Forget Trans Mountain Pipeline, TroiBox will get the barrels through the West Coast!


EDIT: There is the data file for the netbacks calculations


I wrote a technical paper on topic how to get crude oil and LNG barrels through the West Coast. I have some background in Systems Engineering and I am of opinion that all the parts of the solution have been already invented, it just needs to be put together.

And there is no need to build any facility on the West Coast. Really, it is all already there. It could be used for transportation of heavy crude, too sour crude, LNG, LPG, fuels, methanol basically anywhere on the world where a railway infrastructure is. In US and Canada railways, sea ways and ports are under federal jurisdiction, there is no need to discuss anything with Mr. Horgan and Weaver in B.C.!

Simple scheme how the hydrocarbons travel in the technical paper:

Oilfield battery > 50 tonne ISO tank containers > Trucked to nearest intermodal yard > Railed to any of the West Coast container ports > Loaded to special ConRo ship > unloaded/blended at a refinery berth > Optionally return back with refined products


It is all in a concept stage, It hasn’t gone through any peer review yet. I am so sure there is some utility that I applied for patent protection in the US. It cost me a quite bit of money and time already, so please don’t mock me too hard or I am really going to cry.

It is final requirement to finish my Petroleum Engineering technologist degree at SAIT in Calgary. I have been waiting second month for a review from an engineer but no reply so far yet. Two previous ones said they are too busy (after a month waiting). Last week I got assigned to an expert from IHS Markit, so hopefully a discussion will start.

I am seeking brave persons who are willing to sacrifice some time and go trough 40 pages of text and send any critique or feedback why this technical solution will fail/never work/be banned/was already tried and failed/is dumb/unecological/never attract investors/kill too many bears-orcas-pinguins etc.

And sorry, I am not native in English, so maybe sometime You might need some imagination what I actually mean. Any questions are welcomed !!!!!!! (If the link above doesn’t work please let me know). 1000x Thank You very much !

Edited by Ondrej
Added data file
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Intro summary from the pdf:



This technical paper offers new logistic solution how to get heavy crude oil barrels from landlocked source areas to tidewaters. It is a combination of trucking, rail and marine transport method with utilization of intermodal tank containers. In order to be competitive with pipeline transport, the containerized transportation utilizes benefits of reduction of deadheading, integration with existing general cargo container flows and reduced infrastructure footprint. It also offers robustness and redundancy in its distributed nature, same as the Internet or the Blockchain technology has.

There is no need to build any facilities in the coastal areas. Everything important is done inland in the traditional oil and gas production areas. The system excels in heavy oil transport and even light oil transport where there are no pipelines at all. It cannot compete with pipelined light oil but it is order of magnitude faster, linearly scalable and more economic than CBR. With some alterations the system can be tailored to LNG and LPG export.

Recent advances in composite materials manufacturing open many possibilities how to improve existing transportation means. The effect are most visible in aeronautics and car manufacturing.

The inland truck and rail transport is most sensitive to weight limitations and any reduction of cargo carriers tare weight has great impact on shippers profit. The proposed tank container is built from composites, reducing its tare weight by more than 50%. It works in tandem with containerized module pump for loading and unloading, which is itself transportable by the same means as the tank container. Minimal diluent use and heat preservation is the key to the transportation economics of bitumen and heavy oil. Using 10% maximum dilution and 4 inch thick insulation it is possible to retain close to 40°C inner temperature after 8 days of transport.

The composite tank is equipped with inner diaphragm/membrane which facilitates continuous unloading of viscous fluid. At the given temperature the fluid has composition of maple syrup, which is still possible to unload in timely manner using the membrane push effect. If transported stacked, two in each car well, it is possible to transport 8% more barrels compared to DOT117 tank cars.

The membrane also divides the tank to compartments. It can allow loading of two liquids of different viscosity without contamination. This is the key aspect in reduction of deadheading.

Such system can bring crude oil to a refinery and distribute refined petroleum on the way back to the source.

Standard dimensions of the tank container allows merging with the current general cargo intermodal container flow, reducing the rail leg cost by one third, ultimately by half. Weight capacity of railway intermodal well cars is seldom fully utilized. In the North American continent most of cargo weight flows from West to East, and there is a similar stream of empty cargo containers going from East to the West Coast returning back to Asia. The fastest and shortest way how to get cargo from China to Chicago is over a sea port in British Columbia and the route intersects crude oil production areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan. By merging the crude oil weight into the empty stream and returning the empty containers with the full stream it is possible to spread out the required load capacity and achieve better resources utilization.

The marine leg of the logistic system utilizes design of a RoRo ship. Versatility is important factor here, since these ships can allow loading of any vehicle or containerized cargo using so called cassette platforms. It isn’t volumetrically as efficient as a tanker ship, but naturally, can transfer the same weight per DWT. In combined ConRo version it is possible to house crude oil tank containers under deck and cargo containers above deck same way as ACL Liners do.

Each tank container slot has its dedicated pump mechanism which is itself modular in 8’ sized containers connected to permanent plumbing system in the ship walls. Its independent pumping action can achieve various pumping rates and controlled blending ratios.

The marine leg benefits from the same synergies as the Inland transport system. There are marine routes to countries which would greatly profit from integration of the traded product streams. For example South Korea is one of the biggest petroleum product exporters and is too much dependent on imports from the Middle East unstable regimes. The country also happens to be one of the largest exporters of electronics and cars. The integrated goods and products flow can greatly reduce or probably completely eliminate the crude oil front haul costs.

In compare to pipelines, containerized crude oil delivery is possible in a numerous small batches where one 40’ tank container represent 300 barrels. For a refinery, it can supply stabilized, chemically preprocessed feedstock, with clear origin description and predictable distillation essay. Customized batches of exact 30°API crude oil can be mixed onboard of the RoRo ship from tank containers carrying various grades of heavy and light oil. Using controlled blending it is possible to “upgrade” less valued feedstock as bitumen is into midgrade crude oil.

None of a refinery has a same processing configuration and final product portfolio, there is always some variation which can be reflexed in the feedstock tank container batch stream coming in from all kinds of different inland oil fields.

Unsurprisingly, the most profitable business case discussed in this technical paper is export of crude oil (or LNG) to Asia via the West Coast. The model assumes blending ratio of 66:34 partially diluted bitumen vs Bakken light crude oil delivered containerized to Vancouver Delta port and shipped to Asia. Resulting Netback is almost $9 higher in average versus shipping WCS crude oil to Asia via the Transmountain Pipeline and tanker (Figure 1 - red bottom line).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites