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Oil via rail

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 30 Apr 2014, 15:30:29

A freight train carrying crude oil has derailed and burst into flames in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from a number of buildings in the city, but no injuries have been reported.

Oil has been spilling into the James River, according to reports.

Three or four tanker cars carrying crude oil were breached, according to a tweet by the city of Lynchburg, and more than a dozen tanker cars were involved in the collision.

A city spokeswoman said several train cars derailed at about 14:00 local time, and about 300 people have been evacuated from nearby buildings.

It happened very close to the city centre.

Lawyer John Francisco, who works in the city, told local TV station WSET 13 he heard a loud noise that sounded like a tornado and then saw flames rise high into the sky.
]


BBC is reporting a new derailment and fire in Virginia!
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada ... #FBM364486
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 02 May 2014, 19:07:16

Latest Oil Train Derailment a 'Wake-up Call' for Renewable Energy

The fiery train derailment that struck the town of Lynchburg, Virginia should serve as a wake-up call for the dangers of transporting crude by rail as well as for the need for a renewable transformation, environmental groups charge.

In the incident that took place Wednesday, over a dozen tanker cars derailed, shooting smoke and flames into the sky and sending three of the cars into the James River where they leaked oil, causing a "significant spill" and unknown ecological damage.

The CSX train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was about 170 west of its destination, Yorktown, Virgina, when the derailment occurred.



Yet the Lynchburg accident points not only to the dangers inherent with transporting this the specific type of crude, by rail or other means.

The disaster "is a potent reminder of the dangers that come with our dependence on dirty fuels and reinforces the need for better safety measures and increased emergency preparedness," stated Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa.

"In the wake of this and other recent dirty fuel disasters it's clear that we must move as quickly as possible to safer, cleaner forms of energy like wind and solar. The safest place for dirty fuels is in the ground."


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 03 May 2014, 07:44:15

Why is there even still any debate over rail safety? The basic truth over all the decades that we have been keeping score, is that oil is a dangerous form of energy.

In fact, oil kills 900X as many humans as nuclear power. But since coal kills 1500X as many people as nuclear energy, it is a net win to replace coal with oil in a coal-producing state like Virginia.

Of course, Virginia is also a uranium-producing state. But humans think with their glands, not their brains. The mushroom cloud of a nuclear bomb explosion is always in the back of their minds, even though bombs have nothing to do with power production. Never mind that the Lac-Megantic oil train derailment alone killed 1.5X as many people as nuclear energy has in all of history.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 08 May 2014, 18:15:02

Oil companies transporting crude by rail issued govt safety plea

The US Department of Transportation has issued a safety advisory pleading with companies that transport crude oil by train to discontinue old railcars, a request that comes after a string of high-profile derailment accidents.

The advisory is non-binding, meaning it does not require companies to follow it, as an emergency order would. Yet it does apply to approximately 20,000 old tanker cars that companies rely on to carry Bakken crude from oil fields in North Dakota throughout the continent. The Transportation Department (DOT) recommended that only the sturdiest cars available are put to use, and that cars that cannot be destroyed should be updated.

Wednesday’s advisory came on the same day that the Transportation Department issued an emergency order forcing companies to provide communities alongside the rail routes with more information about the problems that are created when a spill or explosion takes place.

The American Petroleum Institute told the Wall Street Journal that the oil industry has already spent three years trying to update old cars, predicting that over the next year “about 60 percent of railcars will be state of the art, which is part of a long-term comprehensive effort to improve accident prevention, mitigation and emergency response.”

Still, the advisory immediately came under attack. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) told Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that the advisory is adequate, though only as a first step.

“If we know that we want to get rid of these [cars] that we don’t think are a safe transport vehicle, we should come up with a date,” she said. “Making it voluntary isn’t enough.”

The DOT itself admitted crude shipments present “an imminent hazard” in an emergency order forcing companies to be more transparent with the areas they go through. Trains carrying oil generally include at least 100 cars. The emergency order requires all carloads with more than one million gallons of Bakken crude, equivalent to approximately 35 cars, to give local lawmakers notice that a train will be making its way through.

In response, the Association of American Railroads issuing a statement saying that freight lines have “for years worked with emergency responders and personnel to educate and inform them about the hazardous materials moving through their communities,” and that such “open and transparent communications” will go on, as quoted by Politico.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 08 May 2014, 18:38:08

Speaking of oil via rail an update from the "greenest state" in the country: California, the biggest gasoline market, more than doubled the volume of oil it received by train in the first quarter as deliveries from Canada surged. The third-largest oil-refining state unloaded 1.41 million barrels in the first quarter, up from 693,457 a year ago. Canadian deliveries made up half the total and were eight times shipments a year earlier. Those from North Dakota slid 34 percent to 277,046. U.S. West Coast refiners including Tesoro Corp and Valero Energy Corp are developing projects to bring in more oil by rail from reserves across the middle of the U.S. and Canada to displace more expensive supplies. Interesting that they refer to Canadian oil sands production as "domestic oil". And let's not forget that San Fran has divested itself of oil company stocks...and monetized a nice profit in the process. I gather it was much easier to divest the stock then to divest themselves of the "dirty oil on the planet". LOL
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 31 May 2014, 09:21:55

And more of the unintended consequences of resisting oil pipelines. But notice the upside: up to 150 fewer oil tankers per year steam through those environmentally sensitive waters. Either way the oil is going to reach those refineries: the majority of the citizens in the state demand it:

Reuters - When Tesoro Corp pioneered moving crude by rail to its Washington state refinery in 2012, it encountered little community opposition. The same goes for early adopters BP Plc and Phillips 66 . Royal Dutch Shell is seeking permits, from the same regional air quality control agency that approved the others, to transport by rail up to 70,000 bpd of Bakken crude to its 145,000 bpd Puget Sound refinery, at a time when a spate of fiery crude train crashes nationwide have stoked opposition to crude-by-rail. Indeed, there wasn't a community push back in 2012 when Tesoro began receiving up to six BNSF Railway Co mile-long crude trains a week - until another railroad's runaway crude train crashed into a Quebec town in July 2013, killing 47 people. BP and Phillips 66 also won approval for offloading projects at their Washington refineries in 2013, ahead of even more fiery, if not deadly, derailments.As officials review Shell's proposal, those who oppose the transporting of volatile oil from North Dakota by rail now say they want a comprehensive environmental review by the state. "There was no opposition to the other three proposals only because we weren't aware they were in formal permitting," said Terry Wechsler, an environmental attorney in northwest Washington who seeks more scrutiny.

Those already operating say transporting oil by rail is a lifeline to cheaper crudes as no oil pipelines cross the Cascade Range. Without rail, Washington refineries are stuck with more expensive imports and declining Alaskan North Slope oil. "It was really starting to hurt our business out here," BP Plc's U.S. arm said at the rail offloading operation next to the company's 225,000 bpd Cherry Point refinery near Blaine, Washington. BP started taking 70,000 bpd of Bakken in December, while Tesoro began receiving 50,000 bpd at its 120,000 bpd Anacortes refinery in September 2012. Tesoro says incoming crude via rail reduced by a third what used to be nearly 450 ships that once delivered crude to its docks annually.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 04 Jun 2014, 17:29:32

Washington City Rejects Massive Oil Train Project, Citing ‘Unacceptable Risks’

Flanked by hundreds of concerned residents, the City Council of Vancouver in southwestern Washington State voted early Tuesday morning to formally oppose what would be the Pacific Northwest’s largest crude oil train terminal, saying the project poses “unacceptable risks” to the city’s population of 160,000.

The council’s decision came after six hours of testimony from more than 100 residents, most of them opposed to Tesoro Corp.’s plan to develop a large train terminal at the Port of Vancouver, which would receive up to 380,000 barrels of North Dakotan crude oil per day and transfer it to ships bound for West Coast refineries. That amount of oil, which would come through the city on four separate unit trains per day, is just less than half the daily amount that would be transported by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

“The Council’s opposition … [is] due to the unacceptable risks posed to the citizens of Vancouver by the terminal and the related transportation of Bakken crude oil through the city,” the resolution, passed 5-2, reads.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Wed 04 Jun 2014, 19:27:30

Graeme,

In re: Vancouver oil terminal.

The decision rests with the State but I'm thinking that the Governor's, peace be upon him, administration is likely to side with the City of Vancouver's Council and deny the permit. I'm not in touch with the doings though.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 04 Jun 2014, 22:42:06

Syn - Interesting that they oppose this one terminal and not a word about the other oil and product shipments into the area. And while the city Council might not like the plan, the folks who actually control and run the port seem to favor the idea: Last July the Port of Vancouver commissioners unanimously approved the lease for a $100 million oil shipping terminal to export North Dakota crude, a project that would dramatically increase the amount of oil moving down the lower Columbia River. The project still needs approval from the state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council and Gov. Jay Inslee. And how does the gov view moving fossil fuels thru the state? Here's a report from a local and apparently liberal paper: "Governor Jay Inslee continued talking out of both sides of his mouth today. He issued another bone to the environmentalists pretending to be against coal and oil, all the while promoting and pushing the 2 billion gallons of oil a year through Grays Harbor on the oil trains and again pushing for the importation of coal trains through Washington State and into Grays Harbor. I love his press release statement that “Washington will…..stop the use of imported coal electricity…” Except he forgot to mention that he is about to be one of the biggest EXPORTERS of coal."

Some details on the amount of oil currently moving thru Vancouver: In operation since 1953, the Trans Mountain pipeline system (TMPL) is the only pipeline system in North America that transports both crude oil and refined products to the west coast. TMPL moves product from Edmonton, Alberta, to marketing terminals and refineries in the central British Columbia region, the Greater Vancouver area and the Puget Sound area in Washington state.

So how much oil does Washington state currently import and refine? Latest numbers I could find: Washington’s oil refineries have a combined processing capacity of about 230 million bbls per year with every bbl being imported by pipeline, rail or ship. And while the state produces no oil it is the #5 refining state in the country. And of that oil about 43 percent is turned into gasoline. And last year, 54% of the gasoline made in Washington was burned in Washington, or about 5.5 million gallons daily.

Given that Washington state cannot function with out oil imports, IMHO I think it's a safe bet how the gov't will rule on the matter.

So syn: If the folks in your fair state are opposed to importing oil I must assume they (and you) are prepared to give up burning all gasoline, diesel and fuel oil since every ounce you consume comes from imported oil. I truly do admire that huge sacrifice y'all are willing to make. Bravo, amigo!!!
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Thu 05 Jun 2014, 11:36:12

ROCKMAN,

Yep, he's a governor all right.

There are two Vancouvers, one on the Columbia in Washington state (that's the one with the permit pending on an oil-to-marine terminal) and one in SW British Columbia (nowhere near the river which is a six-hour drive to the south, just north of Oregon, although if you follow it far enough upstream you find that it does arise in the Province), where the TransMountain pipeline terminates (in a suburb, I believe.) The TransMountain is the pipeline we tap up at Sumas so as to steal some of that Alberta crude, which we send down to those refineries you mention, which we are all so proud of.

We use two Vancouvers so we can watch out-of-staters mix them up.

There's lots of NIMBY here and it shows up as a perversion of the Think Globally, Act Locally meme. I, of course, am not part of it, as I think only pure thoughts and don't use gasoline, diesel or fuel oil, nor do I pay attention to all the things that do, that I benefit from.

I haven't checked on the coal-export-terminal applications for a while. Three had been withdrawn last I looked; they were in Oregon. Gray's Harbor is the Washington locus, with permits pending (?), and maybe one up near Bellingham--I get the oil-export and coal-export battles mixed up sometimes when I've not been paying attention. I incline against exporting coal from the state since Washington is no longer a producer and the last power plant that burns the stuff, in Centralia, is to be shut down by 2025. It's bad enough that they rail the coal from the Powder River Basin through here on the way to Vancouver (the one in Canada.) Our coal is Eocene, by the way, forests that flourished here when the region was a dead ringer for today's Gulf Coast but with volcanoes. It's bituminous, none of that backwards lignite. Lignite is for Loser...oops. Apologies.

To Germany, that is.

(And to the glorious Lone Star State.)
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 05 Jun 2014, 15:21:41

syn - Y'all don't have the NIMBY market cornered. It's alive and well in Texas. And like everywhere it's usually split between who gets a check and who doesn't. Folks in your hood might not like to air their dirty laundry in public but y'all may be the most bipolar lot in the nation: a wonderful environment to be very proud and protective of. And an economy that would crumble to third world status if you didn't import oil (including Alaskan oil delivered by tankers through your sensitive offshore ecosystem), refine it and ship 1.8 BILLION GALLONS OF MOTOR FUEL per year to other consumers. Combine that with statewide consumption that's about 4 TRILLION GALLONS of GHG generating consumption per year created in Washington state. Not exactly the tee shirt your local tree huggers would care to wear. LOL.

Long ago I dated a sweet gal who was honest about tagging herself as a "Limousine Liberal": supported all the "right causes" but not willing to give up the creature comforts. I just getting a tad cranky when folks that create more GHG generating commodities than 45 of the other states tries to put themselves out there as the "Land of Environmental Activism". LOL. We know exactly what we do in Texas with oil, NG and LIGNITE and we don't try to spin it otherwise.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Thu 05 Jun 2014, 18:08:49

ROCKMAN,

The state is quite a mix. It's largely rural but there's an urban corridor along the east side of Puget Sound that's about sixty miles long, from Everett (US Navy, sawmill, Boeing) in the north through Seattle and environs (world-class port, US Navy at Bremerton shipyard, Microsoft the Evil Empire, Amazon, Boeing, fishing, and on and on--oh, and Starbucks) to Tacoma in the south (major port, oil refinery, don't know about the smelter.) There's also McChord AFB and Fort Lewis Army base (tanks!) south of Tacoma--these are large bases and host out-of-area operations--and what used to call itself the most scenic ground zero in the world: Bangor nuclear-sub base a ways on the other side of Puget Sound, with a beautiful view of the Olympics and security that is really scary. There's a US Navy air station (recon) on Whidbey Island, to the west and north from Everett and south from Anacortes. Spokane, on the east side of the state next to Idaho (Famous Potatoes) has a large Air Force presence but I'm not familiar with it.

I don't know the head count but the DOD has a huge presence here, and it's famously thirsty for petroleum products.

West of the Cascades and outside that urban corridor most of Washington is farmland and forest and small towns, in my experience, until you get up to the big refineries at Anacortes and near Bellingham, almost to the Canadian border; south near Vancouver (the one on the Columbia) is a small urban conglomeration that is to some extent a suburb of Portland, Oregon, which is just across the river.

East of the Cascades is the West (we're in the Northwest on the west side.) There are two ways to tell once you crest the range and begin to descend: The trees begin to be Ponderosa pines, and your radio begins to twang ("Momma nearly died when Paw burned the house down in a drunk but it saved us from foreclosure, Praise be!") Much of it is sparsely populated semi-arid range land and farmland until you're almost to Idaho and the forest starts, except about the northern (at a guess) third, south of the border with Canada, which is forest. The Palouse wheat country is over toward Idaho and south of Spokane; China buys a lot of the wheat for noodles, bless their hearts. The Army is out near Yakima with a large firing range, and nearby is the Hanford nuclear reservation, where we keep the leaking waste casks so the radioactive ground water makes it to the Columbia where no-one will much notice. One of the local high school football teams has mushroom clouds on their helmets, unless they've abandoned that telling little touch.

The upshot is that there's a surprisingly large Federal presence here, in the form of the DOD and the Department of Energy. (The Bonneville Power Administration dams along the Columbia produce a lot of electricity and Grand Coulee Dam (the locals call it Disney Dam,) the top tourist destination in the state, uses some of it for a sound and light show. A lot of the remainder is exported.) East of the Cascades distances are long and pickup trucks numerous--well, you know what it's like. It's the West. And it votes conservative. Not a lot of them tree-huggers; (not a lot of them trees, in much of it). Pretty conservative in the forests up toward Canada, too, what with lumber and farming, but I've worked a lot in the West to the East of here and haven't encountered a lot of narrow-mindedness. Idaho is there for that.

I'm not surprised that the state produces a lot of GHG--those are your tax dollars and mine, helping to keep us safe and prosperous.

Praise be!
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 05 Jun 2014, 18:36:03

States balk at keeping oil train info from public

U.S. railroads forced to turn over details of their crude oil shipments are asking states to sign agreements not to disclose the information. Some states are refusing, saying the information should be public.

Federal officials last month ordered railroads to make the disclosures following a string of fiery tank car accidents in North Dakota, Alabama, Virginia and Quebec, where 47 people died.

The information due Saturday includes route details, and train frequency and emergency response information for trains hauling 1 million gallons or more of crude.

BNSF, Union Pacific and CSX are seeking agreements that the information won't be publicly shared. They say the information is security sensitive.

Officials in Wisconsin, Montana, Illinois, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington state have refused to sign, citing open record laws and the need for public awareness.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 06 Jun 2014, 18:09:01

California Moves on Oil Rail Shipments

State lawmakers and the governor in California are continuing to raise concerns about the steep increase in rail crude oil shipments into the state (see Shale Daily, May 6). They each are pushing for beefed-up safety programs that the industry thinks are unnecessary.

California's state senate late last month passed a measure (SB 1319) 23-11 to strengthen safety of rail oil transport in the state. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Fran Pavley, who has authored several bills on hydraulic fracturing in the past two years. In the lower house Assembly, another bill (AB 380) was unanimously passed on Wednesday in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

Since his state-of-the-state address in January (see Shale Daily, Jan. 10), Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed in the state's annual budget to extend California's current "prevention-and-response" programs for offshore oil spills to onshore rail shipments. This move would be funded by imposing a 6.5 cents/bbl fee on all rail crude oil deliveries into the state, similar to what is now imposed on marine oil deliveries.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 12:30:54

Some that might ease the minds of some folks that have Bakken oil railing thru their towns:

Reuters - A handful of small refineries in North Dakota could remove dangerous gas from oil train cargoes and make shipments from the state's productive Bakken shale area safer on the tracks, according to a company which has pitched the idea to regulators. The proposal from Quantum Energy Inc would strip propane and other volatile gas from North Dakota crude and send much of the remaining fuel to distant refineries.

Williston, North Dakota-based Quantum hopes to build five "micro refineries" near railheads already handling Bakken crude to strip about 100,000 barrels a day of fuel from that stream. Some of the resultant gas could add to household fuel supplies in the upper Midwest while making Bakken-origin rail cargoes safer, Quantum's executive vice president Russell Smith told Reuters. "Our plan solves a couple of important problems," said Smith, who earlier this month pitched the idea in meetings with White House officials and Transportation Department regulators mulling oil train safety.

Besides light fuels, Smith said, the Quantum facilities would also pull a stream of diesel gasoline from Bakken sources to help slake demand in the region. Executives hope to have permits and financing to break ground on at least one of the proposed refineries before year-end. The company expects that each processing center would cost about $500 million.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby hvacman » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 14:50:36

The proposal from Quantum Energy Inc would strip propane and other volatile gas from North Dakota crude and send much of the remaining fuel to distant refineries.


And what happens with all that "propane and other volatile gas" after it is stripped out? Where does it go and how?
A main Pacific coast north/south rail line runs right through downtown Redding, CA. Some locals are scared about the new oil shipments heading south to the Bay Area refineries. Of course, they have expressed zero concern about the hundreds of LPG tank cars from those same refineries that have been daily heading northbound through town for years and continue to in increasing numbers. Not to mention the chlorine, acids, etc. that you learn about if you actually read the sides of the cars as they are passing by or sitting on a siding.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 18:36:55

The propane and othe NGL's would be sold into the retail market place. Except now instead of going into the market close to the refineries it would go into the Midwest marketplace. Good for those folks .
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 19:10:20

hvacman wrote:
The proposal from Quantum Energy Inc would strip propane and other volatile gas from North Dakota crude and send much of the remaining fuel to distant refineries.


Is this an admission that they have been shipping Bakken "crude" with too high a vapour pressure? ie containing too much propane. I would have thought fully stabilized crude would have little to no propane? The Bleves of rail cars on live TV must be having an effect.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 20:37:09

Pusher - That's what surprised me also. I gather it ties to the lack of NG pipelines. Otherwise the NGL's would have been stripped and GOR of the railed oil would have been much less. But that was the point I had made a while back: crude oil, while flammable, doesn't tend to be explosive. Which is why I had speculated the vibrations on the rails would have acted like a separator and broke the gaseous phases out of solution and created a very explosive gas cap in the tankers.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Wed 02 Jul 2014, 22:56:57

ROCKMAN,

About that lack of NG infrastructure in North Dakota: I seem to remember Rocky Mountain Guy saying that in Alberta the infrastructure for collecting NG had to be in place before drilling could begin. Does that ring a bell? Do you know anything about that?
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