January 29, 2015

Oil train spills hit record level in 2014

oil-train-rail

American oil trains spilled crude oil more often in 2014 than in any year since the federal government began collecting data on such incidents in 1975, an NBC News analysis shows. The record number of spills sparked a fireball in Virginia, polluted groundwater in Colorado, and destroyed a building in Pennsylvania, causing at least $5 [...]

BNSF Railway re-evaluates plan for safer cars

oil-train-rail

BNSF Railway Co., the railroad owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), is reconsidering a plan to buy 5,000 oil-tank cars built to new safety standards after some customers voiced concern about the initiative. “At first everybody applauded us for doing it,” BNSF Chairman Matt Rose said today during a panel discussion in Washington [...]

Low oil prices unlikely to hurt railroads much

oil-train-rail

OMAHA, Neb. – The stunning collapse in oil prices won’t derail the railroads’ profit engine, even if it does slow the tremendous growth in crude shipments seen in recent years. Carloads of crude oil spiked well over 4,000 percent between 2008 and last year — from 9,500 carloads to 435,560 — as production boomed and [...]

Budget bill sets Jan. deadline for rule on oil tank cars

oil-train-rail

Hidden away in Congress’ big spending bill, designed to fund the federal government through FY 2015, are stern marching orders to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Deliver a final rule for new, safer oil tank car design standards by Jan. 15, 2015, and require that all rail carriers put in place comprehensive oil spill response [...]

Can oil price declines end railroads’ bull run?

oil-train-rail

Crude oil hit its five year low price on Monday, Dec. 8, under pressure from growing production in the U.S. and the unwillingness of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, declined 4.3 percent to $63.05 per barrel and Brent crude, which reflects the global market, [...]

Oil trains, pipelines and tanker ships

oil-train-rail

Everyone nowadays seems to either love or hate “fracking” for oil and natural gas in U.S. shale formations. But fracking enjoys an enviable safety record. After all, a large fraction of it is done a mile underground. Not much, if any, evidence of groundwater contamination has been found at fracking sites. Read the complete story [...]

Spending bill provisions for Amtrak, railroads

According to The Washington Post, a $1.01 trillion spending bill that will keep most of the federal government funded through September retains Amtrak’s current funding of $1.39 billion, the same amount it currently receives. It also provides $3 million to expand inspections along the roughly 14,000 miles of track used by trains hauling oil tankers. To view the [...]

Despite price drop, crude by rail remains big issue

oil-train-rail

The drop in the price of oil since OPEC failed in its meeting last week to agree on production cuts has sparked speculation about whether production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale region will decline as some marginal drilling operations become financially less viable. Some market observers see the drop in the price of railroad stocks [...]

Crude-by-rail safety reports released in N.Y., Wash.

oil-train-rail

The Washington Department of Ecology on Monday delivered a report to state legislators outlining key recommendations to improve public safety in response to the rapid increase of crude-by-rail shipments through the state. The Washington Legislature requested the study due to recent changes in how crude is transported through rail corridors and waterways. The “Marine and [...]

N.D. considers rules to make oil by rail safer

oil-train-rail

North Dakota’s energy regulators are considering new rules to make the state’s “Bakken” crude oil, which has been involved in a number of explosive train crashes, safer to move by rail. Proposed standards announced Thursday by the state Department of Mineral Resources follow a series of fiery rail accidents over the last 18 months that [...]