API continuing to address rail safety concerns, Gerard says

The US oil and gas industry continues to work with the federal government and railway industry to improve transportation of crude oil by rail, American Petroleum Institute President Jack N. Gerard said.

“While nearly all rail shipments reach their destinations without incident, our common goal should be zero rail incidents,” he maintained on Feb. 20. “All options must be considered to reach this goal.”

Prevention efforts should examine issues such as track maintenance and positive train control, he suggested.

“Our mitigation efforts are looking at topics like tank car design and crude oil testing and classification,” Gerard said. “A review of emergency response also is examining ways to improve training and communications for emergency responders.”

Specifically, he said that API:

has assembled top experts to develop a comprehensive standard for testing, classification, loading, and unloading of crude oil based on the best available science and data. The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has committed to participate in this effort aimed at ensuring crude oil is packaged and shipped safely and appropriately, Gerard said.

• has assembled top experts to develop a comprehensive standard for testing, classification, loading, and unloading of crude oil based on the best available science and data. The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has committed to participate in this effort aimed at ensuring crude oil is packaged and shipped safely and appropriately, Gerard said.

• continues to work with PHMSA and other representatives from DOT to share information and expertise on crude oil characteristics.

• has been building next-generation tank cars since 2011 that exceed federal standards. “These new cars make up nearly 40% of the crude oil tank car fleet and will be 60% by the end of 2015,” API’s president said.

• is working with railroads to enhance emergency response training through Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response (TRANSCAER), a voluntary national outreach effort to assist communities in preparing for and responding to accidents.

“We are committed to using the best science, research, and real-world data to make measurable improvements to safety,” Gerard said. “A holistic approach based on sound science and data will ensure that any changes to existing standards and practices achieve real safety improvements and do not shift risk to other areas.

“It is critical that our actions actually improve safety and reduce risk,” he declared.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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