Little research on effects of diluted bitumen

A Dilbit Primer: How It’s Different from Conventional Oil, Lisa Song, Inside Climate News, June 26, 2012

“Bitumen extracted from tar sands has the consistency of peanut butter and must be diluted to flow through pipelines. And that’s just the beginning.

“When emergency responders rushed to Marshall, Mich. on July 26, 2010, they found that the Kalamazoo River had been blackened by more than one million gallons of oil. They didn’t discover until more than a week later that the ruptured pipeline had been carrying diluted bitumen, also known as dilbit, from Canada’s tar sands region. Cleaning it up would challenge them in ways they had never imagined. Instead of taking a couple of months, as they originally expected, nearly two years later the job still isn’t complete.

“Dilbit is harder to remove from waterways than the typical light crude oil—often called conventional crude—that has historically been used as an energy source.

“While most conventional oils float on water, much of the dilbit sank beneath the surface. Submerged oil is significantly harder to clean up than floating oil: A large amount of oil remains in the riverbed near Marshall, and the cleanup is expected to continue through the end of 2012.

“InsideClimate News spent seven months investigating what made the Marshall spill different from conventional oil spills. Part of the challenge was that there has been little scientific research on dilbit; most of the studies that have been done were conducted by industry and considered proprietary information…”


See also: The Dilbit Disaster: Inside The Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of, Part 1, Elizabeth McGowan and Lisa Song, Inside Climate News

Categories: Enbridge, Environment

7 replies »

  1. Why is it that we can find that information and endbridge and the red chinese spokes person stephen chin wan u harper wanna be can not ?


  2. This should be Exhibit A on why the Enbridge pipeline should never be brought to fruition across Northern BC. They had good access to truck in equipment in Michigan and couldn't even scratch the surface when it came to trying to clean up this disaster.


  3. I was planning on vacationing in Northern BeeCee soon, but I'm gonna wait now until Enbridge makes it more beautiful and family friendly! How can you enjoy the North Beach by Tow Hill without some bitumen?


  4. The Times-Colonist has run some incisive stories on dilbit and the supertanker fiasco. The operator actually has a sizeable fleet of oil-spill vessels but (a) they can't operate except in calm conditions and (b) they can only deal with surface spills of floating (i.e. conventional crude oil) and are completely ineffective to deal with dilbit. In salt water, the dil separates from the bit. The dil stays at the surface where it transforms into toxic, explosive gases. The bitumen, of course, sinks to the bottom which, in that region, is normally hundreds of feet down where no existing technology can deal with it. EnviroShill Peter Kent admitted his ministry has no idea how to deal with a bitumen spill but said “we're working on it.” Yeah, sure. The Kitimat tanker port site is just around a spit from where the BC Ferry Queen of the North lies on the bottom 600 feet down.

    Then there's the matter of clean up compensation. Enbridge has a fine liability cut-out. Tanker operators are required to have a small amount of insurance under a deal that limits their liability to their insurance coverage. Once their insurer pays out (the limits are estimated to cover about a week of oil-spill recovery operations), the B.C. taxpayer goes on the hook and, judging by the experience of the people of Prince William Sound, the locals are probably going to be left to fend for themselves.


  5. “Kent says Canada must counter misinformation on environment by ecologists”

    Canadians must counter the bullshit emanating from the likes of Enbridge Shill Peter Kent and Joe Oliver.


  6. The reason for that my favorite blogger Norm is “Kent says Canada must counter misinformation on environment by ecologists” well any person that loves the land and earth “must” be financed by foreign powers? What? I wish I was! I'd use the money to unseat the foreign powers that installed harper.


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