Canadian pipeline project dies, leaving Canada's filthy tar sands with nowhere to go

As an Albertan this is thing that has been pissing me off here for decades at this point. Our government and industry have put all the eggs in one basket. This is fine for industry as the people making the decisions walk away with massive wealth when things crash and awful for the province as we’re left holding the bag.


OPEC’s push to drop the oil price was not about the oil sands, which were never huge competition to them, but about U.S. frakking. The U.S. was really a producer anymore until frakking gave them access to new sources of oil. OPEC had driven the price far above their production cost and could afford to drive the price down again to kill the frakkers. What they seem ignorant of is how the U.S. economy works. You can kill existing companies but if the resource is there new companies will jump in when the price recovers to the levels the Saudi’s need to pay their bills.

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Wow, so interesting to see right-wing trolls in action. /s


You’re thinking numbers, man. Not crazy person logic.

Il Douche or not, Keystone is far from revived in the U.S. The real political obstacle is that the pipeline route would have to take land from Real Americans™ in the “Heartland” at bargain-basement rates, so it’s not just the usual matter of trolling liberal tree-huggers but also denying white conservative landowners money – never a guaranteed winner in the U.S. no matter who’s in charge. Then there’s the whole issue of the U.S. basking in its supposed energy independence due to frakking, along with the deservedly bad reputation tar sands oil has.

A pipeline through Canadian territory where deals with political party and indigenous tribal leaders can be struck*, ending at a transhipment point to Asian countries that wouldn’t care if the oil’s production process involved grinding up puppies and kittens, would be a path of slightly less resistance.

[* all the more true because, as you say, Trudeau has been very adept at playing both sides against the middle domestically.]

It’s a different mentality when your family controls a big enough monopoly to afford you gold escalator airplane boarding ramps and when they’re so short-sighted that they never think about the day they’ll have to pay the piper (when that real day comes the piper will be an Islamic fundamentalist with a big sword and a chopping block).

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He’s not necessarily right-wing. Oil industry shills only care about their corporate masters and the almighty dollar – or, in his case, the USD$0.80 version (or portion thereof) he received to post that jumble of tired old talking points trying to draw attention away from the core issue (namely that the oil sands should be shut down and that Alberta should diversify its economic base).

This dude isn’t even good at it. A more competent shill would start by doing a better impersonation of an environmentalist concerned about net carbon impacts (he’d still have to pretend that the extraction process didn’t have a horrific and wasteful one all of its own, but such is the life of a paid comment troll). That should have been the focus of his first post.

A second post could then focus on the accidents issue. He’d have to ignore the fact that transport safety is a lot easier and cheaper to address than building a pipeline and then worrying about the not inconsiderable safety issues associated with that, but again it’s la vie de troll.

The crocodile tears about repressive regimes, the hectoring of eastern Canada, and the self-pity for a province whose leaders were short-sighted enough to aspire to be one-trick-pony petro-state could have been completely done away with, losing nothing. This is lazy amateur-hour stuff.

All that said, let’s give him a big “Welcome to Boing Boing!”


Hahahaha. Ahahahahahahaha. Ha.


Actually it’s being reported in Russian media that Russia and Saudi want to get the oil price up to a level at which things like tar sands are not sustainable, but also to get oil and gas off the dollar so that an “alternative economy” can develop, allowing BRICS and the Middle East to trade in a devalued currency that will make “cheap” American gas still a more expensive option. It’s estimated that it will take at least 10 years for this to really take off.

The threat of getting oil off the dollar (from Saddam) was enough to get Iraq invaded, so this is seen in the US as a very credible threat.


As a mere technical note, tankers usually burn the fuel they transport. Oil tankers have quite sophisticated oil treatment on board to burn crude in their engines - they can heat it, filter it, and change the injectors to suit the viscosity. LNG tankers are now running with multifuel engines - a small amount of Diesel is used as a kind of spark plug to ignite a gas mixture, and the very latest engines use a preignition chamber to eliminate the need for Diesel. Because there is no need to use refined fuel, the operating cost of very big ships is shockingly low. I’ve seen estimates, for instance, that it costs less to transport a car from Japan to Southampton by ship than it does to transport it by road from Southampton to the Midlands. Now we have advanced navigation and weather aids, ships are pretty reliable. Pipelines, on the other hand, leak.


If the USD loses petrodollar status in that way then the loss of international reserve currency status won’t be far behind (the only thing holding the line at that point will be China). After that, it’s a whole other ballgame for the U.S., and not the fun kind.


Rail and truck transport of the oil today is the only reason I am conflicted. Pipelines are a hell of a lot safer means of moving the oil than vehicles. So as long as they keep the money flowing to the oil fields, the damn trucks and trains will continue to threaten us.

Sorry that it’s dirty, dirty oil but I don’t want to be run over at a rail crossing or evacuated from my house because of a sleeping engineer.

It won’t be fun for everyone since I believe the go-to response from the US will be to troop around the world forcing people to accept dollars at gunpoint.

It won’t work, of course, but a lot of people will be shot in the pursuit of this strategy.

Oh for crying out loud, can we make rebutting points without having to resort to “those who disagree with me must be oil industry spies?”

If you truly feel they’re shills, ignore them. But claims that you know their true motivations make you look desperate (I have to make personal attacks because my points aren’t strong enough) or enormously arrogant (it is inconceivable that anyone’s honest opinion could disagree with me).

Which seems really silly when you obviously have the means to address his points properly (and more or less did so).

Unless of course… You’re actually a false flag operator in Bannon’s pay, charged with making us leftist look… Um… No. Never mind. </sad attempt at joke>

Exactly. How does the US control Russia and Iran? China avoided this fate by accepting large amounts of US debt, thus reinforcing the status of the dollar.
As I’ve said elsewhere, remember that Russian people - and far from just Putin - have never forgiven the US for, as they see it, foisting Yeltsin on them and looting the economy. It is not surprising they want to see the status of the dollar reduced.

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Ask the Nigerians about that. They would disagree.

Pipelines are a safer means of moving gas; no argument there. For one thing the first idiot to breach a gas pipeline trying to steal gas will end up dead enough to discourage others. But oil pipelines are a hugely attractive target for thieves; all you need is a battery electric drill and a can.

For goodness sake, it wasn’t a serious accusation – a post like that doesn’t deserve that or a straight response. It’s just my running gag here anytime someone drops one of these clumsy turds from a brand-new account that was created expressly for the purpose of posting it.

I’ve have more frequent occasion to use the “shoddy work, up your game with these handy tips, and Welcome to BoingBoing” joke with the one-shot Putin apologists who show up from time to time, but it was applicable with this muddled jumble of shopworn talking points we’ve head from both paid oil industry shills and unpaid use-less idiots as well.

Agreed, having heard the sentiment from Russians themselves who were more angry than vengeful. Putin just incorporated that kind of rhetoric into his appeal to Russia’s version of right-wing nationalist Know-Nothings, but a lot more will just shrug and say “just desserts” if it comes to pass.

Since it accepted so much USD-denominated debt, China would currently block any move to devalue the greenback further. But that ends when their middle class grows and their internal economy develops to the point where they’re confident they can stop selling to the U.S. and take the hit (and perhaps risk a war) on calling in their debt.


Neither Russia nor Saudi-Arabia can afford to wait for the decade this plan would need to take off, of course.

The dirt under the US is laced with hundreds of major oil transport pipelines already. Adding more pipelines won’t change the risk caused by thieves in any meaningful way.

Besides, these are crude oil pipelines, not refined gasoline, or other valuable petrochemicals – there’s little incentive for a thief to steal a barrel full unless he has access to a refinery.

In Nigeria that may be more of a risk because of poverty. People cook over open flames out of necessity, and will burn anything flammable, including crude. That’s not so much the case in the US.

When did the Soviet Union collapse? Nearly 30 years ago.
Timescales tend to be long at national scales. If the ruble maintains even its present value, the Russian economy is doing OK.