January 21, 2014: TransCanada started transporting synthetic crude oil (syncrude) and diluted bitumen (dilbit) between Canada and the US Gulf Coast through the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline delivers up to 700,000 barrels per day to the Texas refineries.
By comparison, U.S. oil production was about 9,000,000 barrels per day in early November, 2014; and in the preceding twelve months through August 2014, the US imported an average of about 7.5 million barrels of oil per day.
The Keystone Pipeline only runs over a very small portion of the eastern-most part of the Ogallala Aquifer. This aquifer yields about 30% of the ground water used for irrigation in the US and supplies drinking water to 82% of the people in the High Plains area.
KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
Now, TransCanada wants to construct another 875-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL.
The path of this new pipeline would run over 20% of the Ogallala Aquifer. Keystone XL would transport up to 830,000 barrels of tar sands crude across the Ogallala Aquifer each day— including some places where the groundwater lies beneath less than 10 feet of sandy, permeable soil. Keystone XL would be buried four feet deep.
While most conventional oils float on water, much of the dilbit sinks beneath the surface. Submerged oil is significantly harder to clean up than floating oil. The oil industry pays an 8-cent-per-barrel tax on crude oil produced and imported to the U.S. The tax goes into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which provides emergency funds for oil spill cleanup and claims.
Despite the fact that the Keystone Pipeline has already spilled 30 times, the IRS has ruled to exempt dilbit and synthetic crude from paying this tax. The average cleanup cost of every crude oil spill from the past 10 years was $2,000 per barrel. The cleanup for diluted bitumen has cost upwards of $29,000 per barrel.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Koch Industries is a major player in the Canadian oil market. They are the largest foreign leaseholder of acres of Canadian oil sands. Koch-leased lands — are between 1.12 million to 1.47 million acres. A 374,000-acre parcel of Canadian oil sands has 47 billion barrels of oil mixture.
At a $15 gross production per barrel, Koch would have the potential to make $90-100 billion from the Keystone and Keystone XL pipelines being built.
January 29, 2015: the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bipartisan bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The 62-36 vote advanced a top priority of the newly empowered GOP, and marked the first time the Senate passed a bill authorizing the pipeline. Nine Democrats joined with 53 Republicans to back the measure.
I understand wanting to transport oil and a pipeline is the most efficient way to move the oil. Also, it is good thing for the United States to make money off of the Canadian oil, if it crosses our country, we should get something for it, if possible. I can also understand it creates jobs and is good for the Energy economy of our country.
But, if you are going to build a pipeline, do it like the Keystone, where it doesn’t run straight over an aquifer. The Keystone XL pipeline disregards the safety of our country and our citizens, on behalf of some fat cats that don’t give a damn about the environment or the people. They only thing they care about is lining their pockets and saving as much money as possible in building the thing. Oh, also, they don’t care one least bit about safety, does anybody remember the Deepwater Horizon.
Power and big money makes the Congress step, forget the welfare of the United States citizen. Veto the Keystone XL, President Obama.