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Oil via rail

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

Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 03 Jul 2014, 13:02:45

Syn - No short answer. Some details here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-1 ... s-lag.html

"Emissions from flaring, or burning of natural gas, methane and hydrogen sulphide associated with oil production, have risen in each of the last three years as drillers increased activity and the government failed to implement new industry targets. “There’s no new absolute target to reduce flare or vent emissions,” said James Vaughan, who works at the Alberta Energy Conservation Board’s surveillance branch, in an interview. “The economics for conserving gas just doesn’t seem to be there” because of a decline in natural gas prices."
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Thu 03 Jul 2014, 15:09:40

ROCKMAN,

Thanks.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 03 Jul 2014, 16:04:44

Syn - An interesting new story just popped up: New ND Flaring Regs Make Statoil's Nat Gas Container System Timely - See more at: http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/1 ... nOf8R.dpuf

Statoil ASA recently announced a container system to reduce flaring in the Bakken. The company’s timing could not have been better, considering that North Dakota just approved new flaring regulations. More restrictive regulations covering flaring on existing wells were passed by the North Dakota Industrial Commission – the state’s regulating entity for oil and gas – July 1. The goal of the commission is to reduce flaring to 26 percent by the fourth quarter of 2014, 23 percent by the first quarter of 2016, and 10 percent – with the potential of 5 percent – by the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the commission’s website. Previously, about 30 percent of natural gas in North Dakota was flared. Operators that do not comply with the new flaring restrictions will be subject to restrictions in oil production. Operators will be restricted to producing 200 barrels a day if they do not collect at least 60 percent of their natural gas. There will be a 90-day grace period for an operator not meeting the new rules to produce at a maximum rate before being subject to a penalty.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 05 Jul 2014, 18:25:11

Rupture-Prone Oil Trains Keep Rolling After Quebec Crash

When Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner sees rail cars full of crude oil rumble down the tracks that criss-cross his Chicago-area town, he often thinks about the derailment that killed 47 people almost a year ago in Canada.

The disaster focused attention on the design of the oil tankers, yet two-thirds of the tank cars in use today are still older models that safety experts say are vulnerable to puncture. The July 6 derailment last year in Quebec and seven other major ones in the U.S. and Canada since then have spilled more than 3 million gallons of oil, with some cars catching fire or exploding.

“You can see tanker car after tanker car go by on that rail constantly,” said Weisner, whose city is 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Chicago and second to it in population in Illinois.



Thomas Simpson, president of the Rail Supply Institute, a Washington-based group that represents tank car makers and owners like GATX, said the Transportation Department should take a “holistic approach” to rail safety, including steps to prevent derailments and to ensure the oil being transported isn’t especially volatile. The group supports upgrades to the DOT-111 car, though not the thicker shelled car advocated by the Association of American Railroads.

Some safety advocates say mile-long trains filled with oil are inherently unsafe. No tank car design would hold-up in a derailment when the train is traveling 40 miles per hour or faster, said Fred Millar, a safety consultant in Virginia.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Sixstrings » Sat 05 Jul 2014, 18:44:47

Just generally about this topic..

I think pipelines are better. Oil on rail is more dangerous, and far less efficient. A good thing about the keystone pipeline is that shale oil gets to piggyback.

I think, as far as environmental concerns go, we'd do better to build good pipelines than ship it over rail.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 05 Jul 2014, 19:12:07

six - By rail, by pipeline, by ox cart. The oil will be produced and transported. Any one who believes otherwise is truly delusional IMHO. Chose safer or more dangerous transport methods...that's was the only option. And for many who chose to fight the pipelines have only themselves to blame for the expansion of rail oil IMHO.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 05 Jul 2014, 19:30:52

Both methods are dangerous. There will be more derailments and pipeline spills. Guaranteed. The only way to stop accidents is to stop further pipeline development and to regulate strictly oil rail transport. It will be interesting to see what regulators will do. Wait until the next disaster?
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 06 Jul 2014, 19:41:32

Lac Megantic One Year Later: What Has Been Done to Prevent Another Tragedy?

You would think that the 47 deaths in Lac Megantic would bring about big changes in rail safety. But the federal government – the only level of government that can regulate what moves on rail lines – has treated this primarily as a public relations problem rather than a public safety problem.

For example, the fed did move quickly to codify some commons sense measures like making it a requirement that rail employees lock the door to the locomotive if they are leaving the train unattended. But as revealed in documents we obtained under Access to Information legislation, the government gave in to industry lobbying and removed the (safer, but more expensive) requirement that oil trains have someone in attendance at all times.

We also got our hands on internal government memos showing that the Harper government was so fixated on getting oil to market cheaply, that they ignored safety warnings from their own experts. And we publicized the behind-the-scenes discussions between the feds, CN Rail and the oil company Nexen about a plan to ship 700 carloads per day of oil through northern British Columbia -- a project that could match the capacity of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, but without a comparable public review process.

These revelations illustrate how the federal government is putting oil and rail company profits ahead of public safety.

There has been some action. In April, the federal government announced that the use of pre-2011 DOT-111 rail cars to transport hazardous liquids must be phased out by 2017, and that better emergency response plans need to be in place in the event of an accident. It is important to note, however, that the Canadian Transportation Safety Board has said that the post-2011 DOT-111 design is also not safe enough for the transport of hazardous liquids like crude oil and there is no timeline for taking them off the rails.

We have been arguing for over a year (for examples, see here and here, and most recently here) that the government should ban the transport of oil in these unsafe cars immediately. Yet the feds continue to allow the construction of new oil-by-rail loading and unloading facilities, even though they know that the cars that will be travelling to and from these facilities are unsafe.

The government and the oil justify this by saying that oil must get to market, so we must choose between new pipelines or increased oil-by-rail.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 10:15:21

Image

I saw that while looking up rail traffic.

Anyway, if anybody is doing any trainspotting. Placard numbers 1276 are crude oil.
1075 is propane or butane
and gasoline is 1203.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 11:08:12

K - Illuminating...thanks. Couldn't find the current national car count but CA is way up. In fact a month ago an oil train ran from Colorado to Gulf Coast Texas...a first I believe. While searching I ran across a number of stories about local communities protesting oil rail shipments thru their areas. But, oddly, not one story about any protest against shipping gasoline into their communities despite the fact that it's much more dangerous then crude oil. I wonder why? It couldn't be because probably nearly very resident/business demands fuel for their vehicles but don't care if the oil makes it to the refineries, could it? Seems an odd bit of logic. I wonder what their position would be if their communities were supplied with motor fuels made only from crude oil shipped thru their towns? IMHO I suspect their would be very few protestors.

Similar to folks in Washington state that protest shipping oil overseas from their ports but are fine with shipping oil from Alaska into their ports which aids them in claiming the title as the 5th largest refining state in the country. Rather impressive for a state that actually produces no oil. Similarly no protests over pipelines, rail cars and tankers that haul refined products out of the state. It would appear that the protests aren't based upon safety issues as much they are on who receives the financial benefits. As has been said before: following the money tends to explain many apparently contradictory situations. LOL.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 15:41:07

ROCKMAN,

You're doing it agai...oh, never mind.

(Sigh)
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 16:07:17

Syn - "You're doing it agai...oh, never mind.". Yes I am. But that's the irritating thing about facts...they don't change no matter how much one wants to ignore them. LOL
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 17:05:55

ROCKMAN,

Now now--you pointed out just recently how little attention most people pay to the fact that trains carry all kinds of lethals through their communities all the time. Same in Washington. As to pipelines exporting fuels, the state rejoices in the Olympic pipeline that carries fuel to Oregon from the refinery complex up near the Canadian border, and I doubt one resident in 1000 knows it's there. Some construction company dug into it a couple of decades ago and there was A SPILL (or was it A FIRE?) and everyone was surprised: Pipeline? There's a pipeline there?

Try building it today and I bet there'd be hooplaw. Just ignorance, not greed.

On tankers, though, there really has been a great deal of attention paid to petroleum-tanker traffic in Puget Sound over the years, and with good reason. (What Paulo describes for Kitimat applies here too.) Much of the push for double-hulled tankers came from here. (The occasional conning tower is fun too, for us ship watchers--especially when I think of what one of those lovelies can do.)

I was surprised to learn just a bit ago that Washington is the fourth largest exporting state in the country, after CA, TX (you've heard of Texas), and NY. Agriculture (remember those noodle-eaters in China; they love our wheat), lumber, petroleum products, electronics, aerospace--why, the throbbing heart of 21st-century America is right here! And you, sir, choose to carp. Tsk.

Why-ever would we want more?
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 17:48:56

North Dakota Fracking: Behind the Oil-Train Explosions

When energy companies started extracting oil from shale formations in South Texas a few years ago, they invested hundreds of millions of dollars to make the volatile crude safer to handle.

In North Dakota's Bakken Shale oil field, nobody installed the necessary equipment. The result is that the second-fastest growing source of crude in the U.S. is producing oil that pipelines often would reject as too dangerous to transport.

Now the decision not to build the equipment is coming back to haunt the oil industry as the federal government seeks to prevent fiery accidents of trains laden with North Dakota oil. Investigators probing crude-by-rail accidents, including one a year ago that killed 47 people in Quebec, are trying to determine why shale oil has proved so combustible—a question that has taken on growing urgency as rail shipments rise.

Only one stabilizer, which can remove the most volatile gases before transport, has been built in North Dakota and it hasn't begun operation, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal.

Stabilizers use heat and pressure to force light hydrocarbon molecules—including ethane, butane and propane—to form into vapor and boil out of the liquid crude. The operation can lower the vapor pressure of crude oil, making it less volatile and therefore safer to transport by pipeline or rail tank car.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 18:00:00

Graeme,

I have been harping on about vapour pressure for a while, never realized that ND didn't stabilize their oil at all. But things will probably change quickly now that stabilized oil, sorry condensate, maybe allowed to be exported. I can see US crude oil production going down and condensate production going up as companies finally realize they have been producing condensate after all. Silly them, sarc off.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Keith_McClary » Mon 07 Jul 2014, 22:40:59

kuidaskassikaeb wrote:Anyway, if anybody is doing any trainspotting. Placard numbers 1276 are crude oil.
1075 is propane or butane
and gasoline is 1203.
Thanks, I will do some spotting. I found a list here:
https://law.resource.org/pub/za/ibr/za. ... .2008.html
Search the page for "Argon".

(Actually, crude is 1267)
"I could go on, but let’s veer off in another direction instead."

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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 00:53:13

Graeme ole buddy I'm going to have to back you up on this one...and then some. You don't need a stabilizer to reduce the volatile nature of the oil. Every one of my wells producing an amount of liquid hydrocarbon, even when the production is primarily NG, goes thru a "separator" at the wellhead. A relatively simple and fairly cheap piece of production equipment. And I do it for a practical reason: the folks hauling my oil from the well, either via tank truck or pipeline, have max spec requirements which include volatile organic components (VOC's) and even water. That's why I was surprised when I started reading about how much VOC's they were carrying with the Bakken oil. I can only assume that the lack of gathering systems led to this procedure. They don't want to flare those VOC's and lose valuable production so haul them with the oil. As I've point out before no oil, even the Bakken, is explosive. Grain dust in the air is much more prone to explode. And so are VOC's.

BTW: wanna know what's a much greater explosion risk then stabilized oil? It's compressed AIR. There are some oil field EOR projects that require injecting high pressure AIR. Allow that AIR to come into contact with a small amount of hydrocarbon, like some lube oil in a piece of equipment, and BOOM! And equipment and perhaps a few lives are lost.

Fuel-Air Explosives [FAE] disperse an aerosol cloud of fuel which is ignited by an embedded detonator to produce an explosion. The fuel-air bomb is one of the most well-known types of thermobaric weapons which used a gas-enhanced explosive mechanism, often propane of a combination of VOC's. The rapidly expanding wave front due to overpressure flattens all objects within close proximity of the epicenter of the aerosol fuel cloud, and produces debilitating damage well beyond the flattened area. The main destructive force of FAE is high overpressure, useful against soft targets such as minefields, armored vehicles, aircraft parked in the open, and bunkers.
Fuel/air explosive represent the military application of the vapor cloud explosions and dust explosions accidents that have long bedeviled a variety of industries. Accidental vapor cloud explosion hazards are of great concern to the refining and chemical processing industry, and a number of catastrophic explosion accidents have had significant consequences in terms of injury, property damage, business interruption, loss of goodwill, and environmental impact.

And every year, many serious explosions and fires occur in industrial plants as a result of dust. Many materials form dust clouds that can easily ignite and explode, injuring personnel and damaging plant. This is a well-known phenomenon in the coal mining, grain storage, and the woodworking and paper industries. Many miners have been killed and injured and massive production losses have resulted from coal dust explosions in underground coal mining operations. Of the 129 grain dust explosions that occurred nationwide between 1987 and 1997, about half involved corn. Eleven were caused by wheat dust and 10 by dust from soybeans. Billions of tiny, highly combustible particles of grain are generated by grain kernels rubbing together as they move along conveyer belts and shifted between bins. Inside the enclosed chambers, those particles rise in a cloud. When the dust gets in with the right mixture of oxygen and comes in contact with a spark or even an overheated bearing on a conveyer belt, it is extremely explosive.

Almost all organic material in the form of a dust cloud will ignite at temperatures below 500 oC - approximately the same temperature as a newly extinguished match. Cotton, plastics and foodstuffs such as sugar, flour and cocoa can also, under the right conditions, act as explosives. In order for a dust explosion to take place, the dust particles must be of a certain size and the amount of finely granulated material per unit of volume must lie within certain critical values. There is generally a direct correlation between particle size and explosive hazard. The smaller the particle, the more reactive the dust. As the materials become smaller, they disperse and remain suspended more easily, increasing the potential for ignition and propagation of the reaction. Industrial explosion prevention measures include, where possible, providing nitrogen gas purging to ensure that the oxygen concentration is kept below that required for combustion.

For vapor cloud explosion there is a minimum ratio of fuel vapor to air below which ignition will not occur. Alternately, there is also a maximum ratio of fuel vapor to air, at which ignition will not occur. These limits are termed the lower and upper explosive limits. For gasoline vapor, the explosive range is from 1.3 to 6.0% vapor to air, and for methane this range is 5 to 15%. Many parameters contribute to the potential damage from a vapor cloud explosion, including the mass and type of material released, the strength of ignition source, the nature of the release event (e.g., turbulent jet release), and turbulence induced in the cloud (e.g., from ambient obstructions).
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 02:10:54

Hey Rockman,

Do you think the WSJ has done the usual journalistic thing and got separator and stabilizer mixed up? I was a little confused myself, thinking they were interchangeable terms? Which they obviously are not.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 09:49:21

Pusher - I think the primary difference is scale. And while they call it a "stabilizer" it's still a separator per se. A much more sophisticated system but still does the same thing. I also think that tag is a bit more "politically correct" implying they fix a problem...like tank cars exploding. LOL. Many of my well site separators could fit in the back of a pick up truck. A well site JT plant to recover NGL might have a 20' X 40' footprint. I've never seen a "stabilizer" but I envision a small plant covering several acres. IOW my separator might be rated at 500 bopd. A stabilizer might be rated in the tens of thousands of bopd. I've seen some stabilizer plant estimates as high as $200 million. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't fit in the back of a pick up. Or even a few acres. LOL.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 18:48:00

What are the chances of building sufficient number of stabilizers to reduce volatility of transported oil? Zero? It may appear we have a solution which is not going to be implemented in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the oil trains already in motion are accidents waiting to happen!

Oil trains moving frequently through Wisconsin

More than three dozen trains carrying volatile crude oil move through Wisconsin each week from the Northern Plains, disclosures from railroads show.

State officials released the information in response to a public records request from The Associated Press.

The disclosures show BNSF Railway is the primary hauler of oil, moving between 26 and 44 trains per week along an eight county route that parallels the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. Canadian Pacific Railway moves on average 4 trains a week along a route that crosses from La Crosse southeast to Milwaukee, then down into Illinois.

Each train can carry about 3 million gallons of oil.

Federal officials ordered railroads to turn over details of the shipments to states after a string of fiery accidents involving oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada. Before the Bakken began booming about five years ago, very little oil moved by rail in the U.S.

Derailments of Bakken tank cars have caused explosions in North Dakota, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Quebec, where 47 were killed when a runaway train crashed into the city of Lac-Megantic last July.


sheboyganpress

Explosive fracked oil could blow up Central New York trains, environmentalists caution

Highly explosive fracked oil from North Dakota passes through Central New York cities and villages several times a week and could explode on any trip, said environmentalists from several different groups today.
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