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14 Things You Need to Know About the Horrifying Arkansas Oil Spill

The situation remains fluid, as it were, with potential impacts possible from local to global.

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11. So What Happens to the Wabasca Heavy in Nederland?

In Nederland, which is part of the greater Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area along the Gulf coast of Texas, Wabasca Heavy will leave the pipeline for processing at one of the many local refineries.

12. Does Diluted Bitumen/Dilbit Corrode Pipelines Faster Than Other Oil?

The answer is in dispute.

Environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) say dilbit corrosion is greater, based in part on the fact that pipelines carrying dilbit oil have spilled 3.6 times more oil than the U.S. average. A study by the Alberta government concluded that dilbit oil causes more pipeline failures than conventional oil. These arguments address somewhat different questions. The U.S. National Academies of Science has a committee  studying the question, but it has so far been hampered by the unwillingness of pipeline companies to share sufficient data.

13. Has Dilbit Oil Ever Spilled Before?

Of course, although records are not comprehensive. The most notable diluted bitumen spill in recent history was in 2010, when an Enbridge owned-and-operated pipeline burst and dumped an unknown amount of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, polluting some 40 miles of river and wetlands.

The Kalamazoo River cleanup is now in its third year and has cost more than $800 million so far.

14. Who's the World's Most Profitable Corporation?

Gazprom, the Russian oil company, with almost $44.5 billion in annual profit, as reported in Fortune's  Global 500 list (using 2011 data).

ExxonMobil is #2, with annual profits of $41 billion. This is good enough to rank ExxonMobil #1 among American corporations, way ahead of #2, Chevron, with annual profits of $26.9 billion.

Coming in third, at $32.2 billion a year, is the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

 
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