Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Pipeline Project Partners Fracking with the Tar Sands

While most environmentally concerned people are aware of the Keystone XL pipeline most have not heard of Cochin Reversal pipeline project that was quietly approved by the Obama administration just prior to Thanksgiving. The 1,900-mile pipeline project will carry gas condensate (ultra-light oil) from an Illinois terminal northwest to Alberta, where it will be used to thin tar-sands oil so it can travel through pipelines.

The Canadian government's efforts to expand Alberta's tar sands have created a growing market for US producers of natural gas liquids, particularly those mined by fracking operations.

The $260 million project is an expansion of the existing Cochin pipeline and it will be built by Houston-based Kinder Morgan and fed by fracking operations in the Eagle Ford Shale area in Texas. The Cochin pipeline has had safety issues and there are questions about its crack detection methodology.

The marriage of fossil fuel's dirty duo is cause for alarm. In addition to the problems with the Cochin pipeline itself, the project paves the way for expanded tar sands development and perhaps even approval of the Keystone XL.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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