Justin Mikulka DeSmogBlog.com 12/11/14
DOT-111 rail cars.
The regulations announced Tuesday by the North Dakota Industrial Commission state that: “The goal is to produce crude oil that does not exceed a vapor pressure of 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi).”
There are two important things to note about this goal.
The first is that the vapor pressure of the oil that exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, resulting in the death of 47 people, was under 10 psi and was described as being “as volatile as gasoline.” So the new regulations will permit oil that is significantly more volatile than the oil in the Lac-Megantic disaster to continue to be shipped by rail.
The second important thing to note is that almost all of the oil that the industry and regulators have sampled in the past year has been well below 13.7 psi. Of 99 samples taken in the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s sampling study, 94 were below 13.7 psi and the average psi for that study was 12.3 psi....
....[also]... the North Dakota Industrial Commission is aware that Bakken producers have not only been shipping dangerous oil that has high levels of natural gas liquids (NGLs), such as butane, that are part of the crude oil mixture as it comes out of the ground but that they have been actively adding such explosive NGLs to the oil prior to shipping it by rail..... read more here
Informed comment by Ron Schalow: [same link]