In my recent post on the Keystone XL pipeline I mentioned that until digging up the bitumen becomes unprofitable there will be an endless parade of proposals to ship the bitumen to markets around the world.
TansCanada (which is also behind the Keystone XL pipeline) has just announced a proposal to convert an existing natural gas pipeline to carry Alberta’s bitumen to the east coast:
TransCanada Ltd. is studying the possibility of converting a natural-gas pipeline in its Mainline pipeline network between Alberta and Quebec to carry crude oil instead, spokesperson Grady Semmens said.
There are some, Dan, like Andrew Nikiforuk who make the case that Athabasca bitumen isn’t profitable at all save for a great deal of accounting sleight of hand effected through grants, subsidies, royalty and tax deferrals, provision of cheap natural resources (water, natural gas) and deferred environmental cleanup costs. Only government largess, at the expense of Alberta and Canadian taxpayers, keep the fossil fuelers in the black and the Tar Sands running.
Recently even Britain’s Financial Times acknowledged the Carbon Bubble and reported that market analysts are steering investment clients away from high-carbon fossil fuels. Now when you’ve got the highest-carbon petroleum on the planet and it’s bloody expensive to extract, upgrade, dilute, transport and refine in some distant land, what does that add up to?
If you are arguing in favour of full cost accounting then you will get no argument from me.
Aside from the other subsidies and creative accounting the fact it is free to dump carbon in the atmosphere is a massive subsidy. Real capitalists wouldn’t stand for such rings