New federal study: Oilsands bitumen sinks when mixed

New federal study: Oil sands bitumen sinks in water

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New federal study: Oilsands bitumen sinks when mixed
2011 Rainbow Pipeline diluted bitumen leak in Alberta (Rogu Collecti/Greenpeace)

VANCOUVER – A new federal government study has concluded that diluted bitumen — the product that would be transported by the Northern Gateway pipeline — sinks in seawater when battered by waves and mixed with sediments.

However, when free of sediments, the molasses-like crude floats even after evaporation and exposure to light.

The report also says that the commercial dispersant, Corexit 9500, used in previous clean-up efforts had a limited effect on dispersing diluted bitumen.

The study examined two blends of crude, the Access Western Blend and Cold Lake Blend, which represent the highest volume of bitumen products transported by pipeline in Canada between 2012 and 2013.

Conducting research on how the oil would behave in a marine environment was one of the 209 conditions announced by a review panel that approved the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in December.

The pipeline, if approved by the federal government, would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to tankers on the British Columbia coast.

Read Engineers poke holes in Enbridge tanker safety

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4 thoughts on “New federal study: Oil sands bitumen sinks in water

  1. Ya I wonder why the Gov hasn’t raised the” Queen of the North”, mabey cause we dont have the tecnology Yet !
    . Those oil tankers and gas tankers are 10 time the size ,whats the chance of them rescuing on of those ???

  2. Anyone who has ever been caught out in a storm on the Hecate Strait and lived to tell of it knows those waters are no place for a wallowing supertanker laden with bitumen. It’s bad enough that bitumen sinks as its diluents evaporate out, what’s worse is the tarry nature of the product as it sinks to coat the seabed and the acids, heavy metals and other toxins it will steadily release into the marine ecosystem for years, probably decades afterwards. The Queen of the North lies on the bottom, 600-feet down, just around the spit from where Harper’s tanker fleet will sail out into the Douglas Channel. It’s madness and if our governments won’t move to stop it, then it’ll be up to us.

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