Town escapes tragedy, but derailments won't curb soaring oil shipments


The town of Casselton, N.D., narrowly escaped tragedy yesterday when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, and its mayor says shipping oil by pipeline would be a safer option.

Residents said explosions continued for hours after the derailment, and BNSF Railway (BRK.A, BRK.B) said ~20 cars caught fire after its oil train left the tracks; the cars are being allowed to burn out.

The incident could draw more regulatory scrutiny to rail shipments of crude, but analysts say the soaring use of trains to move oil is a long-term trend that isn't likely to change soon.

"Rail will be the long-term transportation solution out of the Bakken to the U.S. east and west coasts due to the lack of pipeline infrastructure to those refining centers," Tudor Pickering says.

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Comments (6)
  • phxcrane
    , contributor
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    Where are all the greenies. How come now one is screaming. I think because once they targeted the pipelines it is to difficult to switch. The masses can not be spoon fed that quickly. Realty has nothing to do with it.
    31 Dec 2013, 03:16 PM Reply Like
  • Roy Blanchard
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
     
    Pipelines don't always go where the oil is needed most. Trains can. Once oil is in a pipeline, it can't be diverted to another location. Oil in tank cars can. The rails are already in place, no enviro impact studies. Pipelines are not all in place; enviro impact studies needed.

     

    Yes, oil in tank cars poses certain dangers. But so does oil in trucks. Trucks kill thousands of people a year and there are no headlines. Trains are big and scary and derailments make headlines, regardless of what's in 'em. I remember a carload of corn tipping over and the press acted like it had been cheated, after they showed up w helicopters and tv crews on the ground.
    A little perspective, please.
    31 Dec 2013, 03:50 PM Reply Like
  • phxcrane
    , contributor
    Comments (763) | Send Message
     
    I wasn't trying to say trains are environmental worse. I was pointing out that they are probably no better. I think you help make my point when you stated no environmental impact studies are needed for the trains. How about the impact from all the leaks on the trains. Have you ever walked a train track? They would never pass any environmental study. That is why when tracks are no longer needed they donate them back to the government.
    31 Dec 2013, 08:57 PM Reply Like
  • maneker
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    I think the derailment/etc are green terrorism.
    31 Dec 2013, 09:14 PM Reply Like
  • eudemonic
    , contributor
    Comments (31) | Send Message
     
    Other than a refinery, where else is crude oil needed?
    31 Dec 2013, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Roy Blanchard
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
     
    Give tracks back to the govt? Have you any idea who owns the tracks and the real estate under them? And tell us what exactly is your enviro study observation. I see thousands of miles of railroad track every year and haven't a clue what you're talking about.
    1 Jan 2014, 06:02 PM Reply Like
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