Oil Trains, Born Of US Energy Boom, Face Test In New Safety Rules

Reuters

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - North Dakota's Bakken oil patch has thrived thanks in large part to the once-niche business of hauling fuel on U.S. rail tracks. New safety rules may now test the oil train model.

Within weeks, the Obama Administration is due to unveil a suite of reforms that will rewrite standards conceived long before the rise of the shale oil renaissance, at a time when crude rarely moved by rail and few Americans had ever seen the mile-long oil trains that now crisscross the nation.

Taken separately, the changes appear incremental - a question of a fraction of an inch of steel in tank cars, a few miles an hour of speed or rerouting trains; stripping explosive gases out of the oil would be costly but not complex.

But refiners, oil producers, traders and even railroads have become so reliant on such shipments that the reforms, taken together, could upend a practice that has bolstered bottom lines across a wide swathe of industrial America. It may also complicate shipments of one-tenth of U.S. crude to refineries.

Executives have met formally with regulators and the White House more than a dozen times this year, often to resist anticipated reforms or propose alternatives - typically ones that put the onus on a different industry.

Regulators have so far withheld specifics of their rule proposals, but interviews with industry executives and a review of presentations reveal at least four major areas of concern.

An apparent agreement this week between railroads and oil drillers over new tank car standards may offer a way forward on one of the most contentious issues, one that has vexed regulators since a runaway train derailed and exploded in the Quebec town of Lac Megantic last July, killing 47 people.


12345

View Full Article

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Click on the button below to add a comment.
Post a Comment
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Events  SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Our Privacy Pledge
SUBSCRIBE



Most Popular Articles

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Environmental Field Technician
Expertise: Environmental, Safety & Training
Location: Midland, TX
 
Principal Financial Analyst-DIRECT
Expertise: Accounting|Financial Analyst
Location: Houston, TX
 
Sr. Project Manager
Expertise: Project Engineer|Project Management
Location: Odessa, 
 
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $50.97/BBL 1.53%
Light Crude Oil : $48.75/BBL 1.79%
Natural Gas : $2.92/MMBtu 0.68%
Updated in last 24 hours