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Trucker World Blog


Should crude oil from Alberta be refined in Alberta?

Shortly before the demise of the Alberta Conservative dynasty when they were morphed out – or is it smurfed out – of office by a then and still now palpitating NDP political offering, it was decided that Alberta oil sands crude should be refined in Alberta and thus the Sturgeon refinery.

This facility would process 78,000 bpd of bitumen into diesel fuel only with the bitumen supplied by the Alberta government on a royalty-in-kind basis, and then the same government would pay a tolling fee to refine it which amounts to $26 billion over 30 years.

The “plan” concludes with the diesel fuel being sold locally at market prices, forgetting that the Edmonton and Alberta market is over supplied already and light miles from the U.S. Midwest market.

At the announcement of the refinery launch in 2013, the chief executive of the project was adamant that the cost would max out at $5.7 billion. As of June 27, 2017, that cost has now stratosphered to $9.3 billion (remember that number), which has that same executive and most of the government scrambling for the delete key, which has become as elusive as the lost-in- the-cushions remote.

Things get really embarrassing when this week foreign owned but Calgary based Husky Energy announced the purchase of the 50,000 bpd Calumet refinery in Superior Wisconsin for, wait for it…. $435 million or a fraction of today’s estimated cost of the still under construction Sturgeon refinery.

The Wisconsin facility actively produces (note not will produce or is thought to produce) not just diesel but also gasoline, asphalt, and heavy fuel oils. The feedstock, which is Alberta’s Western Canadian Select will come in direct via the Enbridge line from Hardisty, Alberta.

Other than Husky Energy funding, there is no financial encumbrance from any level of government, resulting in no burden on the tax paying electorate of the state of Wisconsin.

Finally, this refinery is near the U.S. agricultural and industrial heartland with delivery to their customer base by rail car or tanker truck so the infrastructure puzzle isn’t a puzzle at all – it’s already solved.

I am often asked by media why our government doesn’t nationalize our oil industry as it’s claimed that we, the taxpaying consumers, are being shafted by the oil companies.

My past answer used to be, “just look at the economic basket cases Mexico and Venezuela.” The response was “yeah but that’s nothing like what it’s like here in Canada.”

My answer now would be go to the top of this page and start reading again because it’s what happens when the government of the people are the ones that shaft the people.


Dash cam footage welcome but must be used responsibly, says RHA

Recent proposals that dashboard camera footage be submitted as evidence to police in an effort to crack down on ‘lunatic’ drivers are welcome measures, as long as they respect driver privacy and are not published in ‘naming and shaming’ attempts, says the Road Haulage Association.

“Anything that helps with the day-to-day running of a business, and that keeps insurance costs down, is beneficial,” said RHA Technical Director Steve Biddle speaking on BBC Radio Scotland.

“More and more companies and operators are using dashboard cameras as a way to provide evidence in accidents. HGV drivers sometimes get bad press for their driving but they get cut up on the road as much as anyone and having visual support for insurance claims is vital”.

Drivers are, of course, entitled to their privacy, but dash cam footage has been proven useful time and time again in helping to get the correct outcome for victims of incidents on the road.

“This footage should only be used in support of drivers who have been involved in an incident on the road,” stressed Steve Biddle. “We will not support whatsoever any attempt to use dash cams to ‘name and shame’ drivers, and publishing footage for that reason is completely unacceptable. It is important to us that we find a happy balance here.”


Attempted HEB robbery ends in police chase and arrests in southwest Houston


A tow truck driver is being credited with tackling one of four robbers who held up a grocery store pharmacy in southwest Houston early Monday.

Investigators say four men targeted the H-E-B on Buffalo Speedway and Bissonnet around 3 Monday morning.

Houston police say employees saw the masked men using crowbars to break into the front of the store. The employees ran into the back and called 911.

The men broke into the pharmacy, but when they left one was tackled by a wrecker driver.

That suspect was taken into custody.

Two others were able to run away and a fourth suspect jumped into a white SUV and lead officers on a chase that lasted at least half an hour.

Houston Transtar cameras picked up the chase as it made its way along the Southwest Freeway up the 610 West Loop.

The driver then continued onto the North Loop.

Police say the suspect continued all the way to Wayside, where he made a U-turn on the feeder road and eventually turned down a one way street. The suspect hit a fence before finally stopping and being taken into custody.

Eventually the driver pulled down a one-way street at Quitman and Wayne, where he jumped out and was arrested.
We are hearing the suspects may have taken Promethazine, which is usually mixed with Codeine in cough syrup.

No injuries were reported.

Police say an H-E-B on Fry Road was broken into as well. They are investigating to see if the break-ins are connected.

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