Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Imperial's tar sands modules traverse circuitous route

Imperial's oilsands modules traverse circuitous route

By Dave Cooper, Edmonton Journal October 16, 2010

With Imperial's $8-billion Kearl oilsands project now about 25 per cent complete, the first two South Koreanmade modules have arrived by barge in Lewiston, Idaho, after a 500-kilometre trip from the U.S. West Coast.

A shipload of modules arrived on Oct. 3 at the Port of Vancouver, Wash., across from Portland on the Columbia River. The units were loaded onto barges and towed up the Columbia and Snake rivers to Lewiston.

The first two units of an eventual 207 -- which will be assembled into a bitumen separation facility at Kearl, 70 kilometres north of Fort Mc-Murray -- were off-loaded late this week and will be stored at the site until the road transport issue is resolved.

"We are working through the process with the departments of transportation in Idaho and Montana," Imperial spokesman Pius Rolheiser said Friday.

The total trip to northern Alberta covers more than 2,100 kilometres by river and road.

Meanwhile, the Idaho Supreme Court is set to rule on an appeal filed by Conoco- Phillips and the Idaho Transportation Department, looking to reverse a lower court decision that halted the shipment of large coker units to a Billings, Mont., refinery.

ConocoPhillips and Imperial share some of the proposed routes to which residents are strongly opposed.

A third firm is also said to be planning to bring in South Korean-made modules for its projects in Alberta.

Rolheiser said these modules for Kearl represent "20 per cent of the off-site prefabrication work," with the rest taking place mostly in the Edmonton area.

"Prefabrication is the key for us. Sure, you can build everything on-site, but prefabrication is safer, cheaper and better. At our Cold Lake expansion, all the units were prefab," he said.

At Kearl, the first phases of the mine and separation units -- with a production capacity of about 110,000 barrels per day by late 2012 -- are on target.

But the following two phases might not be built as first planned.

"We are looking at cost optimization opportunities," Rolheiser said.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald


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