Thursday, 12 April 2018 06:40

Rail or pipeline: easy choice

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A Fraser Institute study using data from government sources, found when the safety of transporting oil and gas by pipelines and rail is compared, taking into consideration the amount of product moved, pipelines are found to be the much safer transportation method. Specifically, rail is found to be over 4.5 times more likely to experience an occurrence when compared to pipelines.
Only 17 per cent of pipeline occurrences take place in actual line pipe, meaning that the vast majority of spills occur in facilities, which may have secondary containment mechanisms and procedures.
With production growing faster than pipeline capacity, oil companies are choosing rail as a means to deliver crude to refineries. Proponents say rail is a faster and more efficient way to move oil, while critics say the risk of accidents is high, particularly because trains go through urban areas that pipelines tend to avoid.
Warren Buffett said “rail tank cars need to be upgraded to safely transport the surging production of oil from North Dakota and Texas.” “There will be changes made, and there should be,” Buffett said on CNBC. “The oil from the Bakken [oil field in North Dakota] and Eagle Ford [in central Texas] has turned out to be more volatile than people anticipated The comments came little more than a week after the BNSF Railway Co., which Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway Co. bought in 2010, announced it will buy 5,000 stronger tank cars with thicker walls and other safety protections. The decision came after several derailments in 2013 led to oil spills, fires and deaths. One accident involved a BNSF train that exploded after derailing near Casselton, N.D., in December.
The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a grade and derailed downtown, Forty-five people were killed and half of the downtown area, was destroyed.
The Bakken Formation occupying about 200,000 square miles of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Why are these facts not presented to B.C. by our federal and provincial government?
Eugene Adamson, Medicine Hat

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