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Oil via rail

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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Synapsid » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 19:17:10

Graeme,

Note that trains carrying Eagle Ford haven't been exploding. Texas was on top of this, whereas North Dakota was not--I expect that's a good part of the difference.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 19:56:01

According to this report, Eagle Ford does have NGLs.

The Eagle Ford Shale formation is remarkable because it contains both natural gas (in the southern part of the formation) and NGLs and oil (in the northern part of the trend).
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 20:46:22

ROCKMAN wrote: 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.


I know your pickups are big in the US but a normal American pickup may have trouble fitting it in, but surely a Texan size pickup would have no trouble, lol
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 21:24:27

Graeme - Not only that but some EFS production is predominantly NGL's and NG which is why the Whole Stream Flow is run though well site separators and JT plants to separate those volatile components out so they can be transported separately from the heavier oil fraction. Doing this doesn't requalify the production as "refined product"... it's still "oil". This stream is then run through "splitters" which does turn the production into exportable "products".
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 21:34:37

R, Thanks but is separation actually done before all rail shipments of EF oil? If not, then the industry has a big problem. It simply cannot expect the public to accept dangerous shipments.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 23:30:18

Graeme,

Are there any oil shipments by rail from the EF? I think you will find it all goes by pipeline. Maybe truck then pipe, but there are plenty of pipes running to the coast from the EF, and they are expanding fast. BTW, if the oil is pipelined all the way, then it can have a high vapour pressure and still be safe, as in the pipe line the oil is always under pressure, and the volatiles can not come out of solution. Unlike a tank car where the oil is at atmospheric pressure.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 01:19:35

How do you explain this report then?

As shale fields scattered across the Midwest and West Texas produce millions of barrels of crude oil, energy companies are finding the national pipeline network insufficient to transport their output. Railroads are increasingly picking up the slack, and Jefferson Energy Companies, based in The Woodlands, is one of several companies investing millions of dollars to help transport crude by rail, a business that was nearly nonexistent just five years ago.

“We never thought we competed with pipeline until four years ago when we moved our first unit train of crude by rail,” Dean Wise, a vice president for BNSF Railway, based in Fort Worth, said at a rail conference in January. “Now BNSF is moving eight trains a day.” (BNSF is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune.)


Yet more crude oil was spilled in American rail incidents in 2013 than in the previous four decades, according to a McClatchy Newspapers analysis of federal data. The data for Texas shows 62 crude oil spills from trains over the last decade. Forty-two, or 68 percent, have occurred since 2012.


As noted above, pipelines can't handle the volumes produced. Oil cars are not safe so expect more accidents. Upgrading cars is not going to happen.

The Department of Transportation is also looking at new safety standards for tank cars carrying crude oil or other combustible materials, a move that could require companies to upgrade or replace thousands of cars.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby toolpush » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 02:04:40

https://rbnenergy.com/permian-crude-gat ... land-basin

In Episode 1 of this series we reviewed crude prices and takeaway capacity in the booming Permian Basin. At the moment, production exceeds local demand and takeaway capacity so that producers are experiencing price discounts at Midland, TX for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and West Texas Sour (WTS) crudes versus the Cushing, OK trading hub of around $7/Bbl. The spread between Midland WTI and the Gulf Coast benchmark light sweet crude Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) is about $9/Bbl. As soon as the new 300 Mb/d BridgeTex pipeline – a joint venture between Magellan Midstream and Occidental – comes online (now expected in June/July of this year) we believe that the Midland/LLS spread will narrow. In the meantime, the price spreads are generally too low to justify more expensive rail transport out of the Permian.


It looks it is a 50/50 split, railways available, pipeline in current short supply but about to be fixed, and price spread not enough to warrent rail transport to be used, even though it is available.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 06:55:47

Graeme - "It simply cannot expect the public to accept dangerous shipments." Actually in this case what the public accepts isn't the key...it's what the oil haulers (via pipeline and truck) aren't willing to accept. And they won't in the EFS. But again there's a strong financial incentive for companies to separate the VOC's at the well site...on a per unit volume basis they can be worth more then the oil. I have one well in S La that I pay about $90,000 per year to rent that separates the NGL's out which are then trucked out. They represent a significant portion of the cash flow.

Which is one of the reasons I was surprised to find out what they weren't doing it the Bakken. In situations where there isn't enough VOC to justify a JT plant we'll send them down the pipeline with the NG stream. But we do get paid for a portion of it because it increase the Btu of the NG and that increases the price we get. But we don't do it with VOC's that come off an oil well. If there isn't enough to financially justify collecting it then it and the methane goes to the flare stack on location and is burned. Which has been one of the big complaints about the Bakken: excessive methane/VOC flaring. I'm surprised the train companies allow the mixture. They are usually very conscious of the dangers of hauling any hazardous material like chlorine. So they either didn't realize the nature of the VOC saturated oil or they let financial incentives override safety concerns. IMHO in either case that would have been wrong. It would be interesting for the feds to subpoena the rail companies and quiz them on how they unload those tank cars. If I'm correct about the VOC's coming out of solution during transport and creating a volatile gas cap in the tank car that situation has to be dealt with when unloading. I once had an EMPTY oil storage tank offshore that exploded just from the VOC's that were emitted from the steel walls. Imagine what a low concentration that was. The dummies turn the work lights AND THE VENTELATION BLOWERS off when the broke for lunch. They turned the work lights on and BOOM! Blew the bottom out of the tank. Fortunately no one was in the tank when it blew.

I think that that would present a significant issue when they unload. Do they have a vapor recovery system? If so are they collecting or flaring the VOC's? Are the just letting them vent? Again I could be wrong but I envision a small pressured (maybe not much more then you find in you car tire) cap of VOC in the top of the tank car. But that's what had to explode in that Canadian train accident.Again, oil doesn't explode...it burns. But VOC's represent some of the most powerful explosive material around. Consider how little VOC was absorbed into the STEEL WALLS of my storage tank the blew. And there's an odd fact that's counterintuitive. NG/VOC's won't explode if their concentration when mixed with air is too high. I don't know about VOC's but NG/air mixtures are most dangerous when the methane concentration is less than 15%. The reason is the necessity of oxygen to combust: not enough O2 and no boom. And the concentration of oxygen in air is relatively low.

All of this is very basic chemistry and should have been easily understood by all parties involved IMHO. And I suspect probably was.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 10:08:21

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/06/29/hazardous_goods_on_canadas_rails_exposed_in_emergency_guide.html

The last sentence is the money quote. Talk about burying your lead.

Under federal common carrier rules, railroads can’t refuse to transport dangerous cargo if it’s in a legal container.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 10:34:41

K - Yep...came across that fact a few months ago research all hazardous loads. But what I did gather from the less then clear policy the federal gov't is responsible for what can and can't be shipped by rail. IOW if the gov't didn't like what anyone wants to move on a common carrier then it can't be shipped. But the feds also decide the design of those rail cards...not the rail roads or the oil owners. I wonder if the feds ever had a clue about the nature of what was being shipped?
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby kuidaskassikaeb » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 13:12:06

Who knows what the feds think. The rule is a leftover from the 19th century, when rails ran the world, and is almost common law.

Anyway I think lac-Mag was a fuel gas explosion. Basically when the cars ruptured, the high pressure and heat ejected a stream of small droplets. Those exploded. A lower VOC vapor pressure would help that obviously, but I don't think the explosion was methane. Below a few videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0BqhdjCC2w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dW1qkBg8sM

It didn't just look like a MOAB it probably was one.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 15:54:14

K - I reached the same conclusion. But I also lump methane in with the other VOC's just to keep it simple. How much methane, propane, etc...who knows. But I would expect from the reports of all the Bakken flaring they are knocking a lot of methane out at the well head. Not as easy to pull the heavier VOC's out which is why I suspect them more than methane. But it doesn't matter: as you point out atomized light hydrocarbons are the key component in a MOAB.

And I don't think folks realize just how little it takes of those vapors to make a big bang. Just so folks don't misunderstand my other post: my offshore STEEL oil tank that had it's bottom blown oil when VOC's vapors ignited had no oil in the tank at the time. All the vapors came from the VOC's that had soaked into the STEEL WALLS of the tank. The walls weren't made of porous foam or some such thing...it was Steel. So imagine how little VOC vapor collected in the time it took the crew to eat lunch while the ventilation fans were turned off. The lights spark when they are turn on and BOOM!... the steel bottom and supporting I-beams are blown down into the Gulf of México.

That's why I question the safety of those tank cars even after they are unloaded. BTW have you ever sprinkled a little gasoline on to some loose branches and toss a match in? After your eyebrows grew back in I bet you vowed to never do that again. LOL.
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 18:50:37

Fox Guarding Henhouse: Oil-By-Rail Standards Led by American Petroleum Institute

“How did it get missed for the last ten years?”

That was the question Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), posed to a panel of industry representatives back in April about how the rail industry had missed the fact that Bakken oil is more explosive than traditional crude oil.

“How do we move to an environment where commodities are classified in the right containers from the get go and not just put in until we figure out that there’s a problem,” Hersman asked during the two-day forum on transportation of crude oil and ethanol. “Is there a process for that?”

The first panelist to respond was Robert Fronczak, assistant vice president of environmental and hazardous materials for the Association of American Railroads (AAR). His response was telling.

“We’ve know about this long before Lac-Megantic and that is why we initiated the tank car committee activity and passed CPC-1232 in 2011,” Fronczak replied, “To ask why the standards are the way they are, you’d have to ask DOT that.”

So, now as the new oil-by-rail safety regulations have been sent from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, it seems like a good time to review Hersman’s questions.

How did we miss this? Is there a process to properly classify commodities for the right container before they are ever shipped?



A Fundamental Question Goes Unanswered

So, on the eve of new regulations, the fundamental question of how to properly sample and test Bakken crude oil for appropriate classification has not been answered. And the only group currently working on an “industry standard” for this is the American Petroleum Institute, which has already concluded that Bakken crude is no different from other crude oils — at the same time API is having private meetings at the White House regarding the new regulations.

Chair Hersman resigned shortly after the forum in April, ending her 10-year career with the NTSB. At the time she told the AP she had, “seen a lot of difficulty when it comes to safety rules being implemented if we don't have a high enough body count. That is a tombstone mentality. We know the steps that will prevent or mitigate these accidents. What is missing is the will to require people to do so.”

If the current process regarding new oil-by-rail regulations in the U.S. is any indication, apparently we haven’t achieved a high enough body count yet.


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Tighter oil train rules could hurt Keystone XL push

The push to make oil train shipments safer could end up setting back efforts to win the Obama administration’s approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. The rail industry says tighter safety rules could choke off their shipments of Canadian oil — a scenario that Keystone opponents say would make TransCanada’s proposed pipeline a crucial artery for the crude, undermining the State Department’s view that the pipeline would cause only modest environmental damage.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 11 Jul 2014, 20:45:28

New York will disclose when and where trains ship oil through state

New York will soon disclose the routes and schedules of freight trains hauling tanker cars filled with Bakken crude oil as they pass through New York on their way to coastal refineries.

New York State announced Friday it has denied a request by CSX Transportation and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The railroads began providing the information to the State Emergency Response Commission on June 7 under an emergency order signed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The decision to release the data was announced by Jerome Hauer, state Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, who also informed the railroads in a letter.

“The state’s review concluded that the information is not sensitive security information,” Hauer said, indicating it will be released to local emergency planners and to the public through Freedom of Information requests.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 13 Jul 2014, 17:32:36

Public, industry weigh in on oil train safety

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is drafting regulations to improve the safety of rail shipments of crude oil following a series derailments, explosions and fires. With billions of dollars at stake, the railroad, oil, ethanol and chemical industries have been trying to shape the rules to their advantage in a series of meetings with the White House and PHMSA. A key issue is tougher standards for tank cars used to ship oil. The public has weighed in primarily through letters, emails and phone calls to the agency.

Some comments:

“Our work on this rule is a work that is organized around what is the safest approach to the movement of this crude oil, particularly given the volumes in which it is moving around the country. ... There is the tank car itself, but as we have said for many months there is also speed, there is also track quality, there are also any number of things.” — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, speaking to reporters, July 1, 2014

___

“By and large we are critical of the process. It appears to be one in which industry and regulators are negotiating behind closed doors with very little public participation. ... This is not because the public hasn’t been concerned and engaged.” — Anthony Swift, attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, in an interview

___

“The older cars must go, or simply be illegal on U.S. rails. That will get the attention and action from all the oil companies transporting petroleum products in the U.S. If not, who dies the next time a derailment happens? We all know that’s when and not if.” — Russell Pesko of Plainfield, Illinois, in comments filed with PHMSA.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 22 Jul 2014, 20:15:52

Obama Administration to Announce Stricter Oil Train Safety Standards

The Obama administration will unveil on Wednesday new rules proposing stricter safety standards on trains carrying flammable fuels, including oil and ethanol, according to a Capitol Hill source familiar with the pending regulation.

The rules, to be announced Wednesday morning by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, will include standards for tank cars, speed limits for trains carrying flammable fuels, brake standards, and required testing for oil and other volatile liquids.

Railroads, oil companies and railcar owners have been expecting new federal regulations meant to improve the safety of oil shipments in the wake of several fiery train accidents. Details of the proposed regulation could impact several industries.

The railroads have been worried that slower speed limits could cause major gridlock, while oil companies have fretted that new rules about tank car volumes might prevent them from shipping all the crude they wanted.


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby sparky » Tue 22 Jul 2014, 20:28:25

toolpush wrote:Graeme,

Are there any oil shipments by rail from the EF? I think you will find it all goes by pipeline. Maybe truck then pipe, but there are plenty of pipes running to the coast from the EF, and they are expanding fast. BTW, if the oil is pipelined all the way, then it can have a high vapour pressure and still be safe, as in the pipe line the oil is always under pressure, and the volatiles can not come out of solution. Unlike a tank car where the oil is at atmospheric pressure.


too high light fraction even compressed as a liqid can stuff the compressors and valves by creating cavitation
which can be very destructive , that's why crude is degased before being send to compression
a gas pipeline carrying slug of liquid would wreck a gas compressor , that's why there is condensate traps after a long transit pipe

it's not explosive safety which is critical , it's protecting the gear
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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 22 Jul 2014, 21:01:33

Speed of Oil Tank Cars ‘An Issue': DOT Secretary

The speed of rail tank cars used in crude-by-rail shipments “is an issue” that the Transportation Department may address in an upcoming safety rule, Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

“It has to be dealt with comprehensively,” Foxx said July 21 of the rule, which is still being crafted, during remarks at the National Press Club. New standards for tank cars are “one piece of it, but speed is an issue.”


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Re: Oil via rail

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 23 Jul 2014, 18:45:48

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL ALLOWS DANGEROUS OIL TRAINS TO KEEP ROLLING

In response to the explosion in the number of derailments of oil-carrying tank cars in the past two years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today proposed upgraded safety standards for tank cars, but it would allow old tank cars, which are prone to puncture upon impact, spilling oil, and sparking devastating fires and explosions, to continue carrying explosive Bakken crude for years. The proposal would phase out the use of these hazardous DOT-111 tank cars for shipping highly flammable fuels, but not until 2017–2020 depending on the fuel and only for trains with 20 or more cars filled with the fuels.
The proposed rule projects that there will be as many as 15 derailments of these cars each year of the partial phase out, and that there may be an additional 10 devastating accidents, nine of which would cost more than $1 billion in damages, and one of which would cause more than $5 billion in damages.

Earthjustice, on behalf of ForestEthics and the Sierra Club, filed a petition last week calling for an emergency ban of these dangerous and outdated rail cars to get them off the tracks.


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