News / USA

Bakken Crude Volatility, Rail Safety Scrutinized in Northern US

Bakken Crude Rail Shipments Scrutinized in Northern USi
X
Kane Farabaugh
June 04, 2014 8:02 PM
US transportation department issues emergency order requiring shippers to test Bakken oil to ensure that it is properly classified prior to transit, but several industry-funded studies say Bakken is no more dangerous or volatile than other US crude. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Kane Farabaugh
The U.S. department of transportation recently issued an emergency order requiring shippers of Bakken oil to ensure that the substance is properly classified prior to transit.

The order comes nearly a year after 72 tank cars derailed in the Quebec town of Lac Megantic, sparking a massive explosion and fire that killed 47 people.

The crude oil in the tanker cars had come from the Bakken formation, a crude deposit that underlies subsurface portions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana, and North Dakota, the country's second largest oil-producing state, where companies extract roughly one million barrels of crude per day.

Since several accidents have raised concerns about Bakken crude transportation methods — and the volatility the substance itself — some regulators are seeking safer methods of transport.

But several industry-funded studies say Bakken is no more dangerous or volatile than other U.S. crude.

According to Jeff Hume, vice chairman of the oil production company Continental Resources, current regulations suffice.

“From what we tested and what we have gotten, it fits the specifications that FIMSA has today for the rails cars that we are shipping it in," he said. "So under today’s rules, we are moving it in a proper container.”

About 70 percent of North Dakota and Montana crude oil leaves by rail. North Dakota Petroleum Council Vice President Kari Cutting says shippers and producers are following government rules.

“All of those federal regulations that have been followed by Bakken, since we started producing Bakken — as far as classifying it, putting it in rail cars, moving it safely, all of the things that the shippers and producers have to do before it goes in to that railcar — all of those rules were followed,” Cutting said.

The safety concerns about rail have underscored the benefits of pipelines, but North Dakota State University Economist Dean Bangsund describes the existing pipeline infrastructure as inadequate.

“A big issue in the state right now is the lack of pipeline capacity, and that the pipeline capacity to take the crude oil out of the state ends up with large price discounts," he said. "So the industry is [aiming] to move crude oil out of the state by rail.”

The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would connect pipes from Canada to the southern United States and allow 100,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil to flow daily to a proposed link in the town of Baker, Montana.

“Some of the crude that is coming through the existing pipelines would get moved into that, therefore displacing and adding existing capacity to some of the pipelines we already have in place,” Bangsund said.

But concerns about the environmental risks of the Keystone XL pipeline have put it on hold. Though the cost to ship crude oil by rail is typically more expensive than pipelines, some companies still prefer that option because trains can reach more refineries than existing pipelines.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ron Schalow
June 04, 2014 8:46 PM
COUNTRY AT MERCY OF ND PETROLEUM COUNCIL & NDGOP

When is a North Dakota leader going to stand up and say; "I know how to fix this problem. The oil from our State needs to be stripped of the explosive gases, and put in tanker cars thicker than a soda can, because it's EXPLOSIVE!" You don't need more studies to figure that out.

Congressman Kevin Cramer was there as a Regulator.

PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk knows.

Our AG & Ag Commissioner on the Industrial Commission. Yup.

Governor Dalrymple. For sure.

PSC Commissioner Fedorchak must have figured it out by now.

Al Carlson? More...?

It's that simple. And, it's going to cost Continental, Whiting, Oasis, and the rest a bundle; but whose problem is that?

Our economy is going to take a hit, because Cities & States will decide not to let ND oil pass by on their tracks; but whose fault is that?

If our anti-regulation ND leaders had done their jobs years ago, half the Country, wouldn't be having night sweats right now, and they wouldn't be responsible for 47 deaths, plus billions in property & environmental damage, and Bakken crude wouldn't be a National problem.

“Light, sweet crude has a greater flammable range than gasoline,” said Clay Reid, a hazardous materials response expert with BNSF. “Just understand that part.”


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid