Category Archives: Tar Sands

Just the Beginning of Canada’s Filthy Tar Sands

A Qualitative Jump Down a Black Hole

Just the Beginning of Canada’s Filthy Tar Sands

by MACDONALD STAINSBY
Originally published in Counterpunch

The breakneck pace of tar sands development in Canada is well known; it is the sheer size of the multiple mines, in-situ plants, upgraders, pipelines, rail lines, refineries and more across all of North America that earned the nickname “the Gigaproject.” Now, what if we took the most destructive aspects of tar sands mining, combined that with the worst parts of in-situ, and put them together into a project that was even worse than any tar sands development for the climate?

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Devastation, Madagascar

Devastation, Madagascar

France’s Total and US based Madagascar Oil tangle with military governments to push tar sands projects forward

by Macdonald Stainsby

originally published in the Media Co-op

December 27, 2010

 

local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
local Malagasy villagers in Ambonara, a village perhaps a mile from the main offices of Total and who rely on the same river that Total proposes to draw their water. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total's mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby
Jean-Pierre Ratsimbazafy stands in a filled in area used to dump waste tailings by Total’s mining exploration. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby

 

Total’s proposed tar sands operation in Madagascar is potentially the dirtiest mining operation its kind in the world, in a region where the local people have few options but to live next to it. If, as some charge, Total helped bring down a democratically elected government in order to install a regime that would favour their tar sands project, it’s likely that international campaigns against Total and their social and environmental record could well expand.

In 2008 Total bought a 60% stake in the Bemolanga tar sands field, a field that they predict may operate at just under 200 000 barrels per day of bitumen using strip mining techniques developed in Alberta, Canada. The bitumen is less ‘pure’ in place, which means it will produce more toxic tailings and require even more water usage than the already notorious strip mines north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. If developed, the Bemolanga mine would rival the largest of the mines in operation today.

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A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

A Tar Sands Partnership Agreement in the Making?

Macdonald Stainsby | August 1st 2011

Originally published in Canadian Dimension

Campaigns against tar sands production have grown rapidly over the last four years. From the relative obscurity in Alberta to an international lightning rod for people trying to address all manner of concerns from indigenous and community self-determination to peak oil and climate change – criticisms of the largest industrial project in human history have gained a major voice. The voices are certainly not homogenous, but a large contingent of these voices call for a shut down of tar sands production and a move away from fossil fuels – if not an outright move away from market-led growth of any sort. But, in the language of the environmental elite, what are the “decision makers” preparing to do with all this anti-tar sands resistance?

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Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Oil Rich Gulf Co-operation Council Grows

Extreme extraction could prove to be the meaning of GCC membership for Morocco and Jordan

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 21, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

graphic by Dru Oja Jay.
graphic by Dru Oja Jay.

 

AMMAN, Jordan–The Arab Spring sent shock waves through the regimes of the Middle East and North Africa, and in the face of demands for popular accountability alongside bread and butter issues, states throughout the region have devised strategies to try and avert popular upheaval.

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Oil in the Desert (Jordan)

Oil in the Desert

Will water be sacrificed to oil in Jordan?

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 13, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

Oil in the Desert

AMMAN, Jordan–In March of 2011, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan jumped headlong into unconventional oil extraction, and signed a deal with Karak International Oil (KIO), a subsidiary of Jordan Energy and Mining Limited (JEML–a British company) for the commercial mining of oil shale approximately one hour’s drive from the capital of Amman. Unlike most countries in the region, if you fill up your gas tank in Jordan, you are using imported oil— but the Kingdom is touting a future when extreme extraction will change that, and soon.

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Extreme Extraction (Morocco)

Extreme Extraction

Oil production plans could reshape Morocco’s economy and environment

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 17, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op and The Dominion.

Extreme Extraction

RABAT, MOROCCO– Many well-known voices trying to address the climate crisis on a global scale have posited that less developed countries without a full-blown industrial base can skip industrialization all together and transition away from fossil fuels. Ideally, the development that will take place in this scenario would result in the construction of infrastructure for a post-fossil fuel society.

But if Morocco is any indication, the complete opposite scenario looks more likely. Instead of skipping to climate friendly energy developments, Morocco is poised to begin extracting crude oil from unconventional deposits, the dirtiest fuel available. Mining rock for oil in Morocco would leave massive craters in post-fossil, green energy hopes.

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Apartheid Oil

Apartheid Oil

Crude trapped in shale could transform Israel into energy powerhouse

by Macdonald Stainsby

November 10, 2011

originally published in the Media Co-op.ca and The Dominion.

Apartheid Oil

JERUSALEM– Major offshore gas strikes in 2009 and 2010 may soon convert converted Israel into a gas exporting country with self-sufficient energy. But perhaps more important than the gas under the sea is the mock crude trapped in husk dry sands and rock hard shale, reserves which could push Israel into the upper echelons of recoverable oil on the planet. Israel has long had a weakness economically and militarily because of their reliance on others for energy supplies.

What promises to be the most energy intensive form of oil recovery on the planet could reinforce Israel’s military might, while presenting a new threat to scarce water resources and the climate.

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Israel and the Tar Sands

 

Friday, January 16, 2009

ZNet

    That’s right, Israel is a player in the Tar Sands of northern Alberta in a multitude of ways and with a variety of impacts. While whole neighborhoods of a small Palestinian city are currently under one of the most one-sided bombardments imaginable, Cree, Dene and Metis populations– as well as the biosphere itself– are also getting their Zionist due in northern Alberta and elsewhere. People taking to the streets across what is commonly called “Canada” are rightly denouncing the total complicity of the Harper government (and the Ignatieff opposition) in Israeli crimes. Yet the other side of the operation is also in practice: The settler state of Israel is contributing to the decimation of indigenous territories in the tar sands regions through technology, investment and more. There is an interplay here as yet barely explored.

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Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago?

Tar Sands development edging closer in Trinidad and Tobago?

RBC appears at Trinidad government forum extolling their record in Canada’s tar sands

by Macdonald Stainsby

April 19, 2011

Originally written for the MediaCoop.ca, & Reviewed by Media Co-op editors.

tar sands quarry in T&T, much smaller than planned strip mining in the region, used currently for pavement instead of (mock) oil.
tar sands quarry in T&T, much smaller than planned strip mining in the region, used currently for pavement instead of (mock) oil. Photo: Macdonald Stainsby

In December of 2010, Rainforest Action Network [RAN], issued a press release that was full of praise for the Royal Bank of Canada adopting a new framework around investments in companies involved in tar sands production.

RBC was coming under increasing pressure to end their investments in tar sands extraction, and on December 22nd of 2010 RAN announced an end to the campaign to force RBC to divest from tar sands production, citing a ‘victory’ when RBC announced their intentions to use Free Prior and Informed Consent [FPIC] in evaluating future investments in energy and related projects.

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