DOT proposes new rules for transporting crude oil by rail

A train with 20 or more tank cars carrying crude oil, ethanol, or other flammable liquids would be classified as a high-hazardous flammable train (HHFT), and would be subject to lower speed limits, routing risk assessments, and other new requirements under new US Department of Transportation regulatory proposals.

DOT also proposed phasing out older DOT-111 tank cars for moving Bakken crude and other flammable liquids unless the cars are retrofitted to comply with new design standards in a July 23 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR).

A companion Advanced Notice of Possible Rulemaking (ANOPR) outlined proposals to require trains containing 1 million gal of Bakken crude to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERC) or other appropriate state-delegated entities about operation of these trains through their states.

DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration simultaneously released a report summarizing the analysis of data it collected with the Federal Railroad Administration of Bakken crude data the agencies gathered from August 2013 to May 2014. The data show Bakken crude tends to be more volatile and flammable than crude produced elsewhere, PHMSA said.

Comments on the NOPR and ANOPR will be accepted for 60 days, DOT said. “Given the urgency of the safety issues addressed in these proposals, PHMSA does not intend to extend the comment period,” it said.

API’s mixed reactions

The American Petroleum Institute said it was evaluating the NOPR and ANOPR, but it immediately questioned DOT’s findings concerning Bakken crude’s volatility and flammability.

“The best science and data do not support recent speculation that crude oil from the Bakken presents greater than normal transportation risks,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said. “Multiple studies have shown that Bakken crude is similar to other crudes. DOT needs to get this right and make sure that its regulations are grounded in facts and sound science, not speculation.”

The Association of American Railroads’ initial response was warmer. “This long-anticipated rulemaking from DOT provides a much-needed pathway for enhancing the safe movement of flammable liquids in the US,” AAR Pres. Edward R. Hamberger said on July 23. “The fact that the proposed rule incorporates several of the voluntary operating practices we have already implemented demonstrates the railroad industry’s ongoing commitment to rail safety.”

Crude shipments by rail remain an important part of North Dakota’s oil transportation system, observed Lynn Helms, who directs the Oil and Gas Division within the state’s Department of Mineral Resources.

“It’s too early at this point to determine what impacts this could have on North Dakota oil production,” Helms said on July 23. “However, we will review the 200-page document and work with the North Dakota Pipeline Authority on how to best advise the Industrial Commission moving forward.”

Under the proposals, HHFTs with cars which do not meet the enhanced design standards would be limited to a 40 mph maximum speed in all areas, 10 mph less than the limit for tank cars that meet the new specifications. PHMSA also plans to evaluate a 30 mph speed limit for trains which do not comply with enhanced braking requirements.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

API to issue recommended practice to address pipeline safety

07/01/2015 The American Petroleum Institute expects to issue a new recommended practice in another few weeks that addresses pipeline safety issues, but the tr...

Shell Midstream Partners takes interest in Poseidon oil pipeline

07/01/2015 Shell Midstream Partners LP has completed its acquisition of 36% equity interest in Poseidon Oil Pipeline Co. LLC from Equilon Enterprises LLC, a s...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

MARKET WATCH: Oil prices decline as US crude inventories post first gain in 9 weeks

07/01/2015 Oil prices on July 1 surrendered much of their gains from the day before after the release of a government report showing the first rise in US crud...

Woodside-led Browse FLNG venture enters FEED phase

07/01/2015 The Woodside Petroleum Ltd.-led Browse LNG joint venture has entered the front-end engineering and design phase for a floating LNG (FLNG) developme...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...

Case for Keystone XL has grown stronger, TransCanada tells Kerry

06/30/2015 Canada is taking strong steps toward combating climate change, and the proposed Keystone XL pipeline crude oil pipeline remains in the US national ...

Forum extends study of subsea integrity

06/30/2015

Work by an industry forum called SURF IM Network, which studies oil and gas subsea integrity management, has been extended by 3 years.

White Papers

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts


OGJ's Midyear Forecast 2015

When Fri, Jul 10, 2015

This webcast is to be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and Senior Economic Editor Conglin Xu.  They will summarize the Midyear Forecast projections in key categories, note important changes from January’s forecasts, and examine reasons for the adjustments.

register:WEBCAST


Predictive Analytics in your digital oilfield - Optimize Production Yield and Reduce Operational Costs

When Tue, Jul 7, 2015

Putting predictive analytics to work in your oilfield can help you anticipate failures, plan and schedule work in advance, eliminate emergency work and catastrophic failures, and at the same time you can optimize working capital and improve resource utilization.  When you apply analytic capabilities to critical production assets it is possible to reduce non-productive time and increase your yield.

Learn how IBM's analytics capabilities can be applied to critical production assets with the goal of reducing non-productive time, increasing yield and reducing operations costs.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected