Sunday, January 22, 2012

Northern Gateway EROI 2.4:1?

So now I'm reassured about the Northern Gateway Review Panel.  In particular, I was interested to read the submission of C. J. Peter Engineering Associates on the "energy return over invested" analysis of Northern Gateway (EROI), which seems hard to find elsewhere.  According to their public interest calculations - they're not getting paid for any of this - it will cost 1 barrel of energy to provide 2.41 barrels of energy to a Chinese refinery.  This is not .... efficient.  As historical perspective, the early days of the oil rush provided something like an EROI of 100:1 in Texas.  Further, according to the authors, the point at which fossil fuel economies die is the point at which 1 barrel of energy returned requires 1 barrel of energy invested to produce.

This analysis was presented at the Ramada Inn in Prince George on January 18, 2012 (in the dead of winter) and the authors got slapped around for their trouble by Ken Bateman who - according to the Review Panel website - is an "energy lawyer."  His point was that C.J. Peter's analysis was available in written form, and that the oral presentation was inappropriate and a waste of resources because it was not supplemental to the written presentation and not subject to appropriate cross-examination.  I couldn't find the written presentation on the Panel's website.  The C.J. Peter presentation on the other hand seemed completely complementary to that of the presenter from the Metis Nation.  Mr. Bateman might well have a valid procedural point.  What was in short supply was any curiosity on the part of the panel.

 It seem obvious also that none of this "mass balance" calculation - crucial though it is - takes into account the possible trashing of the global climate, as feared by James Hansen, or the cost of clean up in the MacKenzie Basin after all this development has occurred.

Me, I'm with C.J. Peter.  I'd like to see a reasoned rebuttal, but not an hysterical reds-under-the-bed Joseph McCarthy rebuttal by Canadian cabinet ministers.