Written by David Thomas, Contributing Editor, Railway Age 09/04/14
The vital other shoe in crude by rail reform will drop not in Ottawa or Washington, but in Bismark, N.Dak., where, in the void created by federal inaction, officials are preparing to use state jurisdiction over natural resources to order the degasification of petroleum at the wellhead.....
....Division spokesperson Alison Ritter told Railway Age, “The hearing is a first step in conditioning the oil to make it as safe as possible for transport.” She said that gas/liquid separators are already required at all North Dakota wellheads. At issue is whether they are being effectively used to render so-called “hot crude” safe for rail transport.
Separators boil off light hydrocarbons such as ethane, butane, and propane from crude oil, reducing its vapor pressure and propensity to explode. Heavy and corrosive hydrogen sulfide is also removed for pipeline transport. None of this is compulsory for shipment by rail.....read more here
Increased delays cost farmers nearly 40 percent when they sell at market while delays in the Keystone pipeline benefit Buffett & BNSF as dangerous oil shipments by rail increase
As BNSF railroad benefits from increased oil shipping contracts from controversial Canadian tar sands to travel over rail to southern refineries, North Dakota grain farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to get top dollar for their crops due to shipping delays......read more here
September 5, 2014 By Russell Hubbard / World-Herald staff writer Omaha.com
.....“The whole system is suffering,” said Terry Whiteside, chairman for the Alliance for Rail Competition, speaking in an interview Thursday at a federal hearing on rail delays in Fargo, North Dakota. “Rail speeds are falling nationwide and that should be of concern for all producers.”....
.... the nation is looking at projected record harvests for corn and soybeans, just as BNSF’s average train speed for ag products has fallen 22 percent from a year ago, according to company filings with the board. An average train speed’s worst enemy is congestion, with idle time part of the calculation.
Such delays and the customer service standards of BNSF, purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2009, were savaged by frustrated freight shippers at the hearing Thursday......read more here