Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big Oil investments, reliance on Rail, Russian-roulette instead of Safety

Crude Oil Rail Terminal Operator Files for IPO

Transporting crude oil from the Bakken field in the Upper Midwest and the oil sands of Alberta has become a big business for railroads. As long as pipeline transportation remains constrained, railroads will continue to offer the best solution for producers. With that in mind, a company called USD Partners L.P. on Friday filed for an initial public offering to raise $150 million.

The company currently owns a crude-by-rail terminal in Hardesty, Alberta, with capacity to load two 120-car unit trains per day. USD Partners also owns ethanol terminals in San Antonio, Texas, and West Colton, Calif......   Read more here

BY MICHAEL MARTZ   Richmond Times-Dispatch  08/30/14
The frequency and volume of Bakken crude rail shipments are driven by oil production in North Dakota that is second only to Texas in the U.S. Production there rose from 81,000 barrels a day in 2006 to 900,000 barrels a day last year.

With production exceeding pipeline capacity, “rail became attractive because of the location and the fact there is a ready market for (light crude oil) on the East Coast,” said Sandy Fielden, an analyst at RBN Energy in Houston.....   more here

Train Derailment Cleanup 

Rail safety measures due in Virginia after oil-train wrecks

The same day a CSX train carrying almost 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed in downtown Lynchburg, federal investigators took a sample of oil at a rail transfer terminal 1,750 miles away in North Dakota.

The oil sampled in North Dakota was owned by Plains Marketing, the same Texas company that owned roughly 30,000 gallons of crude oil that either burned in a fiery, black plume above Lynchburg or gushed into the James River from one of three tanker cars that tumbled down the riverbank at 2 p.m. April 30.
Federal tests showed the North Dakota oil was highly flammable and belonged in the most hazardous category of flammable liquids under federal regulations.....    

....Jewell, the Richmond fire captain, said CSX won’t tell him the worst-case scenario of an oil-train derailment in Richmond, but he has his own blueprint — a map that shows concentric evacuation zones of a quarter- and half-mile around the triple rail crossing in Shockoe Bottom.

Emergency guidelines would require evacuation of people in a half-mile radius if one rail car caught fire and an additional quarter-mile for every other car that is “impinged” by flames that could cause a vapor explosion.       \more here

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