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Updated: 6 years 7 weeks ago

European legislators visit the oil sands

Thu, 09/15/2011 - 02:09
Ten members of a European delegation recently spent a day visiting the Athabasca oil sands region. The delegation included Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland, and was part of a mission organized by the European Energy Forum, an organization that brings together MEPs and others who want to stay informed about energy-related issues. It was the second EU delegation and repeated the success Alberta has consistently had with allowing policy and decision makers to see the reality of the oil sands first hand. "We learned a lot, that's the most important thing in helping us make decisions," said Edit Herczog, of Hungary. The site visit began with an airborne approach to Fort McMurray. From 20,000 feet, the delegation had a panoramic view of the oil sands region in the context of acres and acres of boreal forest and lush greenery. Delegates landed at the Shell/Albian Aerodrome, and began their tour at the site's truck shop, where they climbed aboard a 400-ton Caterpillar 797B heavy hauler truck. Then it was off to the Jack Pine and Muskeg River Mines , where production has grown from zero to 255,000 barrels per day in less than a decade. Following the visit to Shell's operations, delegates saw the reality of reclamation up close at Gateway Hill ; 104 hectares of green grass and forestry that marked Syncrude's first certified piece of reclaimed land. The final stop was ConocoPhillips' Surmont Phase 1 in situ facility. The delegation received an overview of the process that, in a nutshell, uses one pipe to heat and liquefy the bitumen with steam, and another which collects pipe and brings it to the surface. Delegates had a lot of questions for their hosts in regard to this less invasive way to produce oil. "It was extremely important to see these operations," one delegate told us. "It's the best way for us to legislate." Members of the delegation included:
1. Robert Goebbels, MEP, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S & D), Luxembourg
2. Edit Herczog, MEP, S & D, Hungary
3. Sean Kelly, MEP, European People's Party (EPP), Ireland
4. Konrad Szymansky, MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR), Poland
5. Pascale Verheust, Deputy Director General, European Energy Forum
6. Ivan Martin, Deputy Head European Union Liaison, Shell International, EEF Associate Member
7. Sami Tulonen, European Union Representative, Wartsila Finland Oy, EEF Associate Member
8. Hans van der Loo, Shell, EEF Associate Member
9. Catherine Dickson, Counsellor, Canadian High Commission to the EU, Brussels
10. Dr. Rachel Geddy, Senior Trade Policy Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa
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