Bakken Crude Rail Car Safe: Report

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 @ 12:05 AM gHale

With the issue of transporting Bakken crude oil via rail heating up, a new report says the product is well within the safety standards for current rail car designs,

The crude is comparable to other light grades and does not pose risks that are significantly different than other crudes or flammable liquids authorized for rail transport, said the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) report.

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Specifically, Bakken crudes are within pressure, flashpoint, boiling point, and corrosivity standards for use in rail cars approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), AFPM said in announcing its findings May 15.

It said the report is from a survey of AFPM members conducted in response to a request by DoT. A third-party auditor collected the data from 17 AFPM member companies on a confidential basis in accordance with federal antitrust laws, the Washington-based trade association noted. “AFPM engaged a former, long-time DOT official with an expertise in hazardous material transportation safety to develop the final report,” it said.

Data ended up collected from an analysis of about 1,400 samples of Bakken crude in order to better understand its properties, AFPM added.

“This report was aimed at specifically addressing the characteristics of Bakken crude and concludes that its characteristics are no different than other light crude oils,” AFPM President Charles T. Drevna said. “We believe this data will help better inform the government as it reviews all aspects of the safe transportation of crude by rail.”

AFPM said its data clearly show the current classification of Bakken crude oil is accurate and appropriate. Bakken crude oil falls under the designation of being a flammable liquid under federal Hazardous Materials Regulations and as such, is subject to evaluation of its flashpoint and initial boiling point for classification purposes, it noted.

Click here to download the report.

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