Wednesday, December 04, 2013

New Tanker Proposal - Smoke & Mirrors?


As I read the story, two words came to mind - "dry judgment."  That's when a party wins a judgment against another party that has no assets.   The judgment is dry, useless.

The Times Colonist reports that some unnamed, government-appointed panel has released a 66-page report calling for improvements to oil tanker operations  on  the west coast.

The key recommendation, apparently, is the removal of the current $161-million liability cap for an oil spill in favour of unlimited liability.

Okay, sure.  We know the decades old and still ongoing Exxon Valdez tanker catastrophe has already exceeded something in the order of $6-billion and that was a relatively small tanker load of conventional crude oil, not a megatanker spill of the far more troublesome diluted bitumen or dilbit.

Removing the liability cap sounds good - in theory - but it's meaningless if the party responsible doesn't have the wherewithal to pay.   A judgment for six or twenty-billion dollars against a company that has a couple of hundred million in assets is worth a couple of hundred million dollars, no more.

Now, a judgment for twenty-billion dollars jointly and severally backed by Enbridge, the dilbit producer/exporter, and the province of Alberta, well that might just be worth something.  Maybe we'd settle for Jasper or Banff, maybe both.  You get the idea.

2 comments:

Purple library guy said...

True enough. Particularly since the corps always seem to spin off little largely money-free subsidiaries for the risky stuff.

Not that the Cons will ever put that, or any of the recommendations, in practice anyway. We already have a minister reacting roughly "Of course our panel says wonderful things; those things must be studied until everyone forgets about them".

Anyong said...

How about this one:

Coast guard investigating reports of oil seeping from shipwreck off Newfoundland. Published on October 19, 2013

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Canadian Coast Guard is investigating more reports of oil leaking from a shipwreck off the north coast of Newfoundland.

A local boater spotted a sheen on the water near the site of the Manolis L (muh-NO'-liss ell), which sank near Change Islands in 1985 with more than 500 tonnes of fuel oil and diesel onboard.

The coast guard installed a so-called coffer dam in July to catch tiny amounts of escaping oil.

A few months before, neoprene gaskets were used to plug two cracks in the ship's hull.

The coast guard says it hopes to visit the site soon to inspect the vessel.

When this ship went down, people voiced what was going to happen. Sea birds are presenly showing up full of oil. Do you think it will be tended as it ought to be? Not on your life.