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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 18, 2012 9:22 AM Flag

    Carbon emissions estimates vary wildly at Northern Gateway hearings

    Carbon emissions estimates vary wildly at Northern Gateway hearings

    By Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal September 17, 2012

    EDMONTON - Carbon emissions from the proposed Gateway pipeline could cost $742 million a year by the time the bitumen in the pipeline is refined and burned as gasoline, engineer Chris Peters, told a federal hearing into the proposed 585,000 barrel-a day pipeline to the West Coast.

    But pipeline proponent Calgary-based Enbridge stressed Monday only a fraction of those emissions — about $4 million worth a year — come from the construction and operation of the pipeline.

    Peters, who runs an engineering in firm in Prince George, B.C., argued the public should be aware of the 37 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that will result from “wells to-wheel “ life cycle of the Alberta bitumen that will end up in Chinese refineries and gas tanks.

    Using Enbridge’s figure of $20 a tonne for the cost of carbon emissions, that would total $724 million a year and should be included in the company’s cost- benefit analysis, Peters argued at the joint review panel run by the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

    Canada’s national climate change policy aims to reduce such emissions to by 2020, said Peters, and Gateway exports could take emissions in the opposite direction.

    That cost “should be recorded as a negative and a cost to the planet,” said Peters, though he noted that Canada is not responsible for emissions outside its boundaries.

    But Enbridge economist Robert Mansell responded that those carbon emissions will occur whether the Gateway pipeline goes ahead or not, as the bitumen is already being produced and will be converted to gasoline. The pipeline will not cause an increase in bitumen production.

    “Enbridge’s proposal is not changing the western crude supply,” said Mansell, nor is it changing the world supply of oil, the pipeline is just opening new markets.

    Meanwhile, Hana Boye, lawyer for Haisla First Nation, whose land lies around the Douglas Sound, tried to determine the extent of Chinese ownership in the $6 billion project.

    Enbridge will own about 50 per cent or slightly less of the pipeline and the remainder will be owned by 10 companies who want to ship bitumen. Called funding partners, they contributed $100 million to the cost of the hearings. Only six of 10 have been publicly identified.

    Enbridge’s Paul Fisher confirmed that one Chinese company, Sinopec, is a funding partner and a potential owner of about five per cent of the project.

    Nexen, another potential owner, is under a take over bid by a state owned Chinese company. MEG energy company, also among the potential owners, is 16.6 per cent Chinese owned, the panel was told.

    Boye asked if Enbridge would consider getting a release from the confidentiality agreement so that all potential ownership parties could be identified. Fisher said yes.

    Shortly after, the review panel shut down that Boyer’s line of questioning, saying the panel does not need the ownership information.

    Bone argued that ownership information is relevant: “If we don’t know who they are, we can’t tell if there are market forces are driving it, if they are financial viable and if it is in Canadian interest. ”

    Bone also hammered Enbridge on whether the company was following its own ethics policies when it released the contentious video portraying the Douglas Sound without small islands, rocky outcrops and other “dangerous” obstacles in the channel that lead to Kitimat. The video made the dangerous channel look clear and open, she said.

    Pipeline executive John Carruthers defended the video saying it was not meant to be an accurate portrayal of the coastal waters and that fact “was easily seen” by viewers.


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