It’s a fact: diluted bitumen is not more corrosive than conventional crude

FACT: diluted bitumen is not more corrosive than conventional crude.

This week, Penspen Integrity, a division of Penspen Limited based in the UK, released their Dilbit Corrosivity Report (PDF) that unequivocally debunks a myth spread by industry critics regarding the transportation of diluted bitumen (PDF).

This isn’t news to us. As an industry, we know that diluted bitumen is not more corrosive than conventional crude – and it’s been proven repeatedly.

Consider this:

For their report, Penspen examined 40 studies, spanning over 40 years, which addressed the behaviour of diluted bitumen and conventional crude. All research leads to one undeniable fact, as stated in the report’s conclusion:

Both Dilbit and Synbit in a crude oil transmission pipeline environment is no more corrosive than comparable heavy sour crudes and in many cases may be less corrosive.

This finding from a respected UK-based organization matches those from studies done in Canada, like Alberta Innovates’ Comparison of the Corrosivity of Dilbit and Conventional Crude (PDF). And according to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver this is further testament to the safety of pipelines in Canada:

“This independent study by an internationally recognized organization builds on extensive research and adds to a significant, already existing body of evidence that Canadian bitumen is no more corrosive,” he said.

“Our Government has said before that the development of Canada’s natural resources will not proceed unless it is safe and responsible. Pipelines are a safe and efficient method of transporting large volumes of crude oil and petroleum products.”

Canadians can make up their own minds

The Penspen report outlines the scientific facts on what’s become a hot-button topic. Armed with this knowledge, CEPA’s former president and CEO, Brenda Kenny, said Canadians can have informed conversations about the safety of diluted bitumen.

“Now, this manufactured myth can stop and Canadians can be further assured that our pipelines are safe regardless of the type of product they carry,” Kenny said.

“It is important to have scientific evidence in front of Canadians, so they can make their own informed decisions, and not rely on misinformation.”


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.