Elizabeth May is at it again - first she blamed the wildfires in Fort McMurray on climate change and now she’s saying that shipping solid bitumen via railway is the safest way to transport the product.
But she’s wrong and the numbers tell the story when it comes to safe arrival of petroleum products in the context of shipping via rail versus pipelines. The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association reports an effectiveness of 99.999% when hydrocarbons are delivered using this method, while the Railway Association of Canada reports a 99.9977% safeness.
That might seem like a very small percentage difference, but it actually amounts to 15.6 million barrels of oil safely delivered out of the 1.2 billion that are transported in Canada per year.
Trains also transport far less oil than pipelines do and stats from a report completed for the Railway Association of Canada show that 95% of hydrocarbons are transported by pipelines. So in the context of numbers, rail transport is far more dangerous than that of a pipeline – less product is delivered with more incidents.
There are risk factors associated with everything in life – whether it’s walking out your front door every day, or transporting hydrocarbons through a pipeline. There are no doubts that pipelines are associated with certain risks, but when it comes to moving our oil resources, the benefits of pipelines outweigh the risks.