Diluted bitumen poses no special pipeline leak risks, NAS panel finds

Oil sands crude does not pose an increased risk compared to other crude oils when transported via pipeline, said a committee of scientists reporting to the US Department of Transportation.

The National Research Council said scientists determined that moving diluted bitumen (dilbit) through pipelines poses no special leak risks.

It also found no evidence of physical or chemical properties in dilbit that are outside the range of other crude oils, or any other aspect of its transportation by pipeline that would make diluted bitumen more likely than other crudes to cause releases, said NRC, which is part of the National Academies of Science.

American Petroleum Institute Pipeline Director Peter Lidiak welcomed the report.

“Canadian oil sands crudes have been transported safely in the US for more than 40 years,” Lidiak said. “All crude oils have to meet the same criteria when put in a pipeline, which protects the pipeline and communities along its route, as well as the quality of all transported crudes.”

The June 25 report came about a year after the committee heard from crude oil transportation experts that dilbit upgraded from Alberta’s oil sands is essentially similar to other sour crudes (OGJ Online, July 24, 2012).

The June 25 findings were expected to dismay environmental organizations and other groups pressing the Obama administration to deny a cross-border permit to TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry dilbit from Alberta to US Gulf Coast refineries.

The conclusions likely pleased the project’s supporters, which include the Canadian and Alberta governments, and numerous oil industry and other business associations on both sides of the border.

In the report’s executive summary, NRC said it would have reviewed US federal pipeline safety regulations if it had found an increased likelihood of failures in pipelines transporting bitumen. Since it did not, it issued a final report documenting the study’s approach and results.

In addition to the July 23, 2012, hearing, the committee also reviewed pipeline incident statistics and investigations; examined data on the chemical and physical properties of dilbit and other crude shipments; reviewed the technical literature; consulted experts in pipeline corrosion, cracking, and other causes of releases; and queried pipeline operators about their dilbit transportation experiences.

In accordance with the study’s charge, the committee focused on whether dilbit shipments were likelier than other crudes to cause pipeline leaks, the report noted. It said it did not examine whether consequences from dilbit releases differ from other crudes, or if such a study is warranted.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

Woodside delays Browse FLNG development schedule

12/17/2014 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has reported it expects to enter front-end engineering and design phase for the proposed Browse floating LNG (FLNG) develop...

EPP kills plans for Bakken-to-Cushing crude oil pipeline

12/15/2014 Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPP) has elected not to proceed with development of its proposed crude oil pipeline that would have extended 1,200...

Woodside to buy Apache’s interests in Wheatstone, Kitimat LNG for $2.75 billion

12/15/2014 Woodside Petroleum Ltd. has agreed to acquire interest in the Wheatstone LNG and Kitimat LNG projects, respectively in Western Australia and Britis...

Gas agreement seen firming China-Russia energy ties

12/15/2014 A Nov. 9 framework agreement for another large gas-supply deal between OAO Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. remains far from concluded bu...

Falling prices may pose new test for China oil policies, speakers say

12/15/2014 China, which successfully revised its oil strategy in response to new technologies since 2008, could face fresh tests if prices stay low for a prol...

Watching Government: Russia: On the ropes?

12/15/2014 Russia's Dec. 1 cancellation of its South Stream natural gas pipeline was not surprising. European nations have signaled for years that they intend...

ExxonMobil forecasts 35% higher world energy demand by 2040

12/15/2014 A significantly bigger global middle class, expanded emerging economies, and 2 billion more people will contribute to 35% higher world energy deman...

API: Producers reducing methane emissions already

12/15/2014 US oil and gas producers are reducing wellhead methane emissions already and don't need ill-conceived, overly prescriptive federal regulations, Ame...

West Cornwall Township hears from Sunoco Logistics

12/12/2014

Sunoco Logistics Partners outlined its safety systems during a West Cornwall Township meeting in Pennsylvania on Nov. 10.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected