energy Used to Mine, Move Bitumen Says BC Firm


dumpthemonarchy
#1
The EROI, or Energy Returned On Investment, from the tar sands is only 2.5 to 1, one hundred years ago it was 100 to 1 as oil gushed out of the ground from twenty feet under. Ontario had the world's first energy industry. Right now in Saudi Arabia, with the lightest crude going, EROI is about 30-1. This analyst states it makes no economic sense to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to Asia. It is part of a large global supply chain that is not viable at present.

Now we subsidise oil production and MNCs. The free market doesn't look too free here. More like a free ride for big (dirty) oil. We're paying more for harder to get oil. In 2005, gas was 85 cents a litre. In Vancouver gas is now $1.31 a litre.



The Tyee – Too Much Energy Used to Mine, Move Bitumen Says BC Firm (external - login to view)


Too Much Energy Used to Mine, Move Bitumen Says BC Firm

'Energy Return on Investment' hard to justify says P.G.-based engineering analyst.
By Geoff Dembicki (external - login to view), 6 Feb 2012, TheTyee.ca


Energy intensive oil sands extraction. Photo: Chris Clarke, courtesy of Pembina Institute.




A B.C. engineering consulting firm claims it has hard numerical proof that Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal augurs poorly for the future of modern society.





The Prince George-based C.J. Peter Associates Engineering (external - login to view) came to this conclusion after performing an EROI analysis on the $5.5-billion project.

That acronym stands for Energy Return On Investment, a little-known but potentially revolutionary concept with direct implications for Alberta's oil sands.

It refers to the amount of energy that must be expended in order to produce more energy. (Think, for instance, of all the heavy machinery, pipelines and refineries needed to produce gasoline.)

What C.J. Peter Associates found when it analyzed each stage of Northern Gateway's global supply chain, is that getting oil sands bitumen from Alberta to China requires so much energy it might not be worth the effort.

"When animals expend more energy foraging than they obtain from plant food sources, they die," the firm's Norman Jacob said (external - login to view) at public hearings on the project in Prince George last month. He added: "Societies that ignore EROI necessarily fail.

Energy in, energy out

To understand the firm's analysis, you must first know that Enbridge's proposal is about much more than a steel pipeline across northern B.C.

Northern Gateway is actually a new global supply chain (external - login to view) for heavy Alberta oil that begins somewhere in Australia or the Middle East.
Each of these regions produce large quantities of a natural gas liquid known as condensate, one vital to Alberta's oil sands industry.
If Northern Gateway is approved, tankers loaded with condensate would cross the Pacific Ocean to the small B.C. coastal community of Kitimat.

Here the condensate would be sent east through a 1,172 km pipeline stretched across creeks, rivers and mountain ranges to Bruderheim, Alberta.

It would then be mixed with the thick, viscous bitumen extracted by deep steam injections or surface mining projects near Fort McMurray.

Doing so would allow the diluted bitumen to flow west through a separate pipeline all the way back to Kitimat.

That product would then be loaded onto tankers and shipped to refineries on the far side of the Pacific, facilities built to remove the condensate, and then turn raw Alberta bitumen into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for fast-expanding Asian markets.

During the heyday of Texas oil development in the 1930s, energy companies could reasonably expect to produce 100 barrels of oil for each barrel's worth of energy they invested. By the 1970s, the EROI for oil had shrunk more than a third.

And now, four decades later, expend one barrel's worth of energy to power Enbridge's Northern Gateway supply chain and how much could you expect to get back? A paltry 2.41 barrels, according to C.J. Peter Associates.

"It begs the question of why are we doing this?" the firm's Jacob told The Tyee in an interview. "Because as EROI gets lower, a greater percentage of the overall economy is subsidizing the production of oil."

Wait for more efficient method: analyst

The C.J. Peter Associates analysis contains an important caveat.

Transporting bitumen and condensate by tanker and pipeline is actually a relatively energy efficient process, the firm concluded, when compared to the massive amounts of energy needed to process and refine oil sands bitumen.

But the entire global supply chain created by Northern Gateway would enable large expansions of Alberta's oil sands industry, deepening our dependence on some of the planet's least sustainable energy, it argues.

"From the perspective of the energy systems of the earth, [the project] sounds absurd," Charles Hall, (external - login to view) a prominent energy analyst and ecologist at the State University of New York, said when contacted by The Tyee.

Hall is one of the originators and leading proponents of the EROI theory, seeing it as an important tool for probing and quantifying a society's sustainability.

He argued (external - login to view) in a 2010 academic paper that EROI analyses "should always be done and done comprehensively for any major political or financial decision about energy." While he also said that EROI is not the only criteria that should be used, it is a very important component of any good analysis.

What his research has shown is that the effort modern society puts into producing a unit of energy has grown steadily over the past few generations.

We may reach a point within several decades, Hall argues, where "oil and eventually gas will cease to be a significant net source of energy."*

The implications for our fossil-fuel dependant society could be massive, say Hall and other EROI theorists.

Projects such as Northern Gateway, argue C.J. Peter Associates, with its relatively small energy returns, get us closer to that day.

"The tar sands should be left in ground until we can find a more elegant and energy efficient way of dealing with them," the firm's Chris Peter told The Tyee, adding, "if that ever occurs."
 
TenPenny
#2
I assume they managed to read Rubin's book, which said much the same thing. Several years ago.
 
Spade
#3
When I was a kid on the bald prairie, I would listen with interest, to industrialists speculating that the bitumen from the tar sands should be extracted using nuclear explosions.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
 
Spade
#4
Innovation Alberta: Article Details (external - login to view)
 
Kakato
#5
Bull****,it's the strip ratio that determines if a mine is going to make money.

Most of that article is also bull****,the author does'nt even know what a condensate is.
Thats about the most innacurate and most biased thing I have ever seen about the patch on the net.
Too funny,carry on.
Last edited by Kakato; Feb 15th, 2012 at 07:07 PM..
 
captain morgan
+2
#6  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

Bull****,it's the strip ratio that determines if a mine is going to make money.

Most of that article is also bull****,the author does'nt even know what a condensate is.
Thats about the most innacurate and most biased thing I have ever seen about the patch on the net.
Too funny,carry on.

The Tyee is one of BC's more high profile eco-propaganda publications.

I especially liked the omission in the analysis that ignores the energy required in the exploration process... You'd almost think that they were under the impression that there were a bunch of Jed Clampits running around finding oil by blasting a shotgun at a gopher.
 
L Gilbert
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

The Tyee is one of BC's more high profile eco-propaganda publications.

I especially liked the omission in the analysis that ignores the energy required in the exploration process... You'd almost think that they were under the impression that there were a bunch of Jed Clampits running around finding oil by blasting a shotgun at a gopher.

lol.
 
Kakato
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

The Tyee is one of BC's more high profile eco-propaganda publications.

I especially liked the omission in the analysis that ignores the energy required in the exploration process... You'd almost think that they were under the impression that there were a bunch of Jed Clampits running around finding oil by blasting a shotgun at a gopher.

I had to check if it was a satire site because it was so full of it!
Jheeesh!
 
L Gilbert
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

I had to check if it was a satire site because it was so full of it!
Jheeesh!

Nah. It's serious. Just loaded with bias, though.
 
TenPenny
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

Bull****,it's the strip ratio that determines if a mine is going to make money.

Most of that article is also bull****,the author does'nt even know what a condensate is.
Thats about the most innacurate and most biased thing I have ever seen about the patch on the net.
Too funny,carry on.

So it doesn't matter how much energy it takes to extract the oil from the raw ore?
 
Kakato
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

So it doesn't matter how much energy it takes to extract the oil from the raw ore?

Not when you have 350 and 400 tonne Cat trucks hauling $10,000 worth of oil bearing oilsands to the plant every hour and thats hundreds of the heavy haulers.
When oil prices go over $100.00 a barrell it will take an hour to just get into fort mac on the highway,bumper to bumper for many miles.
The people running the oilsands are all old time Shell and other big players,the experts that started stripping at fort mac back in the 60's,they are oil people and wouldnt be doing it if it cost more to produce a barrell then get a 10% return for their investors.
 
taxslave
+2
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

The Tyee is one of BC's more high profile eco-propaganda publications.

I especially liked the omission in the analysis that ignores the energy required in the exploration process... You'd almost think that they were under the impression that there were a bunch of Jed Clampits running around finding oil by blasting a shotgun at a gopher.

I wouldn't have bothered to read the whole article if I had noticed that it came out of the NDP propaganda machine.
I wonder how the city socialists and greenies are going to feel about oil sands fuel when they get rolling blackouts and long line ups for rationed gas because we are no longer permitted to have resource industries in Canada.
 
skookumchuck
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

I wouldn't have bothered to read the whole article if I had noticed that it came out of the NDP propaganda machine.
I wonder how the city socialists and greenies are going to feel about oil sands fuel when they get rolling blackouts and long line ups for rationed gas because we are no longer permitted to have resource industries in Canada.

The Tyee? I think i just threw up.
 
captain morgan
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

I had to check if it was a satire site because it was so full of it!
Jheeesh!

... And folks wonder why there is such a controversy about this entire issue...

Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

I wonder how the city socialists and greenies are going to feel about oil sands fuel when they get rolling blackouts and long line ups for rationed gas because we are no longer permitted to have resource industries in Canada.

From the sounds of it, the Chevron Burnaby refinery is already being used as the whipping boy on this... Apparently they can't get a stable, economic supply with the excuse being that the Asian buyers are paying a premium for the crude.... Interestingly enough, I believe that Chevron is a partner in some oilsands projects as well as on the p/l itself.

It could be construed that this is a sign of things to come for the Lower Mainland.

Careful what you wish for, eh?
 
skookumchuck
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

Not when you have 350 and 400 tonne Cat trucks hauling $10,000 worth of oil bearing oilsands to the plant every hour and thats hundreds of the heavy haulers.
When oil prices go over $100.00 a barrell it will take an hour to just get into fort mac on the highway,bumper to bumper for many miles.
The people running the oilsands are all old time Shell and other big players,the experts that started stripping at fort mac back in the 60's,they are oil people and wouldnt be doing it if it cost more to produce a barrell then get a 10% return for their investors.

Sunoco aka Sun Oil aka "Great Canadian Oilsands" pretty much started it. I worked there in the process plant in 65-66. Let me clear up another bs left whine. Near the original GCOS mine site was the village of Ft Mckay, then pronounced as Mac ki. We heard the fishing was good in the McKay river at it's confluence with the Athabasca river so a buddy and i hotfooted it over there on the first road in, a recent Cat push into the old trading post.

Walleye fishing was spectacular! After a couple hours we decided to have a swim before going back to camp to present our catch to the cooks who would, we found, treat us like royalty.
5 minutes in the river found us oiled! There had been a heavy rainstorm that morning and the river was high, (no mining upriver at all) we had not noticed the bits of tarsand in the water until we saw it smearing on our hides. A closer look and we even saw chunks the size of golf balls. Gee, how long had that been going on? Couldn't have been long because the natives were still alive and there after hundreds or thousands of years...... hmmmmmmm.
It seems that according to the natives and all the antis now though that the oilsands projects have polluted the rivers, i assume that they are so high tech in their research that they are easily able to separate the natural pollution from.......lying bastards!
 
dumpthemonarchy
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

Not when you have 350 and 400 tonne Cat trucks hauling $10,000 worth of oil bearing oilsands to the plant every hour and thats hundreds of the heavy haulers.
When oil prices go over $100.00 a barrell it will take an hour to just get into fort mac on the highway,bumper to bumper for many miles.
The people running the oilsands are all old time Shell and other big players,the experts that started stripping at fort mac back in the 60's,they are oil people and wouldnt be doing it if it cost more to produce a barrell then get a 10% return for their investors.

Yeah, let's just ship out as much unrefined tar sand product as fast as we can to Asia. If Alberta doesn't do it all ASAP, then they will have massive budget deficits and higher taxes, and you can't have that in wild rose country. That the price of oil might be even higher a few years hence is irrelvant. The future is now.
 
TenPenny
+1
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by skookumchuckView Post

Sunoco aka Sun Oil aka "Great Canadian Oilsands" pretty much started it. I worked there in the process plant in 65-66. Let me clear up another bs left whine. Near the original GCOS mine site was the village of Ft Mckay, then pronounced as Mac ki. We heard the fishing was good in the McKay river at it's confluence with the Athabasca river so a buddy and i hotfooted it over there on the first road in, a recent Cat push into the old trading post.
Walleye fishing was spectacular! After a couple hours we decided to have a swim before going back to camp to present our catch to the cooks who would, we found, treat us like royalty.
5 minutes in the river found us oiled! There had been a heavy rainstorm that morning and the river was high, (no mining upriver at all) we had not noticed the bits of tarsand in the water until we saw it smearing on our hides. A closer look and we even saw chunks the size of golf balls. Gee, how long had that been going on? Couldn't have been long because the natives were still alive and there after hundreds or thousands of years...... hmmmmmmm.
It seems that according to the natives and all the antis now though that the oilsands projects have polluted the rivers, i assume that they are so high tech in their research that they are easily able to separate the natural pollution from.......lying bastards!

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't know that there always has been oil in the river due to the rain.

Many of the chemicals that are now found in the water, and are linked to cancer and deformities, come from the upgrading and refining process, and are not found in the naturally occuring oil.

But don't let that dissuade you from keeping to the company line.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

... And folks wonder why there is such a controversy about this entire issue...

From the sounds of it, the Chevron Burnaby refinery is already being used as the whipping boy on this... Apparently they can't get a stable, economic supply with the excuse being that the Asian buyers are paying a premium for the crude.... Interestingly enough, I believe that Chevron is a partner in some oilsands projects as well as on the p/l itself.

It could be construed that this is a sign of things to come for the Lower Mainland.

Careful what you wish for, eh?

Big oil only wants govt to give it nice gentle lube jobs, any hint of economic nationalism-that is having refineries in Canada to refine Canadian crude, is enough for them to cry the free market master, Washington DC and corporate America. Then Harper and co genuflect fulsomely to their real bosses, Cheney and Bush.

Corporate America doesn't believe they are global unless they are in China. And Canada is going to be hewer of oil to make it happen for them.
 
pgs
+2
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchyView Post

Big oil only wants govt to give it nice gentle lube jobs, any hint of economic nationalism-that is having refineries in Canada to refine Canadian crude, is enough for them to cry the free market master, Washington DC and corporate America. Then Harper and co genuflect fulsomely to their real bosses, Cheney and Bush.

Corporate America doesn't believe they are global unless they are in China. And Canada is going to be hewer of oil to make it happen for them.

Your about 4 years behind the times .It is no longer Cheney and Bush it is Obahma and Soros.
 
captain morgan
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Many of the chemicals that are now found in the water, and are linked to cancer and deformities, come from the upgrading and refining process, and are not found in the naturally occuring oil.

But don't let that dissuade you from keeping to the company line.

The ecophiles are pissing and moaning about how the oil is getting the water, not added chemicals. So the question that was posed is quite fair.

Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchyView Post

Big oil only wants govt to give it nice gentle lube jobs, any hint of economic nationalism-that is having refineries in Canada to refine Canadian crude, is enough for them to cry the free market master, Washington DC and corporate America. Then Harper and co genuflect fulsomely to their real bosses, Cheney and Bush.

Corporate America doesn't believe they are global unless they are in China. And Canada is going to be hewer of oil to make it happen for them.


Awww, is widdums all upset 'cause he has to pay for the oil that he wants to use?.... You just wipe those tears now little man and move along. Pouting or holding your breath won't change anything, so, you might want to find a better solution as this perpetual bleating hasn't done any good for ya so far.
 
TenPenny
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

The ecophiles are pissing and moaning about how the oil is getting the water, not added chemicals. So the question that was posed is quite fair.

I don't know who the ecophiles are, but the issue is NOT oil in the water.

Quote:


The University of Alberta authors said "We show that the oil sands industry releases the 13 elements considered priority pollutants (PPE) under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act, via air and water, to the Athabasca River and its watershed. In the 2008 snowpack, all PPE except selenium were greater near oil sands developments than at more remote sites. Bitumen upgraders and local oil sands development were sources of airborne emissions. Concentrations of mercury, nickel, and thallium in winter and all 13 PPE in summer were greater in tributaries with watersheds more disturbed by development than in less disturbed watersheds. In the Athabasca River during summer, concentrations of all PPE were greater near developed areas than upstream of development. At sites downstream of development and within the Athabasca Delta, concentrations of all PPE except beryllium and selenium remained greater than upstream of development. Concentrations of some PPE at one location in Lake Athabasca near Fort Chipewyan were also greater than concentration in the Athabasca River upstream of development. Canada’s or Alberta’s guidelines for the protection of aquatic life were exceeded for seven PPE—cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc—in melted snow and/or water collected near or downstream of development."

Quote has been trimmed
 
captain morgan
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

I don't know who the ecophiles are, but the issue is NOT oil in the water.


The ooip has many nasties 'attached' to it in its natural state... The only way for 'added' chemicals to get into the equation is via the refining process and for that to get into the water system and cause disease would require an ongoing practice of dumping into the river system... That simply is not happening
 
TenPenny
#23
Oh, I get it. There are no elements that come from the refining/upgrading process that are getting into the river. Never have been, never will be.

That's good to know, it's nice to have this cleared up.
 
captain morgan
+1
#24
You got it.

Now, let's move onto doing something about those ghg polluting polar bears
 
Tonington
+1
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

The ooip has many nasties 'attached' to it in its natural state... The only way for 'added' chemicals to get into the equation is via the refining process and for that to get into the water system and cause disease would require an ongoing practice of dumping into the river system... That simply is not happening

Emissions from the downstream processing of the ore fall out, this is not exactly unconventional knowledge. If you read the link provided, you'd see that they are finding toxic chemicals released during this processing, with the expected patterns of concentration from industrial fallout from stack emissions.

And as far as disease goes, it doesn't really matter how the compounds get into the river system. Use whatever euphemism you like, the process adds toxic chemicals to the watershed.
 
petros
+1
#26
Quote:

the process adds toxic chemicals to the watershed.

So does taking a dump.
 
Tonington
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

So does taking a dump.

Yes it can. Anyone going to deny that as well I wonder?
 
petros
+1 / -1
#28
How is the PEI sewage problem coming along?
 
Tonington
+1
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

How is the PEI sewage problem coming along?

An answer came from Ottawa this week. There is a price tag already to address the issue. Though none of the managers are shirking their responsibilities by pointing out someone elses problem. Has any of the companies in the patch even cost out a solution to the findings? Hmmm?
 
petros
+1
#30
Last week? WOW. That's amazing considering there has been raw sewage dumped into the oceans for how many decades? Why is Ottawa having to step in?

Has anything been done since the Athabasca/NRBS conclusion in 2002? You bet!
 

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