Rail Delivery of Oil, Petroleum Products Continues to Increase

With U.S. crude oil producing at record amounts and outstripping pipeline capacity, the country is relying heavily on railroads to move new crude oil to refineries and storage centers, reported the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Wednesday.

The total amount of crude oil and refined products being transported by rail is close to 356,000 carloads during the first half of 2013, up 48 percent from the same period last year, according to Association of American Railroads.

“U.S. weekly car loadings of crude oil and petroleum products averaged nearly 13,700 rail tankers during the January to June 2013 period. With one rail carload holding about 700 barrels, the amount of crude oil and petroleum products shipped by rail was equal to 1.37 million barrels per day during the first half of 2013, up from 927,000 barrels per day during the first six months of last year. Crude oil accounted for about half of the 2013 daily volumes," reported AAR.

"Increases in rail transportation multifactor productivity can be traced to technical progress, such as improved capital inputs and technological changes in the form of improved methods of service delivery. Improved technology for locomotives, freight cars, and track and structures have increased reliability and reduced maintenance needs," added the United States Department of Transportation.

A large portion of the produced crude oil is from North Dakota where there is not enough pipeline capacity to move supplies, therefore dependency on delivery of oil by rail is substantial. North Dakota currently ranks as the second largest oil producing state after Texas, reported EIA.

"The roughly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil, which includes both imported and domestic crude oil, moved by rail compares with the 7.2 million barrels of crude oil the United States produces daily," added EIA.


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