Tar Sands

I have been reading the book "Tar Sands"by Andrew Nikiforuk...

It seems like a real eye opener in my opinion, and although the author does express alot of emotions in the book it still in my opinion "hits the nail on the hammer""

And to be honest i think the whole international community is taking us for what we have, literally...

Anyone else read this book?
I have.
I also read "Stupid to the last drop"

I dont agree with a lot of the information presented in either book.
I think they are sensationalist and biased.
And possibly poorly researched.

Be aware I dont work at the tar sands and I never intend to.

But I am sympathetic to the development.
Sure it could be cleaner and more environmentaly friendly.
And it should start cleaning itself up and following more strict and environmentally friendly guidlines.

But I remain in favour of the mines.
The strip mine section of the mines is almost completed and so the area that is cleared for truck and shovel operations is almost complete.
Those areas are not the largest strip mine areas in the world nor in North America nor for that matter in South America.
The land reclamation work is going pretty well and the only real complainants about existing reclamation are some of the Natives and it can be assumed that is primarily for monitary reasons.Other Natives that are involved in reclamation and construction say the project is acceptable.

Water uses by all facets of the oil production is not as problamatic as some books indicate.
Calgary uses more water from the Bow and the Bow has more severe fluctuations to begin with.
The hydrocarbon water pollution is assumed to be caused by the numerous oil seeps along the banks of the local rivers and streams.
The oil sands outcrop at surface in numerous spots and local rivers and streams cut right through it.
Pretty hard to blame the oil companies for hydrocarbons in the water when hydrocarbons naturally seep into the water all over the place.
Thats how the oil sands were discovered by the way, flowing down river banks(was it Peter Pond?).

The settling ponds are an eyesore but once again there are larger ones in other places.
Granted they should clean them all up.
New oil sands operations drill saline aquifer supply wells for water and reinject the used water back into salt water zones.

Planned new oil sands operations are pretty much all SAGD, heel n toe, fireflood or similar insitu operations.
Thus no more strip mines or settling ponds, just a row of horizontal wells running moyno screw pumps.
All very neat and tidy and by using superpads and extended reach directional drilling surface disturbance is minamized.

Coal fired electricity generation produces far far more CO2 than all oil production in Canada. As an example the dirtiest power generation in Canada is located in Ontario.
Several old coal fired generating plants spew more co2 and carcinogenic pollutants into the atmosphere per kwatt than any other Canadian power generation facility.
And they burn high sulpher, high paraffin dirty brown coal to boot.
McGinty promised to close them down as part of his campaign platform and so far has not done it.

In Alberta the new and reasonably clean and enviromentally friendly coal fired (clean coal)power generation plants freely admit that they produce far more CO2 than all the oil sands operations.
I could go on and on.

So I think we need to accept that the oil sands are the soup de jour of the enviro's.
Its fashionable and trendy to bash the oil sands.
I would suggest doing a little research and legwork before accepting the views of possibly biased authors.

And as to the oil companies stealing the wealth of Canada.
They are publicly traded companies every one.
Just like Ford and McDonalds.
That means they are owned by you and me,figuretively speaking.
Certainly they are held by teachers and union pension funds.
They are paying fair market value for every drop of oil they produce.
They have to, as they bid on all leases.
You too, can go bid on a lease if you choose.
Bring your checkbook.

Hard core enviro's want they oil sands completely shut down.
Some hard core enviro's believe mankind is a plague and a disaster on the planet and all mankind should be exterminated for the good of nature.
I find that to be slightly unrealistic.

Lets look at Southern Ontario as an example.
Massive development. Massive clearing of forests for farms, cities,mines and factories.
Crowding and pollution and smog and people and pavement everywhere.
But thats all OK.
But open a large mining complex in Alberta and Oh Noooooooooo.

I recognize that the oil sands plants are a very large scale petroleum mine and associated complex's.
I also recognize a large swath of pristine swamp spruce and bog was developed.
But really so what.

US of A has 300 odd million people in a country smaller than Canada.
Massive developments.
Massive industrial complexs.
Biggest consumer of energy on the planet.

Canada is relatively pristine in the north.
No other country in the world has preserved, protected and left natural as many square miles as Canada.
And suddenly its the end of the world if Alberta has a mine?
I dont buy that.

I guess if you dont own a car or never use peroleum fueled transportation.
Or ever buy or use anything made of plastic.
Or ever use pharmacueticals or anything treated with pesticides or fertalizers.
And so on and so forth.
You could buy solar panels, but whoops that silicon is mined and its framed in plastics.
You could build a hut and burn wood, but whoops that kicks out more pollutants and carcinogens than hydrocarbon usage.

What to do.

Perhaps just enforce our existing laws and regulations concerning large industrial sites.
Maybe even toughen up the regulations if thats what people want.

There is a lot of substitute for oil so this problem of oil will go away in ten years.

I just feel sorry for Alberta because of the massive amounts of tar ponds they have because as the big oil companies that go under will never have to clean up those ponds.

Right now this is a marketing scam the people that are complaining of dirty oil are the same ones that own the so-called clean oil.

And they want people to buy their oil.

They just invent scare tactics or propaganda just like the bottled and filtered water companies did before they took off.

Tap water was good for years then when the bottled water came, the falsified research surfaced and the rest is history.

Now that our landfill is being filled by plastic water bottles Governments are banning plastic water bottles like in Toronto City Hall and guess what tap water is OK and it always was.
captain morgan
Quote: Originally Posted by LiberalmanView Post

There is a lot of substitute for oil so this problem of oil will go away in ten years.

Alternatives exist, however, they are years/decades away from being commercially viable. Issues of consistency, capacity and storage are major issues. Realted to this is the development of the necessary infrastructure and the time required to get it in place.
captain morgan

If you look at the ethanol industry before the economic crash it took them a year to set ethanol plants and they would have been fully integrated in less than five years, so it does not take long for a product people want.
captain morgan
Fair enough... My idea of alternative energy sources was focused more directly on wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, etc.. The non-internal combustion style.

Regardless, in terms of ethanol, the infrastructure existing today is entirely compatible for this purpose.
The major problem with ethanol is that is costly to produce and if we divert things like corn, sugar, soy, beets etc. to fuel use, people around the world will starve. Did you see how high the cost of grains and food items went?

"My idea of alternative energy sources was focused more directly on wind, solar, hydro, tidal, geothermal, etc.. The non-internal combustion style."

Until we can get these forms of energy to be sustainable and create a whole new power grid it will never be a major source of power. Were not talking 10 years, we are talking atleast 25-30. But no matter how long it takes we should start developing it now, starting with a new power grid.

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