Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chasing an Oily Black Ghost/Alberta Ponzi Scheme

There are some incredibly talented individuals working on fascinating research in the area of ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT....EROI.


 I read some articles put together by Andrew Nikiforuk,...Andrew`s dedication to exposing the Alberta tar sands for what they are impresses me much, infact Andrew Nikiforuk has impressed many, at least those willing to comprehend without letting the left right divide get in the way, for too many times arguments ensue between differing factions, then out comes the usual refrains of  calling those opposed ...leftards, socialists, latte drinking Liberals...We get ridiculed and called welfare collecting tree hugging hypocrites, proponents of tar sand developments then use guilt as their back up argument, they claim because we have computers, a jacket on our back and maybe even drive a car that we can`t possibly criticize because we too are oil using consumers, it`s about at that point where debates turn into rhetoric


As you are probably aware we here at The Straight Goods have tried to leave the rhetoric behind, we first argued that the risk of pipeline spills and tankers disasters to 1000`s of fish bearing rivers and our northern coastline was too great, far too small reward to risk species and habitat we couldn`t replace, we highlighted treacherous waters, we pointed out modern ship disasters from submarines grounding, cruise liners hitting rocks, from oil rigs sinking to explosion of tankers, all within the last few months alone.


It wouldn`t matter how many examples of shipping accidents I and others put forward, how many experts warned of shipping risks Enbridge and Alberta would shake their head and say it`s safe, know we know what it`s like arguing with cement blocks, no argument will deter their lust and unabated greed, we didn`t stop there, we used Enbridge`s own record and public records of pipeline spills, Enbridge`s record is as brutal as they come, 1000`s of spills in the last few years alone, watersheds destroyed, millions of dead fish, dead birds, noxious fumes and sickened people, livelihoods destroyed, we have also shown numerous videos of Enbridge denying any responsibility for their poisonous spills, videos of Enbridge intimidating the public, hiding spilled oil under sand, under canvas with special grass grown over top, deliberate illusions learned from 1000`s of spills, Enbridge can`t clean their messes only hide them, and they`ve been caught and reported, big oil lawyers with influence smooth the getaway with illusionary fines and wrist slaps.


 I wanted to keep the argument from turning into name calling and rhetoric, 

"just the facts maam"


I`ve been digging, digging for factual articles designed to inform, never once have we talked about electric cars or communal living, no stories of wind power and cave living, "just the facts maam"...And I have to admit long hours have led me to being dead tired, we have put links to videos and stories, articles and facts posted from coast to coast, east to west plus north to south, spreading the message of stark facts and critical data to as many people as possible, but you know what, everywhere I went, every comment thread, every article online,  time and time again the only argument put up by proponents of Enbridge`s northern pipeline was the rhetoric, the name calling, the pattern was the same in Prince George as it was in Ontario, Alberta, every comment thread and every pro-pipeline article, every economist pimping the pipeline used rhetoric, spin and lastly name calling in their defense.


I`m willing to debate facts with anyone,....Time for a short run down on rhetorical spin, Joe Oliver and Harper with assists from Ezra Levant and Vivian Krauss attempted to hijack the pipeline debate before it even started, they argued big American green groups were funding Canadian radicals, tree huggers and eco-terrorists, from the very top of the food chain came pathetic rhetoric about foreign money spending several $million delaying due process when all parties knew damn well that $billions have been spent by corrupt foreign entities, by big oil, by corrupt Chinese regime corporations.....Propaganda from the prime minister of Canada, from Joe Oliver and one by one the stooges repeated it, Craig Oliver, Bill good, Vancouver sun, Globe and Mail, all these so-called professional media ran with it.


That argument failed and actually backfired, the rhetoric continued, from Bill Good..."you drive a car don`t you.......Many pension plans have Enbridge shares.......We are going to need oil....Everyone has oil-based products"

 and Billy Good`s latest common refrain..

 " We can put a man on the moon and replace hearts certainly we can build a pipeline that doesn`t leak"


That last one about pipelines intrigued me, time and time again I heard defenders of Enbridge`s pipeline say that the 1000`s of pipeline leaks Enbridge has had were in old pipes, the Northern Gateway will be brand new pipes......Ok I say, than how come Enbridge hasn`t replaced those old pipelines, why is it they`re never replaced until they burst open, clearly if old pipelines are a problem how come they`re still in the ground.....This is nothing but more propaganda, brand new pipes leak too, my point was, what a lame excuse, blaming not replacing old pipes as an excuse for a spill, I think that`s reason enough for criminal court proceedings leading to criminal charges against Enbridge.


Every argument put forth by proponents of big oil has been refuted, it`s not about energy security because Canada still imports 780,000 barrels per day from Saudi Arabia, a so-called "unethical" supplier of oil, so not only is Ezra Levant`s book (Ethical Oil) a scam so is his theory, if Enbridge`s Northern Gateway pipeline went through, and Trans Canada`s Keystone pipeline went through Canada would still be reliant on importing nearly 1 million barrels per day from the middle east, meaning Harper`s energy plan is dangerous, leaving us subject to the vagaries of middle east oil and politics, it also means that if Canada was to be self sufficient in oil the tar sands would have to ramp up to producing nearly 3 million barrels per day more than they presently do...That target is more than a decade away.....Harper`s energy plan, more like Harper`s Follies!.....

So here we have this whole proposal stripped down to nuts and bolts, there will be  tanker spills, there will be many inland pipeline spills, Enbridge admits as much, there will be less than 200 full-time jobs produced in BC over this pipeline and monetary payments to the BC government amount to less than $20 million dollars per year($13.3 million to be precise), all while risking a permanent commercial fishery worth $billions, a pristine coastline at risk, watersheds at risk and BC`s largest industry tourism being risked and damaged even without a spill...

This project doesn`t give Canada energy security in-fact it makes Canada even more reliant on imported oil from the middle east, so why are we doing it, proponents only have rhetoric and name calling remaining, leftards, Socialists, tree huggers, NIMBYS and of course the money argument, again even that`s unproven rhetoric....Joe Oliver uses the number $trillions, as in 3 $trillion over 30 years, yet documents say Canada`s GDP might rise by $200 billion over those 30 years, where is the other $2.8 trillion dollars going?

Canada`s current yearly GDP is over $1 trillion dollars, closer to $1.3 trillion dollars per year now, so at best this project adds about..   0.7% to our yearly GDP.....Think of that number, that number means almost nothing to Canada as a whole, it will mean less than nothing to British Columbia once we start cleaning oil spills and filing law suits.....

And now we get down to the even finer nuts and bolts of this story....In researching  ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT (EROI).


The first thing I realized is, this concept EROI has only been around for about a decade, it still hasn`t infiltrated big media, meaning they haven`t reported on it, however, in earlier articles I referred to the Alberta Tar Sands as an energy ponzi scheme, a waste pit for economic fraud, pump and dump stock promoters selling a fantasy of endless energy, the more I think about it the more it looks like a classic pyramid scheme...For those who don`t know how they work, let me give a quick pyramid explanation, I had a friend some years ago that got taken for $2000 dollars.


A pyramid scheme works early on, for $2000 dollars in you get $16,000 thousand dollars out, so the first person in gets paid $16,000 once he brings in 8 other people all with $2000, for the next 8 persons to get paid they must each bring in 8 persons with $2000 dollars,...And the pyramid builds and builds until eventually it collapses under its own weight as you run out of people with money.

Alberta tar sands energy pyramid scheme is very similar, for Tar Sand oil the early EROI numbers are in and news is bleak for both oil companies and desperate oil whore named Stephen Harper, ....That is indeed what`s caused panic in Alberta and Stephen Harper, the gig is almost up...

1 barrel of energy in and 2.6 barrels of energy out, a very very low return, virtually unsustainable but the more I read the more I learned.... There are experts out there that are now claiming that once you add up the environmental costs of poisoned water, tailing ponds and huge emissions that ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT EROI with Alberta Tar sands is actually less than 1 barrel of oil, meaning it`s a net energy loser.....Full Stop...Are you kidding me!


So before any NEB panel is allowed to make a decision with Enbridge`s northern pipeline there must be pier reviewed scientific studies done researching EROI in depth ...I`m not talking about a panel of industry experts or Government appointees or oil funded research I`m talking about a major study being done by non-partisan scientists, researchers and experts on the Alberta Tar sands, for if it`s true EROI is the only thing that matters, we are probably polluting water, making toxic ponds and burning enormous quantities of natural gas to produce less energy that we put in...."Harper`s Follies" comes to mind again..

  From what I have read there is a strong case being made that tar sand oil with present extraction techniques is a net negative return on energy investment and only fools or those drawn into an Alberta based energy ponzi scheme would consider going forward, and or the return on energy investment is so low that unless it`s refined local and used local it`s energy negative.

And if British Columbia is to be abused by Alberta and pushed in a corner by the Federal Conservative Harper Government we are owed the right to have extensive studies done on EROI ....Let pure science, let all the costs be included, all the energy use, total it all up and if a non-partisan group of scientists and experts reach consensus that Alberta`s tar sand ENERGY RETURN ON INVESTMENT is low, like really low in the range of 1 barrel of energy in to get 1.2 barrels of energy out than let`s scrap the tar sands all together, we need facts, data and truth not rhetoric from an Alberta based prime minister.

I suspect the answer will be alarming....I believe that Alberta`s tar sands are a net energy loser unless refined and used locally and even that may be a stretch.


Read the below article carefully and you will see how bad this really is, they finish off with..You would get more energy from animal manure and city garbage as a EROI than you would tar sands..


Oil Shale's Energy Return on Energy Investment

Findings show oil shale is, at best, a marginal energy source

“So long as oil is used as a source of energy, when the energy cost of recovering a barrel of oil becomes greater than the energy content of the oil, production will cease no matter what the monetary price may be."

-- M. King Hubbert
(as Referenced by Ivanhoe, 1982).

Oil Shale's Questionable Energy Return:
Full Report

Executive Summary
Energy Return on Investment, or EROI, underpins any analysis of the value of an energy source. Just as with any financial investment, if an investment of energy doesn't produce a "profit" of additional energy, the wisdom of the initial outlay can be called into question and the market incentive to continue investing resources is lost.
In simple terms, EROI is a commonly-used calculation of how much energy is needed to locate, extract, and refine an output of energy – in this case, oil from shale. In more technical terms, EROI is the ratio of the energy delivered by a process to the energy used directly and indirectly for that process. An EROI of 1:1 means no energy energy is gained from producing the energy resource.
WRA released a report written by Dr. Cutler Cleveland, a Professor of Geography and Environment at Boston University, evaluating the studies conducted to date on the energy value of oil shale.  What Cleveland’s analysis shows is that oil shale is, at best, a marginal energy source. 

How does the EROI of oil shale compare to conventional oil?

EROI graphic 1
Figure 1. A comparison of estimates of the energy return on investment (EROI) at the wellhead for conventional crude oil, or for crude product prior to refining for oil shale.

The EROI for oil shale is considerably less than the EROI of conventional crude oil, both at the wellhead and at the refined fuel stages of processing.

  Even under marginal conditions, such as smaller and deeper well fields, loss of artesian pressure, etc., conventional crude oil still generates a significantly larger energy surplus than oil shale – approximately 20:1.

We cannot yet say with certainty that the EROI for oil shale is unequivocally greater than 1.
ROI image 2
Figure 2. A comparison of estimates of the energy return on investment (EROI) for refined fuel produced from conventional crude oil and from oil shale.

The oil shale resources in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are being promoted as a fuel source of the future. What the EROI for oil shale shows is that should oil shale ever be commercially developed, it would be a poor energy source.

This nation must clearly understand the trade-offs it will be making if oil shale becomes a significant transportation fuel source. 

In exchange for a fuel that may not produce more energy that it consumes, the costs of consumed water, impaired water and air quality, negative climate impacts, and destruction of public lands must also be considered. 
Before expending public or private dollars to support any future commercial development projects, we must evaluate, among other considerations, the EROI for oil shale.  The picture it paints raises serious concerns.
Energy Content of Fuels
When compared to other things that can be burned as fuel, oil shale ranks very low on the list for energy content by weight, contributing to its low energy return.
 Oil Shale EROI - Western Resource Advocates

(The link above will take you to the full article with links to long detailed PDF files, fill your boots con-bots) 
 "Just the facts maam"

The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open


Gary E said...

I don't know who dreamed up the phrase "ethical oil" but the whole idea is a oxymoron. There is nothing "ethical" about oil from the "TAR SANDS" And in that phrase "SANDS" is the operative word.

I know there are many people out there that have no idea what sand can do. Or they don't think about it. The short end is that it is highly corrosive.

And don't ever think that the oil going through that pipe is "clean" or "ethical". It is full of sand and HIGHLY CORROSIVE. It will wear out any pipe it travels through at more than a hundred times the rate of refined oil.

And if the oil were to be refined in Alberta those refineries would create far more long term jobs than allowing Asia to refine their own.

as far as loaded oil tankers plying our waters, that is not going to happen if I can help it.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis, but I think your spellchecker has a language bias and is unable to print aitch let alone pronounce it.

I fear this rhetoric may devolve if I continue.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Enbridge uses pipe made in China?

Cheap, crappy pipe used in their pipelines fail more often. Ironic.

Grant G said...

Sorry about the late editing, sometimes I suffer from brain freeze...Spell-check, what spell check.

I`ll try and do better, don`t let it detract from...

'Just the facts maan"

Hugh said...

Once the tarsands are no longer in operation, monitoring and cleanup will no doubt have to go on for a very long time. That needs to be factored in.

Don F. said...

Grant, this certainly gives new meaning to the old term from my hippy days 'negative energy'.
Everything is wrong with the tarpits of alberta and all related buisness,'everything'.
I think I can answer one question you ask...What happens to the remaining 2.8 trillion? Gone to corporate coffers of course to be used against us in the future.
We meaning you and me and all of us have to accept some responsibility for our gullable nature and trust that someone is doing the right thing because as it turns out we were wrong but now we know and must make it right. This foolishness all has to stop or we are doomed.
We are getting tired of being treated this way.
Just last week BC Hydro spokesperson on Global telling us "the smart meters are essential to the grid" over and over. When one digs you find there is no grid so that statement is entirely false!
This is the kind of manipulation that has to be stopped and we must constantly be on the lookout for, unfortunatly for us our own government has joined forces with the other side.

Anonymous said...

"the smart meters are essential to the grid"

The smart meters have cost us too much and the lieberals continue to bleed BC Hydro. They are only doing this so that they can charge us more and time of day charges too, to keep LNG gas factories, tarpits, and the list goes on, the real power hungry monsters, this is the "grid". It isn't going to benefit the ordinary person at all. These meters are not for the working stiff trying to raise a family.
The whole thing is a SHAM, total RIPOFF.

Christy and co. bring on the election.

Anonymous said...

The article says: "where is the other $2.8 trillion dollars going?"
Where indeed? It is going in a small measure to employment of increasingly foreign workers in Fort Mac. The rest is going in profits to the oil companies and the banks which lend them money.
Some countries (like Venezuela) have their own banks and repatriate much of that money. Venezuela has risen from a foreign controlled banana republic to a country with far better education and health care than they had before nationalizing their oil business. But not Canada, which is controlled by foreign companies and foreign banks in the interests of the 1 percent.

As far as building more refineries in Alberta, we can't compete with the labour costs in China. So why try? When will we come to the point (hopefully before the entire ecosystem of the planet is destroyed) where it is recognized that continually expanding growth in the name of profit and buying plastic shit from slave factories in the East can no longer continue? My prediction is that within 20 years the climate will have grown so bad that people will actually start to take it seriously - there will be a sea change; after it is too late.
Let me agree with Grant and Rafe and everyone else who says that the best place to stop the destruction of BC is by stopping that pipeline for starters. We stand to benefit nothing and stand to lose everything.

I won't go into Monsanto here but they are the other huge negative factor to continuing life as we knew it on this planet.

Anonymous said...

The vehicles that use other than gas, are far too expensive, for the average every day working people. So is solar. Believe you me, millions of people would have, electric cars and solar energy, if the cost wasn't so outrageous.

However, they have found acid in the ocean, right up to the shores of BC. The sea is on an overdose of Carbon Dioxide. Yet the greedy fools keep right on polluting the planet, with fossil fuels.

The dirty tar sands oil, is the dirtiest energy on this planet. This very dirty energy is going to the dirtiest polluted country, China. Country's surrounding China complain, China's pollution, is polluting them too.

Everyone is forced to put up with, China, Alberta, Enbridge and Harper's greed. Every one of the head honcho's, should connect up a hose from their cars exhaust pipe, and put a bag over their heads and breathe that. I wonder how long they can breathe that pollution?

I would like to force feed them water, from a stream downhill from the tar sands. Force feed them, the deformed fish in Athabasca lake. Force feed them, the poisoned buffalo. See if they get cancer, as is happening to the F.N. people living near the tar sands. They can't even eat the fish, not the buffalo, because of the poison in them, the meat tastes just terrible, unfit to eat.

Make sure Oliver is included in that experiment.

Never, never, can that abomination of the tar sands, ever be cleaned up. The damage is permanent. The last Boreal Forests in North America, are being destroyed as we speak.