A word about the Canadian oilsands

Ok – some ducks drowned in a tailing pond. Ok – we cut down a lot of trees and dig big holes in the ground.  But we refill those holes, and we replant those trees, and in the meantime produce 1-2 million barrels a day of heavy oil most of which is exported to the US. It’s not dirty oil, it’s heavy oil, more like asphalt and it needs to be hydrogenated (upgraded) to become light oil and this is mostly done in US refineries. We buy most of our steel, pumps, boilers and other heat exchangers, electrical cable and instrumentation for these projects from the US. 

Obviously, lots of Canadian jobs depend on the oilsands industry too. So the good news is that the sonic waterfowl deterrent system has been repaired and upgraded for better reliability, and we hope not to see a repeat of last year’s death of a large flock of ducks.   

I think of myself as a conservationist and an environmentalist, but we have to keep the economy moving too.   I’m also a big fan of wind power, but as some of you are probably aware, windfarms kill between two and three scientific orders of magnitude more birds, ducks, and geese than the oilsands.  We still need the windmills in my opinion, but perhaps more can be done to keep the birds from flying into them.  Anybody got any ideas?  

Why am I telling you all this – well I’m hoping not to hear too much “quacking” about the industry I’m working in when I get to the reunion!  This is an attempt to soften everyone up  a little in advance.   Is it working?  Anyway, see you soon!

Andrew Herbst

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