Showing posts with label bitumenexporter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitumenexporter. Show all posts

July 23, 2014

Bitumen Update from Nigeria

Nigeria loses over N300 billion annually to massive importation of bitumen into the country, the Association of Bitumen Marketers and Distribution of Nigeria (ABIMD) has said.

This amount, the union said, could be used for other meaningful projects if the government had stopped importation of the product and encouraged its local production available at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC).

Bitumen is a by-product of petroleum used for road construction and maintenance.
At a news conference in Kaduna on Tuesday, the National Vice Chairman of the association, Fred Nyabam, described the massive importation of bitumen into the country as a serious threat to the economic development of the nation.

He raised alarm over the activities of some few individuals who he described as ‘selfish individuals’ and ‘economic saboteurs,’ who he said had truncated all efforts made in the past to stop importation of bitumen into Nigeria and encourage local production.

“The brazen act of sabotage against the Nation is that over 60 per cent of all the Bitumen imported into Nigeria comes from a refinery in IRAN, whose Bitumen production capacity is not bigger than that of Kaduna Refinery,” he stated.

He, however, called for the intervention of the Federal Government to protect Nigerian bitumen products by reducing the cost of locally produced ones and stopping the importation in order to enhance local product.

Source- Nigerian Tribune

June 9, 2014

Bitumen to Batteries

Chinese bitumen producer Luxiang has proposed a new plan for its transformation, moving away from its bitumen business and foraying into new energy after its lithium mine reported further delays, Guangzhou's Money Week magazine reports.

Trading for Luxiang's shares listed in Shenzhen have been suspended since April 1 due to the ongoing restructuring of its assets. The company expects trading to resume before July 8, according to the latest statement released on May 7.

Luxiang came under the spotlight again after electric carmaker BYD announced a plan to issue new shares to fund the expansion of lithium-ion battery production, because of the association of the two companies, the magazine said.

Lu Xiangyang, Luxiang's second-largest shareholder, is a cousin of BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu, and Luxiang holds the rights to a top quality spodumene mine in Sichuan province, the magazine said.
Luxiang shares were bolstered by such connections following the company's acquisition of the mine in 2009, but the company has been hit by delays because of the local government's stalled efforts to expropriate land around the mine for expansion.

A Luxiang official handling investor relations recently told the magazine that the company is not working with BYD on any project, since the two are operating on two ends of the industry and Luxiang currently does not produce batteries, components for batteries or lithium salts.

An analyst also told the magazine that Luxiang is unlikely to see a positive impact from government incentives for development of new energy vehicles, which was behind the recent share price surge of companies expected to benefit from the policy.

On the other hand, Luxiang has made a series of announcements regarding its restructuring plan, including the acquisition of Dongguan Tec-Rich Engineering and a 51% stake in a natural gas company in Yulin in Shaanxi province.

Tec-Rich is a producer of equipment and lithium batteries, which will allow Luxiang to tap into the sector downstream, while natural gas fits the company's goal to move into the new energy business, according to Luxiang chairman Ke Rongqing.

The more surprising announcement was the company's sale of its bitumen subsidiary, which was made on May 12.

The sale marked Luxiang's exit from its 16-year-long core business of bitumen, which might lead to a difficult situation of losing an income source, while its mine has yet to generate revenue, the magazine said.
Whether investors would buy into Luxiang's latest restructuring plan after trading for its shares resumes remains uncertain, the magazine said.

Source -Want China Times

March 6, 2014

High Pressure Steaming to Clear the Spill

CNRL wants to start high-pressure steaming near active spill site
Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd. provides media access to spills at its Primrose site near the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in northeast Alberta. August 8, 2013.
Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd. provides media access to spills at its Primrose site near the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in northeast Alberta. August 8, 2013.
Vassy Kapelos, Global News
The company whose northern Alberta spills have been oozing bitumen for 10 months nonstop has asked the province to let it start high-pressure steam operations less than a kilometre away from one of the spill areas.

More than a million litres of bitumen have spilled so far from Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd.’s Primrose sites – but it’s hard to tell because that’s lower than what the company said had spilled several months ago. (CNRL says that’s due to “reconciliation” in its numbers; the Alberta Energy Regulator doesn’t collect its own figures)

Either way, that makes this one of Alberta’s top five bitumen spills in 40 years (one other of which was also on CNRL’s Primrose site). And the leaks show no sign of stopping.

Canadian Natural applied last month for permission to start high-pressure steam operations at a Primrose South site. The closest well is about 500 metres away from the one-kilometre exclusion zone the province set up last summer around one of the spill sites.

This would be the same kind of high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation CNRL used where these spills occurred: Inject extremely high-pressure steam into a vertical hole in rock; then suck all the heated bitumen out as the high pressure forces it up through the same hole in the rock.

CNRL says it knows what started the leaks in the first place: It blames old wellbores deep within the rock that should have been capped with cement but allowed bitumen to escape.

“We are confident as to the cause and the step we can take to prevent it happening again,” spokesperson Zoe Addington said in an email.

Others aren’t so sure.
“It’s kind of strange to me they’re sort of approving steaming in the absence of knowing officially what went wrong,” said Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaign coordinator with Greenpeace Canada.
“If they start injecting here it could reheat and cause the other one to keep spilling or it could, depending what’s cracked, it could widen cracks more. It certainly won’t make things better.”

Regulator spokesperson Bob Curran said they’re reviewing the application and there’s no set timeline for how long that will take. “As a general policy,” he said in an email, “we do not discuss specifics of applications that are under review.”

But “if CNRL hasn’t proven they can ensure it won’t happen again and if the regulator doesn’t know it won’t happen again, it should be considered a high-risk application,” said Pembina Institute analyst Erin Flanagan.
When the spills were just a few months old, CNRL said there was no way to stop the seeping bitumen until the pressure pushing it up from underground subsided. It appears it still hasn’t, although it remains unclear how much has actually spilled: In September, CNRL said about 1.2 million litres of bitumen had spilled; this week, it said about 1.77 million, chalking the discrepancy up to reconciled numbers.

The company also said the amount spilling now is almost “imperceptible” – about 1,000 litres a month from all spill sites.

Kevin Timoney doesn’t buy it: The Treeline Ecological Research investigator published a detailed report into these spills, figuring that, if previous volume reports were accurate, the real amount of bitumen spilled so far is probably closer to 2 million litres.

“Both AER and CRNL fail to provide accurate, complete, and timely information to the public,” Timoney’s report reads. “Without independent oversight of reported hydrocarbon release and recovery volumes, the public may never know the true volumes spilled or recovered.”

The spills are expected to come up in CNRL’s conference call with investors following its fourth-quarter earnings announcement Thursday.

CNRL’s application to start high-pressure steaming says it has done a risk assessment on all wellbores within a kilometre of the proposed site, and plans to implement “an enhanced monitoring and reporting protocol” within that area.

Others aren’t so sure wellbores are the answer: The Alberta Energy Regulator would say only that it “continues to make progress is its investigation, and will release its findings once the investigation is complete.”

Environmentalists point out it seems statistically unusual for several wellbores in different locations to suddenly fail at once, and strange for one failed wellbore to cause spills surfacing several kilometers apart.
They say it could be that the steam’s just too high pressure – it’s cracking the caprock, creating fissures in the stone where bitumen can escape.

If that’s the case, it could mean trouble – not just for CNRL’s operations at Primrose, but for anyone extracting bitumen by injecting high-pressure steam into the ground. And the number of in situ operations doing that is slated to grow. What happens if it turns out companies don’t know as much about doing that safely as they thought they did?

The regulator’s investigation into a similar CNRL spill in 2009 suggested problems with rock and pressure, but was ultimately inconclusive as to what caused the large spill.

It’s possible the broader implications of such a finding could be holding the regulator back from suggesting the problem lies in the extraction method itself.

“It would be a very brave bureaucrat in Alberta who said, ‘We have a problem with in situ technology’ because it is the future of tar sands development,” Stewart said. “This is why I think they need to make their reviews public and they need to be reviewed by independent experts.”

With a report from Leslie Young

Source- Globalnews

December 24, 2013

Kazakhstan Launches Bitumen Plant


Kazakhstan has commissioned a new plant for production of road bitumen at Aktau Plastics Plant (Aktau bitumen plant) that was constructed by a group of companies KazMunaiGas.

The company reported that Governor of Mangistau region Alik Aidarbayev, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary ambassador of China Le Yucheng, representatives of the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan and KazMunaiGas JSC, the management of CITIC Group company, Caspi Bitum JV LLP and other partner companies participated at the event.


"Our plant can almost completely cover the needs of the country in bitumen. This is a joint project of the KazMunaiGas National Company and the Chinese company CITIC Group," Chairman of the Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries JSC Dauletkerey Ergaliev said.

The plant will produce about 400,000 tons of oxidized and 120,000 tons of modified road bitumen, as well as 15,000 tons of gasoline fraction and 230,000 tons of kerosene and diesel fraction, 220,000 tons of vacuum gas oil.

To avoid the loss of quality of bitumen while transporting it to the asphalt paving place, Aktau bitumen plant provides innovative technology for packing bitumen into a disposable shipping container of two types - Big Bag (1000 kilograms) and plastic bags (40 kilograms).

The use of packed cold bitumen will not only keep the original physicochemical characteristics of the material, but also get savings in asphalt plants by reducing the costs of keeping the molten bitumen in large bitumen storages.
Source- AZERNews

November 23, 2013

Buffet Continues to invest in Bitumen


Buffett Increases His Oil Sands Stake With $3.45 Billion Exxon Mobil Investment

Ron Daems, President of Strata Oil & Gas Inc., discusses how Warren Buffett's latest oil investment affects shareholders


It has now been revealed that Warren Buffett's oil sands exposure has increased again, with his 40.1 million share purchase of Exxon Mobil, one of the world's leading producers and a major player in Alberta's enormous bitumen play through its 70% stake in Imperial Oil.

This is Buffett's second recent high-profile oil investment, the first being in June when Berkshire Hathaway announced it had taken a $500-million stake in Suncor Energy Inc., the world's leading oil sands producer and Canada's largest integrated operator.

Tellingly, Buffett increased his stake in Exxon Mobil right around the time it was acquiring the enormous Clyden in-situ bitumen project from ConocoPhillips - a company whose stock he just sold, reducing his holdings in it by 44 percent.

ExxonMobil/Imperial also owns the Kearl project - another massive Alberta-based bitumen project with 4.6 billion barrels of bitumen resource and a project lifespan of over 40 years. Production is already at 80,000 barrels per day.

In short, Buffett's ExxonMobil stake gives him ownership in Imperial Oil - one of Exxon Mobil's jewels-in-the-crown, partly because of its enormous Canadian oil sands position.
Ron Daems, President of Strata Oil, provided these comments to shareholders:

"Strata Oil views Buffett's increased stake in ExxonMobil as good news for Alberta's bitumen producers, and a real endorsement of the future potential of the resource. Many of the leading 'Carbonate Triangle' companies have already attracted the investment dollars of some of the world's major investment institutions including Warburg Pincus, Blackstone Capital, and Goldman Sachs. But there's no doubt that Buffett's $3.45 billion stake in ExxonMobil/Imperial and his earlier $500 million stake in oil-sands producer Suncor is the kind of good news that really bodes well for Alberta's bitumen production," said Mr. Daems.

"All these developments mean that momentum is building in Alberta's bitumen carbonate play, and Strata Oil has one of the largest and most attractive projects in the industry. We acquired our project in 2005 and 2006, making us one of the earliest companies to position in the carbonates. Through drilling and geological analysis, we now have a recoverable resource of 887 million barrels of crude, and a total resource of 3.4 billion barrels. We believe our company offers substantial value to its shareholders."

Strata Oil's Cadotte Central project is estimated to have a Net Present Value (NPV) of USD $1.3 billion. Its newly updated total of 887 million bbls of recoverable bitumen provides significant additional upside potential which hasn't been factored into the $1.3 billion calculation yet.

Source- einews

August 12, 2013

Bitumen Spill Continously

Months after Primrose spill began, CNRL doesn’t know when it will stop



Thousands of barrels of bitumen have been oozing to the surface of a remote operation for months and the oil giant responsible doesn’t know when it’s going to stop.

Canadian Natural Resources, Ltd., one of Canada’s biggest oil producers, said it has all four spills at its Primrose sites in northeast Alberta contained.


“We’ve learned from this and we know what steps to take to stop it from happening again,” said CNRL spokesperson Zoe Addington.
The Alberta Energy Regulator isn’t so sure.

Bitumen continues to come to the surface in all four locations,” spokesperson Cara Tobin said in an email. “The AER does not have any evidence that can confirm cause at this time. We will not allow steaming to resume until we are confident this will not happen again.”

But it’s tough to tell what’s making high-pressure hydrocarbons shoot off in unexpected directions when they’re buried under layers of rock.


More than 7,272 barrels of bitumen emulsion have escaped to the surface since the spills began in May at the isolated Cold Lake Air Weapons Range about 350 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
About 20 barrels continue to seep out daily from four different locations, affecting about 13 and a half hectares.

According to the company, dozens of wildlife have been killed, including at least 16 birds, seven small mammals and 38 amphibians. A handful of animals are at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Edmonton.
The company’s found elevated levels of hydrocarbons in the water, but said it shouldn’t impact anyone outside that immediate area.

It’s taking journalists on a tour of the high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation site Thursday – the first such availability since the spill began.

As the name suggests, high-pressure cyclical steam stimulation  involves steam shot through horizontal wells at extremely high pressure – hot enough to soften bitumen, high enough pressure to coax it to the surface, or (unlike more common steam operations) to fracture the rock itself.

The problem, though, is that once there’s a spill, it’s hard to stop before the pressure goes down.
“We just wait until it finishes,” Addington said, adding that she “wouldn’t have characterized it as taking a long time.”

The company is cleaning up the new bitumen as it leaks to the surface.

“Any emulsion to surface we’re taking very seriously,” Addington added, “and doing everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Global News analysis of 47 spills of crude oil or bitumen at CNRL’s Primrose and Wolf Lake sites since 2002 indicates the most commonly cited cause has been equipment failure.
In this case, the company says, the problem is that old, vertical wells, thought to be sealed up, came unsealed and allowed bitumen to escape.

The company knows which wellbores are problematic, she said, and knows how to fix them using concrete and steel so the problem doesn’t recur. The company thinks cleanup will cost about $40-million; investigation and repairs, $20-million.

“We’ve got an inventory of old legacy wellbores, we’ve flagged a few that we think are the likely culprits and we’re investigating and we know how to fix them,” she said.
“We believe it’s most likely a cementing failure, and we can repair that.”

But the Alberta Energy Regulator has not reached any conclusions. It’s still waiting on “technical, verified data,” Tobin said.
The regulator has questioned CNRL’s spill assessments before: After a 2009 spill at the same location, the provincial body expressed doubt over CNRL’s initial explanation.

“The ERCB is of the view that the Clearwater shale was likely breached by high-pressure steam injection not related to a wellbore issue,” the regulator (then known as the Energy Resources Conservation Board) said in an investigation published earlier this year.

“The ERCB is also of the view that geological weaknesses in combination with stresses induced by high-pressure steam injection may have contributed to the release.”

That hypothesis – that super-high pressure steam injections plus weaknesses in the rock contributed to a spill – makes sense to Chris Severson-Baker, managing director of the Pembina Institute. What doesn’t make sense, he said, is why the same procedure’s being done at the same site four years later.
Geological weakness, Severson-Baker argues, would mean “there’s a fundamental problem, perhaps, with the design of the project.”

And he says failure to figure out what went wrong and what to do about it could have repercussions for anyone in the industry using steam to extract oil.

“Just how much knowledge does industry and government have about what happens to these when they inject these very high pressures underground?” he said. “How much information do they have about where these fluids might be going?

“When something like this happens in spite of industry and government’s efforts to understand what happens … it calls into question these practices everywhere, really.”



July 3, 2013

Long Lasting Roads

ALAPUZZHA: When roads like National Highway 47 in the district turned into death traps soon after being repaired, around 12 major roads that were laid many years ago in the district, remained in good condition.

Public are demanding that the public works department (PWD) must follow the construction technology of these good roads in repairing the damaged roads in the district.

The roads like Alappuzha-Cherthala State Highway(SH), Alappuzha-Madurai State Highway, Cherthala-Poochackal Road, Ayyappancheri- Mangalapuram Road(Muhamma), PS Kavala-EK Kavala Road (Cherthala), Krishnapuram-Mavelikkara Road, Mavelikkara - Kayamkulam Road and Kayamkulam-Punaloor Road are in good condition even after years have passed since its construction.

Vinod K D, an auto driver from Cherthala, said accidents are less in these roads. "We feel safe and comfortable when we ride through these roads. Government should follow the construction methods of these roads when they do the maintenance works of the potholed and damaged roads in the district,'' he said. PWD (roads) executive engineer Sanil S said they had constructed these roads using bitumen macadam and bitumen concrete. "We had constructed only 12 roads using this technology in the district. We own 1,500 km of roads in the district. We need to spend around Rs 50 lakh per km for constructing roads using this technology. So we are normally using chipping carpet (metal and bitumen) method in constructing majority of our roads,'' the executive engineer said. "It was two years ago, that Thanneermukkom-Kannakara Road was constructed using chipping carpet method. The commuters hardly face any problems in plying on this road. Similarily, around four years ago, Ayyappancheri-Mangalapuram Road was constructed using bitumen macadam and bitumen concrete. However, the first road was repaired around three times while on the second road, there was no need for any repair work. If we have the amount spent for the maintenance works of the roads, which were constructed by using chipping carpet technology, we could easily construct roads using using bitumen macadam and bitumen concrete without any financial constraints,'' said Shaji P, a contractor.

"We have got approval from the state government for constructing the roads using bitumen macadam and bitumen concrete. We will convert all our roads into this technology in a phased manner. However, we need Rs 5 crore immediately to repair the roads, which were damaged in in the rain. We were told by the government that the funds would be allotted by next week,'' the executive engineer said.
  Source- Times of India

June 10, 2013

Contractor Setting up Bitumen Reactor Plant

Construction and engineering group Basil Read continues to scout for work outside South Africa because the recovery in the local construction market is still being hampered by the slow roll-out of projects.
Marius Heyns, Basil Read’s chief executive, said the group was actively exploring niche markets with long-term prospects in infrastructural spending and had secured contracts in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

Writing in the group’s latest annual report, Heyns said the group’s mining division, a specialist open pit contract mining service provider, had received a letter of intent from Weatherly International to perform contract mining services for the Tschudi copper project in Namibia, subject to Weatherly securing funding.
Heyns said Weatherly had signed a term sheet with a finance provider and mining activities were set to commence early next year. 

He said the group’s property development division had also embarked on a growth strategy to look at opportunities across the continent and a range of strategic partnerships had been established with financiers, housing development agencies and other developers with the aim of establishing and growing the group’s footprint “in a measured way”. 

Heyns said the division was exploring a range of housing development opportunities in Zambia, Rwanda and Kenya with further possibilities in Ghana and Tanzania. 

The group had also made impressive headway during the year in constructing an international airport on the island of St Helena, which was one of the largest projects ever awarded to the group.
The St Helena government and the UK Department for International Development in 2011 allocated R3.5 billion to develop the island’s first airport in a bid to unlock massive economic opportunity for the British overseas territory.

Work on the airport is due to be completed in 2015, with Basil Read and partner Lanseria Airport operating the airport for 10 years thereafter. 

Heyns said the local construction sector continued to be hampered by the slow roll-out of projects. Despite a steady improvement in margins, competition remained fierce and many large construction groups were securing the bulk of their order books beyond South Africa’s borders.

He said tender activity in the building division had picked up and the news that SA National Roads Agency’s 2013 budget was approved at more than R10bn was positive.Heyns said the bitumen supply shortage in the country contributed to the losses incurred by the group’s roads division and highlighted the need to secure consistent supply.

Basil Read’s wholly owned subsidiary, SprayPave, was establishing a bitumen reactor plant in the Western Cape that would enable the group to produce various grades of bitumen for its own sites and to support the sector, he said. The plant was expected to be operational in the second half of this year. 

Heyns said the government had reaffirmed its commitment to a large-scale infrastructure investment programme, which boded well for the group’s construction division.



May 10, 2013

Vale's dilemma Over Bitumen

THE intention of the council to lay the old railway path with asphalt/bitumen surely runs counter to its own stated objective in its corporate plan 2010-2014 to protect and enhance the Vale’s natural and built environment.

And to adhere to principles of sustainability and sustainable development – specifically to conserve, restore and enhance the Vale’s built and natural environment, keeping it safe, diverse and pleasant.

To turn a railway walk into an asphalt/bitumen space will run the risk of: lInviting and attracting motorised users thereby potentially causing (excessive) noise pollution, safety risks for pedestrians and non-motorised users, waste pollution through significant greater use, and disrupt the natural wildlife embedded in the flora;

lIncreasing issues of water run-off as asphalt/bitumen will not absorb water; lInvolving the council in great maintenance costs in the mid and longer term as the asphalt/bitumen breaks up and needs replacing.
Additionally, why are trees along the walk being cut down at the height of the bird-breeding season?

Phillippa John-Cooke and Granville John Westbourne Road Penarth

May 9, 2013

Bitumen Bandits is Australia - Unfair Trade Practices

MT Larcom residents have been warned to be wary if approached by traders offering bitumen laying or other home maintenance services.

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating a number of reports of a group of itinerant traders offering bitumen laying services in the area.

Typically these operators do a substandard job which then has be fixed by a qualified trader, costing twice as much.

Residents are urged to be wary if approached by traders offering bitumen laying or other home maintenance in return for upfront cash payment. Fair Trading said bitumen bandits usually claimed they were working on construction sites in the area and offered to do the job for a low price with leftover material.

It is illegal for door-to-door traders to take any upfront payments or deposits for services valued at more than $100. Consumers must also be given a 10 business day cooling-off period and be provided with documentation to enable them to cancel the contract at any stage during this period.

Residents should also be wary of traders with no business address or those that can only cite a post office box, suite number, email address or mobile phone as their contact details.

Anyone with concerns about traders who have approached them door-to-door should take notes about the trader and the registration number of their vehicle, and contact the Office of Fair Trading via www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or call 13 74 68. 

Source -Centraltelegraph

April 30, 2013

Road Builder Buys Bitumen Plant to Avoid Short Supply

Fed up with an unstable local bitumen supply, construction firms have begun to invest in securing their own supply of the material, which is an essential part of road construction and maintenance.
 
Road-builder Raubex and construction group Basil Read recently purchased their own bitumen processing facilities. And last month, the industry persuaded the department of trade and industry to drop the 10% duty on imported bitumen.

"Imports will always be more expensive," says Raubex's chief executive Rudolf Fourie. "But insufficient bitumen production at local refineries has made it a permanent reality. The withdrawal of import duty is a result of a year and a half of negotiations," he added.

Raubex bought Tosas, a modifier and distributor of bitumen, from Sasol Oil for R120m. The sale is packaged with a valuable supply agreement with Sasol Oil.

"Sasol will supply us with unprocessed bitumen for five years, meeting about 50% of the company's needs," says Fourie. "The rest will be sourced from other refineries," he says.

Companies generally use different grades of bitumen. Half comes directly from refineries, while the rest needs to be processed with specialised equipment to make it more elastic and durable.

Tricky, sticky material

But bitumen is tricky. It has to be stored in custom temperature-controlled facilities. When local bitumen supply was sufficient, there was no need for storage facilities. But without them, the industry has only been able to import small quantities, at a higher price.

In the 2012 financial year, bitumen supply constraints cost Raubex R100m. More recently, it has been able to dramatically reduce costs by investing R21m in storage facilities. This has enhanced its storage capacity from 500t in 2011 to 4,500t. The purchase of Tosas pushes this to 6,000t, which gives it the ability to order and offload a full shipment.

Basil Read will import a R20m bitumen reactor from New Zealand, which can produce up to five grades of bitumen, says chief executive Marius Heyns. It will be built in the Western Cape and will be operational by July. Unprocessed bitumen will be supplied by a Cape refinery.

Heyns says bitumen supply problems contributed to Basil Read's R171m loss in the year to December.

In addition to buying the reactor, it has developed a better reporting system. "Previously, by the time information was relayed, it was too late for the company to act," Heyns says.

Both firms intend supplying processed bitumen to the local construction market.

Local bitumen supply has been erratic for a number of years. Refineries which produce it are required to give priority to stocking "strategic minerals" like diesel and petrol. Bitumen does not fall into that category - and is more expensive to produce. A series of maintenance-related shutdowns at refineries has aggravated the problem.

Source: Financial Mail via I-Net Bridge - Bizcommunity


April 23, 2013

Bitumen Plant delayed

Commisssioning of the bitumen plant under rehabilitation at Indeni Oil Refinery will delay for a month due late arrival of pumps.

The contractor, Caleb Mukhwana, said 75 per cent of works on the bitumen plant had been done and that the only thing that would delay the completion of the project were the pumps.
"This project would have finished by June but we are going to delay for a month because of the pumps that we are supposed to fit. We will instead finish in July," he said.

And energy permanent secretary George Zulu said importation of bitumen would be stopped once the rehabilitation of the bitumen plant is completed. "The reason we want the bitumen plant is to make sure that we stop importing the product. The bitumen plant will also play an important role in the construction of roads in the Link Zambia 8,000 Project because we will not be importing bitumen but we will instead be getting it from Indeni," he said.

Zulu said the project of rehabilitating the bitumen plant by Indeni and construction of the drumming facility at TAZAMA would cost US$20 million. He said 50 per cent of construction works for the drumming facility at TAZAMA had been done.

Zulu said the Indeni bitumen plant would be producing 40 tonnes of the product per day.
He said the government would only export bitumen once the local demand was satisfied.
Zulu also said the first consignment of bitumen would go to the Link Zambia 8,000 Project and people would only buy bitumen from Indeni once the project (Link Zambia 8000) is completed.

Source- Zambia Post


April 2, 2013

Lake Asphalt is it better than Pertoleum Bitumen ?

Asphalt Liberia Corp. Rebuts ‘Exposing a Diplomatic Scam’ Story in New Democrat
(Apr 1, 2013)
• L-R: Aaron K. Boyce, William K. Kpadehyea, in Trinidad & Tobago

This press release is prompted by an article in the March 20th, 2013 Edition of New Democrat captioned, “Diplomatic Scam Exposed”. The article reports that a group of Liberian claiming to be diplomats and representing the ruling Unity Party visited the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on November 23, 2012 to renew diplomatic ties with that country. The report is a distortion of facts; it is slanderous and libelous and is inconsistent with our position to create opportunities for Liberians to meaningfully participate in the reconstruction of our country. 

On November 18, 2012, a delegation of three from Asphalt Liberia Corporation, Inc. arrived at Piarco International Airport at 3 p.m. local time in the city of Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as guests of GHV and its Associates, a duly registered Trinidadian Company with distributorship for natural asphalt. Asphalt Liberia is a duly registered Liberian Corporation owned by Liberians.   

 

                 L-R: Aaron K. Boyce, William K. Kpadehyea, in Trinidad & Tobago

The delegation purposely travelled on a fact-finding mission to explore the prospect of acquiring natural asphalt. Trinidad has the world’s largest deposit of natural asphalt, located in the Pitch Lake in Brighton, La Brea, Port of Spain; the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Natural Asphalt is scientifically proven as the best material for the construction of roads, seaports, tunnels and airports. China, Britain, United States, Canada, Nigeria, Japan, Germany, Brazil, South Korea, Cameroon and India have over the years used this durable material for road construction. It is established that roads using natural asphalt have guaranteed duration of 21 years as compared to 5 to 10 years when using asphalt from bitumen or oil residue.  

Because the Pitch Lake Asphalt Mineral deposit is owned by the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, the visiting delegation from Asphalt Liberia Corporation Inc. had to confer with the relevant stakeholders, which included state authorities, members of the Asphalt Pavement Association of Trinidad, local and international distributors, high-level managers of Lake Asphalt Corporation, and private citizens. 

In our deliberations with our counterparts from Lake Asphalt and GVH and its Associates, we reached an understanding that a strategic corporation between Liberia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was needed for a long term strategic supply of natural asphalt for paving Liberia’s roads and other infrastructures such as sea ports, airports, bridges, inner city Asphalt Pavement Road Network

Our delegation was privileged to have met the Honorable Foreign Minister, His Excellency Winston Dookeran and presented to him facts about Liberia’s current reconstruction efforts. We intimated to the Foreign Minister that Liberia’s basic infrastructures were destroyed during the civil crisis and that reconstruction was a priority in post-war Liberia. 


                                     Asphalt business registration certificate

Our delegation concluded five days of working visit tapping good prospects in business and garnering considerable goodwill that natural asphalt is obtainable for Liberia. We note that as private citizens with vested interest to see sustained reconstruction and development of Liberia, we believe that the rebuilding of Liberia after years of destruction should be a shared responsibility of all citizens of Liberia at home and abroad. 

Further, it is incumbent upon us to assist in the reconstruction of Liberia as active participants and not as spectators. 

Though we travelled as a corporate entity to explore business opportunities, we felt duty-bound as Liberians to take advantage of any other situation that will bring virtuousness to our war-ravaged motherland. It was in this like that we explored, for example, the possibility of providing advanced training opportunities for Liberian engineering students at the University of the West Indies at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Overall, achievements made in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in the areas of energy, natural gas, agriculture, infrastructure development provide valuable lessons in the development of Liberia. 

Our task now is to properly convey the good news to the relevant institutional arena in Liberia so that meaningful actions can be taken through the normal channels of the machinery of the Government of Liberia.    

The claim of ‘exposing a diplomatic scam’, when none exists, does not help. We endeavored to explore opportunities of corporate interest and did not lose sight of taking into consideration the common good of the state. 

We invite others to join us in virtues that make the stack contrast and difference in the lives of our citizens. 

The Management of Asphalt Liberia Corporation, Inc. takes full responsibility for the content and context of this press release. 

March 16, 2013

Road Rehabilitation in Zambia

THE Chingola Municipal Council has procured bitumen worth KR60,000 (K60 million) for road rehabilitation in the district.

Chingola town clerk George Mulenga said during an extraordinary council meeting in Chingola during the week that out of the 31 by 210 litre drums procured and delivered last month, 10 have been used to mend potholes in the area.

“We are likely to continue patching up the roads after the rains subside. So far, only 10 drums of bitumen have been used by theengineering and buildings department,” Mr Mulenga said. He was responding to questions from councillors who expressed concern over the dilapidated road infrastructure in Chingola.

Mr Mulenga attributed the poor workmanship on the roads to lack of equipment but that the municipality is soliciting for funds to procure machinery for pothole mending. And Mr Mulenga informed the civic leaders that KR700, 000 (K700 million) released for street lighting is already in the bank.

“This is so because we have just identified some contractors to work on the street lighting project,” Mr Mulenga said. He said one of the contractors quoted KR500,000 (K500 million) to install street lights on one road while the other two contractors quoted below KR500, 000.

Kwacha ward councillor Kennedy Sinkamba expressed concern that there are still potholes on Nchanga roundabout despite the fact that the road was recently worked on. “The poor workmanship has affected the roundabout. why should the council continue to waste resources on the same works?” he wondered.
Mr Sinkamba also said the Kitwe road, which leads to Nchanga North General Hospital, is in bad shape.
But Chingola mayor Cuthbert Kalebaila assured the councillors that the municipality will work on the roads as a matter of urgency.

And Nchanga member of Parliament Wilbur Simuusa said the Patriotic Front government inherited a poor road network from the MMD which has not been worked on for the last 15 to 20 years.

Source - Zambia Mail -  NKWETO MFULA in Chingola

March 12, 2013

Self Healing Roads

Self-healing roads may one day become a reality, after a university engineering professor invented an asphalt that can last twice as long as the traditional porous variety.
 
Delft University of Technology professor Erik Schlangen said the key is to add steel wool fibers to close the cracks that may form in porous asphalt.
 
"We add a very small amount of steel wool fibers, less than one percent of the volume, and then apply an induction plate to heat up the steel wool. When the wool heats up it melts the bitumen around it and closes the micro cracks,” he said, according to a report on HumansInvent.
 
HumansInvent noted a porous asphalt road will last about eight years before the top layer will replacement.
 
Schlangen said that while porous asphalt has very good properties, it has "durability problems."
 
With many pores, he said oxidation is faster than with usual asphalt, and the bitumen becomes very brittle due to this oxidation and cracks easily.
 
"You get these small micro cracks in the bitumen and so, when a car drives over the road, the stones at the surface come off," he said.
 
Such small cracks may grow until they become large potholes that can damage vehicles and eventually cause accidents, HumansInvent said.
 
Schlangen said they have tested the steel-infused asphalt on a 400-meter section of road in the Netherlands, and the initial results appear encouraging.
 
“We’ve tested a 400 meter section of road in the southern Netherlands that we laid down two years ago. There we applied induction heat and it works perfectly. We took a lot of samples from the road and aged them in the lab by putting them in the oven and spraying them with water etc and then applied induction heat and the tests have proved that we can double the surface life of asphalt, maybe even more,” he said.
 
Induction heating
 
Under Schlangen's solution, when cracks start to appear every couple of years, induction heat can be applied to the roads and they would heal themselves.
 
“You have to do that before they turn into potholes. You go on the road with an induction machine, it can be on a truck say and you drive over it, it heats up the wool and melts the bitumen and then the stones are fixed again,” Schlangen said.
 
High cost
 
HumansInvent said that while the steel-infused asphalt costs more, it may bring savings in the long run.
 
“The cost of material is increased somewhat because you have to add steel fibres but that’s not more than a 25-percent increase of the cost of the material and then there is the induction machine – you need some investment to build that and you have to drive over the roads with it. However, if you have double the surface life of your road, and no maintenance in between except driving over it with an induction machine, that saves a lot of money – the government will be able to make new savings this way,” Schlangen said.
 
Source - TJD, GMA News

February 20, 2013

AMC to use VG30 Grade Bitumen


The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has selected VG-30 as an ideal bitumen grade to be used by contractors for laying roads. Lately, the contractors had been taking liberty of using low grade bitumen from various companies.

The standing committee of the AMC has proposed in its forthcoming agenda meet to approve a specific company's bitumen along with that of IOCL, BPCL and HPCL companies. Contractors had been earlier instructed to use bitumen from state owned companies. 

 Hence the AMC will not insist that the contractors awarded the work for the road resurfacing should be using the same bitumen which they have shortlisted.

Meanwhile officials said that the standing committee also took note that a total of 145 properties were sealed by the AMC on Monday across various zones of the city and nearly 68 sealed properties were allowed to be opened. The corporation has collected Rs 13.8 lakh as pending tax from these properties. In the last few months, the AMC has sealed a total of 4,948 properties and opened seals of 1,599 properties.

Source- Times of India

November 6, 2012

President Woos Voters with Bitumen Roads


I’ll build more roads if you vote for me - Mahama tells Upper West residents


President John Mahama is promising the people of the Upper West Region massive road construction in all corners of the region if he wins the December election.

The President admits the Upper West region seriously lags behind as compared to other regions in terms of good roads.

It still remains the only region where there are no tarred or bitumen roads to link it to neighboring regions.

Addressing various rallies at Funsi, Issa, Nadowli and Wechaiu, President Mahama assured the people of making road issues a thing of the past when given the nod.

In a related development, President John Mahama Monday cut sod for work to begin on the construction of a 161 KV transmission line project for Tumu-Han and Wa. This will close the northern loop of Techiman-Tamale-Bolgatanga-Tumu, Wa and Sawla.

The project is expected to improve upon system performance.

According to engineers, this will also enhance the reliability of supply to the Northern parts of Ghana. The 75 million dollar project is funded by Societe General and GRIDCO.

President Mahama says the project goes to confirm his government’s determination to make Ghana net exporter of power.

Chiefs in the various communities continued to openly declare their support for the President and his party. They promised to do their best to ensure the party remains in power. One of them is the chief of
Funsi.


Source- MyJoyonline

October 15, 2012

Oil Spill


The hidden, long-term effects of the 2010 pipeline accident that spilled more than a million gallons of heavy Canadian crude oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River became public last week when the EPA revealed that large amounts of oil are still accumulating in three areas of the river.The problem is so serious that the EPA is asking Enbridge Inc., the Canadian pipeline operator, to dredge approximately 100 acres of the river. During the original cleanup effort, dredging was limited to just 25 acres because the EPA wanted to avoid destroying the river’s natural ecology. The additional work could take up to a year and add tens of millions of dollars to a cleanup that has already cost Enbridge $809 million.

The EPA notified Enbridge of its proposed order on Oct. 3, saying the additional clean-up is “critical” and the work “should be conducted in an expeditious manner” to remove the oil before it recontaminates the river.

“The increased accumulation demonstrates that submerged oil is mobile and migrating, evidencing that submerged oil removal is warranted to prevent downstream migration … ,” Ralph Dollhopf, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator and Incident Commander, said in the letter notifying Enbridge of the agency’s findings.
In June an InsideClimate News investigation revealed that the cleanup of the Kalamazoo has been unusually difficult, because the pipeline that ruptured was carrying dilbit, a mixture of heavy Canadian bitumen that has been diluted with liquid chemicals, some of them toxic. Bitumen, also known as tar sands oil, has the consistency of peanut butter and is too heavy to flow through pipelines without being thinned with chemicals. When Pipeline 6B split open, the chemicals began evaporating and the reconstituted bitumen began sinking to the river’s bottom.

“More than two years after the spill of diluted bitumen, this proposed order demonstrates that EPA is still tackling the problem of how to remove the heavy oil from the Kalamazoo River,” said Sara Gosman, an adjunct professor of environmental law and policy at the University of Michigan Law School.

The EPA’s determination that more cleanup is needed was based on the findings of a year-long survey of nearly 6,000 locations along the 40 miles of river contaminated when pipeline 6B ruptured in July 2010. Enbridge has until next week to request a conference with the EPA to discuss the additional work and 30 days to submit written comments.

Steve Hamilton, a Michigan State University professor who was among the experts who worked on the study, said the recommendation for dredging was driven by concern that during flooding the pools of oil could break loose and recontaminate parts of the river that have already been cleaned—or flow downriver into areas that were never touched by the gooey oil.
Illustration of Line 6B rupture site. Photo: Catherine Mann.

“We will never get all of the oil out [of the river]. It’s impossible,” Hamilton said. “The challenge is to determine when do you get to a point of diminishing returns where the eradication is too environmentally destructive to warrant the removal.”

A spokesman for the EPA said the agency would not have any comment beyond the information contained in its proposed order and the letter it sent to Enbridge.

The EPA acknowledged in the proposed order that Enbridge had conducted substantial cleanup since the pipeline ruptured, but “despite these response actions, oil remains in the Kalamazoo River.”
Enbridge did not respond to requests for comment for this story. But in an Aug. 24 letter to the EPA, the company said it did not believe that more dredging—especially in the area near the Ceresco Dam—was necessary.

“Enbridge’s position is that we have reached a point of diminishing returns where further invasive activities would do more harm than good,” Richard Adams, Enbridge’s vice president of field operation in the United States, said in the letter.

“In fact, we strongly believe that such action solely for the purpose of aesthetics would both negatively impact the riverine environment and create a significant disturbance and inconvenience to local landowners and other river users.”

The company also disputed the EPA’s concern that oil is still pooling in the river, especially near the Ceresco Dam. “[T]he most significant evidence of submerged oil has been sheen which, when collected, has amounted to a volume of less than 1 gallon of product in total during 2012,” Adams wrote, referring to the area around the dam.

Deb Miller, who lives near the dam in the community of Ceresco said she sees rainbow sheens of oil floating on the surface when she walks along the river near the carpet store she and her husband own. Recently she ran a garden rake along the river’s bottom and said that marble-sized globs of oil popped to the surface, accompanied by the sour whiff of petroleum.

“It’s insane how much oil is still here,” said Miller, who has testified before Congress about the spill’s impact on her life.

Dilbit: The Unknown Factor
The National Transportation Safety Board blasted Enbridge in July for a “complete breakdown of safety” in the 2010 disaster, which is considered the largest inland oil pipeline spill in U.S. history. The report criticized the company for failing to make repairs despite knowing of the defects five years before the rupture. The Department of Transportation also imposed a record $3.7 million civil penalty. Enbridge paid the fine last month.

Enbridge has proposed replacing the entire 210-mile length of 6B from Indiana to Ontario, Canada, at a cost of $1.3 billion. But the project has faced resistance from landowners who are fighting the company’s efforts to condemn their land and from lawsuits claiming Enbridge hasn’t complied with all state and local regulations and environmental laws.

The study of the contaminated 40-mile section of the Kalamazoo that resulted in the EPA’s directive began in 2011 and ended in August.The EPA enlisted 14 federal, state and local organizations—including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality—to perform the study as part of a Net Environmental Benefit Analysis to ensure the ongoing cleanup was sufficient and further ecological damage from the spill would be minimized.

Hamilton, the Michigan State University professor of ecology and environment, joined the team as a representative of the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council. He has done extensive research on the river and its flood plain and spoke to InsideClimate News not as a representative of the EPA but as one of the individual scientists who worked on the investigation.

Hamilton said the study relied on a technique called poling, where a long pole is used to churn up the bottom of the river to see if oil or residue floats to the surface. He said the poling identified about two dozen sections of the river where enough oil remained to be of concern. With those areas in mind, the scientists used a model of the river to simulate floods equal to the high water marks of the last 100 years, five years and the highest flood mark since the spill.

They were particularly attentive to the hundred year flood levels despite the statistical improbability of such a flood occurring.

“With climate change it might be more possible than the record might indicate,” Hamilton said.
The recommendation for dredging was based on factors beyond aesthetics, Hamilton said. One of the scientists’ primary worries was that not much is known about dilbit.

“This kind of crude oil is a complex mix of hundreds of compounds—some known to be toxic—that has not been studied much,” he said. “We just don’t understand the consequences well enough.”
Congress has ordered a study, which is being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, to determine whether dilbit is more likely than conventional oil to corrode pipelines. The study isn’t expected to be finished until the summer of 2013.

Three Areas at Risk
The investigators decided that “sheen management”—a technique that uses booms to contain oil floating to the surface—was appropriate for most of the sections where they found pools of oil. But they concluded that dredging was the only solution for three areas of the river between Marshall and Kalamazoo, Mich. The vulnerable areas are upstream of Ceresco Dam, upstream of the Battle Creek Dam in the Mill Ponds area, and in the delta upstream of Morrow Lake. Together, they cover about 100 acres, an area about the size of 75 football fields.

Near the Ceresco Dam, the investigators discovered the area of submerged oil had increased from 20 acres to 23.5 aces and that oil globules were floating to the surface, according to the EPA’s proposed order.
Because that area was subjected to what the EPA called “highly effective” dredging in 2010, the agency concluded that additional dredging would prove successful. The earlier dredging project lasted about three weeks and crews carted away 5,500 cubic yards of oil-soaked sediment from the river bottom, enough to fill 27 semi-trailers. An estimated 14 million gallons of water was decontaminated and returned to the river.
Mill Pond, the second section of the river cited for intense cleanup, presented more of a quandary for the EPA. Some sections shouldn’t be dredged, the agency decided, because the digging and scraping would do too much damage to the sensitive ecology and because the submerged oil wasn’t likely to move down river.
At the third proposed cleanup site, the Delta just upstream from Morrow Lake, the investigators discovered a “substantial expansion” of the submerged oil, with the plume now covering most of the two-mile length of the delta, an area of about 55.5 acres.

Hamilton said the scientists decided dredging was needed, because floods might dislodge the submerged oil and allow it to flow into a part of the Kalamazoo River unblemished by the spill.
“It would be wise to get at it now when it’s practical before it either becomes lodged in small backwater areas or migrates into areas where oil has not been previously discovered,” he said.

 By David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News

October 9, 2012

New Bitumen Plant for Cameroon

The government of Cameroon has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an Indian firm, Seftech India Private Limited, for it to carry out feasibilities studies for the setting up of a bitumen plant for the production of material for all-weather roads in the country. Energy and Water Resources Minister, Basile Atangana Kouna, and Seftech India Private Limited's Executive Director, Ranjeet Chaturvedi, signed the agreement in Yaounde on September 4.

In a speech, Dr Atangana Kouna noted that in this era of Greater Accomplishments, bitumen constitutes one of the major inputs in the infrastructural projects. "However, Cameroon still relies only on imports for its bitumen needs. This contributes to the very high cost of some of our infrastructural projects and greatly limits our capacity to develop and expand our road network," he said. Statistic from the Ministry of Public Works, the Minister indicated, shows that the country currently consumes about 40,000 tons of bitumen a year and is expected to increase with the announced major road works underway.

The feasibility studies will be based on 100,000 metric tons per annum capacity plant to be located either onsite or offsite SONARA facilities in Limbe, South West Region. "If the studies are conclusive, Seftech has undertaken to help the government of Cameroon obtain the necessary financial resources from the Indian Exim Bank with a possibility of signing a service contract with Cameroon under a Design, Build and Transfer (DBT) agreement. It is going to be the first bitumen plant in the whole of Central Africa and it is our hope to become a major supplier of bitumen to neighbouring countries in the nearest future," the Minister said. The terms of the agreement also stipulate that Seftech can identify a potential site for the setting up of the bitumen plant, if the same cannot be undertaken under the expansion plans of SONARA refinery. It will also select a Bitumen Reactor Licensor, basic engineering package, front and engineering design, detailed engineering as well as the project's financing.

According to Ranjeet Chaturvedi, the project is targeted to be completed by 2015 if all studies are conducted within the framework of the MoU and if financing is arranged subsequently.

Source- AllAfrica.com 

August 24, 2012

Transporting Canadian Bitumen

Transporting Bitumen from Canada is facing various challenges and pls read the article from The Globe & Mail

Gale-force winds. Thick fog. Crushing snow. Landslides. Waves the height of office buildings. The northern coast of British Columbia is a nexus of nasty elements that descend upon a place abundant in marine life - humpbacks, orcas, a buffet of shellfish - and coastal creatures, including the much-celebrated white Kermode bear, or spirit bear.
Interactive by Stuart A. Thompson
Illustrations by Matthew Bambach

No one denies the severity of the region, not least Enbridge, which has laid in place sophisticated plans to manage it, including tugboat support for tankers, new navigation aids and even an expensive tunnelling operation that would send pipe directly through a mountain, rather than around its landslide-prone slopes. The company's plans recently won a major stamp of approval from Transport Canada, which reviewed plans for the marine routes - where tankers would sail, how fast and under which conditions - and declared them sound. Yet those who live in the area say it is home to natural forces so violent.

Depending on the route, it will take between 10 and 16 hours for tankers to clear the inside waters connecting Kitimat to the open ocean. Oil tankers reach Kitimat's port using one of three routes: the southern approach , which navigates the Caamano Sound; a second southern approach , which crosses around Banks Island via the Principe Channel; and a northern approach . From there, tankers navigate the bends and turns of the Douglas Channel to reach the inlet at Kitimat.

The B.C. coast has abundant life, some of it unusual, some of it delicate, some of it threatened. Numerous marine mammals live in or go through the area that would be frequented by tanker traffic. Many of them are species of special concern to Canadians. Killer whales, fin whales, humpback whales, northern fur seals are all listed as threatened. Blue, sei and North Pacific right whales are endangered.

The region is globally important for marine birds. Land animals are also a concern. Apart from the wolves, bald eagles and other animals that live on the coast, tankers would pass parts of the Great Bear Rainforest, established in part to protect the range of the Kermode bear. The blond spirit bear, a subspecies of the black bear, is unique to this part of the world and numbers in the low hundreds.
 
Environment Canada, in its Marine Weather Hazards Manual, notes that "Hecate Strait is the fourth most dangerous body of water in the world." Wind gusts can reach 185 km/h - that's Category 3-hurricane strength, like Hurricane Ivan. Several times a winter, storm-force winds generate waves six to eight metres high - but waves can, on very rare occasions, reach a staggering 26 metres in Hecate Strait.
While conditions are substantially more moderate in narrower channels, the on-shore terrain the pipeline must cross is also vulnerable to extraordinary weather. In October, Caamano Sound is drenched in fog 20 per cent of the time. In winter, significant waves 3 1/2 metres high and greater occur 20 to 30 per cent of the time offshore, and 10 per cent along the coast.

A recent Transport Canada study concluded the water is deep enough and the passages are wide enough. But residents are concerned about the margin for error. In four places, the route goes through channels less than two kilometres wide. At a minimum, supertankers need nearly half a kilometre in width for safe travel. They need 33 metres in depth; in one area, the route passes over a spot 35 metres deep.
There is only one place in the entire series of coastal marine routes that can adequately accommodate proposed 320,000-deadweight-tonne supertankers. Kitimat Harbour does not meet minimum anchorage requirements, and would require tug support for supertankers. Another, called the Coghlan Anchorage, is "not suitable to anchor vessels of the design vessels size, on a single anchor," according to Enbridge documents.
 
Between 1999 and 2008, the routes Enbridge intends to use for Gateway tanker traffic experienced five major accidents in large vessels. Those include two "striking" accidents (where a ship contacts another object, like the shore or a dock), one instance of heavy weather damage, a grounding, and a grounding and a sinking. The latter is well-known: The Queen of the North lies buried deep in waters that supertankers would transit. It sank after hitting Gil Island in 2006. Two bodies were never found.

In 2009, the Petersfield, a bulk carrier sailing through Douglas Channel, also hit land after a failure in its navigation equipment. According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, "the vessel sustained extensive damage." Supertankers, however, remain among the safest vessels on the seas. According to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd., the number of large oil spills declined from 79 in the 1970s to 17 in the past decade.


 Northwestern British Columbia is home to a seismically unstable landscape assaulted by incredible amounts of rain and snow - Kitimat, for example, averages 2,387 millimetres of precipitation a year. That often creates problems. A 2005 study found 38 "large, catastrophic landslides" in northern B.C. in three decades, and noted that "the frequency of large landslides in northern British Columbia appears to be increasing, suggesting a link to climate change." The study specifically names pipelines as a type of infrastructure "at risk from these large landslides."

Underwater earthquakes are another hazard, causing localized tsunamis that have been recorded along the B.C. coast. One in Kitimat Inlet, in April, 1975, produced an 8.2-metre-high wave.

The Disaffected Lib

    says... From pointing out that the Hecate Strait is considered the fourth most dangerous for navigation in the world to the proven perils and pitfalls posed to supertankers plying the Douglas Channel for the 10 to 12-hour trip needed to get from Kitimat to the open sea (Hecate Strait), the madness of this high-risk venture of virtually no benefit to British Columbia is obvious.