U.S. wants Oil Sands Pipeline Risk Assessment
The United States is benefiting greatly from the Canadian oil sands, providing abundant fuel from a friendly neighbor to the north, thus reducing dependence on foreign oil from nations with a less-friendly attitude toward the U.S. One would assume that U.S. regulators would be happy to get their oil from Canada, but not so fast. Apparently U.S. lawmakers are expressing concern that the diluted bitumen derived from Canadian oil sands may be corroding U.S. oil pipelines.
U.S. Congressmen Henry Waxman, the leading Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, is worried that regulatory oversight isn’t keeping up with an increasing amount of diluted bitumen being transported via U.S. pipelines. "I'm concerned that the industry is changing, but the safety regulations are not keeping up with the changes," he said at an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. "That could be a recipe for disaster down the road."
Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council said at the hearing, "It is in the public's best interest for our pipeline safety for regulators to evaluate the risks that high volumes of heavy, corrosive and abrasive crudes, such as diluted bitumen, will have on the U.S. pipeline."
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A number of pipeline accidents in the U.S. Midwest have some questioning whether diluted bitumen may be to blame. TransCanada's existing Keystone pipeline leaked 10 barrels of oil, due to a faulty fitting at a Kansas pump station last month. That accident followed a 500-barrel spill at a pump station in North Dakota in early May.
The committee last month passed a bill requiring the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to study the impact of diluted bitumen on U.S. pipelines.
Even Republicans think the issue should be investigated. "I think it is something we need to look into," said Republican Representative Joe Barton.
However, President of the Association of Oil Pipelines Andrew Black disputes any claims that diluted bitumen is contributing to pipeline corrosion, saying, “Diluted bitumen has been moved through pipelines for many years.”
At any rate, what harm could come from assessing the risks? If there’s no problem, then we continue to take advantage of Canadian oil. If there is a corrosion problem, we invest in pipeline infrastructure to reduce corrosion. It would be nonsensical to risk losing the pipelines, which cost billions to construct, simply because we didn’t take action early on.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.