‘Chaos’ over 4 underground oil blowouts in Canada: “Everybody is freaking out about this” — Spills can’t be stopped, “There is no off button” — Leaking since winter (VIDEO)

Published: July 25th, 2013 at 3:23 pm ET


Canada.com, July 25, 2013 (h/t gottagetoffthegrid): Underground oil spills at an Alberta oilsands operation have been going on much longer than previously thought, according to new documents. Files released to the Toronto Star show the spills were discovered nine weeks ago, but new documents show that bitumen has been leaking since the winter. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. operates the Primrose oilsands facility three hours northeast of Edmonton where four ongoing underground oil blowouts have contaminated forest, muskeg, a lake and have already killed dozens animals including beavers, ducks and birds. According to a government scientist who has been to the site, neither government or industry are able to stop the spills. […]

Toronto Star, July 19, 2013: The scientist, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their job, said the operation was in chaos. “Everybody (at the company and in government) is freaking out about this,” said the scientist. “We don’t understand what happened. Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place.” […] “This is a new kind of oil spill and there is no ‘off button,’ ” said Keith Stewart, an energy analyst with Greenpeace who teaches a course on energy policy and environment at the University of Toronto. “You can’t cap it like a conventional oil well or turn off a valve on a pipeline. “You are pressurizing the oil bed so hard that it’s no wonder that it blows out. This means that the oil will continue to leak until the well is no longer pressurized,” which means the bitumen could be seeping from the ground for months. […]

Watch MSNBC’s broadcast here

Published: July 25th, 2013 at 3:23 pm ET


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37 comments to ‘Chaos’ over 4 underground oil blowouts in Canada: “Everybody is freaking out about this” — Spills can’t be stopped, “There is no off button” — Leaking since winter (VIDEO)

  • snukey

    Everyday now we have reports of disasters. When will the madness end? Insanity = doing the same thing over and over expecting diff results. I guess it'll end when we've covered the entire planet with un-usable space. Japan – check, pacific – check, Gulf of Mex – check, etc…….

  • We Not They Finally

    "…pressurizing the oil so hard.." It sounds much like what an EARLY community meeting in Louisiana sounded like — that there had been "a frack-out" = too much fracking, too much pressure. I guess that someone got to the geologist that said it, and told him to shut up.

    Well, maybe in Canada at least they regulate that, or they will. In the U.S., Cheney made sure that there would be NO REGULATION AT ALL with fracking. So we get what we get??

  • We Not They Finally

    Just one thing: Don't FINE that company and call it day. RUN THEM OUT OF BUSINESS. The public health and well-being and the ecology is WAY more important than their petty mountains of money.

  • Cisco Cisco

    Pseudo science is the strategy and ideology of psychopaths. How else could they perpetrate these crimes against humanity.

    And, they spin us to believe natural law is of no concern. Natural laws like, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.", are known but arrogantly disregarded.

    But not to worry, there's always a technology that can mitigate the accidents like the Valdez, the Deep Horizon, Fukushima, et al.

    When it comes time that the West coast needs to supplement its fresh potable water and thinks desalinization technology will save the day, the "Gee, we never thought of that" moment will come, when they discover that the Pacific is radioactive and desal won't work.

    But, not to worry…they say there will be a technology available to address that, too. I guess like the technology/solution that we've been waiting for, for 40 years…where to dispose of nuclear power generators' spent fuel. WTF

    • bubbajim

      re the spent fuel.

      There is a MOX fuel plant hosted by South Carolina on or around the Savannah River. Not sure if it takes all spent fuel, but it does take nuclear waste that has plutonium in it. Don't know how to link it for you. http://www.moxproject.com.

      Will take in nuclear waste from all over the world to convert to MOX fuel which is pretty much guaranteed to overheat out current reactors as they are not designedto burn this hot. Now when they overheat and the operators do a steam release, we can look forward to plutonium being spewed out. Oh boy.

      Don't worry though, they assure us they are "A Leader in America's Nonproliferation Program".

      Lucky me, we share the same aquifer and the state has lots of springs that are now leased out for bottling and distribution.

      Originally, I read this was a US government/Areva (French nuclear company) project, I see on the homepage they mention an entity called CBI. Both Wilmington NC and Savannah are deep water ports. Near Wilmington, I think, not checking right now, is a military munitions storage and shipping facility/port that contracts use out to private industry according to wikipedia and possibly the the Base homepage. I apologize for the ambiguity there: it has been a long time since I looked this up.

      If you check google maps, satellite view I think it is, you will see a large shaded area over parts of 2 states in the vicinity of the project.

  • We Not They Finally

    Someone please define the crap word "leaking" in THIS instance. I used to think that "leak" was a leaky faucet or a guy "taking a leak." Now massive gushing, spewing, on and on forever, is still called "a leak"??? I can't even bear to see that word anymore.

  • Tumrgrwer Tumrgrwer

    A leak does not bring forth the emotional reaction that GUSHING does.

    gush |gəSH| verb [ no obj. ]
    1 [ with adverbial of direction ] (of a liquid) flow out in a rapid and plentiful stream, often suddenly: William watched the murky liquid gushing out | figurative : millions of dollars gushed out of that office.
    [ with obj. ] send out in a rapid and plentiful stream.
    2 speak or write with effusiveness or exaggerated enthusiasm: a nice old lady reporter who covers the art openings and gushes about everything.
    noun 1 a rapid and plentiful stream or burst. 2 exaggerated effusiveness or enthusiasm.

    leak |lēk| verb [ no obj. ]
    1 (of a container or covering) accidentally lose or admit contents, esp. liquid or gas, through a hole or crack: the roof leaked | (as adj. leaking) : a leaking gutter | [ with obj. ] : the drums were leaking an unidentified liquid.
    (of liquid, gas, etc.) pass in or out through a hole or crack in such a way: water kept leaking in.
    2 (of secret information) become known: the news leaked out .
    [ with obj. ] intentionally disclose (secret information): who had a motive to leak the story? | (as adj. leaked) : a leaked government document.
    1 a hole in a container or covering through which contents, esp. liquid or gas, may accidentally pass: I checked all of the pipes for leaks.
    • the action of leaking in such a way: the leak of fluid may occur | a gas leak.
    2 an intentional disclosure of secret information: one of the employees was…

    • We Not They Finally

      Yes, that's the whole point. Like the evil-genius, Frank Luntz, he said just language it right and people will buy it. Like turning Medicare into a voucher system would be called "premium support."

      People really need to start looking at what they are GETTING, not what they are TOLD.

  • Sol Man

    Some loved money more than the thought of a safe world for their progeny- now they must embrace the reality, of a vastly shortened timeline for all.

    • We Not They Finally

      Very romantically put, but psychopaths don't "embrace the reality" of the harm they have done to others. I used to be an idealist too…..

  • irhologram

    Beginning to see the sources…vast releases worldwide of cumulative methane/H2S, et al? Is "Flash" theory beginning to look less off-the-wall to you?

    • BirdOfTheFeather BirdOfTheFeather

      They Fracked out the atmosphere with the high altitude nuke tests
      'Extremely unusual' storm system moving backwards across United States through end of week

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Could possibly be krypton-85 from nuclear power plants, Fukushima and other accidents and nuclear waste, nuclear testing, etc. Or HAARP. Or is it all the methane melting that used to be frozen. Or fracking chemicals and spills. Or a combination. Or have the oceans been totally compromised by nuclear waste dumped into it?

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Or have the holes in the ozone allowed solar winds? Or is this a symptom of the polar shift now in progress? Or is the geomagnetic field going wacko?

          • We Not They Finally

            Wow, Anne, you really are The Good News Bear today, aren't you? Unfortunately, we share your pessimism…

            • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

              Sorry, my organic garden and orchard was just sprayed two different days with an illegal pesticide by my city for mosquitoes which we didn't even have. So it will be another three years at least before I can eat anything from my orchard and grapes and berries and hazelnuts.

              The CDC published a study by a CDC person who showed that spraying for mosquitoes doubles the amount of neuroinvasive forms of West Nile Virus. And another university study shows that the pesticide spray actually increases by 15 times the mosquitoes that carry WNV because those mosquitoes are canopy mosquitoes that hide under the leaves.

              Also, there is no epidemic. There is one human case hundreds of miles away on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. And the city 15 miles to the west had a total of 3 mosquitoes which were carrying WNV.

              I am very allergic to the spray and had horrible poison symptoms from the spray even though my house was shut up and the vents were all covered. And I still feel horrible.

              The spray also kills all the bees. Also I am afraid that the spray will cause my daughter's cancer to come out of remission.

              So I am not happy with those who sprayed me against my will and destroyed my property. I know there are wonderful people out there, but the ones who are not wonderful are really terrible.

              • We Not They Finally

                That's really bad, awful. I don't know what city you live in, but maybe it would be worthwhile to file some complaint. It won't un-do the damage, but it has to be frustrating if you can do nothing at all. We hope your daughter will be all right, of course. But even killing bees these days is a crime. It's one of the worst things being done. No bees, no crops.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        Here's someone else's thought about this bizarre storm:

        Bizarre Backwards Storm Strikes US This Week
        “A bizarre ‘backwards’ storm going from East to West is getting ready to strike the US this week. Is this just one more sign of a ‘pole shift’ due to the existence of another planetary body in outerspace approaching the Earth? Is this weather modification? HAARP? It is said that the jetstream over America is so weak, the weather is moving backwards… Coincidentally, or not, HAARP seems to be heating up much of the same area….”

        • We Not They Finally

          What else is scary is that you'd think that a backwards storm would not have high winds because it would take so much energy just to turn the air currents backwards. But 100 MPH winds??

          That's not like you bring your car to a stop and it starts to slowly roll backwards. It's more like your car is crashed and you get whiplash! What can even cause winds that high in a backwards storm?

        • irhologram

          Backward storms are called Reverse Coriolis storms. It is interesting to note that I could find NO reference to the one that occurred last summer (possibly 2011…exact memory fails). The ONLY reference now, although I viewed it on a vid from USA Today Weather last year… is a DELETED vid by Dutchsinse about the Phoenix dust storm. Right strange, Yes? Would that make these storms not rare, but annual?
          Explanations of Reverse Coriolis
          In a vid. http://m.video.pbs.org/video/2365036901/
          By text: http://www.ametsoc.org/amsedu/proj_atm/modules/Coriolis.pdf

          Every 250,000 years—and we're due, the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse polarity. The North Pole is moving closer to Siberia about a mile a day, according to one estimate. In a pole reversal, compass needles would point south rather than north. There have been reports of compass anomalies since 2010. Storms in the Northern Hemisphere would move clockwise, as this and the one last year did. Does this mean the poles are "flipping?" Well….it likely means there's some sort of magnetic disturbance.

          P.S. Know that old story about how northern hemisphere toilets flush counter-clockwise, and southern hemisphere toilets (and buckets, drains, and such) flush clockwise, due to the Coriolis effect? It's bogus. The toilet jets are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. (Fact courtesy of The Simpsons. Interesting how cartoons are being used, considering, among others, the episode previous to the Boston Bombing.)

  • moonshellblue moonshellblue

    Once again Big Oil trying to hang on to a dying industry. Fossil Fuels is right they are fossils as we have the technology to be free from this ecological disaster but money has always been the motivation to wreak havoc upon our planet. I do hope the people in power wake up and realize we must invest in true renewables such as wind, solar and tidal.

  • The Tar Sands have not only ruined a pristine environment.

    This environmental tragedy is unfolding so that investors can export the product abroad.

    So the companies involved are reaping profits, but Canadians are left with the devastation, the pollution and the social consequences of this mega-exploitation of the environment.

    It gets worse. Investors are not even Canadian. They have no reason to care for the consequences.

    The Canadian government has been pursuing FIPA, a trade agreement that would make the country even more vulnerable to lawsuits, were a future government want to stop this industry or make changes to reduce the damage.


    A similar situation has been quietly going on for decades in British Columbia forests. Forest companies have been cutting down trees that were thousands of years old and leaving clearcuts, polluted streams, and a ruined environment in their wake. The logs are generally exported. Workers get good wages but the province is so much poorer now, without its ancient forests, with a polluted environment, and with threatened or reduced wildlife.


    • bubbajim

      This sounds like the Gulf area here as well.

    • We Not They Finally

      That's so sad, Tracy, criminal really. And it's the same with the so-called Keystone Pipeline. America won't even wind up with the oil. They are free to ship it to China or anywhere else.

      My husband and I joke (like laugh to keep from crying) that if the aliens look half-way benevolent, book us on the ship! We wanted this planet rescued. We wanted it really bad. I just don't get how all this damage can be REVERSED.

      • @ We Not They Finally

        It took me a while to admit the truth, but now I realize that we have reached a point of no return, environmentally and politically.

        We have celebrated technological advances not realizing that one day they would be turned against us.

        Science and technology have been used to damage our environment, our food, our health. And high tech is used to keep people afraid and submissive.

        Maybe it won't be space aliens who will save the planet, as you joke, but mother Earth herself. She's got ways of shaking the planet and starting anew.

  • captndano captndano

    Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, Big Banks…they're all the same. It's just business. It doesn't matter how many lives you ruin, or how much of the planet you destroy. Just as long as you make a profit. It's unregulated, runaway capitalism at it's very, very worse.

  • Don't know why CBC reports this in the business section. Trying to minimize it. A lot of us BC residents are against the proposed pipelines and this spill while not a pipeline failure is more proof this tar sand industry is bad for the environment and not to be supported. Harper and Alberta and anyone else making money off this sludge are pushing it through with the only guarantee being that the company in question won't face penalties.


    • We Not They Finally

      Why is it that THE most destructive industries never face penalties? Like the Monsanto Protection Act here in the States.

  • Sol Man

    The answer rises every day in the east since the beginning of time.
    It is peoples' task to figure out how best to make it work for them.