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Enbridge Line 5 under siege, Natives file lawsuit

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Native Americans sue Enbridge over Line 5.  A Native American tribe in Wisconsin is suing Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) over its aging Line 5 pipeline, demanding the shutdown of the line. The same pipeline is facing legal troubles in Michigan. Line 5 has also become ensnared in presidential politics, with at least two major Democratic candidates calling for its closure ahead of the next round of debates to be held in Detroit next week.  And this comes at a time when Canadian take-away capacity is already under major stress!  Now what?

It is my personal view that Canada is better off twinning a major East-West rail line to move its product, as this pipeline exercise is just one mess after another.  While arguments are presented that pipe is cheaper to transport than rail, the question is really: can a new pipe ever get built, and if it can, how long will it take?  Twinning a rail line is a construction exercise of moving in ballast gravel and laying wooden ties.  Canada has lots of wood from which to fabricate ties.  A new rail line would be fast. 

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Jan van Eck said:

Native Americans sue Enbridge over Line 5.  A Native American tribe in Wisconsin is suing Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) over its aging Line 5 pipeline, demanding the shutdown of the line. The same pipeline is facing legal troubles in Michigan. Line 5 has also become ensnared in presidential politics, with at least two major Democratic candidates calling for its closure ahead of the next round of debates to be held in Detroit next week.  And this comes at a time when Canadian take-away capacity is already under major stress!  Now what?

It is my personal view that Canada is better off twinning a major East-West rail line to move its product, as this pipeline exercise is just one mess after another.  While arguments are presented that pipe is cheaper to transport than rail, the question is really: can a new pipe ever get built, and if it can, how long will it take?  Twinning a rail line is a construction exercise of moving in ballast gravel and laying wooden ties.  Canada has lots of wood from which to fabricate ties.  A new rail line would be fast. 

The problem is the old Line 5 transports dilbit to US Midwest.  The new Line 5 will transport dilbit.  

Can't transport dilbit by railcar.  The dilbit needs to be moving or heated or it will solidify.  They have tried in past to use heated coil railcars and/or stir wheels.  But they tend to breakdown or way to expensive.

I'm all for pipelines . . . But to be honest the old Enbridge Line 5 is dangerous.  Dilbit can be very caustic to pipelines. When under pressure and above 150° is downright dangerous.  Refiners in US had to use steel alloys combining nickle, molybdenum or chromium to harden equipment to allow processing dilbit. Additionally, dilbit by its nature contains microscopic clay particuals that contains water. This collects in certain spots and causes pipe corrosion from the inside out.

New hardened steele alloys are better.  Therefore the new Line 5 could work.

But environmentalist in Michigan stopping from tunneling under the Straits of Mackinaw.  Enbridge is screwed ( and the US refineries in the Midwest that use it , like the Koch Brothers are out of luck.)

If you want to see what the old Line 5 could become look at the 2010 Line 6 pipeline leak and spill into the Kalamazoo River.  Cost $1 Bilion to clean up.  The lighter diluents evaporate and the heavy bitumin sinks.

A lot of the chemicals used to dilute bitumin are carcinogenics . After the Kalamazoo spill many local residents reported respatory problems.  Many illness that could arise from exposure might not show up for decades.

Edited by Falcon

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45 minutes ago, Falcon said:

Can't transport dilbit by railcar.  The dilbit needs to be moving or heated or it will solidify.  

Sorry, Falcon, Dilbit can be easily moved by railcar.  You are thinking in terms of oil tank cars.  Yet the CN has developed a carrier consisting of plastic resin pellets, onto which the material will solidify when placed in molds.  The resulting solid is roughly the shape of a hockey puck; you load them into ordinary gondola cars and ship the stuff just like gravel.  With that technology, the material can either be separated from the pellets at the receiving end, or (if the material is used as a fuel oil) simply be burned along with the dilbit. 

Never underestimate what technological development can do for you.  Here, the CN technology converts the shipping problem to simple bulk freight.  It makes the stuff inert, if you derail and spill, hey no biggie, a crew goes in there and hand collects the hockey pucks, hauls them off-site and back into another gondola car. Zero environmental risk.  Zero fire risk. And if it is the dead of winter, hey just leave it at the spill side until Spring, zero effect.  

Rail has a bright future in shipping bitumen.  Stick around; I predict it will become the dominant shipping platform.  Pipelines will be obsoleted by this new technology:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/oil-pucks-and-pellets-alternative-ways-to-ship-bitumen/article/536637

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(edited)

8 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Sorry, Falcon, Dilbit can be easily moved by railcar.  You are thinking in terms of oil tank cars.

I was thinking Tanker car. . . . 

Edited by Falcon

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