• 3 minutes Boris Johnson taken decision about 5G Huawei ban by delay (fait accompli method)
  • 6 minutes This Battery Uses Up CO2 to Create Energy
  • 10 minutes Phase One trade deal, for China it is all about technology war
  • 12 minutes Trump has changed into a World Leader
  • 3 hours Indonesia Stands Up to China. Will Japan Help?
  • 1 hour We're freezing! Isn't it great? The carbon tax must be working!
  • 4 mins US (provocations and tech containment) and Chinese ( restraint and long game) strategies in hegemony conflict
  • 7 hours Shale Oil Fiasco
  • 21 hours Might be Time for NG Producers to Find New Career
  • 6 mins Historian Slams Greta. I Don't See Her in Beijing or Delhi.
  • 4 hours Tesla Will ‘Disappear’ Or ‘Lose 80%’ Of Its Value
  • 8 hours Environmentalists demand oil and gas companies *IN THE USA AND CANADA* reduce emissions to address climate change
  • 14 hours Beijing Must Face Reality That Taiwan is Independent
  • 19 hours Anti-Macron Protesters Cut Power Lines, Oil Refineries Already Joined Transport Workers as France Anti-Macron Strikes Hit France Hard
  • 1 day Angela Merkel take notice. Russia cut off Belarus oil supply because they would not do as Russia demanded
  • 1 day China's Economy and Subsequent Energy Demand To Decelerate Sharply Through 2024
Alt Text

The Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

An investigative journalist has written…

Alt Text

Hydrogen Costs Could Be Set To Plunge By 50%

Hydrogen, while still expensive today,…

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

Premium Content

Rail May Hold its Own Against Pipelines

The Association of American Railroads reports the number of rail tankers carrying crude oil and petroleum products in the United States increased more than 35 percent during the first six months of the year when compared with 2011. After the U.S. Energy Department, in its report, noted the lack of pipeline infrastructure in North Dakota, British supermajor BP announced it was considering rail to bring oil from the Bakken formation there to its refinery in Washington state. In terms of the environmental footprint, meanwhile, rail deliveries account for less than 1 percent of the total emissions from the transportation sector. These findings come even though rail shipments are three times more expensive than pipeline deliveries

The AAR finds that 241,000 rail tanker cars hauled oil during the six-month period ending in June, a 38 percent increase over the same period in 2011. For June, rail deliveries increased 51 percent over their 2011 levels for the month. Each rail tanker carries around 700 barrels of oil, meaning June deliveries translated to nearly 1 million barrels per day. The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration attributes much of the increase in rail deliveries to the oil boom under way in North Dakota, which in March became the second-largest oil producing U.S. state. Oil producers in the region, however, rely on rail to get oil out of the region and BP this week said it was considering a rail project to bring Bakken crude to its 225,000-bpd refinery in Washington. The permitting process could begin as early as next month.

Rail deliveries, however, cost, on average, $15 per barrel compared with the $5 per barrel for deliveries through pipeline systems. On the other hand, the rail system is getting less energy intensive. While the transportation sector accounts for about 25 percent of the global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, rail represents a minor fraction of that total. Across the board, emissions for transportation are increasing in every sector except rail, which accounts for less than 1 percent of total CO2 emissions for the sector.

When completed, the entire Keystone oil pipeline network could carry about 1.1 million bpd compared with the same approximate total for the entire United States for rail. The 3,100-mile Enbridge Pipeline System, which stretches from the Athabasca oil sands facilities in Alberta to oil refineries in the Midwest, can carry, on average, 1.4 million bpd. Last week, however, more than 1,000 barrels oil spilled from a section of that pipeline in Wisconsin. While Enbridge said much of the release was contained, the incident occurred one day after the two-year anniversary of the costliest onshore crude oil spill in U.S. history from a section of the same pipeline network. Though in terms of volume, pipeline transportation has proved its merit, the move by BP in the Bakken formation suggests rail transit remains a viable option for the industry.

By. Daniel Graeber of Oilprice.com




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage




Leave a comment
  • Jeff O'Mara on August 01 2012 said:
    The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration attributes much of the increase in rail deliveries to the oil boom under way in North Dakota, which in March became the second-largest oil producing U.S. state.

    .....the Energy Dept had more to do to the cause and effect of both an appendex or a third testile.
  • Ed on August 09 2012 said:
    The AAR rail traffic numbers cited in this article include petroleum products - things like LPGs, fuel oil, lubricating oil, etc. - in addition to crude petroleum. So, it's wrong when it says, "The AAR finds that 241,000 rail tanker cars hauled oil during the six-month period ending in June."

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play