Thursday, May 02, 2013

What's the Chance of a Northern Gateway Supertanker Disaster? Try 93-99%

Simon Fraser University has released a study of the likelihood of an environmental catastrophe from the Harper/Enbridge Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline/supertanker scheme.   Not surprisingly, their conclusions aren't quite as carefree and rosy as those put out by Enbridge.

The chance of a bitumen supertanker disaster during the operating lifespan of the Northern Gateway?   The research suggests it's a near certainty, at least if you consider a 93 to 99 per cent chance nearly certain.   Enbridge was claiming an 18% chance of tanker mishap.

Along the Northern Gateway pipeline itself, Enbridge figures it will have one spill every two years.   The Simon Fraser University researchers estimate fifteen spills each and every year.   That's thirty times worse than what Enbridge is claiming.

Lead author Dr. Tom Gunton, director of the School of Resource and Environmental Management at SFU suggests that Enbridge may have cooked the risk books.

"What we found was there were 28 deficiencies in (Enbridge's) risk assessment model. The database Enbridge used under-reports the number of tanker incidents by between 38 and 96 per cent," he said.

"They made no attempt to correct that under-reporting."

The other problem with Enbridge's risk assessment, said Gunton, is that it fails to use the standardized model used by the U.S. government.

The U.S. Oil Spill Risk Analysis model, which was developed in 1975 by the federal government, and is used by companies around the world to evaluate offshore oil-spill risks.

Enbridge is a company with a terrible reputation not only in terms of its oil spill record but also on the fundamental question of honesty.   And Harper and Redford want British Columbia to trust them?  Really?


crf said...


The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the link, Chris.

kootcoot said...

"Enbridge is a company with a terrible reputation not only in terms of its oil spill record but also on the fundamental question of honesty. And Harper and Redford want British Columbia to trust them? Really?"

With our LIEberal in Name Only Government in BeeCee and the HarperCons in Ottawa, the slimier the company the more likely they are to garner government contracts - crooks of the feather f***k together and all that. Otherwise why does BeeCee do so much business with SNC Lavalin, Accenture and the Hedge Fund the City of Vancouver had to rescue the Convention Centre from financially?

When business, corrupt business and government become entwined as they are today in what used to be Canada, that is a perfect illustration of Mussolini's definition of Fascism!

kootcoot said...

Maybe that was the Olympic residence/condo project that the CoV had to rescue!

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Koot, our government is about to change and the Simon Fraser study should give Dix a bit more spine on the pipelines business.

Creeping corporatism is a great threat to democracy throughout North America.

crf said...

There was pushback from Enbridge engineers, Keith Michel and Audun Brandsaeter (or Brandsæter) against some issues in the report of Gunton and Broadbent.

The most important one is that the OSRA model, which was used by Gunton to contrast Enbridge's submission, is not the right one to use to make certain claims about risk. (And, personally, when I read Gunton's report, I thought he should have placed more emphasis on the fact that OSRA is a model, not necessarily an accurate reflection of reality.)

But I would like to know the details of why OSRA model is not appropriate. It's unclear to me if OSRA was empirically evaluated against the methodology they did use, and found wanting. The newspaper article they wrote isn't clear on that point. But delving into the documents submitted to the Northern Gateway revue would make this clear.

I wonder if any of your readers, Mound, are familiar enough with the NGP process to give that answer.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Chris. I understood Gunton treated the American protocol as a model but still one of widely accepted application. I have to assume that the best Enbridge could come up with, its 18% risk figure, is also based on a model, one that Gunton showed was rigged.

The onus of proof here surely lies with the party posing the prospective threat or problem. That's the foundation of the Precautionary Principle and that's Enbridge.

Gunton's research places on Enbridge a number of obligations including the burden to demonstrate that its methodology is legitimate and that its assessment of the risks, not Gunton's, should be accepted.

Enbridge's ploy and it seems to be succeeding, is that by pushing back against Gunton that overcomes the criticisms of its own claims and how it came to those conclusions.

Enbridge, with the considerable assistance of high placed thugs in Ottawa, has gamed this process from the get go.

Why don't you see if you can get Gunton to respond to your concerns?