• 7 hours OPEC, Russia Said To Announce Oil Pact Extension On Nov 30
  • 10 hours Wintershall And LetterOne In Talks For $12B Oil, Gas Merger
  • 12 hours India Exempts State Oil Firms Mergers From Competition Approval
  • 14 hours Turkey Targets $5B Investment In Wind Energy By End-2017
  • 16 hours Weatherford Looks To Sell Assets To Ease Some Of $8B Debt
  • 17 hours OPEC Set To Move Fast On Cut Extension Decision
  • 20 hours Nigeria Makes First Step Away From Oil
  • 1 day Russia Approves Profit-Based Oil Tax For 2019
  • 1 day French Strike Disrupts Exxon And Total’s Oil Product Shipments
  • 2 days Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Still Below Pre-Conflict Levels
  • 2 days Oil Production Cuts Taking A Toll On Russia’s Economy
  • 2 days Aramco In Talks With Chinese Petrochemical Producers
  • 2 days Federal Judge Grants Go-Ahead On Keystone XL Lawsuit
  • 2 days Maduro Names Chavez’ Cousin As Citgo Boss
  • 2 days Bidding Action Heats Up In UK’s Continental Shelf
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Restart Still Unknown
  • 2 days UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 3 days Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 3 days Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 3 days German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 3 days Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 3 days Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 4 days Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 4 days Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 4 days Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 4 days Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 4 days Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 4 days Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 4 days Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 4 days U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 4 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 4 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 5 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 5 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 5 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 5 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 5 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 7 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 7 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 8 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
Alt Text

OPEC Concedes That U.S. Shale Won’t Die

OPEC has significantly adjusted its…

Alt Text

The Energy Goliaths Driving Global Demand

China and India, the two…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Why the U.S. Oil Boom may go off the Rails

Why the U.S. Oil Boom may go off the Rails

Lawmakers and U.S. regulators began asking questions about the safety of transporting oil on the nation's rail system following a December derailment in North Dakota. The emerging anxiety about midstream issues may create new problems for U.S. oil.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety alert following the late December derailment of a BNSF line carrying oil from the Bakken reserve area in North Dakota. No injuries were reported in the 106-car accident near Casselton, though the derailment sparked an explosion and fires that burned for more than 24 hours.

The PHMSA, a division of the Department of Transportation, advised shippers of the potential material risks and hazards associated with crude oil extraction and production.

"PHMSA also advises emergency responders to be alert to the risks of crude oil transportation due to the increased volume of transportation and the wide range of crude oil properties," the agency said.

The Association of American Railroads, which welcomed the PHMSA advisory, said 495 million barrels of petroleum and petroleum products were delivered on the U.S. rail system last year, a 31.1 percent increase from the previous year.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission said more than 90 percent of the state's oil production comes from the Bakken and Three Forks areas. October's production level of 941,637 barrels of oil per day was a new all-time record, though there isn't enough pipeline capacity to keep up.

Robert Harms, chairman of Republican party in North Dakota, said oil production in the state may be too much too soon and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wanted federal authorities to either overhaul, or eliminate, older rail cars involved in the BNSF derailment.

So-called DOT-111 rails cars were involved in a 2013 accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, which left more than 45 people dead after a train carrying Bakken oil slipped its tracks and exploded.

Casselton Mayor Ed McConnell said his town escaped a major catastrophe, though it's not the first time the area had a brush with rail disaster – it's the fourth in less than a decade. Nine years ago, a train carrying coal slipped its rail and McConnell said it's time to get serious about rail safety.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple met with Matt Rose, CEO and Chairman of BNSF Railway, to discuss rail safety issues in the wake of the Dec. 30 derailment.

"We’re going to pursue this until we’re satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place for maximum public safety," the governor said.

States like North Dakota are helping the United States oust Saudi Arabia from the top of the international oil heap. Production gains, however, have been followed by a series of major pipeline spills and derailments. With fracking concerns shifting to the background, it's midstream issues that could push the U.S. oil trajectory off the rails.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Rob on January 07 2014 said:
    I guess Big O can say the XL pipeline is safer than rail and will actually reduce our carbon footprint.
  • mlebauer on January 07 2014 said:
    Simple solution: build pipelines.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News