Voici la question qui me guide dans mes recherches...

L’appât du gain manifesté par les entreprises supranationales et certains groupes oligarchiques, de même que le contrôle des ressources naturelles par ceux-ci, dirigent l’humanité vers un nouvel ordre mondial de type féodal, voir même sa perte. Confronté à cette situation, l’être humain est invité à refuser d’accepter d’emblée une pseudo-vérité véhiculée par des médias peut-être à la solde de ces entreprises et groupes. Au contraire, il est invité à s’engager dans un processus de discernement et conscientisation afin de créer sa propre vérité par la confrontation de sa réalité nécessairement subjective à des données objectives, telles que révélées par la science, par exemple.

The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. - Plato

lundi 20 juillet 2015

Nexen pipeline leak in Alberta

How to report the news!

I was reading those news headlines and was wondering how the news was reported.  This is a good example of ALARM-ISM or how to report the news  in a way to make it appear more emotional and catastrophic.

This spill happened around the week of July 13th 2015, in Alberta near Fort McMurray.

You can read headlines like those on :
CBC.ca :

Nexen pipeline leak in Alberta spills 5 million litres
Nexen Energy spill south of Fort McMurray covers about 16,000 square metres

 Here's the detail of the article with my highlights I want to discuss:
One of the largest leaks in Alberta history has spilled about five million litres of emulsion from a Nexen Energy pipeline at the company's Long Lake oilsands facility south of Fort McMurray.

The leak was discovered Wednesday afternoon.

Nexen said in a statement its emergency response plan has been activated and personnel were onsite. The leak has been stabilized, the company said.

The spill covered an area of about 16,000 square metres, mostly within the pipeline corridor, the company said. Emulsion is a mixture of bitumen, water and sand.

The pipeline that leaked is called a "feeder" and runs from a wellhead to the processing plant.

"All necessary steps and precautions have been taken, and Nexen will continue to utilize all its resources to protect the health and safety of our employees, contractors, the public and the environment, and to contain and clean up the spill," the company said in the statement issued Thursday.

Peter Murchland, public affairs manager for the Alberta Energy Regulator, said officials were notified late Wednesday and had staff onsite Thursday to work with Nexen.

"My understanding is that the pipeline and pad site had been isolated and shut-in earlier today, effectively stopping the source of the release," Murchland said

Nexen has contained the leak and started cleaning up the area, he said. There was no word on how long that might take.

"They go through a cleanup phase in accordance with the regulations set by the AER," he said. "And we'll have our subject-matter experts work alongside the operator, today and going forward, to make sure that safety and environmental requirements are met."

The regulator's staff are there to oversee the company's cleanup efforts. Murchland said there have been no reports about any effect on wildlife. The regulator has ordered the company to implement a wildlife protection plan.
Premiers talks focus on energy, pipelines

Greenpeace issued a statement Thursday condemning Alberta's history of pipeline spills.

"As provincial premiers talk about ways to streamline the approval process for new tar sands pipelines, we have a stark reminder of how dangerous they can be," Greenpeace said in a news release.

Canada's premiers are meeting in St. John's, where a major topic of discussion is a national energy strategy.

"This leak is also a good reminder that Alberta has a long way to go to address its pipeline problems, and that communities have good reasons to fear having more built," said Greenpeace communications officer Peter Louwe. "New pipelines would also facilitate the expansion of the tarsands — Canada's fastest-growing source of carbon emissions — and accelerate the climate crisis even more.

"We need to stop new pipeline projects before they're built and focus on building renewable sources of energy that are sustainable and won't threaten communities, our environment, and the planet."

In April 2011, a Plains Midstream Canada ULC pipeline leaked 4.5 million litres of crude oil near a First Nations community in northwest Alberta.

That leak was the largest in the province in 35 years. It contaminated more than three hectares of beaver ponds and muskeg in a densely forested area.
So let's take the highlights one by one
  • largest leaks in Alberta history
    • Largest by how much, double, triple?  Just saying largest is a bit misleading. The article talks about the second largest at the end which was for 4.5 million litres instead of "around" 5.  So not a big difference considering you probably estimated the 5 million.  
  • five million litres
    • There are many ways of measuring volumes.  But if you want to capture the imagination using litres is the way to go!  5 millions, OMG.  5 millions litres is also 5000 cubic meter, less alarming.  Or another way of putting it, it's 8 seconds of the discharge of the nearby Athabaska river.  You can also measure it in barrels of oil, which is around 42 thousand.  For a comparison,  the proposed keystone XL pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels per day (1).  So this would be a spill of less than 2h of this pipeline. Ok enough said on the volume!
  • Covered an area of about 16,000 square metres
    • Here's another way of using as large a number as you can. What other area measure can you use?  You could have used 0.016 km^2.   Or you could have compared it to the area of Alberta in percentage...  0.0000024% (3) of Alberta was temporarily covered by oil that will be removed soon... Oh sorry, this is not alarming enough!  
  • There was no word on how long that might take. 
    •  The company web page is keeping the public informed on a daily basis of the progress of the clean-up: http://www.nexencnoocltd.com/en/Operations/OilSands/PipelineFailure.aspx
  • no reports about any effect on wildlife.
    •  This is a very small area and any animals probably already left.  According to steps taken, there's a lot of monitoring and measures taken to keep the wildlife away.
      • As of July 28th: Continued wildlife monitoring, A single deceased mallard was found in the release area. The mallard was heavily decomposed and it is believed that it was deceased prior to the release. Nexen has notified the applicable regulators.
  • Greenpeace... how dangerous they can be
    •  I don't have great respect for this organization, taking every opportunity to destroy the reputation of companies they don't like.  Did they offer their help to protect the environment?  They have budgets of million of dollar, they could have sent a crew of people to help minimize the spill... nope!
    • Pipelines remains the safest way to transport oil 
    • We are getting better and better at transporting it (4)

  •  "We need to stop new pipeline projects before they're built and focus on building renewable sources of energy that are sustainable and won't threaten communities, our environment, and the planet." 
    • Please wake up greenpeace... renewable like wind and solar cannot be used to replace oil in all those services it provides:
  1. Finished Motor Gasoline (51.4% – a bit more than the national average)
  2. Distillate Fuel Oil (15.3%)
  3. Jet Fuel (12.3%)
  4. Still Gas (5.4%)
  5. Marketable Coke (5.0%)
  6. Residual Fuel Oil (3.3%)
  7. Liquid Refinery Gas (2.8%)
  8. Asphalt and Road Oil (1.7%)
  9. Other Refined Products (1.5%)
  10. Lubricants (0.9%)
    •  Maybe we can use a bit more electric cars, but we are not there yet.  Maybe we can produce all those product by other means, but nothing proven and economically viable exist.
  1. We need to put things in perspective.
  2. This spill is not that important and clean-up is under way
  3. We are getting cleaner and cleaner
  4. Demand for oil will only grow since we have a growing population that needs it to get out of poverty and since we don't have yet other resources to use instead.
  5. We need to concentrate on better detection and automatic valve closure to prevent those inside a few seconds of detection.  This is where we need more R&D and regulations. 

(1) http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/04/large-barrel-oil-measure-way/ 
(2) http://www.nexencnoocltd.com/en/AboutUs/MediaCentre/NewsReleases/News/Release.aspx?year=2015&release_id=B20D782F81434D58889FAE403811D758
(3) http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%2816000+square+meters%29++%2F+%28area+of+alberta+canada%29+*+100
(4) http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/161057/

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