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It is getting serious


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When it is an oil man from Calgary then yes, many will simply ignore the warning but, when it comes from Royal Bank of Canada's CEO, then it should merit more attention:

 

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/rbc-chief-warns-investors-getting-impatient-on-trans-mountain-1.1133446

 

Another project on thin ice which was thought to be near certain is $40 billion Shell LNG Canada in Kitimat. The regulatory process is going well but, who knows if there is not some lawsuit to block everything?

 

And once again, we have a Federal government hesitating to provide them with duty free steel import of modules for which no Canadian shop is capable of making.

 

If you think that Trump is stupid then Canada and Justin at the helm is a pretty strong contender.

 

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Whatever ends up happening with pipelines, I feel that Alberta really is not doing enough to deal with the growing problem of emissions from the oil sands. And I say that as an Albertan and someone who has investments that depend on the strength of the Alberta economy. The industry burns far too much natural gas to generate heat to extract oil. A viable alternative is to switch the whole thing over to nuclear power and then the industry would be if not zero emission, close to it. The claim that Alberta is doing all it can rings hollow to me.

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I've done an EIA for a thermal oil sands project.

 

There is no way a nuclear powered option could get regulatory approval. While it would be zero greenhouse gas emissions, the crap storm from the green lobby would make transmountain look like a polite debate between old church ladies.

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I've done an EIA for a thermal oil sands project.

 

There is no way a nuclear powered option could get regulatory approval. While it would be zero greenhouse gas emissions, the crap storm from the green lobby would make transmountain look like a polite debate between old church ladies.

 

I'm sure there would be opposition from some places. But that doesn't stop the Alberta government from championing the idea. They haven't even tried. According to this news article from 2009, the biggest opposition to the idea isn't the public, it's the unwillingness of the Alberta government to pay:

 

"Alberta is open to the nuclear power generation business, but it will not pump one penny into any project that is brought forward, the government says.

 

"There's no question we're living in a carbon-constrained world," said Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight, "And as part of a diversified energy mix, nuclear energy does have a potential to contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions."

 

The province, which has been studying the issue for more than two years, finally released its public consultation report Monday, which included input from almost 5,000 people.

 

A telephone survey found that 45 per cent of respondents wanted nuclear power plants to be considered on a case-by-case basis and 27 per cent opposed such proposals.

 

Mr. Knight said he is not in favour or opposed to any type of power, but he is against public funding or subsidies for future nuclear development.

 

"We will not invest public dollars in any nuclear proposal," he said."

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/alberta-wont-fund-nuclear-power-energy-minister-says/article4295604/

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I've done an EIA for a thermal oil sands project.

 

There is no way a nuclear powered option could get regulatory approval. While it would be zero greenhouse gas emissions, the crap storm from the green lobby would make transmountain look like a polite debate between old church ladies.

Just curious here. I imagine that what you say would be true in say British Columbia. But power generation is a provincial matter. So the BC folks wouldn't have much to say about that.

 

Is there such a big contingent of green crazies in Alberta that they would be able to derail a power project? Albertans certainly don't seem to have much of an issue with burning huge amounts of nat gas.

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I've done an EIA for a thermal oil sands project.

 

There is no way a nuclear powered option could get regulatory approval. While it would be zero greenhouse gas emissions, the crap storm from the green lobby would make transmountain look like a polite debate between old church ladies.

Just curious here. I imagine that what you say would be true in say British Columbia. But power generation is a provincial matter. So the BC folks wouldn't have much to say about that.

 

Is there such a big contingent of green crazies in Alberta that they would be able to derail a power project? Albertans certainly don't seem to have much of an issue with burning huge amounts of nat gas.

 

I think it would be an issue in the public comment section of the EIA for two reasons. The "nuclear oh-nos" and the need for large amounts of water for cooling reasons. Water is already a sensitive issue in the area.

 

However, it is also not economic, or at least it wasn't when the oilsands producer I worked for studied it. The issue is that nuclear power plants are really big. They generate a lot of steam very effectively, which is great. However, the steam is all centralized in one large place. Transporting steam by pipeline is really expensive. The pipelines have to be above ground, and have to be insulated. They cost a fortune. The longer the pipelines are, the more expensive they get, but they also get less effective. The steam loses heat (even with the expensive above ground insulated pipelines), so some of the steam condenses to water and can't be used to heat up the oil.

 

So a big centralized nuclear plant isn't a great option. There are a variety of people looking at small scale nuclear reactors for oilsands use, but as far as I know nobody has come up with one that is credible.

 

Part of the problem is probably credibility. If you owned shares in an oilsands company that said they were going to build a nuclear steam plant in Ft Mac with no govt cost guarantees, would you be excited or concerned about cost overruns?

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Thanks fro your input bizaro.

 

Regarding water, and maybe i'm showing my ignorance here, a lot of the oil sands are along the Athabasca river. So you've got water. Also regarding transportation of steam, you can get away from that in traditional way. Nuclear power to steam to electricity, transport electricity, turn electricity back into steam. Transmission lines instead of pipelines.

 

I get what you're saying. It really was a matter of cost. These days nuclear power is more expensive than burning nat gas. Plus as you say if an oil and gas company tried to build a nuclear power plant there's gonna be a lot of skepticism out there. Those are very good points and I agree. From a technical perspective that's all true.

 

But, at a certain point, I think the O&G and infrastructure companies will have to realize that the world around them has changed. They can't just assume that they can just steam roll a project into existence. The mistakes that pipeline companies made due to hubris were immense and cost shareholders a lot of money. I'm not saying that they should start building nuclear plants. But they should run their companies well. They environment where they operate has changes and to continue to be successful they need to adapt.

 

Here's one of the questions that won't be addressed in an assessment: How much is it going to cost you if you don't have access to tide water for a decade or two?

 

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"How much is it going to cost you if you don't have access to tide water for a decade or two?"

 

Trudeau himself says it costs Canadians $15 billion/year and this is on the really low side IMO.

 

Regarding burning natural gas to extract oil sands, where is this question regarding the vast majority of countries who simply flare natural gas (burn it with no use to get rid of it) to extract oil. Even conventional light oil. It was done in many U.S. States by the way until recently.

 

How clean is Venezuela extracting their heavy oil? What about extracting oil in Chad, Rod? And by the way, we need heavy oil to drive Tesla's over asphalted roads.

 

Now, every good idea to reduce waste, pollution should be looked at. Solar, wind, geothermal? At least in this country there is a genuine discussion to explore all alternatives while elsewhere?

 

Moreover, if natural gas was trading at a reasonable price like for Dawn delivery in Ontario or Henry Hub vs this crazy AECO and Station 2 (severely discounted with spot sometimes negative!) it would force oil sands producers to be more creative on how they approach it too. There is already an incentive in place to reduce its use since they pay for it but, more normal prices would help.

 

Natural gas for Kitimat delivery would certainly help with that problem.

 

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If nuclear power was going to get AB oilsands producers access to tidewater, they would do it. But we've already planned a coal shut down and put on the first carbon price in Canada, and none of that made any difference.

 

The appetite in AB for more expensive changes to placate people whose stated objective is the end of our economy is pretty low.

 

No new freshwater licenses are being given out for the athabasca river. New projects have to use brackish water from underground. While this would be out of my technical element, I think that would be unsuitable for a nuclear plant without significant (expensive and energy intensive) treatment.

 

 

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