Tuesday 15 March 2016

Oil and Chemical Tanker ALGOSCOTIA

So how are we going to get our dirty oil to market? Well, "dirty oil" is what President Barack Obama called that sandy tar that's being dug out of the ground in Northern Alberta and actually his description is pretty much right on the mark from what I've read. It's nothing at all like that bubbling crude that suddenly started oozing out of the ground thanks to Jed Clampett's missed bullet while hunting for some food. Yeah, oil it was, black gold, Texas tea. c):-o
Got to wonder though what would have happened to poor Jed and his mountaineer kin had he picked off that rabbit that was in his sights? For sure he'd be no millionaire and he could forget about loading up the truck and moving to Beverly, Hills that is. You got it Jed, no cement pond, or billy-ard table, for you, NADA!.  c):-() A bit like what a lot of Albertans are feeling since the price of a barrel of oil dropped to near the bottom of the well, or tar pit in their case. When you have the third largest oil reserves in the world next to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, with a daily production of about 2.3 billion barrels per day, and virtual no refining capabilities in the home province, you can understand why those Northern Albertan oilers have been getting a little ansi since the Keystone XL pipeline construction deal was rejected by the U.S. President in November 2015.
Since shipping capacity of the 1.2 billion barrels of unprocessed bitumen daily to the U.S through the current pipelines to Illinois and Texas just isn't enough, Canadian Jr. Ewing's are looking for ways of getting their week-old-porridge-like glube flowing to refineries in Canada, one way or the other. There's proposals for the construction of new pipelines over the Rockies to British Columbia's seaport, or trans-country tubing to St. John, New Brunswick and even reversing the flow on one line from Sarnia to Montreal.
Hence the question for today's "Double Jeopardy" replay:
"The murky molasses sludge from Alberta is getting to refineries in Atlantic Canada and the Southern States by this means of transportation?? 
How about: "What are 40 to 50 railway car long trains, Alex?" 
Right you are except for those that derail somewhere in between and that happened 4 times last year in Northern Ontario alone. Of course we Canadians should never forget the July 2013 oil train derailment through the centre of Lac-Magantic, Quebec that killed 43 people and will continue to traumatize local residence for many years to come (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/07/130708-oil-train-tragedy-in-canada/).
I've also recently read articles that suggests that there could be a significant cost saving by transporting the not so bubbling crude to east coast and European refineries by tankers from Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay, or along the Seaway from a proposed loading terminal at Morrisburg or Cornwall. c):-() Not in my backyard you're saying? I hear you, but moving crude by tankers on the Great Lakes has been done. In fact in the early 1950's three 620' tankers were built for Imperial Oil to haul Alberta crude from Superior, Minnesota on Lake Superior to Sarnia on the St. Clair River. They were IMPERIAL REDWATER, IMPERIAL WOODBEND and IMPERIAL LEDUC. A fourth tanker, the B.A. PEERLESS was built for the British American Oil Company to haul the crude from Superior to B.A.'s refinery at Clarkson, Ontario on Lake Ontario. When the pipeline was completed to Sarnia in the mid 50's, the three Imperial tankers were converted to bulkers and the REDWATER became known as R. BRUCE ANGUS, the WOODBEND became GOLDEN HIND and the LEDUC became NIPIGON BAY. The B.A. PEERLESS remained a tanker and her name was changed to GULF CANADA when she was sold to Gulf Canada Ltd. in 1969.
Though no longer hauling crude, last year approximately 3 million tonnes of chemicals and petroleum products which includes gasoline, fuel oil and liquid asphalt passed through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway by double-hulled tankers like the 488' ALGOSCOTIA and though I have read of many groundings along the St. Lawrence Seaway and River, and on the Great Lakes, I have not heard of any incident that involved an oil tanker, Canadian or otherwise.
I snapped the high in the water downbound ALGOSCOTIA (above), motoring beside the old Galop Canal just below Cardinal, Ontario while minutes earlier my bil Kirby Butler from London, Ontario captured her near Prescott on September 14, 2014. A few weeks later I snapped her again at the Suncor dock in Oakville, Ontario.
Built at the Jiangnan Shipyards in Shangahi, China in 2004 for Algoma Tankers Ltd of St. Catharines, Ontario, ALGOSCOTIA was the first of three new-builds in Algoma's tanker fleet renewal program. Holding an Ice 1A Notation, the hull strengthened ALGOSCOTIA was built with a 1.4 metre safety separation between the inner and outer hull which allows her to operate year round service on Canada's East Coast and Gulf of St. Lawrence while operating out of her homeport of Halifax, Nova Scotia. However, this winter ALGOSCOTIA has been operating in chartered ocean trade while flying the flag of Barbados and is currently anchored of Belgium in the North Sea. Like so many things in life, if you got the right qualifications you can do just about anything anywhere you want. c):-D  

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