OPINION: Keystone pipeline is a bad ideaResources better spent on developing Bakken oil.
By: Chuck Noble , Guest columnist
The Keystone XL 1,700-mile pipeline originating in the northern Alberta Tar Sands and extending to Port Arthur, Texas, is a bad idea:
1. Tar Sands oil has high costs for extraction ($100-$130 per barrel), transport and refining if used in the U.S. domestic market.
There is no national economic interest in using this high-priced oil.
2. Pumping oil 1,700 miles would double the current electrical utility rates to 20 cents per kilowatt hour — a wasteful energy cost.
3. The Keystone XL Pipeline corridor is a ruse to transport Bakken crude oil to southern U.S. refineries. Note: The Keystone Pipeline corridor passes within 60 miles of the Bakken Oil Field.
In addition, the Bakken Oil Field is becoming the second largest source of oil in the United States.
The ruse was substantiated in a January 2011 press briefing, when Nancy Pelosi said, “It is well known that Keystone XL is a conduit for export out of the Gulf.”
China has more than $10 billion invested in the Tar Sands oil project and plans to use this corridor to export Tar Sands oil.
In addition, this corridor could be used for transporting electricity and water south which would not be in the economic interest of the upper Midwest.
4. There is no purpose in shipping more oil south when west Texas is awash in recently available crude oil. Further, this would lead to more monopoly control of the oil sources.
Developing the Bakken Oil Field resources is a good idea:
1. Refining oil in the northern region will provide lower fuel prices ($2-$4 per gallon). The effect of U.S. and worldwide exports ($4-$8 per gallon) would impact us less due to abundant local supplies.
2. There are more than 20 refineries in the upper Midwest that would benefit from lower cost Bakken Oil.
3. Well-paying jobs will be provided in the refining and transportation segments of the economy.
4. Education and training jobs will be necessary as well.
5. It would be much wiser to develop an oil distribution system east and west in the northern half of the U.S. rather than shipping this oil to the Texas Gulf via the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.
The U.S. is already expanding oil distribution east and west using oil tanker trains until economic pipeline systems are available. East, Midwest and Northwest refineries are currently purchasing Bakken Oil.
6. The U.S.A. can be a good neighbor by providing excess supplies of refined oil products to eastern Canada, a short distance from the Bakken field.
7. There already exists a pipeline right of way from Edmonton, Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia. A second pipeline is planned.
If the American people realize the Keystone XL project is being used to ship Tar Sands oil to China, they will be outraged.
The wasted electrical energy used to pump crude oil long distances south, the proven unsafe records of pipeline oil leaks, and the exporting of U.S. domestic oil for big oil company profits are realistic reasons for this outrage.
Chuck Noble is a farmer with a background in systems engineering. He lives in Winner and Bellevue, Wash.