Thursday, April 2, 2015

Vapor Pressure Spikes in Full Oil Tank Cars: Experts

North Dakota's New Oil Train Safety Checks Miss Risks, Experts Warn

By Patrick Rucker      Reuters  03/31/15

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - New regulations to cap vapor pressure of North Dakota crude fail to account for how it behaves in transit, according to industry experts, raising doubts about whether the state's much-anticipated rules will make oil train shipments safer.

High vapor pressure has been identified as a possible factor in the fireball explosions witnessed after oil train derailments in Illinois and West Virginia in recent weeks.....

.... It is "well-understood, basic physics" that crude oil will exert more pressure in a full container than in the test conditions North Dakota will use, said Dennis Sutton, executive director of the Crude Oil Quality Association, which studies how to safely handle fossil fuels.

Ametek Inc, a leading manufacturer of testing equipment, has detected vapor pressure climbing from about 9 psi to over 30 psi - more than twice the new limit - while an oil tank is filled to near-capacity. (Graphic:

About 70 percent of the roughly 1.2 million barrels of oil produced in North Dakota every day moves by rail to distant refineries and passes through hundreds of cities and towns along the way.

The state controls matter to those communities because there is no federal standard to curb explosive gases in oil trains.....    more here

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