Thursday, October 27, 2016

Corporate Propaganda About DAPL Exposed (Part 2)

"Pipelines are – by far – the safest way to transport energy liquids and gases. Already, 8 pipelines cross the Missouri River carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of energy products every day. That includes the Northern Border natural gas pipeline – built in 1982 – that parallels the planned crossing for Dakota Access for 40 miles as well as high voltage transmission power lines. Once completed, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be among the safest, most technologically advanced pipelines in the world."

Pipelines are not safe by any stretch of the imagination, and they aren't getting any safer. Pipeline leaks are neither infrequent nor decreasing in frequency. The number of pipeline leaks has increased 60% since 2009, corresponding to the increase in domestic oil production. From 2010 to 2015, over 1,000 crude oil pipeline leaks occurred, which released over 7,000,000 gallons of crude. The largest spill, which released 840,000 gallons, occurred in North Dakota in 2013 and destroyed a wheat field.

One of the talking points that the Big oil lobby and their useful idiots (neoliberal dupes) like to tout is that pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. This of course is nothing more than a sleight of hand. If by safer, they mean that pipeline leaks occur less frequently than rail and truck spills, then they are correct.

According to the '2013 Oil Medium - Term Market Report', produced by International Energy Agency,  the rail versus pipeline incident ratio is 2:1, that is to say, the risk of a train spill is two times higher than that of a pipeline leak.
'Our calculation implies 0.09 incidents and 26 barrels released per 1 billion barrel-miles of crude oil transported by pipeline during a 2004 - 2012 period. Comparing that with figures for rail, we quantify the risk of a train incident to be 6 times higher than that of a pipeline, while pipelines spill 3 times more per 1 billion barrel miles of crude oil transported, over the 2004 - 2012 period. '
'Any spill constitutes a railway incident in these calculations, while only spills over 5 gallons constitutes a pipeline spill. Putting both modes of transport on a level playing field by considering spills over 5 gallons only, the rail versus pipeline incident ratio would be only 2:1. 
However, if by safer they mean the amount of crude spilled is less, then rail and truck transportation is safer than pipeline transportation.
'Increasing volumes of crude oil transported by rail raise questions of safety. Our analysis reveals that compared to pipelines, rail incident rates are higher (2 times higher) while the opposite holds for spill rates.'
 'Our calculation implies 0.09 incidents and 26 barrels released per 1 billion barrel-miles of crude oil transported by pipeline during a 2004 - 2012 period. Comparing that with figures for rail, we quantify the risk of a train incident to be 6 times higher than that of a pipeline, while pipelines spill 3 times more per 1 billion barrel miles of crude oil transported, over the 2004 - 2012 period. ' 
Pipelines spilled 25.9 barrels per 1 billion barrel miles of crude, while trains spilled 8.6 barrels per 1 billion barrel-miles of crude oil. Within in the same time period, pipelines released 424,000 barrels of crude while trains released 2,269 barrels of crude. Clearly transporting crude by pipeline is less safe than transporting crude by rail car, and neither is safe in the long run. Perhaps when they said 'safer' they meant cheaper.

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