Category Archives: Tar Sand

"The biggest environmental crime in history"

That, my dear reader, is the title of the Independent article I read Sunday evening in my inbox. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised to see that it was about British Petroleum..aka BP. It’s the description of a Canadian drilling project which environmentalists and people with a modicum of common sense brand BP’s method of ‘extraction’. From the Indy article:

BP, the British oil giant that pledged to move “Beyond Petroleum” by finding cleaner ways to produce fossil fuels, is being accused of abandoning its “green sheen” by investing nearly £1.5bn to extract oil from the Canadian wilderness using methods which environmentalists say are part of the “biggest global warming crime” in history.

The multinational oil and gas producer, which last year made a profit of £11bn, is facing a head-on confrontation with the green lobby in the pristine forests of North America after Greenpeace pledged a direct action campaign against BP following its decision to reverse a long-standing policy and invest heavily in extracting so-called “oil sands” that lie beneath the Canadian province of Alberta and form the world’s second-largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

Producing crude oil from the tar sands – a heavy mixture of bitumen, water, sand and clay – found beneath more than 54,000 square miles of prime forest in northern Alberta – an area the size of England and Wales combined – generates up to four times more carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas, than conventional drilling. The booming oil sands industry will produce 100 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to a fifth of the UK’s entire annual emissions) a year by 2012, ensuring that Canada will miss its emission targets under the Kyoto treaty, according to environmentalist activists.

For decades, technology has tried to figure out a way to extract the oil from these tar sands. Evidently someone is tired of waiting wouldn’t you say? Another precious resource will be sucked up in order to extract this oil:

The oil rush is also scarring a wilderness landscape: millions of tonnes of plant life and top soil is scooped away in vast open-pit mines and millions of litres of water are diverted from rivers – up to five barrels of water are needed to produce a single barrel of crude and the process requires huge amounts of natural gas. The industry, which now includes all the major oil multinationals, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell and American combine Exxon-Mobil, boasts that it takes two tonnes of the raw sands to produce a single barrel of oil. BP insists it will use a less damaging extraction method, but it accepts that its investment will increase its carbon footprint.

BP is lying its collective ass off when it says anything about using a ‘less damaging’ method of extraction. It would cost them more money and BP is nothing if not cheap when it comes to safety and environmental concerns, judging from their past history of fuck-ups and..ahem..accidents. GreenPeace’s climate and energy guru has said this about BP and the tar sand extraction plans:

“It takes about 29kg of CO2 to produce a barrel of oil conventionally. That figure can be as much 125kg for tar sands oil. It also has the potential to kill off or damage the vast forest wilderness, greater than the size of England and Wales, which forms part of the world’s biggest carbon sinks. For BP to be involved in this trade not only flies in the face of their rhetoric but in the era of climate change it should not be being developed at all. You cannot call yourself ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and involve yourself in tar sands extraction.”

If none of this pisses you the hell off…consider the logic of BP’s PR executive regarding the project:

“These are resources that would have been developed anyway.”


Take a gander at the remains of the BP plant in texas after BP cut corners on safety and employees were killed because BP knowingly allowed safety problems to go uncorrected in order to pad their…bottom line.

I wrote about the original refinery explosion here which killed 15..count em..15 employees. BP eventually only had to ante up $373 million for the lives of their employees lost in this TX refinery explosion and subsequent coverup. I wrote about that here in October of this year.

Now, the bastards are going to kill an area the size of Wales and England combined..and get paid handsomely to do it. So people can drive their big friggin SUV’s and have gas to put in them among other things..

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