Wednesday, December 31, 2014

US clarifies oil export ban; Derailments in Alberta up 80%

Obama move on U.S. oil exports paves way for Canadian crude, too

Dec 30 (Reuters) - As the Obama administration issued landmark guidelines expected to open the door for selling more domestic shale oil abroad, it also likely smoothed the way for more Canadian crude to be shipped through U.S. ports.

Unlike crude produced domestically, oil from Canada is not limited by the longstanding U.S. ban on exports, and licenses to re-export foreign crude are granted routinely. However, many companies have been wary of such trade due to rules that prohibit mixing non-exportable domestic oil with foreign grades.....

.... On Tuesday, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security clarified .....that "a minimal amount of mixing may occur due to incidental contact in pipelines and/or storage tanks when foreign and U.S. origin-oil is sequentially transported or stored in the same pipeline or tank."...

.... Opportunities to re-export oil sands crude will expand significantly over the next few months [and].......will also offer opportunities for traders to blend abundant U.S. condensate - which under Tuesday's notice is now likely to be freely exported if it is minimally processed - with heavy diluted bitumen and Mayan crude, creating medium-grade oil more valuable than either of the original grades on their own, said Ed Morse, Global Commodities Strategist at Citigroup.....    more here


Despite Climate Warnings, New Export Rules Open Crude Oil Floodgates

The loosened regulations will reportedly 'please domestic oil drillers, foreign trade partners, and some Republicans'

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer    Common Dreams  12/31/14

Despite warnings about how such a move could accelerate climate change, the Obama administration has quietly loosened its regulations on crude oil exports, "opening the floodgates" for the shipment of as much as a million barrels per day of ultra-light crude, also known as condensate, to the rest of the world.

The obscure rule change by the Department of Commerce "will likely please domestic oil drillers, foreign trade partners and some Republicans who have urged Obama to loosen the export ban," Reuters reports.....    more here

Banff firefighters spray water to keep dust down from spilled fly ash

Banff derailment a warning sign of potentially 'disastrous' spill on the horizon: researchers

Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald      12/29/14

Trains resumed service through Banff National Park Sunday after a messy derailment in wildlife habitat, but authorities continued to clean up grains and potentially toxic cargo that spilled into a creek.

Fifteen Canadian Pacific cars fell off the tracks while crossing a bridge over 40 Mile Creek near Banff townsite early Friday with seven falling into the water below, spilling some of their contents.....

....[David] Schindler, an academic leader in aquatic research, said in an email the impact likely would have been far worse if the spill was farther upstream of the river.

“Like the Obed spill a year ago, I think this is a warning not to be so cavalier about environmental spills, whether they be from pipelines, trains or tailings ponds,” he said, referring to a big coal tailings pond spill in October 2013.

“Eventually we will have a spill in the wrong place and it will be disastrous.”....     more here

Total derailments* by province, 2010 to 2014**
Alberta: 99
British Columbia: 93
Ontario: 88
Saskatchewan: 51
Quebec: 45
Manitoba: 36
Newfoundland and Labrador: 6
New Brunswick: 4
Nova Scotia: 1
Prince Edward Island: 0

* Totals exclude rail yards and side tracks.
** 2014 data is current from January to November.
Source: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

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