If, by some miracle, the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline is completed this year, where will the tar sands bitumen come from to fill that greedy sucker? On one hand, federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault ignores the need to recover at least a portion of the $30 billion cost of the twinned, high-pressure line and on the other hand, he is threatening tar sands companies, such as Suncor, with a cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector.
Mr. Guilbeault wants it both ways! Not, that we really expect the twinned Trans Mountain pipeline to be ready to boogie that early. One would be hopeful that there is a lot of testing to be done before anyone would want to try to force three times the bitumen through the new and high-pressure version of the 70-year-old pipeline.
And besides, the pipeline people have already worn a path to the Canada Energy Regulator’s office complaining about the non-co-operative British Columbian tribes resisting change in their agreements. It is something like the housewife who has been promised a new sky-blue kitchen and the contractor trying to get her to accept a shocking pink kitchen instead.
Guilbeault threatened the tar sands industry with a cap on emissions after the Suncor chief executive officer, Rich Kruger, said the company was disengaging from non renewable resources in favour of short-term tar sands profit. That was akin to sticking the minister in the eye with a sharp stick.
Suncor’s most current figures show the company emitting 17.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2021. The entire tar sands production of bitumen contributes 13 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions but that does not count the emissions after the bitumen is refined into crude oil products and used in heating oil and gasoline, diesel fuel and other products.
The tar sands companies, led by Suncor, are going to make carbon capture their thing and they promise that they will be “net” zero in carbon emissions by 2050. While I, for one, might not be here to witness that miracle, I side with the more technical experts who think that promise is ridiculous. It would cost too much in the long term.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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