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

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

Keyera to take majority interest in Alberta gas plant

12/12/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will pay $65 million (Can.) to buy a 70.79% ownership interest in the Ricinus deep-cut gas plant in west-central Alberta.

PBF Energy, PBF Logistics make management changes

12/12/2014 Matthew Lucey, currently executive vice-president of PBF Energy Inc., will succeed Michael Gayda as the company’s president. Todd O’Malley, current...

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price extends slump

12/12/2014 Crude oil prices extended their slump on the New York market with a Dec. 11 settlement of less than $60/bbl for January, and prices continued downw...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/11/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


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