October 18, 2013

Portland Pipe Line gives up permit it would need for tar sands oil

The company makes the rare decision amid the battle over a proposed South Portland ordinance.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Oil is off-loaded from the tanker HS Electra at Portland Pipe Line’s pier facility in South Portland. A proposed city ordinance would limit any alteration of petroleum facilities to change their function or capacity.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Chapman said her group will stop using a copy of the permit in brochures and on signs once it determines that the surrender filing is real and legitimate.

Portland Pipe Line Corp. operates an oil terminal in South Portland and a pair of underground pipes that carry crude oil from Portland Harbor to a refinery in Montreal. The terminal is one of six on the waterfront that generate about $1.6 million in total annual tax revenue, representing about 2.7 percent of the city’s tax base.

South Portland has a key deep-water port that receives products such as home heating oil, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum-based products and serves as a distribution point for customers in Maine, New Hampshire and beyond.

The referendum campaign in South Portland is the result of a struggle by Canadian companies to export the crude oil that has been locked up underground in a mixture of sand and water.

Oil companies have known about the vast deposits in Alberta since the 1930s, but because of the complicated and expensive process involved in its extraction and processing, the oil has previously been cost-prohibitive. The global rise in oil prices, however, puts new value on the reserves, which the Albertan government estimates at 170.8 billion proven barrels.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

mbyrne@pressherald.com

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