Mayflower, AR Tar Sands Dilbit Pipeline Rupture/Spill
Intro: Mayflower, AR Tar Sands Dilbit Pipeline Rupture/Spill being called “Crude Oil”,
like most other Dilbit spills.
Why would this be?
Is it a harmless error? Maybe.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Tar sands “oil” is not oil at all. It is Bitumen, a highly viscous, semi-solid hydrocarbon more akin to Coal than to “oil”. Bitumen actually shatters like solid rock, but flows like a liquid over geologic time. (cf. Wikipedia and Youtube for “Pitch Drop Experiment”. Warning, watching this is more dull than watching golf.)
To an Oil Executive, Dilbit shares many properties of Crude Oil. They may *think* about it like crude oil. But it is not crude oil.
Dilbit (Diluted Bitumen) is a kind of synthetic crude oil, with lots of lighter hydrocarbon solvents added, which is necessary to transport it in a pipeline.
Or, is the media calling Dilbit “Crude Oil” a deliberate coverup?
… to keep the public from understanding A) that this “oil” is really from Alberta Tar Sands?
or b) To keep the public from understanding the unique hazards of Dilbit Pipelines? and c) cleanup of spills?
This ruptured 20-inch pipeline runs 858 miles from Patoka, Ill. to Nederland, Texas, and is called by several names, “Pegasus“, “Exxon Patoka – Corsicana” (NPMS/PHMSA) , and also by the partnership which operates it: Mobil Pipe Line Company (MPLCO).
NOTE: part of the problem with emergency response is these pipelines often have several different names.
The pipeline was transporting “Wabasca Heavy Crude” which is a high density, high-viscosity form of Diluted Bitumin (Dilbit) from Alberta, Canada Tar Sands:
Many of the mainstream media are calling this a “crude oil spill”, however this is somewhat of a misnomer. It should properly be called Dilbit.
This search of google news produces 11,400 results (calling it Crude or Oil)
Whereas only 2 results for Dilbit:
Dilbit is a kind of synthetic crude.
This is a very important distinction for the press to get correct for several reasons.
While DILBIT (Diluted Bitumen) is a complex mix of hydrocarbons, similar to crude oil, the basic component is Bitumen, which is more like coal or pitch than like oil. They have to dilute it with all kinds of other lighter hydrocarbon solvents to transport it in a pipeline.
|You can even see the chunky nature of the Dilbit… this is not ordinary crude oil. Dilbit has special risks when transported in pipelines. Let’s hope the mainstream media starts reporting this correctly, as a DILBIT spill.|
|Chunky (and nasty) Dilbit Spilll|
The important reasons to get this exactly correct are
a) because crude oil and dilbit are REGULATED differently,
b) they have different toxic properties,
c) they have different safety concerns.
For example, due to the high viscosity (and specific gravity) of dilbit, shipping it in a pipeline requires higher pressure and higher heat than ordinary crude oil. This makes DILBIT PIPELINES especially subject to cavitation, friction, fluid hammer, and piezoelectric effects, which can produce vibrations, resonances, shock, explosions, and weld failures and pipeline ruptures.
PHMSA to study DILBIT pipelines:
Also see: “Kohlhase Effect” e.g., http://williamahuston.blogspot.com/2012/10/very-interesting-are-all-pipelines.html
|Map detail showing route of the “Pegasus” line, also called the “Exxon Patoka – Corsicana line (NPMS/PHMSA) , and also by the partnership which operates it: the Mobil Pipe Line Company (MPLCO) line.|
|Detail. Marker A is site of spill. The blue pipeline is natural gas. The red pipeline is the one that ruptured, called variously, the “Pegasus“, “Exxon Patoka – Corsicana“, or the MPLCO.|
|This is the Northwood subdivision near Starlite Rd. North. Notice the pipeline runs right under some houses in the upper left of the subdivision.|
Is the Oil+Gas industry deliberately trying to mislead the public and the government by referring to dilbit spills as “Crude Oil”?
Media reports that the Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 is “Crude Oil” over the correct “Dilbit” by a factor of 4:1. (by using Google matches as a guide). http://www.michiganradio.org/term/kalamazoo-river-oil-spill
Yellowstone River July 2011 Dilbit spill called “crude oil” by industry and most media 15:1:
Alberta Red Deer River Dilbit spill June 2012 widely reported to be “Crude oil” over “dilbit” by 10:1 (by using Google matches as a guide).
|Alberta Red Deer River Dilbit spill June 2012|
March 28, 2013 Minnesota train derailment. Media Reports “Crude Oil” over Dilbit by 1,000:1
Mayflower Arkansas DILBIT spill called “crude oil” by the mainstream news over the correct term by 1:000 : 1.
Notice the trend. 4:1, 10:1, 1000:1. Media is getting it wrong more often.
Hmmm… Intentional media/corporate coverup? YOU BETCHA!
I want to especially thank my friend Leland Snyder for helping me understand chemistry better. Any errors or omissions are mine alone!!