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Tue May 21, 2013, 11:00 AM

 

When they build the Keystone pipeline through tornado valley, will it be underground?

In the recently-hit Oklahoma, some say that the ground is too hard for basements to be commonly built for schools, houses, and other buildings. Some also say that the aquifer makes it impractical to build underground shelters.

The super-rich, not us, are going to decide when and where to build the pipeline. Can we rely upon them to take precautions so that tornadoes don't rip through the pipeline? Or will they maximize profits by continuing to build it above ground?






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Reply When they build the Keystone pipeline through tornado valley, will it be underground? (Original post)
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 OP
Autumn May 2013 #1
Cirque du So-What May 2013 #2
Socialistlemur May 2013 #3
kentauros May 2013 #5
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #6
kentauros May 2013 #8
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #9
kentauros May 2013 #11
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #13
kentauros May 2013 #14
AnotherMcIntosh May 2013 #15
kentauros May 2013 #17
Socialistlemur May 2013 #19
kentauros May 2013 #20
Cirque du So-What May 2013 #7
kentauros May 2013 #10
winter is coming May 2013 #18
Brickbat May 2013 #4
Demo_Chris May 2013 #12
JaneyVee May 2013 #16

Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 11:19 AM

1. Profits trump all.

That's the way it goes.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 11:23 AM

2. You can bet your ass it won't be underground

Topsoil is negligible across a large swath of the proposed route, specifically in OK & north TX. The cost of blasting a channel out of the bedrock large enough to accommodate that pipeline would be astronomical. Consider the principals who are involved with this pipeline: money is the #1 consideration.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #2)

Tue May 21, 2013, 11:43 AM

3. Pipeline construction techniques

Large diameter pipelines carrying flammable products are usually buried. They are installed on pilings if the ground is frozen. In some countries the government does allow pipelines to be laid on cement or steel bases, but that's seldom seen in first world nations. Especially when these key facilities have to be protected from terrorism.

I'm not familiar with the regulations for this particular line, but the general rule would be to cut a trench (it's not blasted, it's cut or dug). The pipeline is laid in the trench and then covered with rock and soil. There are rules requiring valves every xx distance, and pressure monitoring points.

If I may make a point, I find it highly unusual to see this pipeline become so controversial. I'm aware that crude oil prices upstream of the new build stretch are much lower than in the Gulf Coast. There is a huge profit motive for large oil companies with refineries located north of Cushing to keep this line from being built. So what makes me scratch my head is, why are green NGOs aiming in the same direction as these huge oil companies? I'm a bit confused.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #2)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:13 PM

5. Blasting?

I take it that you're not familiar with modern-day excavation equipment:




Pipelines are often only about five to six feet deep, too. Sewers and fresh water pipelines go deeper because they rely on gravity to keep the fluid flowing instead of using pumping stations every few miles (like with oil-product pipelines.) Most utilities are buried from about four fee up to only a few inches from the surface (such as home cable wires.)

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Response to kentauros (Reply #5)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:21 PM

6. "Pipelines are often only about five to six feet deep". The OP photo one doesn't look that deep.

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #6)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:29 PM

8. Probably because it can't be buried in frozen ground.

It has nothing to do with being unable to blast or trench through frozen ground. It has to do with how the ground expands and contracts when freezing, and that will cause breaks and fractures. Building it above ground in areas where the topsoil freezes deep into the ground makes it no longer feasible to trench. It would just be too deep to avoid the frozen topsoil problems.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #8)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:36 PM

9. Somehow I think that the ground in Oklahoma freezes from time to time as well. And it expands and

 

contracts.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:50 PM

11. How deep does it freeze?

Does it freeze to depths measured in meters? Or does it only freeze about one meter down? Which would be above where normal pipeline depth begins.

The image you posted looks like it's either in Canada or Alaska. The topsoil freezes too deep for a trenched pipeline. And then there's the permafrost, which is akin to solid rock. The last time I looked at a map, Oklahoma wasn't anywhere near as far north as Canada.

In fact, here's a frost line depth map in meters. You'll notice that for Oklahoma it ranges from .25 to .75 meters (or about 1-3 feet.) And no permafrost


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Response to kentauros (Reply #11)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:12 PM

13. It's good to know that you have a map which shows that Oklahoma isn't near Canada.

 

Let me know when you have anything to show that the Keystone pipe proponents will actually cause the Keystone pipe to be buried underground when building it through tornado valley.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #13)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:19 PM

14. Well, how about this:

Back when I did about a year and a half worth of mapping design on the Keystone Pipeline project (working for the engineering company Trow, now re-branded as exp) all of the maps we worked on (going through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) were all buried. At no point anywhere on the route through that segment was the pipeline above ground.

However, as I figure you probably won't believe a single word of the above admission, the use of that map I supplied is to show extreme depths of the frost line into the soils. If you don't understand it, I can't help you. You'll just have to educate yourself on that subject on your own.

The map comes from this government site on geodetic benchmarks.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #14)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:32 PM

15. So you are a promoter for the Keystone pipeline.

 

Thank you for your honesty.

Not many people would admit that. It will benefit some at the expense of the many. I hope that you got enough money for what you did and for what you are now doing.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #15)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:39 PM

17. Wow, I must be psychic.

I knew you'd interpret my admission to working on that project as being a proponent. However, that's typical of far too many DUers, especially the kneejerk type.

I said I was a mapper on that project. I wasn't a manager, and I am not an owner of TransCanada. I'd been unemployed for more than a year before I got that job, due to experience with both mapping design and GIS. I didn't start to learn about the project until many months after I'd been there. I didn't quit, though, because I needed the work. If I'm to be called a "proponent" simply for working for a company most DUers hate, then we might as well get everyone here to admit what hated corporation and/or industry they work for so we can all jump to conclusions about them as a person and their less-than-honorable employment choices.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #17)

Tue May 21, 2013, 03:21 PM

19. Working on a pipeline project is honest work

I don't see why anybody would have to apologize for working on a pipeline project. I worked on those and I was supervising, just in case somebody wants to pick might as well be me. The key when building those things is to ensure high quality and very strict compliance, including worker safety. I'd rather work on a solar plant, but there aren't many being built. When I propose to friends we stop fighting useless wars and throw the money at this technology, people who claim to be oh so progressive give me a blank stare. I guess we got too many of us who like to blow up people.

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #19)

Tue May 21, 2013, 03:29 PM

20. Yes, I agree.

And I still work on pipeline projects. I'm at a survey company now, and that's all they ever do. I did ask in my interview if they ever have either utility or telecom routes, and was told they have in the past, but it's not where most projects are now. I'd love to do routes for power generation, as we'll need a better grid once we have all these wind, solar, and Polywell Fusion plants in place

Another thing about pipelines is that most can be converted to carrying water as well as hydrogen, if we ever get to a point of using hydrogen as a fuel. In order to power all of those fuel-cell/electric vehicles, they'll need much more than a rooftop solar electrolysis unit to fill all the millions of vehicles in this country. And pipelines come back into favor again to make that possible

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Response to kentauros (Reply #5)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:29 PM

7. Do they use excavation equipment when there's solid limestone under the soil?

I don't know, being all ignorant as I am. Glad to have provided an opportunity to exercise the superciliousness muscles (there are 26 of them, yunno)

As an added bonus, expound on my thin-skinned nature and how I probably shouldn't even venture anywhere near the internet.

j/k

In all earnestness, it appears to me that using mechanical equipment instead of explosives to make a big enough trench for what may be many miles would still be prohibitively expensive. I'm not familiar with the geology of that region of the country, so I had made what may very well be a wild-ass guess.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #7)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:37 PM

10. For the most part, the geology of this continent doesn't have that much solid rock

close to the surface. Pipelines only need to be about six feet deep down at the most, except when they drill under roads, rivers, or other obstructions. Then they use what's essentially a drilling platform on its side (the technique is called HDD, or "horizontal directional drilling.")

I'd have to look at a map to compare the geology to that full route, but would guess the rock-trenching they'd be doing would be minimal compared to the rest of the route. So, the costs will be factored in. Plus, trenching machines are so much safer than explosives, not to mention no security worries and hassles.

I hope that explains things better

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #7)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:40 PM

18. Seems to be a lot of caliche. My guess is they won't try burying it. n/t

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 11:44 AM

4. It'll be one of many.

?00cfb7

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 12:53 PM

12. Only in affluent communities. nt

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Original post)

Tue May 21, 2013, 01:34 PM

16. Only 4ft underground.

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