Saturday, September 7, 2013

"DilBit": A Petroleum Industry Code for Dill Pickle appetizers or Diluted Bitumen

Dill Pickle Appetizers

Google Search Criteria:  Diluted Bitumen 

If a Phyllis Fox were to place railway companies in Canada involving the transportation of  DilBits under her "microscope", then perhaps the Lac-Megantic's disaster would have been prevented.

Wikipedia:  Dissecting the Lac-Megantic's remains after a "visit" from MM&A train wrecking crew, this Link  includes the starting point of the tankers, and the final destination refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The oil, shipped by World Fuel Services subsidiary Dakota Plains Holdings Incorporated from New Town, North Dakota, originated from the Bakken formation.  The destination was the Irving Oil Refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Shipment of the oil was contracted to Canadian Pacific Railway (reporting mark CPR), which transported the oil on CPR tracks from North Dakota to the CPR yard in Côte Saint-Luc, a suburb of Montreal.  CPR sub-contracted MMA to transport the oil from the CPR yard in Côte Saint-Luc to the MMA yard in Brownville Junction. CPR also sub-contracted New Brunswick Southern Railway (reporting mark NBSR) to transport the oil from the MMA yard in Brownville Junction to the final destination at the refinery in Saint John.  - Wikipedia

Finding a Phyllis Fox Report on the use of railway tankers to haul DilBits to a Valero Refinery, north of San Francisco, was NOT on our agenda, when we started our search in late August.   DilBits was neither on our short list nor the long lists.  It was an unknown entity.

We started out with a Google search for other sources on the intensity of the rail tankers fire: 
HydroCracking chemicals railway tankers CPR
HydroCracking rather than Hydraulic Fracking, because it's not as well known by the Public

CPR because it's the main player in the shipment of Bakken Crude oil.

The Google Search came up with Golden Nugget of data.  Second page of Ten Google hits, Second Hit:

Reports - Switchboard, from NRDC -
The pollutants in the diluent blended with these DilBit crudes and in the light sweet shale crudes include significant amounts of hazardous air pollutants, such as.

The Valero Benicia Refinery (Refinery) is proposing to import certain unidentified "North American sourced crude oils" to the Refinery by railroad (Project).  The City of Benicia has issued a draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) 1 for this Project.

I (Phyllis Fox)(Ph.D, PE, BCEE, QEP, REA II Environmental Management) was asked to review the IS/MND and prepare comments on the impact of the imported crude on air emissions from the Refinery.  My analyses , presented below, indicate the subject "North American sourced crudes " that would be imported by rail are likely to include Canadian tar sand crudes blended with diluent or "DilBits". These have the potential to increase emissions compared to the current crude slate, which would result in potentially significant impacts not disclosed in the IS/MND.

The "North American sourced crudes "may also include light sweet shale oil crudes, such as Bakken, which also have the  potential to increase emissions, and result in significant environmental impacts, compared  to the current crude slate. The pollutants in the diluent blended with these  DilBit crudes and in the light sweet shale crudes include significant  amounts of hazardous air pollutant such as benzene, a potent carcinogen. These would be emitted at many fugitive component impacts not disclosed at the Refinery, including compressors, pumps, valves, fittings, and tanks, in greater amounts than from other crudes that are currently being refined or have otherwise been proposed.  SNIPPED
  Valero Benicia Refinery

IS/MND   Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration

Valero Improvement Project (VIP)

 Crude by Rail Project

Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

Phyllis Fox, Ph.D, PE, BCEE, QEP, REA II  Environment Management
30 page CV (curriculum vitae) aka Bio

C. What Crude Will Be Imported By Rail?

Refining generates emissions. The type and amount of emissions depend upon the chemical characteristics of the specific crudes included in the slate. The central question that must be answered to determine environmental impacts of the Crude by Rail Project is what crude(s) will be imported by rail, and what crude(s) will replace them, for the life of the Project. This is not disclosed in the IS/MND, presenting a mystery for reviewers.

In fact, the IS/MND goes to great lengths to not identify the crudes that would be imported, quoting only ranges in two parameters -- sulfur content and API gravity -- which are irrelevant to potential impacts. The IS/MND claims nothing would change except the mode of transportation, from ship to rail. It ignores all impacts related to the crude itself. Thus, the IS/MND is asserting a claim that is inconsistent with the massive refinery upgrade and expansion currently underway. The VIP heavy sour crude expansion would not be built if Valero was really planning to sweeten and lighten up its crude slate. Further, the IS/MND claims as confidential all information that one could potentially use to identify these crudes, including crude quality data, process flow diagrams, and critical support for the emission calculations. ATC, Appx. A, B.  SNIPPED

As to the quality of metal work in the Valero Refinery, and quite possibly Irving's, there's this on Page 37



The Benicia Refinery was built before current American Petroleum Institute (API) standards were developed to control corrosion and before piping manufacturers began producing carbon steel in compliance with current metallurgical codes. While some of Benicia's metallurgy was updated as part of the VIP, metallurgy used throughout much of the Refinery is likely not adequate to handle the unique chemical composition of tar sands crudes without significant upgrades. There is no assurance that required metallurgical upgrades would occur as they are very expensive and not required by any regulatory framework. Experience with changes in crude slate at the nearby Chevron Refinery in Richmond suggest required metallurgical upgrades are ignored, leading to catastrophic accidents.  The IS/MND is silent on corrosion issues and metallurgical conditions of the Refinery.

Tankers hauling the DilBit should be a cause of concern, a "pickle", that the Petroleum industry, and Governments, now find themselves in.

In British Columbia alone, when it comes to Refineries, and keeping in mind Black and his Backers for a new Refinery in Kitimat:

1976                                                Convert m3/d to bbl/d
Page 5 of 29 Commissioning
Gulf Oil                   Port Moody    232.09 bbl/d (36.9 m3/d)

Imperial Oil             Ioco  1914      218.89 bbl/d  (34.8 m3/d)

Shell Oil                  Burnaby        130.20 bbl/d (20.7m3/d)

Chevron Oil            Burnaby           35.5m3/d

Gulf Oil                  Kamloops         7.9m3/d

Pacific Petroleum   Taylor              15.0m3/d

Union Oil               Prince George   7.6m3/d


Commissioned in 1935
Burnaby Refinery, Burnaby, (Chevron Corporation), 52,000 bbl/d (8,300 m3/d)

Commissioned in 1967
Prince George Refinery, Prince George, (Husky Energy), 12,000 bbl/d (1,900 m3

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