The thing about dilbit...

A photo in the June 4 Castanet article ‘Pipeline Fights’ showed a protester's sign that read: ‘DILBIT SINKS.’ 

I believe this is a misstatement of fact. Dr. Heather Dettman of Natural Resources Canada experiments with bitumen and dilbit using fresh water from the North Saskatchewan River. She maintains dilbit stays afloat a minimum of 21 days in fresh water.

Dettman also implies dilbit may be easier to contain, and therefore recover, than normal crude oil because it doesn’t tend to disperse in water.

Dilbit allowed on the TransMountain pipeline has a maximum density of 0.94 gm/cc. Fresh water has a density of 1.0; salt water 1.03 gm/cc.

Remember – trains carrying dilbit are just pipelines moving at 80 km/h. Is that safer than an in-the-ground, stationary pipeline?

It’s my understanding these outgoing tankers will traverse just 125 kilometres of B.C.’s massive coastline.

Like it’s older sibling, the twinned TransMountain will be capable of carrying light crude and refined products like gasoline, not just dilbit. Demand determines what is in the pipeline at any given time.

I’m sure this information will be deemed argumentative by some. I didn’t include a discussion of jobs created, revenues to different levels of government, or the multidisciplinary knowledge base Canada is creating.

Neil Stephenson, Kelowna

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