To whom it may concern
Suggested alternatives for transportation of Western Canadian
Select (DILBIT) and other crude oil transportation throughout Ontario
while boosting that area's economy!
This originally was my submission to the Ontario
Energy Board regard to the Energy East Project as an attempt to switch
the conversion of the NPS 42 natural Gas Pipeline to carrying crude oil
throughout most of Ontario.
I can understand why they want to do this!
I feel that it has been ignored (it was buried in a grave of
emails and put on a hard to reach Ontario Government web site) which is
what I expected. C'est La Vie. You can ignore it too, but please, let
me know if it got to you. Thanks in advance.
- This pipeline was constructed to supply Natural Gas to the
Eastern United States in the early 1990's but due to the U.S.'s sudden
boom of shale extracted natural gas and light crude oil this pipeline
has become under utilized and probably will become redundant as Eastern
Canada has become a net importer of natural gas from the U.S.
- In a kind of cockamamy desperation TCPL has formed a
subsidiary which proposes to change the transportation of Natural Gas
to crude oil (the one I am concerned with is Western Canada Select) in
this line (NPS 42) which now passes into the United States at Iroquois,
ON. without ever delivering much or any natural gas to Ontario.
- From there they intend to construct a new pipeline to a
sea port in the Saint Lawrence Gulf and New Brunswick on the Bay of
I used the HTML medium because hyperlinks to relevant documents is
easier for the reader to access than the constant reference to back
pages for bibliography, notes, index, etc. This subject is complex so,
by way of a summary, I broke this into sections with headers.
I consider this whole problem is
- The artificial mixing of scrap natural gas condensate with
Alberta Tar Sands bitumen which, as extracted, does not contain any
condensate, and which, if accidentally released from pipeline, railway
or truck tanks is exceptionally dangerous to the environment
particularly waterways based on the experiences of the Kalamazoo MI and
Mayfairs ND which have occurred and are documented withing the last 5
- A series of Transportation Problems that started with the
abandonment transcontinental railway main line within the Province of
Ontario forcing all freight rail traffic down into Southern Ontario
through the GTA, along the north shores of Lake Ontario and the Saint
Lawrence River to the GMA through a very congested corridor, highly
populated, instensely developed area of Southern Ontario.
- Further, I believe that TCPL, the National Energy Board and
the Ontario Energy Board do not fully realize the dangers of either of
the above! Or perhaps they just don't care.
- * The Danger of DILBIT is it's neutral bouyancy in
water some of it neither floats or sinks unlike normal crude oil which
floats and can be cleaned up.
- * Any waterway, gully, ditch, etc., even if it has
been dry for decades, that this pipeline corridor intersects is
- * The rocky areas of the Canadian Shield has been
particularly prone to full catastrophic pipeline eruptions in the past!
They must be carefully studied and this recognized.
- * The oil game suddenly changed throughout the world
- The U.S. is self sufficient in Natural Gas and almost there in Crude
Oil. That crude they used to buy will go to the rest of the world
making DILBIT very hard to get rid of - especially in eastern Canada
where all the refineries save one (Imperial, Sarnia) can't process it.
Just who are they going to sell this DILBIT to?
- * The Lac Megantic disaster was the result of a
completely unnecessary combination of greed, carelessness and
absolutely chaotic actions top with a load containing a lot of
unnecessary Propane (a natural gas CONDENSATE.)
- * Even in Canada since 2010 when 30,000 carloads of
crude where shipped this has risen to 400,000 carloads making it seem
like rail is growing competition of pipelines.
- * Much of the direct Main Line railroads in Northern
and Central Ontario have been abandoned forcing all rail freight
traffic into the very narrow, congested corridor right through
Ontario's most populated and developed sections.
- * Reports indicate railroad traffic has increased by
9 times in
- * The solution, to me, is obvious. Simply revitalize
the National Transcontinental Railway that was abandoned a few decades
ago and move the ultra long and ultra dangerous freight traffic (unit
trains onto that line.
- * North Eastern Ontario has 16 million acres of
potential Agriculture land that could grow the basis for bio-fuel!
* My concern with TCPL's East Energy pipeline conversion is
that it will transport considerable amounts of scrap Natural Gas
Condensate mixed with bitumen to form a liquid mixture they call DILBIT.
Sep 6, 2013 I was watching CBC news and surprised at what
viewed so I watched it again two hours later and then a few days after
that I accessed CBCnew's archive copy Enbridge's Kalamazoo cleanup dredges up 3-year-old
oil spill and watched that video for the third time.
I could not believe that DILBIT was suspended in the
water column (neither floating, as I thought it should be) or sinking
to the bottom (as the EPA people in the video assumed.) It had been
in that watershed for 3 years and was still giving off gases, even
though a billion dollars had been spent cleaning that up!
Later I went to show this video to another person and the
video was no longer available (revision-Sep 13, 2013.) Taking that
video off line bothered me and has continued to bother me for some
months as I researched the transportation of DILBIT.
One of my family found it on youtube Enbridge oil spill still a mess Environment.mp4 it
- at 0:51 minutes - there is a shot of oil globules
flowing within (not on) the river taken from above the water
- at 1:00 minutes - there is a shot of oil globules
flowing within (not on) the river taken from below the surface
- this was immediately followed by the reporter Margo
McDiarmid sitting in a boat, with EPA workers,
- saying this oil spill happened over 3 years ago
and "if she looked carefully at the water she could still see an
oily slick coming off the surface of that river."
- an EPA worker explained that was a "spontaneous
sheen" and said it was actually caused by oil stuck in the mud giving
- but I think that Natural Gas condensate was still
coming out of that mixture even after three whole years had passed! After
1:50 minutes this video went on and on as these things do until
finished at 3:50 minutes.
DILBIT is a man made mixture of 25% to 40% scrap Natural Gas
Condensate (with the methane, propane, ethane and Butane already
removed) that was left which used to be and sometimes is still burned off
to get rid of these toxic gases.
For those of you not familiar with the Origin,
Properties and Processing of the Alberta Oil Sands bitumen I prepared a
condensed version of this.
An infographic outlining what a group of the oil sands
"OIL SANDS ARE HYDROPHILIC OR WATER WET. Each grain of sand is covered
by a film of water, which is then surrounded by a slick of heavy oil
(bitumen)." by Karl A Clark who defined the bitumen extraction process
still in use to-day."
I was surprised to see this graphic showing the bitumen on the
outside of the water envelope (with sediment) which surround the quartz
sand grains. I would have thought that the bitumen would have
adhered directly to the sand grains. Is this the reason why this
bitumen has neutral buoyancy and suspends in the water column instead
of floating like normal crude oil would?
1. * The Danger of DILBIT is it's neutral bouyancy in
API gravity under Classifications has this:
On release from the confines and pressure of the pipe those
natural gas condensate start to release from the DILBIT into the air
(their normal state.)
- "API gravity, is a measure of how heavy or light a
petroleum liquid is compared to water.
- If its API gravity is greater than 10, it is
lighter and floats on water; if less than 10, it is heavier and sinks."
- "Crude oil with API gravity less than 10 °API is
referred to as extra heavy oil or bitumen."
- "Bitumen derived from the oil sands deposits in
the Alberta, Canada area has an API gravity of around 8 °API."
- "It is diluted with lighter hydrocarbons (natural
gas condensate) to produce diluted bitumen, having an API gravity
of lower than 22.3 API, or further "upgraded" to an API gravity of 31
°API to 33 °API as synthetic crude."
These conclusions are confirmed by the Concerned
Professional Engineers in their following reports!
- should water be encountered (or a colder temperature)
the viscosity of the bitumen lowers trapping the remainder of that
condensate within it.
- That is why this DILBIT has a tendency towards
neutral buoyancy and why it suspends in the water column.
- If DILBIT gets into standing water
it will kind of half float around "like clouds" in a
random haphazard fashion where it might also be subject to the twice yearly water Turnover which
would distribute these "clouds of DILBIT" even more, further and for
much longer .
- or when it gets into moving streams it could go
hundreds of kilometres downstream until lakes are encountered.
Being as how they presented this to the Northern Gateway
Joint commission how could the (Pipeline Companies, National Energy
Board and the Canadian Government) ignore this? And why now that the
Energy East Proposal has been sent to the National Energy board is
there no reference to this and it's properties - they call it the cute
and fuzzy name "Western
Canadian Select". This very recent web page also refers to it
as being "the benchmark for emerging heavy, high TAN(acidic)
crudes." which actually if actually quite worrying when one
considers it is going to sent through the rocky areas of the
Canadian Shield that consist of "acidic Archaen rocks" that
are the reason for the quick deterioration of Galvanized Corrugated
Steel structures according to the Canada Corrugated Steel Pipe
Institue's publication "Road Weary"
whch contains the following.
- Reports from the Concerned Professional Engineers
- Environment Canada’s own scientists are not convinced
that tar sands oil can be cleaned up
- Can Diluted Bitumen be Cleaned Up?
The fact a DILBIT spill can and does suspend in the Water Column is
really, really scary because in the area I mapped (from the arctic
watershed on highway ll to the crossing of the Rideau River there are,
at least 133 potential spill sites into watercourses which ultimately
drain into major watercourses like the Ottawa River, Lake Nipissing,
Mattawa River and Ottawa River (all less than 50 kilometres away!) and this
is a very small part of Ontario -- The following waterbodies
are also in jeopardy of a spill - Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior,
Lake Nipigon and James Bay as well as the streams running into them.
The pitiful list (less than 30 significant water crossings) that was in
TCPL's Energy East propaganda just doesn't cover potential problems.
2 * Any waterway, gully, ditch, etc., even if it has been
dry for decades, that this pipeline corridor intersects is SIGNIFICANT
because multiple millions of cubic metres of DIBLBIT might
be released from that pipe NPS 42 on a catastrophic accident (and
there have been at least a dozen such since this pipeline was first
started in the mid 1950's) Each of these waterways and there
destination must be carefully studied for Risk Assessment and
documented Emergency Preparedness with solutions and mitigation be
prepared and submitted given prior to Approval!
I was surprised that most citizens didn't know which
pipeline was going to be converted, where it was, what the effects may
be, etc. but after attending a few of the public information centres
and trying to navigate TCPL's Energy East propaganda on their web pages
I began to understand why! So I decided to map the areas and put these
maps into pdf format because that can be read by almost any PC, MAC,
tablet, etc. and gives the ability to pan, zoom or print them.
I decided to restrict the above mapping of scenarios to
the area that I know well (there are likely 3 or more hundred more
crossings just in Ontario.
By way of explanation:
after 35 years I retired from the Planning and Design
Division of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's Northern Region
and now after 21 years of retirement I have had 56 years to learn and
become more aware of the geology, history, waters, and forests because
of a lifelong passion I have for the outdoors (particularly canoeing.) In
any case, I know this country, these waters and their characteristics
better than most. My home is on Lake Nipissing and my
summer home is on the Ottawa River both of which at risk from this
3. * The Rocky areas of the Canadian Shield has been particularly prone
to full catastrophic pipeline eruptions in the past! They must be
If you go through the maps you will probably notice the red explosive
symbols - these indicate some of the following list of pipeline
ruptures that were carefully documented by TSBC. In all, only the major
catastrophic spills that occurred in North Eastern Ontario were shown.
Back in the early 1990's TCPL seemed to prefer to put pipeline
corridors in these inhospitable areas probably because of cost
savings as this was usually crown land or couldn't be developed (in
either case very cheap) and this was also away from built up areas
meaning they could use the lowest possible class of pipe possible,
(also very cheap.)
I couldn't see any value in re-repeating the excellent documentation of
the 2010 Marshall, MI DILBIT disaster which only
spilled a volume of 3,300 cubic metres (m3.) of product lost making
this disaster very tiny compared to some of the following incidents
reported to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada - pipelines.
All of which were Natural Gas that went up into the air.
- At atmosphere Natural Gas and DILBIT are at the same volume!
- It is also interesting to note that all of these
disasters occurred on the rocky Canadian Shield but there has been no
incidents on the glaciolacustrine soil areas. This should be
carefully studied as the pipes in these areas have less than a meter of
cover over them, in most winters little or no snow covers them so they
must be watercourses between the two frozen side which would wet or
could even wash out the beach or blow sand that these pipes rest on
over the very sharp and pointy blown trenches. In addition to that the
MTO and others have had very significant problems with Galvinized
Corrugated Steel pipe (covered with creosote, bitumen, etc.) corroding
to the point that they have to be replaces after only about a third of
their life span. You don't have to believe me on this one either as the
following was taken from August 7, 2013 Road Weary
Where do these problems exist – are the regionalized?
"Yes, to a degree they are regional in nature, for sure. With respect
to CSP, we experience bigger problems in the north than in Southern
Canada and bigger problems in the east than in the west. To a large
extent the Canadian Shield defines Northern Canada; not only is it one
of the most challenging places in the world to build infrastructure,
but its environment is also extremely sensitive to such things as acid
rain. Infrastructure in Eastern Canada is generally older and more
industrialized than in the west, and westerly winds bring additional
challenges to the east." ... "So, when designing and building
infrastructure components, you had better have a good understanding of
the local environmental and weather conditions in which you’re working,
as well as an intimate knowledge of soil types and water chemistry,
climate stats and any other relevant anomalies or vagaries of the area,
specifically in the area immediately surrounding the installation." ...
"And you should also be revisiting previous design strategies
and decisions that you and/or other engineers have made in the past at
the site – whether it was installed a decade or a century ago – to see
if they worked as planned and, if not, how they might be modified or
improved this time around.
- See more at: http://www.cspi.ca/node/391#sthash.5Aju9VVR.dpuf"
The following gives catastrophic spill as discussed above:
Date / link TSBC report/ volume product lost / comment or
relative order of magnitude to Kalamazoo spill
The largest spill is #4. Latchford at 4,194,000 m3. (cubic metres)
which must be considered as the worst case scenario and should be
compared with the Kalamazoo spill (3,300 cubic meters) which fouled 56
kilometres of the Kalamazoo waterway in August, 2010 and it hasn't been
cleaned up yet!
- Feb 19,2011 P11H0011 Beardmore ON -- 2,790,000 m3. (this
was 846 times greater than Kalamazoo)
- Sep 26,2009 P09H0083 Martin River ON -- 1,430,000 m3. (this
was 433 times greater than Kalamazoo)
- Sep 12,2009 P09H0074
Englehart ON -- 3,420,000 m3. (this was 1,036 times greater
- Jul 23,1991 P94H0036 Latchford ON -- 4,194,000 m3. (this
was 1,271 times greater than Kalamazoo)
- May 30, 1979 Englehart ON Timmins Times (this was news media)
- Oct 13, 1977 North Bay ON Nugget(near Hwy 17) (this was news media)
- Oct 13, 1975 Englehart ON Wikipedia (this was wikipedia)
- May 17,1961 North Bay ON Nugget
Airport Road. (this was news media)
I have to wonder if Trans Canada Pipe Lines, the Federal, Provincial
and Municipal governments along with the citizens really realize
what the effects of changing the "cargo" of that pipeline from a gas to
a liquid like DILBIT could be to the people and the ecology of
these lands and waters.
I expect that a clean-up of a worst case catastrophic spill would
be in the hundreds of billions of dollars!
4. * The oil game suddenly changed throughout the world - The
U.S. is self sufficient in Natural Gas and almost there in Crude Oil
too. That crude they used to buy will go to the rest of the world
making DILBIT very hard to get rid of - especially in eastern Canada
where all the refineries save one (Imperial, Sarnia) can't process it.
Just who are they going to sell this DILBIT to?
Tired of being held hostage by their demands for energy, particularly
crude oil, the USA did a lot of research and in 2011 published - Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale
Oil Plays The result is that they have a lot more hydrocarbon
resources than even they thought - seems like a change in
administration was good as the following map shows. Let us hope that
shale gas/crude extraction isn't as dangerous or as short lived as some
say. However, recent reports indicate it is going to continue or
A series of media articles:
I don't see the rush, particularly by the Canadian government, because
that bitumen will still be there (as it has been for over the last few
million years) if it can't be sold at a decent profit and to the
benefit of Albertans and Canadians?
A 2013 May 14 Bloomberg's article - Oil Shockwaves From U.S. Shale Boom Seen by IEA
Ousting OPEC indicates that there has been a major change in
Oil Supply that will hit economies of the world fairly hard.
Canada isn't immune but because of the composition of the Alberta
Bitumen the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries still want it as it produces a
lot more diesel fuel than shale crude and the fact that they have
already invested heavily in coking refineries to process this bitumen!
This is probably the only place in the world (because there aren't all
that many cokers) that wants Alberta's DILBIT !
- A 2012 Oct 10 Reuters article - To use cokers, U.S. refiners scour Europe and Africa
"U.S. refineries invested heavily in delayed coking units, anticipating
they would be processing increasing quantities of heavy crude from
sources such as Venezuela, Canada and Saudi Arabia".
- "Instead they have found themselves processing light crudes
from shale plays such as North Dakota's Bakken and the Eagle Ford in
- So, these mega refineries and cokers got caught the same as
the ones now delayed or cancelled in Alberta.
- They didn't expect the U.S. shale gas/oil boom either
- this has up-ended the economics of the refining business
throughout the world.
- A 2014 Jan 1 Financial Post article - How upgrader plants are giving way to new oil sands
technologies: confirms the above.
In 2008 the Alberta players had delayed and/or cancelled over a 100
billion dollars worth of upgrader plants which would have converted
bitumen to syncrude (which is bitumen processed by cokers in Alberta to
produce a product very similar to light crude oil.)
"Rather than sink billions into on-site processing, Imperial and Suncor
plan to use a novel technique dubbed paraffinic froth treatment to
convert molasses-like initial output into a product able to flow in
pipelines."..."The strategy reflects a view that deep discounts for
less-processed heavy oil will collapse as export pipelines are built.
The gap, or differential, has widened to more than US$40 in recent
months against the U.S. benchmark West Texas intermediate."..."There
“will be some market problems in terms of dealing with more light crude
oil barrels in the marketplace, especially after the BP Whiting [Ind.]
refinery switches over to a diet of all Canadian heavy,” Mr. King said
in a report this month. The switchover will push more than 100,000
barrels of light oil into an already saturated market, he said,
However, the Prarie Provinces have been and are shipping a
lot of Syncrude not by pipeline but by rail and shipping it to the
world! TCPL's propaganda indicates that this Syncrude could be used to
dilute the bitumen but is that practical as it would have to be over
50-50 and that stuff is mixed so this must be re-refined. I am no
expert but I am not stupid!
- Fortunately this 2014 Alberta report on Upgrading and Refining
shows that neither Alberta or it's Oil Companies have just sat back but
have moved forward creating valued added processing (upgraders) so that
as the 2008 recession declined and the price for these products resumed
it's upward climb and the demand for their value added products such as
syncrude increased. There are now 5 operating upgraders and four
operating refineries with 3 more new project.
- The Canadian Government have been counting on major pipelines
particularly, George W. Busch's Keystone XL (but there already
is a Keystone pipeline that has been transporting DILBIT to refineries
into the U.S. Gulf Coast and some of the refineries there are equipped
to handle Alberta Oil Sands bitumen. They don't seem to be having much
luck and I attribute that to the new tank cars with steam heating coils
that can carry Alberta bitumen to any selected U.S. Coker Renfinery.
The abilities and flexibility of the rail lines once they have awakened
have really put pipelines in jeopardy.
- Whatever U.S. political party that okays the XL might never
ever get enough votes to govern for decades.
- Why doesn't the Canadian government understand this?
- And don't they realize that there is also a growing number
of Canadians getting very angry about this DILBIT transportation in
pipelines near them too?
- This is growing much faster than Federal Government ken!
- Push and win these pipelines into Eastern Canada to export
to countries offshore and I doubt very much that they will stay in
power beyond their current mandate.
Because Eastern Canada only has ONE refinery with coking
ability (already supplied with DILBIT by the Endbridge pipeline of
Kalamazoo fame) it is logical to assume the other destinations for the
DILBIT transported by this proposed Energy East project pipeline has to
be shipped offshore and to undemocratic countries who are desperate but
can't afford coking facilities
- And why do the Canadian Oil Producers and Federal Government
people complain when their barrel of DILBIT is discounted? Do they
really think that somebody would pay willingly pay 100% of the cost and
shipping of DILBIT when in shipping the recipient would lose 30% to 40%
of that to worthless natural gas condensate (and they must dispose of
it) along with a further 15% loss in coking it into Syncrude so that
they can refine it?
- Who else do they think that they can sell this DILBIT too, when
all of a sudden, the world is awash in much cheaper and more easily
refined light crude oil simply because the United States does not need
as much crude oil as it did just a few years ago! That light crude oil
that the US had relied on and no longer wants will be sold to other
countries (but probably not to those in the European Union which is
already well supplied by the North Sea and Arabian crude oil
for a PDf
Why worsen the situation in Alberta if it isn't necessary, especially when
the extraction alone is so hungry for water and natural gas energy? I
have read reports that suggest that Alberta might run out of natural
gas to extract that bitumen by 2028.) I hope I am wrong
because when these energy resources (natural gas) are used up prior to
2028 -- that may be the end of Alberta Oil Sands extraction,
- Why else would a Nuclear provider targets oilsands
- I suspect that Ontario's Natural Gas Electriciy Generating
Plant was cancelled when they discovered that natural gas from normal
western sources was in short supply and that the prices could get to be
- The $13.5 billion price tag of the abandoned Voyageur upgrader
and coker and it's demise is evidence as to why the Eastern Canada
refineries (except for Imperial Oils Sarnia facility - supplied by
Endbridge DILBIT pipeline of Kalamazoo notoriety) have no intention
of constructing or simply can't afford a coking facility.
- Bitumen and heavy oils are not drawing anywhere near the price
of sweet crude and or syncrude and the above article also refers to
"steep discounts of $15 to $18" applied to Alberta crude. Actually a
discount of only $18 is a very good deal for Alberta DILBIT as it is 25
to 40% DILuent (which is scrap and can only be burned (or released to
the air but the US has hefty fines for that) and the rest is bitumen.
if light crude is getting a $100/barrel the discount for a barrel of
raw DILBIT has to be $30 (.30 x $100) as there is only 70% of the
barrel is bitumen in that mixture.) Then because that bitumen still
needs to be coked an additional 15% will be lost which is and
additional $4.50 is waste then the discount would have to be $34.50
to equal light Crude.
- This tells me that there isn't much chance of somebody buying
the Alberta DILBIT crude that has been pumped to the Atlantic coast
because right now there is a glut of sweet crude or syncrude in the
world simply because the U.S.A. is not buying so much of it!
- And an Apr 10, 2013 Financial Post's article - Can pipelines in Eastern Canada boost refineries?
- This article repeats that Imperial's Dartmouth refinery in
Nova Scotia is for sale... "Imperial''s stance underscores that while
TransCanada Corp.'s Energy East pipeline are welcome relief valves for
the Canadian energy industry they may do little to boost the
prospects of some refineries in Central and Eastern Canada.
- A little further along in this same article states that
"Brent-linked OPEC and North
Sea crude roughly make up 82% of Eastern Canadian imports, while
Mexican and U.S. oil makes up 6%, according to EcoResources
The Canadian Government and has stated on several occasions that these
Eastern Canadian refineries are reliant on non democratic countries. So
what? We actually have relatives and friends and good relations in
non-democratic Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Holland, and Belgium.
- The South Portland, Maine to Montreal, QC pipeline now
feeds offshore crude from the Atlantic Ocean to Endbridge's Line 9 which
has just received NEB permission to be reversed so that oil or BITUMEN
feeds from the West from Endbridge's pipelines in Michigan to Montreal,
QC to South Portland, Maine to be shipped overseas.
- Curiously enough nobody asked the Citizens of South
Portland, Maine and now it seems they want to pass a law
forbidding Alberta DILBIT from passing through their city and on to
their seaport. In this topsy-turvy world that may or may not happen but
I expect it won't!
- For years this pipeline has been recieving off shore
light crude oil from South Portland, Maine west to some refineries in
Quebec and Ontario.
- The latest approval was to reverse this flow so it went
to the east.
- To where?
- It is obvious that this pipeline will no longer be able
to deliver this offshore sweet crude to Quebec and Ontario refineries!
This same article says "Enbridge estimates its Line 9 reversal will
save refineries about $23-billion over 30 years from accessing lower
cost crude." Don't they mean no crude? These refineries can't
Maybe I am stupid but didn't anybody in the Canadian Federal Government
or the NEB realize what was going to happen with the line 9 reversal?
Are these savings going to occur because these
refineries are going to be shut down because of Lack of Crude? Will
Endbridge or the Canadian Government reimburse them for losing their
businesses? How many Canadians will lose permanent jobs? Is Ontario and
Quebec's fuel supply (gasoline and diesel) in danger of being cut off?
- Right now quite a number of people weekly cross the US
border to fill their gas tanks up - is the Canadian Federal Government
trying to encourage this?
- Following are two very recent articles about the RECENT
GLUT OF OIL in the world
2014 04 09 North American Oil Glut to Keep Prices Low,
- 2014 04 10 Gulf Coast Storing Oil Due to Supply Glut
- Why are the Federal Government and TCPL trying to change
the material carried in that pipeline to something that nobody wants?
- This conversion of a 42" pipeline to carry DILBIT is
something that, to me, doesn't seem to be very well thought out!
- Who are they going to sell DILBIT to?
- Have these (unknown) recipients made any commitment(s)
to purchase at an agreed price which won't leave Canadians holding the
- Has this even been presented to those recipients yet?
- Harper Lobbies Europe as Canada Fights Dirty-Oil Label
This just continues the above dialog about the efforts of the Canadian
Government and the responses to it.
With the PDF it is possible to zoom in on this so that you can see and
read the name or the current crude oil pipelines on the continent:
- on the right side there is a table of the current pipeline
- there is also the 2012 Canadian Crude Oil Production figures
- and all the current refineries along with their daily capacity.
- It also shows that there is already a pipeline from Hardesty,
AB to the Gulf Coast called the Keystone (it's Pegasus
extension owned by Exxon ruptured in Mayflower, AK in 2013 spilling
more Alberta DILBIT.)
- At best, the proposed Keystone XL is a shortcut or are they
worried the older Keystone pipeline will rupture again?
- Why wasn't this map included in TCPL EEP public information
centres and/or propaganda? I didn't come across any hints of this in
Federal Government literature either.
The Ontario Energy Board's background paper -- Ontario Natural Gas Pricing and Supply
shows that from 2000 to today Quebec & Ontario have steadily
become dependent on U.S. Natural Gas and from circa 2009 net importers
of Natural Gas.
About the same time as I found the above map in OEB's background
documents that showed the switch of Quebec and Ontario's import of
natural gas, the Ontario's Gas Generating Plant boondoggle hit
the media again So I started researching the background of this too.
- A puzzle Enbridge seeks nearly 40 per cent hike to natural gas
rates and it says nothing about the cheaper natural gas from the
U.S. that only needs to be shipped about a tenth the distance! Just how
stupid do they think Canadians are?
- Alberta deficit soars on natural gas bust
"Plunging natural gas prices are gutting the Alberta treasury, with the
once-booming province staring at a deficit of almost $7-billion, its
- From this it looks like the USA shale gas boom has affected
TCPL's Bottom line too:
Their pipeline NPS 42 (in the prededing graph the orange one labeled
Iroquois) is now the one they now want to change that pipeline cargo
over to DILBIT,
- but it only ever delivered Natural Gas to the USA (none to
Canada) and it looks like it will soon become redundant.
- C'est la vie.
- Obviously this didn't happen overnight the trend of this
boom seemed to started 14 years ago. Were these people and our Federal
Government asleep at the wheel?
- I am sorry but I think that if a company takes a risk,
builds a pipeline and it doesn't work out it is the company's problem
especially if they have had over couple of decades of profits to
recover their money!
- I don't see why the Canadian Government is helping TCPL
out as this is the same pipeline that they now want to convert to
- Especially when there is much market for Alberta Dilbit
anywhere but the U.S. Gulf Coast.
On Sep 30, 2009 TCPL issued the following media release -- TransCanada to Build $1.2 Billion Power Plant in
On reading this I couldn't help but notice the similarity of this
announcement and the news media hype that TCPL's Energy East is now pitching.
- Some how, some way this gas plant got cancelled, we Ontarion's
lost a billion dollars and I find it hard to believe it was NIMBY
"Not In Back Yard" which the Ontario government blamed it on.
- I suspect that: the Ontario Government found out there
wasn't going to be enough natural gas to feed these generating plants
in the future but had had signed a twenty year contract at very
inflated prices compared to what they would have had if they imported
natural gas from the USA.
- In either of the above cases, I think the Ontario government
must have been embarrassed by the mistake they made in contracting with
- Being in the pipeline transport business TCPL must have seen
the U.S. natural gas exports increase and their incomes erode.
- Why did TCPL not advise the Ontario government that they had a
pipeline that was under utilized and passed through a lot of areas on
the Canadian Shield that were not good for farming and/or development
but were within a kilometre or two of Ontario's Hi Tension Electricity
Transmission Network lines that could have easily been used to
transport gas generated electricity to where it was needed?
- Or was it simply because there is not enough Canadian natural
gas left to power these generating plants? Has all the natural gas in
Canada been used up? (I say this because that must be the energy that
drives the Alberta Oils Sands extraction, upgrading and refining? I
understand that processing this stuff is very energy intensive.)
- Why aren't the TCPL simply applying to reverse this line to
supply Ontario customers with U.S. Natural Gas for energy (generating
stations, heating, etc.) there piples cover every aspect of Ontario and
this pipeline is 30 to 40 years younger than the original ones that are
now blowing up.
- Given that TCPL were instrumental, to some degree, in the
Ontario Gas Line Scandal should we trust TCPL with a conversion of a
natural gas pipeline to DILBIT that could jeopardize our waters?
Speaking of gas plants the U.S. Energy information Administration: Crude and
Natural Gas states it has converted a great many of their coal
burning electricity generating plants to natural gas - lowering their
Green House Gas emissions - this is shown below
Notice the lower red negative bar in the lower right hand panel of this
info graphic. There were 1,811,771 fewer (rail) carloads of coal
delivered to U.S. coal fired generating plants in less than 3 years!
The Globe Apr 27, 2014 article - U.S. LNG export can have large impact overseas
If U.S. really wants to export this stuff why not to Ontario!
Perhaps we should be reconsidering Natural Gas Electriciy Generating
stations but through private corporations in direct competition with Ontario Power Generation! As mentioned above
the pipelines are there and smaller and/or larger plants could cover
many areas in Ontario.
But "TCPL did not advise the Ontario government that they had a
pipeline that was under utilized and passed through many areas on the
Canadian Shield that were not good for farming and/or development but
were within a kilometre or two of Ontario's Hi Tension Electricity
Transmission Network lines that could have easily been used to
transport gas and/or gas generated electricity to anywhere it was
needed in the Province."
In the U.S. it seems that trains are gaining on Pipelines
Mar. 2014 Trains magazine page 28 - "All Oiled up"
states the following"
(page 28c1)"James Cairns is jazzed as well the should be. The Canadian
National Railway marketing executive is standing at a podium in Calgary
Alberta, facing 200 movers and shakers of the Canadian oil business.
Three years ago they wouldn't return his phone calls. Now these same
people hang on his every word. He starts with a 102-second video that
graphically delivers (over a fast, loud rhythm) CN's transportation
advantage, that it goes from the heart of the Alberta oil fields to the
Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts and most places in-between. The
Cairns leans into his presentation. The CN network, he says, looks a
lot like the pipeline network today and where it wants to go tomorrow."
At its core, his message in the next 30 minutes is this: I
can help you make a lot more money. The audience eats it up."
- (page 28c2) "The reason the rail share isn't already 15 or 20
percent may well be that the specialized tank cars and unit train
transload terminals that will drive down the cost of moving oil don't
exist; There's a two-year backlog of orders for new tank cars. "A
savings of $l a barrel returns $450 million a year back to our
business," remarks Joe Gallagher of refiner Philips 66, reflecting that
industry's focus. "We're on the hunt for that dollar."
- (page 28c3)
"But it's also because the oil business has changed, too - it's been
turned on its head. "The U.S oil infrastructure is a puzzle someone
just thew on the floor, and it's being completely redrawn" says Jay
Harbison, senior vice president of EDF Trading. New drilling
methods opened up oceans of oil until recently thought untouchable.
Now the centers of growing oil production are new locales the pipelines
barely reach, places like North Dakota (the Bakken shale deposit),
Alberta (oil sand), and South Texas (Eagle Ford
shale). "The past is almost irrelevant today" says Stephen Bradley,
vice president of oil marketing for Continental Resources."
- (page 28c3)
"The fly in the ointment the disastrous safety record involving
Bakken shale on railroads. Three explosive derailments in less than six
months, all involving oil from North Dakota, expose a problem railroads
don't know how to solve (or even its cause). After all, crude oil isn't
normally thought of as explosive. Yet 47 people are dead as a result,
and public mistrust of railroads as safe custodians of this substance
is on the rise."
5. * That Lac Megantic disaster was the sad result of a
completely unnecessary combination of greed, carelessness and
absolutely chaotic actions top with a load containing a lot of
unnecessay Natural Gas Condensate.
Mention of this disaster has and is being used very frequently
by TCPL, the Federal Government and the news media to push pipelines by
slamming the reputation and use of Railway transportation.
To understand this sad and really nasty event I tried to shorten the
what led up to this disaster and what actually fueled those fatal
In Summary -- there was too much "Natural Gas Condensate" in
the crude oil from the Bakken Field, and make no doubt about it, DILBIT
is the same mixture with a different name to protect the "innocent"
6. * Since 2010 when 30,000 carloads of crude where shipped
this has risen to 400,000 carloads - seems like rail is competition of
Lets return to the Mar. 2014 Trains magazine - "All Oiled up"
- "Currently the largest group of refineries capable of
processing Alberta Oil Sands bitumen is the U.S. Gulf Coast (capacity 9
million barrels/day) so the rail-pipe competition is between Alberta to
the Gulf Coast."
- "At first it seems that all the advantage is toward the
- but later writes "shows that rail has "noticeable cost
advantage over pipeline" in that to get bitumen to flow through a
pipeline DILBIT must be used (approximate mix of 30% diluent/70%
bitumen) which makes the pipeline about 70% efficient." "Plus, you have
to buy the diluent and ship it to the pipeline source"
- Diluent has become scarce in Canada and must be shipped
in from overseas according to Enbridge - (In the Northern Connection documentation)
Endbridge wanted to purchase it in Africa or Asia, transport it by ship
it to Kittimat,BC; construct new facilities and Condensate storage
tanks, and then send it by a new second smaller pipeline to Bruderheim,
AL, where additional new storage tanks would be constructed.
- This can't help but continuously push the per barrel
price of these condensate even more than it already has.
- After studies of Lac Megantic,QC Marshall,MI &
Playfair,AK I wouldn't be surprised to see that U.S. legislation will
not allow the shipments of crudes containing natural gas condensate
(DILBIT is 30% condensate and 70% bitumen) over U.S. soils by any means
be it pipelines, rail or truck.
- "And of course, when it gets to the other end of the
pipeline, the refinery gets an ocean of diluent and must dispose of
it." "diluent is the box that bitumen comes in and nobody wants" says
engineer Scott Smith of Cenovus Energy. "It just adds transportation
- "Using ordinary tank cars, you also need dilbit."
- "But if you load the oil into an insulated tank car outfitted
with steam-heat coils (reportedly, this describes the bulk of the
60,000 tank cars to be built through 2015), "you can fill it with
railbit that is, 83 percent bitumen and only 17 percent diluent."..."At
the destination, steam heat is applied to warm the railbit to a
To me, this doesn't seem much sense nor is not much
of a gain because "these same insulated tank cars can also haul raw
bitumen which must be steam heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to flow."
But research shows that DILBIT
- at 10C=50F bitumen is the consistency of a hockey
- at 20C=68F bitumen is the consistancy of peanut
butter (even held upside down it doesn't pour out.)
- at 35C=95F bitumen is quite fluid about like maple
and so can easily and economically be heated for bringing into the
refinery because it's temperature has to raised for processing in any
case. The different mean temperature between Alberta and the U.S.
Gulf coast will lower the viscosity and amount of heat required.
See the Financial post article
Late to oil-by-rail, Canada faces risks in rush to
catch up states "For the last three years, Canada has lagged the
United States in using its rail system to haul crude oil, hindered by a
lack of loading terminals and a shortage of specially built rail cars
that reheat viscous oil sands crude." ... "Now it’s on the brink of
catching up. Over the next 12 months, producers like Cenovus Energy Inc
and logistics firms like Gibson Energy Inc will load up mile-long
dedicated trains with ultra-heavy bitumen oil and move them thousands
of miles in heated and coiled rail cars that eliminate the need to
dilute the crude for pipeline shipments."
Oil Sands under 7.4 Rail states that
"Producers of new oil in Alberta, North Dakota, and West Texas are now
shipping oil by rail to coastal refiners who are having difficulty
obtaining international oil at prices competitive with those in the
interior of North America. In addition, crude bitumen can be loaded
directly into tank cars equipped with steam heating coils, avoiding the
need for blending it with expensive condensate in order to ship it to
- Back in Alberta at the initial processing plant clean
bitumen is already in a flow state so it is possible to pump that processed
bitumen directly into these railway tank cars (c/w steam heating
coils) while it is still warm.
- This shouldn't require some elaborate super train station
just well placed sidings and a yard engine because once filled to the
proper line the tank car can sit out in the open for as long as it
takes to get a full train load meaning that heated storage
facilities, diluents, etc. are not required - just let the bitumen
go to whatever viscosity the temperature calls for.
It will always shrink as it cools (from 95F) and so will leave space
for the bitumen can expand as it gets into warmer climes (like Texas.)
Expect the bitumen's viscosity will improve while on the journey given
black cars and direct sunlight for a few hours might even bring it to a
- During it's stay in the tank bitumen wouldn't be
particularly dangerous and/or explosive, and it definitely wouldn't
suspend in the water column or sink into the ground if spilled making
it far less expensive to clean up should a spill occur - the
dangers of BLEVE or domino effect exploding cars are eliminated.
- It would only be at the receiving end where steam
heating would be applied, if required at all, and that won't cost much
more because that heating has to be done within in refinery process
anyway. Here the much higher mean temperature of Texas could be of
- Here is what I think the advantages of transporting
bitumen this way would bring.
- it eliminates DILBIT (circumvents the reason to
purchase, ship, store and then mix condensate with the bitumen that can
cause so much trouble and if an accident occurs, cost so much to
- 95% of the bitumen would be delivered meaning a 25%
increase per barrel on delivery.
Most of the newer tank cars mandated by Canada would
be the cars that are shipping bitumen from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf
coast so that not a great number of them will be required. There might
be enough now.
- I can't see where anybody else in the world would
want this bitumen especially without coking capability.
- Without having DILBIT the bother the receivers have
with getting rid of those "oceans of diluents" also goes up in the air.
I have read where multiple railway tanker cars are usually
simultaneously unloaded directly into the refineries' processes!
Before I go any further I want to applaud the Federal
Government as they say they will conduct risk assessment of routes
where dangerous goods are transported (and now crude oil is one of
them) and there is a lot more, particularly about fixing up the railway
infrastructure and boosting safety.
May 5, 2014 The Star Railways ordered to stop using older tank cars in Canada for
hazardous goods is an exceptionally good article on this.
It is about time, because it seems to me, that Canadian Railways need
to be dealt with severely the ROWs and/or railbeds (which weren't paid
for in first place) should be taken back, fixed up and then tolls
charged for using them to ensure the safety of these railbeds which
generally seem to be in such horrible shape. I say as far as I am
concerned these companies have let these railbeds deteriorate simply
for the sake of a dollar.
7. * Much of the direct Main Line railroads in Northern and
Central Ontario have been abandoned forcing all rail freight traffic
into a very narrow and very congested corridor right through Ontario's
most populated and developed sections.
Leave this status quo and I will bet Ontario can outdo Quebec's
Lac-Megantic disaster and that is only a matter of time! Don't have to
believe me, following is a copy of the 1995 Canadian Atlas with focus
on the Railway networks and developed areas.
One can plainly see from this map of the Railway Network in
Canada once one of the world's best was almost completely shattered just
in Ontario alone. It doesn't seem to have happened in any of the
As a result of the recent "Great Grain Disaster"
the shortest route from the Prarie provinces to a deep sea port (with
Panamax freighters) was Hudson Bay Railway (HBR)
- which terminates at Port Churchill,
- The HBR was also about to be abandoned by the CN
but the railway and port became owned by an American Company named
Omnitrax and then it and the port was subsidized by the Harper government
- and shipped many thousands of tons of grain (even though
many more thousands tons have piled up in the Prairies for the last
couple of years.
- Was this meant to replace the abandoned lines in Ontario?
- Railroad built on permafrost plus a six plus months of
ice on Hudson Bay, even now, equals a short shipping season?
- Seems like that grain is now being threatened as Oil producers eye Arctic backup plan as pipelines
face uncertain future.
Treatment of the HBR is very different from the abandonment of the
CN National TransContinental tracks from:
- Nakina, ON to Cal stock, ON
- Cal stock to Cochrane, ON (the Ontario Northland Railway
acquired this to promote a mill for the First Nation Reserve there.)
- Cochrane, ON to the Quebec Border (the abandonment of
mailing tracks in Eastern Ontario.)
- the abandonment of the (CNR main line track from
Capreol,ON to Smith Falls, ON)
- the abandonment of the (CPR main line track from Mattawa,
ON to Ottawa, ON.)
Just what was the rationalle of these abandoment which
resulted in all freight rail traffic from the east and west now
squeezed down to two mainline tracks into a narrow corridor along
Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, south and into the Greater Toronto Area,
along and through the municipalities on the shores of Lake Ontario and
the Saint Lawrence River until it goes through Greater Montreal area
and then crosses the Saint Lawrence west of Quebec City?
there was great lack of foresight in this and probably was
the MAJOR cause for a number of disasters in the past and more in the
- One of these super trains was that fatal train that
exploded at Lac Megantic, QC and that could have had that accident
anywhere along that route!
- Lac-Megantic -
That "train was composed of five head-end locomotives, one
remote-control "VB" car (a former caboose) used to house the Locotrol
equipment necessary for MMA’s single engineer train operation, one
loaded box car used as a buffer car followed by 72 non-pressure
dangerous goods DOT-111 tank cars loaded with petroleum crude oil
(Class 3, UN 1267). Each tank car was filled with 113,000 litres
(25,000 imp gal; 30,000 US gal) of crude oil."
- "3,830 rail cars of Bakken crude were shipped by
67 trains in the 9-month period preceding the derailment.
- This equates to 7.5 trains per month or 4 trains
per week that entered Ontario on CPR tracks near Windsor, going
through Toronto and all along the north shores of Lake Ontario and the
Saint Lawrence River to the middle of Montreal where it was turned over
to contractors of the CPR.
- Any one of those 67 trains could have had that
accident on this very restricted and congested route through Ontario.
- That isn't all - the number of tanker cars shipping
oil across Canada has more than tripled to
14,217 cars as of April 2013, according to a
report by energy and ocean transportation industry advisor, Poten &
Partners. And the number of tankers cars is projected to steadily
increase as the fate of proposed pipelines become unclear."
8. * More recent Reports indicate railroad traffic has
increased by 9 times in Canada
Oil industry scrambles to retrofit rail cars
"Two of Canada’s biggest oil sands producers said Thursday that they
are well positioned to manage any crunch because they are acquiring
heated cars to move bitumen, and those cars typically are either being
built or are newer models that meet current safety standards.
- “We’re okay,” said Rhona DelFrari, spokeswoman for
Cenovus Energy Inc., which is acquiring 825 cars to move 30,000 barrels
per day – mostly oil sands bitumen – by rail by the end of the year.
Imperial Oil Ltd. said the new regulations would have little effect on
its joint venture with Kinder Morgan Inc. to build a
100,000-barrel-a-day rail terminal near Edmonton, because it is
acquiring new rail cars."
I think the two statements above will not increase the rail traffic in
Ontario much as these are servicing the U.S. Gulf Coast and West coast
- "“CN has supported the retrofitting or phase-out of the
old DOT-111 cars used to transport flammable liquids and a reinforced
standard for new tank cars built in the future, with the rail car
owners assuming the cost as a normal course of business,” spokesman
Mark Hallman said.
- Hunter Harrison, chief executive officer of CP, said
capping speeds for trains carrying dangerous cargo at 80 kilometres an
hour does not address the causes of railway accidents. CP, which has
video cameras on the nose of most locomotives, is calling for cameras
that record the train crew, as well as a reduction in the number of
crossing at which road and train traffic meet."
- May 5, 2014
Canada Sees Nine-Fold Jump in Crude Exported by Rail
over Past Two Years The video within this explains it well.
- Don't forget the grain trains are now transporting two
year old grain along with last years on those same tracks also with
super long trains.
- There will also be long trains coming through with
potash, lumber, biofuel, processed petroleum products, etc.
- The Lac Megantic disaster prompted The Globe to publish What could prevent another Mégantic disaster? Sadly,
not very much! "So what are the options?"
"One might think that it would be wise to reduce the number of freight
cars carrying dangerous or flammable chemicals. That is easier said
than done. Those materials have to move somehow and the risk would not
change much if those materials moved by road instead of rail."
- "In Mississauga in November, 1979, when propane cars
exploded and took off like missiles, they flew into empty field. No one
was hurt by the explosions. Today that same area is heavily occupied,
and the burning propane cars would smack into buildings. No matter
where rail lines are located, eventually people catch up."
- "The obvious solution – or so it would seem – is to
move rail lines away from populated areas. This seems logical but it
would be expensive and, perhaps, counter-productive."
- Apr 14, 2013 - The Star - Kathleen Wynne announces $29 billion transit and
transportation plan I spent 35 years of my working life
in the Planning and Design Section of the Northern Region of the
Ontario Ministry of Transportation and have some qualification for the
The $29 billion dollar effort proposed by Ontario
in Ontario will primarily be down around the GTA and the above will
make a bad situation much worse. It would be much cheaper, safer
and more effective if they first restored those northern tracks from
Nakina to and then directed the Unit Trains (long large heavy freight
traffic - including - CPR) to pass on that revitalized Transcontinental
main line both ways and keeping away from that narrow corridor in
- Like it or not tolls should cover the cost of
revitalization and ongoing maintenance of these main rail lines.
9. * The solution, to me, is obvious. Simply revitalize the National
Transcontinental Railway that was abandoned a few decades ago and move
the ultra long and ultra dangerous freight traffic onto that line.
It is my considered opinion that given other options most of the
long unit trains would prefer to use more direct routes that circumvent
passing through the very heavily developed and populated areas of
Southern Ontario especially if the track beds are up to mainline
standards and there is a savings of 500 km. each way.
The abandoned National Transcontinental portion in Ontario is a
relatively new main line (circa 1920) specifically constructed to bring
Prarie Grains directly to world markets making it many years younger
than the current main lines that go through Southern Ontario.
So what needs to be done:
Returning the historic National Transcontinental Railway
route to service will save unit trains over 500 km. from Nakina, ON to
Quebec City, QC while circumventing the extremely populated and
developed areas along the north shores of Lake Ontario and Saint
- from Nakina to Calstock (196 km.)
Completely revitalize the abandoned and neglected track sections and
infrastructure to modern main line status
- from Calstock to Cochrane Ontario (208 km.)
Like the HBR the Ontario Northland acquired and kept the middle section
of track intact and usable as a short haul line and the ONR should be
given one time funding to return this stretch to modern main line
- from Cochrane to the Quebec Border (120 km.)
Completely revitalize the abandoned track sections and infrastructure
to main line status.
- from the Quebec Border to the Saint Lawrence River bridge
crossing near Quebec City (730 km.) is the CN - National
The CN who owns this stretch should be given one time funding to
upgrade this stretch to main line status as it has been using and
maintaining it as a short haul line. They too, could charge other
railroads to pay tolls for passage.
I don't care who operates and does required maintenance on revitilized
tracks within Onatario but I would like to suggest that once the tracks
and infrastructure has been brought up to par - this should be given
over to the ONR or Ontario along with federal subsidies like bill
(C-18) similar to those given to the American owned Omnitrax - HBR -
Port Churchill (There should be no qualms about this because if the
Canadian Government will subsidize an American Company why not a
- And give the ONR and Ontario (or whoever takes it over)the
ability to extract tolls from traffic (other than them) over this route
within Ontario so that they (or whoever else maintains it) can be self
sufficient and able to maintain that stretch ad infinitum.
- Legislation should direct unit train traffic to use this more
northern route with exceptions for the others as required and
- But even higher tolls should be set for using the more southern
route too, as this requires maintenance also.
- This could be the salvation of the ONR as the province now owns
the main line track between the two abandonments, so far!
- This just might also be the ticket for access of the proposed
Ring Of Fire because they could be doing the required processing much
closer to existing water power electrical generating plants (this will
require a lot of energy), have far better transportation options either
east or west if these lines are open because now Sudbury is kind of
a transportation backwater now that the rail lines are being closed
towards the Great Lakes and to the east leaving only two (CN & CP)
with almost identical route destinations as the CPR with a lot more
distance to go and crowded traffic conditions to deal with. What
they might be shipping could have unit trains and hazardous cargo too.
- The areas around most of this suggested line revitalization is
not very built up but reduced and enforced speed limits in those areas
would be wise.
- It is also a much needed source of employment in areas that are
extremely depressed through no fault of it's own, it's lack of
resources but simply because it has a serious lack of transportation
for anything it produces!
This track abandonment also substantially increased the the ultra
heavy truck traffic on the two Trans Canada Highways 11 (completed late
1940s) and 17 (completed mid 1960s) that were completed funded
(construction and maintenance) by the Ontario Ministry of
Transportation and it's predecessors.
Here is another map circa 1927
When I retired in 1993 not a nickel had ever been given to Ontario for
building and maintenance of Trans Canada highways.
- I think that is still true today even though somebody has been
prettying up the highways around the capital, Ottawa.
- The kicker is that every other province have had their Trans
Canada Highway System paid for in full both for construction and
- This is just one of the other ways that past federal
governments have shafted Ontario.
- The two abandonments of the Nakina to Quebec Border
transcontinental line has thrown a great deal of extra traffic and
extremely heavy loads onto both these highways
- but more onto Highway 11 because truckers don't use Highway 17
from mid October to April or May because it is just too dangerous with
the fogs, freezing rain, lake effect snows, etc. during those months.
- By now Highway 11 warrants a conversion to be four lanes and
the current lane probably needs a complete overhaul because of the
overloading since the mid 1990's.
- That too, is going to cost a bundle and it should to be
completely paid for by the Federal Government.
- Revitizing these tracks and throwing it open to the long unit
trains could put some of that expenditure for highways on hold for a
click for pdf
The above 1927 map was put out by the Federal Government to
Transportation and Development of Central Canada. Please note the
railway lines I have discussed were all in place back then. It also
shows the Agricultural areas (Developed and Potential), mining areas
which I have highlighted into different areas.
10. * North Eastern Ontario has 16 million acres of potential
Agriculture land that could grow the basicss for bio-fuel
There are 16 million acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine
soils within the Great Clay Plain alone.
I am against using popular food (corn, grains, etc.) for the
production of ethanol but there are other plants that can produce this
same stuff that will grow in this area.
Get an agricultural base going there and in 40 years that will
rival or exceed the GDP from this Ring of Fire. This should be tried
but it needs better transportation to the outside world to be
A few years back the Ministry of Agriculture and Food issued Northern Ontario Agriculture Facts and figures in
Brief which states that:
"Climate change is having a global impact on agriculture, especially in
Northeastern Ontario. What could this mean for the future of this
I have to contest this I have many dozens of pictures of successful
agriculture in this area prior to the 1920's - agriculture was good
then but no market - it might be better now but still no market.
I have long applauded the Ontario government's decision to include 5%
ethanol into vehicle fuels (The last 3 of my personal vehicles have
seldom if ever had straight gasoline in them - without problems) and i
am further pleased that now almost all the stations now have 10%
ethanol blended into small vehicle gasoline - it cheaper and the
vehicle emmissions are down significantly.
- "2,800 farms which return $190 million in agricultural farm
- "700,000 acres of farmed land."
- "It has been estimated that most districts in Northern Ontario
can increase active agricultural lands from 20 to 50% by drawing idled
private lands back into use."
- "The Great Clay Belt (GCB) in Northeastern Ontario consists of
16 million acres of potentially fertile glaciolacustrine soils. This is
double the amount of cropland currently being farmed in the province."
I have expanded the map and drawn in where the 49th and 50th latitudes
are as this is where the southern portion of the Prairie Province's
"Bread Basket" lays. .
- "To date only about 2 per cent of this land has been developed
for agriculture ."
- "The Great Clay Plain also stretches into Northwestern Quebec,
which contains another 13 million acres."
"The region's workforce has one of the highest percentages in the
primary sector of any region of Quebec, with nearly one out of six
employees working in that sector.
- The mining sector is the most important economic activity
of the region.
- Despite recent declines in workforce, the agriculture
and forest industries still contribute significantly to the region's
economy. Economic activities are mainly dedicated to exportation
products, and are even closely linked to the Middle North region in its
development through hydroelectrical and mining projects, and through
exchanges with First Nation northern communities.
- Sportive tourism, including winter sports, fishing,
hunting and cycling competition, is also a significant economic sector
even if negligible by comparison with industrial sector."
- Rural and agricultural settlement
"The agricultural development of northern Abitibi and the northern part
of Témiscamingue by a relatively homogeneous population of French
Canadian Catholic settlers has introduced a mainly rural land
development. There, small towns, gravitating around a low density node
generally composed of a wooden Roman Catholic church, an elementary
school and few houses spread over the territory, according to an
orthogonal division on the land, with rectangular parcels. Those small
towns are gravitating themselves around a larger city, as La Sarre,
Amos, Macamic and Ville-Marie, where major institutional equipment are
established. If small towns might seem more or less vernacular, major
cities are often more planned and influenced by Anglo-Saxon urban
planning, with sometime an orthogonal grid with lane network."
- "The Canada Land Inventory has identified 4.4 million acres of
Ontario's GCB as Class 2, 3 or 4, which are suitable for cultivation.
The remainder has either not been classified or is unsuitable for
Ontario has proven the Oil Industry and it propaganda against bio
fuels simply wrong and self serving.
But I am against growing known food crops, such as, corn, wheat, etc.
to be converted into ethanol fuels.
A single species of wheat known as Red Fife turned the Prairie Provinces into a major
This might be replicated on the Great Clay Plains of Northern
A native North American plant that will deliver up to 4 times as
much ethanol per acre than corn. It is named Jeruselum Artichoke or
Sunchoke, a native sunflower that has been proven to grow very well
between 49 and 50 degrees of latitude on the Mordan, Manitoba National
Experimental farm where it has been intensely studied.
I know of fields near Earlton where it has gone wild. They are
delicious. I have recently been growing these at home because I am
diabetic and can eat it with impunity. Even the extracted sugars or
pasta will not raise my blood sugars - be that sugar, pasta, etc. but
it is hard to get in Canada. The tubers are a delicacy in Europe and
the mid East! And what is left is good cattle food. On top of that they
only have to planted every 3 or 4 years.
ethanol from Jerusalem Artichokes
"Disclosed herein is a new method of producing ethanol from the
Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) by removing the sugar juices
from the stalk before the sugar moves down into the tubers and directly
fermenting the sugar to produce ethanol, thereby eliminating the
necessity of converting the resulting starches found in the tubes to
fermentable sugars before fermenting the sugar to produce ethanol.
- The method must be very accurately carried out to make use of
the maximum sugar content of the Jerusalem Artichoke as follows: the
Jerusalem Artichoke stalk must be cut above the tubers immediately
before the plant flowers to retain all of the sugar in the stalk;
- the stalk is then ground in a hammermill to release the sugars
from the central cylinder, the pith, the ligneous cells, and to a small
amount from the bark;
- the sugar juices from the hammermill are collected;
- the remaining mass of the central cylinder, pith, ligneous
cells and bark is squeezed to remove the remaining sugar juices; the
entire collected sugar juice is then processed by 1) bringing the pH to
4.0-4.5, 2) heating to 80°-82° F., 3) adding yeast, 4) fermenting for
approximately 24 hours, and then 5) distilling to produce ethanol.
- The method produces the maximum quantity of high grade ethanol
per acre of plant of any known plant source, permitting the leaves to
be used to return a high nitrogen content of the soil, the ground stalk
mass to provide protein as an animal food, and the tubers to provide
human or animal foods.
- The method for the first time uses the entire Jerusalem
Artichoke while providing the maximum amount of ethanol as a worldwide
energy source by the least costly, least complicated, and most energy
Other documentation follows:
- Alberta Invoates Technology Futures - Jerusalem
- Jerusalem artichoke has feed and biofuel potential for
- Optimization of the Economic Potential of Jerusalem
Artichoke as a Feedstock for the Production of Biofuels
- Alterative Field Crops Manual Jerusalem Artichokes
University of Wisconsin
In Southern Ontario the Jerusalem Artichoke is considered as an
invasive weed because of it's quick growing habits it will choke out
corn and soy bean crops. However, In North Eastern Ontario there are
plenty of opportunities to plant and harvest jerusalem Artichoke in
areas where these affected crops are not found.
Some test strips and even a small portable hammermill and distillery
would prove or disprove it's benefits and hazards.
There are also other considerable opportunities to produce (ethanol or
biodiesel) from wood waste and/or pulp/paper black liquors.
Besides that ALGAE FUEL is another upcoming source< and is
being studied from other sources including mining tailing ponds where
it is possible to grow huge amount of algae (there are 15,000 abandoned
tailing ponds in Ontario.) This is collected by vacuuming and then
stressing these plants (which bringing them down to about 5 degrees
Centigrade) and presto you have Bio Diesel.
And as the Ontario Ministry of Agricultre and Food states it is a good
area for the commercial raising of cattle and other ungulate
But bringing these on line relies totally on having a transportation
network available that is mostly a direct line to the target market
which is quite probably achieved by re-vitalizing the CN National
Following is the 5th Canadian Atlas Map, but slightly different. It
won't hurt to take a second look. If the CN's National Transcontinental
Line is reopened it can reach almost all the eastern seaports for
export but unlike the pipeline it could also be used to import goods,
products, equipment, etc. particularly to the Prarie Provinces without
going that extra 500 kilmetres (each way) through major built up and
developed areas along the shores of the Saint Lawrence and Lake
Thanks for your kind attention. It you have any queries please feel
free to call.
121 Timmins Street
North Bay, ON, P1B 4K2