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Spotlight: Coachella Valley crude oil pipeline project

The California Energy Commission states that about 6.4 million barrels of crude oil were consumed in the state last year. Reportedly, slightly more than half of that amount was imported from multiple foreign countries.

Some people think that more domestically produced crude -- especially a product that already exists in the state -- could drive down the price tag expended on this important commodity, given that California crude oil could be delivered to consumers without the necessity for involvement of cargo ships.

It has been estimated that a ready alternative to foreign-pumped and internationally shipped crude oil already exists underground in the Coachella Valley.

In fact, the energy company Questar Corporation has discussed plans to pump approximately 120,000 barrels of oil daily. If that amount was realized, the output would have a notably dramatic effect on reducing dependence on foreign oil. In fact, it could eliminate it.

Questar officials note that they have been looking at a nearly 100-mile span of 58-year-old pipeline that has been unused for years, hoping to connect it with an active pipeline and rail terminal.

The company's plans have been shelved, though, at least temporarily.

Although one local opponent of the pipeline project calls the postponement "a big victory for the Coachella Valley," it is not immediately apparent why that is the case, for a number of reasons.

As noted by a news account of the considered pipeline, a realized pipeline project would have to be in full compliance with all regulatory requirements. Among other thing, the pipeline would need to pass regularly scheduled tests, as well as fire inspections.

Questar hasn't given up on the project. Reportedly, a final decision is expected within half a year.

Source: The Desert Sun, "Southern California crude oil pipeline delayed," Emily Donovan, Aug. 7, 2015

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