The Westshore Terminal

by Milan on August 18, 2010

in Climate change, Power plants

Located at Roberts Bank, British Columbia, the Westshore Terminal exports more coal than all other Canadian ports put together – routinely shipping around 21 million tonnes of coal each year. The terminal, and the massive heap of coal waiting to be loaded onto ships, can be clearly seen to the north of the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The coal originates in Alberta and British Columbia, with a small quantity coming from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming, North America’s cheapest source of coal.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, one metric tonne of the kind of bituminous and sub-bituminous coal used for energy generation emits about 2,000 kg of carbon dioxide. As a result, the emissions resulting each year from burning the coal that passes through Westshore represent about 5% of Canada’s total emissions, more than Manitoba, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia and equivalent to about 18% of Alberta’s emissions. Of course, those emissions will be counted as part of the total for the country they are shipped to, whether it is one with a nominal target under the Kyoto Protocol (like Japan or Australia) or one that did not agree to a restriction on emissions within that legal framework (like China).

If the world is going to deal with climate change, the use of coal as a source of energy will effectively have to come to an end. Of course, the politics of that are very difficult, both in coal-burning states that value it as a cheap and reliable source of energy and in coal-exporting states like Canada that appreciate the jobs and revenue it brings.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Byron Smith August 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Somehow, I doubt the coal is going to Australia… :-)

Milan August 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

Very true

Milan August 30, 2010 at 10:13 am

I wonder what non-violent method could close down this terminal – or the rail line it depends on – for the longest time.

. September 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Mining companies aim to export coal to China through Northwest ports

While Oregon works to shut its only coal-fired electricity plant and reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, global mining companies are increasingly bullish about exporting that very same coal through Northwest ports to China.

According to Peabody Energy, “Coal’s best days are ahead,” fueled in part by exports of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming that Portland General Electric taps for its Boardman plant. Peabody says it hopes to announce a West Coast terminal by year’s end.

Ambre Energy, an Australian coal company, is exploring mine acquisitions in the basin and the purchase of the 416-acre Chinook Ventures port site in Longview, Wash., for a bulk export terminal.

The Port of Portland says it doesn’t have the space for coal exports in the short-term, but its consultants cited coal as a potential long-term market if it adds terminals on West Hayden Island.

. September 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm

“Globally, coal consumption increased fastest of any fossil fuel in the last decade, rising 46 percent despite concerns about climate change. In June, British Petroleum said coal provided nearly 30 percent of the world’s energy in 2009 — the highest share since 1970.

Unless strict limits on greenhouse gases are put in place, Asian growth is expected to drive a 40 percent increase in world coal consumption by 2030. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that nearly 90 percent of that growth will be for China, which uses relatively cheap and abundant coal for steel making and power generation.

Over that same time, global carbon dioxide emissions will rise almost a third if current climate change policies don’t change, the EIA says.

If global warming projections are right, that’s not good news: To keep temperature increases in the relatively safe zone of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, climate scientists say, fossil fuel use needs to peak in 2020 and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions need to drop 8 percent by 2030 compared with 2007. Congress backed off on caps in carbon emissions earlier this year. The United Nations has another climate change conference in November in Cancun, Mexico, but expectations for progress are low. “

. November 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

Coal Mining and export looking promising for BC
Prince Rupert Port Authority says the future looks good for PRPA’s Coal exports

Prince Rupert Port Authority President and CEO Don Krusel says the Asia Trade Mission to promote the Asia Pacific Gateway has been essential and successful so far. During a teleconference in China today Krusel said Asian demands for coal means continued growth in the mining sector here at home.

“It’s not just the transportation side of it, there’s tremendous opportunity because we have the transportation system in place, tremendous opportunity to develop mines and expand the mine sites and so it’s very encouraging and an exciting for all of us and I think especially British Columbia” Said Krusel.

. November 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm

United front key to growing coal shipments, says delegation

A trade delegation that included the President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the President and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond says it found success during a trip to China by presenting a united B.C. front when meeting with potential customers.

“What we are hearing is that people want to source coal from Canada, they want to buy coal from Canada, because the supply chain is reliable. The reason the supply in Canada is reliable is because of this cooperation with the Asia Pacific Gateway between the rail, the airports and the federal government all investing in the Gateway initiative to ensure we have the infrastructure to deliver Canadian products to customers around the world,” said Port Metro Vancouver CEO Robin Silvester.

“The unified front that we have taken is providing [customers] with a great deal of certainty. We have three first-class railways serving British Columbia and because the inland haul can be

very complicated, it is important that our railways are working together… We are very well received around the world because there are ports and airports that compete with one another at the same table,” added Minister Bond.

Along with the positive response to the united front being presented, Prince Rupert Port Authority President and CEO Don Krusel said the delegation has heard that they should be prepared for a lot more business when it comes to shipping coal to Asia.

steven booch September 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm

what reference are you using re: 1 metric tonne of coal ( 1,000 kg ) produces 2,000 kg of carbon dioxide? more material than what was started from? thanks for explaning…

Milan September 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm

The carbon from the coal combines with oxygen from the air. The resulting CO2 molecule has mass from both.

Milan September 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Most of the mass of the CO2 is actually oxygen. The atomic weight of carbon is about 12 grams per mole. Oxygen has an atomic weight of about 16 grams per mole, and there are two oxygen atoms per molecule of CO2.

. January 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Westshore Terminals cuts forecast as B.C. feels effects of coal slump

A coal export terminal south of Vancouver will no longer be able to avoid the fallout from low prices for the commodity.

Westshore Terminals Investment Corp. had dodged much of the impact of depressed coal prices because it enjoyed long-term contracts with customers. Industry analysts marvelled at how the export facility weathered the economic storm through the first nine months of 2015.

But then the reality of languishing coal markets finally hit Westshore, which said recently that it expects to ship 24 million to 24.5 million tonnes of coal in 2016, down almost one-fifth from the company’s original forecast.

Westshore’s largest customer is Teck Resources Ltd., but the lower export volumes will be due to reduced shipments of U.S. thermal coal.

Low prices for thermal coal forced Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy Logistics LLC to announce in October that it will halt its exports through Westshore, agreeing to pay a series of penalties for opting out of shipments from 2016 through 2018.

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