Canadian Law Makes It Cheaper to Prevent Oil Sands Leaks Than Clean Them Up

As the Canadian government pushes a new law rendering pipeline companies liable for all damages from leaks and spills, the only friend to both sides in this polarized world of dirty oil sands is leak prevention technology.

May 30, 2014 at 10:24AM

This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world. Also check out these recent articles:

As the Canadian government pushes a new law rendering pipeline companies liable for all damages from leaks and spills, the only friend to both sides in this polarized world of dirty oil sands is leak prevention technology.

On May 14, amid heightened opposition to two planned pipelines, Canada's Natural Resources Ministry unveiled a new law making pipeline operators liable for all the costs and damages related to oil spills, regardless of whether the operators were at fault or demonstrated negligence.

Under the new law, pipeline operators will be required to set up advance clean-up funds for future spills, while the Canadian National Energy board will be given the authority to order operators to reimburse those affected by spills.

Canada desperately needs more pipeline infrastructure to handle its increasing oil sands production capacity, but opposition has been growing exponentially to Enbridge's Northern Gateway project and Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The Northern Gateway pipeline would mean an additional 525,000 barrels per day of crude piped from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, while the Trans Mountain expansion would mean a tripling to 900,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude from Alberta to Vancouver.

According to the Tar Sands Solution Network, "tar sands oil is more corrosive and transported at higher pressures," while "spills of tar sands crude are significantly more toxic and harder to clean up."

In fact, according to the organization, "Alberta has seen 28,666 crude oil spills since 1975, an average of two per day."

What oil sands opponents fear most is the rapid expansion of production capacity that is necessitating the creation of more pipeline networks and oil tankers threatening spills across North America.

In addition to this, new research by the Canadian government alleges that toxic chemicals from Alberta's oil sands tailing ponds are leaking into groundwater and making their way into the Athabasca River.

The latest study used million-dollar technology that allows scientists to fingerprint chemicals and trace their origins. This has been a sticking point until now because the soil around these Alberta tailing ponds contained chemicals from naturally occurring bitumen deposits, and earlier technology was not capable of separating them from the industry chemicals.

The industry in Canada is reportedly addressing the issue of toxic seepage from its tailing ponds by footing the bill for more than $1 billion in new technology.

At the same time, investments in the latest leak detection technology may also be hastened by mounting opposition to pipeline development and new Canadian legislation that makes prevention much cheaper than clean-up.

Earlier this month, Synodon, the creator of realSens leak detection technology, successfully demonstrated its oil sands applications by detecting hydrocarbon vapor plumes released from a synthetic crude oil product.

In doing so, the new technology also demonstrated its ability to detect very small oil sands leaks, long before they become catastrophic.

"We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to demonstrate to a third-party oil sands operator our ability to detect very small release rates from a low volatility crude oil product," Adrian Banica, CEO of Synodon Inc, said in a press release. "As far as we are aware, Synodon has the only commercially available airborne liquid hydrocarbon leak detection system in the world that has been proven to be capable of detecting both gaseous hydrocarbons as well as a wide variety of liquid products from pentane to gasoline, condensates and crude oil."

RealSens technology was developed under the Canadian Space Program and by Synodon scientists.

Canada's new pipeline infrastructure is about to become much more expensive as legislative changes focus on prevention, liability and preparedness.

Without this legislation, new technology, such as that used in the latest study on tailing pond seepage into water supplies, and pipeline leak detection advances, may have seemed prohibitively expensive to operators. However, with the specter of footing to bill for any and all spills, regardless of operator negligence, preventative technology suddenly seems rather cheap.

OPEC is absolutely terrified of this game-changer
Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000 per hour (That's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!). And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report reveals the company we're calling OPEC's Worst Nightmare. Just click HERE to uncover the name of this industry-leading stock... and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable landslide of profits!

 

Written by James Stafford at Oilprice.com.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers