Friday, 6 May 2016

Industry propaganda on link between Alberta fires and tar sands


While the mainstream news fails to tell people that these fires are in the tar sands area and fails to make a connection with cliamte change (or in some cases, even with extreme weather), we get this propaganda designed for those who  are to draw their own conclusions

Comments from Michael Green

"The problem is that the analysis is seriously deficient. 

No, bitumen isn't easily flammable, meaning it probably won't burst into flames. But have you ever witnessed a tire fire? I have. 

It burns for months. It looks like a nuclear explosion in terms of its plume and produces some of the most carcinogenic substances known. 

Reading this report sounds, for all the world, like reading that because Fukushima didn't explode, it is, therefore, safe. 

No it isn't. 

The smoke from a fire at the tar sands could envelope the entire northern hemisphere. 

Even if that weren't the case, the supersaturated carbon-laced soot could land just about anywhere, including the Arctic Ocean and Greenland, turning it pitch black, causing it to warm exponentially. 

As night follows day, that would likely cause the methane clathrates to go into full party-mode. 

This is not speculation and it sure ain't rocket science. It's as simple as 2 + 2 = 4."

Could the oil sands catch fire?
What if the wildfires raging in Fort McMurray hit the oil sands?
The Suncor oil sands facility seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

4 May, 2016

The wildfires ravaging Fort McMurray are well to the south of most oil sands projects, which is why several oil sands operators volunteered to use their work camps as shelter spaces for fleeing residents. But wildfires—and fires in general—are a constant occupational threat for anyone who works in the oil and gas business, and the oil sands are no different.

In their natural state, the oil sands themselves aren’t particularly flammable. Bitumen has the consistency of molasses at room temperature, and is mixed with sand, making it burn at a slower pace if ignited (plus, 80 per cent of it is buried deep underground). But the same can’t be said of all the equipment and chemical processes used to extract and upgrade that bitumen into synthetic crude oil. Companies that mine and upgrade oil sands bitumen rely on massive pieces of machinery, high temperatures and high pressures to do the dirty work—producing fuels and feedstock.

A 2004 article in the U.S. National Fire Protection Association Journal offered a list of the potential fire risks faced by Suncor Energy, one of the oil sands’ biggest producers. It included: “hydrocarbon spill and pressure fires; storage tank fires; vapour cloud explosions; flammable gas fires; runaway exothermic reactions; and coke and sulfur fires.” The list continued by noting the fire potential posed by: “natural gas- and coke-fired electricity/steam generating plants; a large fleet of mining equipment; ore-processing and oil extraction plants; multi-story office buildings; fleets of tank trucks carrying combustible and hazardous commodities; and the wildlands and boreal forests that surround the facility.”

On that last point, Chelsie Klassen, a spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, says oil sands companies have “had production reduced or shut in because of wildfires in the past.” But she said all operators have emergency teams in place to make sure workers are evacuated safely and fires are prevented from spreading beyond the facility.

And those soupy, bird-killing tailings ponds? “They’re not flammable,” Klassen says.

It may well be the only thing about an oil sands operation that isn’t.

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