5 more facts to know about diluted bitumen

Last week we told you about a new report detailing scientific findings that settle the diluted bitumen debate once and for all.

The Dilbit Corrosivity (PDF) report from UK-based Penspen Integrity states that diluted bitumen is not more corrosive than conventional crude.

This fact alone invalidates myths being spread by industry critics about the transportation of diluted bitumen. But the report doesn’t stop there – here are five more diluted bitumen facts you should know:

  1. Diluted bitumen has been transported by pipeline for more than 25 years, with no discernible increase in corrosion failure incidents.
  2. Diluted bitumen has similar characteristics as heavy sour crude in terms of density, TAN (total acid number) and sulphur content. Small differences in these numbers do not increase the chances of corrosion occurring in transmission pipelines.
  3. The TAN number, sulphur and salt content are important parameters for refineries, but cannot be used to assess the corrosion threat to an oil transmission pipeline, and these parameters are not used by pipeline corrosion engineers.
  4. Pipelines in the USA and Canada are managed using an integrity management system. Part of that system includes assessment and control of internal corrosion. The requirements to control internal corrosion of pipelines carrying diluted bitumen are exactly the same as for conventional crude oil pipelines.
  5. Existing monitoring and integrity maintenance programs used by transmission pipeline operators on conventional crude oil pipelines are equally as effective on pipelines containing diluted bitumen.

While a great deal has been said about diluted bitumen, these are the scientific facts.

For even more facts, check out our Diluted Bitumen Fact Sheet (PDF).


The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 110,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2011, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.