This from a selective assessment from a Bismarck Tribune news report. //
As of the end of June 2015, the most recent figures available, shipments of Bakken crude oil from North Dakota via rail and pipeline were essentially equal: 47 percent by rail, 46 percent by pipeline. The rail shipments market share have gone down substantially since the peak in late 2014 says Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
The ability to make an economic forecast of oil by rail volume has demonstrated a MARKET VOLATILITY of about 25% within a half year period in 2015.
Expectations by various experts of future crude oil by rail may have to be tempered.
The data shows that the estimated rail export volumes of crude by rail leaving North Dakota peaked around 850,000 barrels per day at the end of 2014.
By June of 2015, the ND oil origin shipments by rail had dropped nearly 25% to around 640,000 barrels in the past 6-months.
Regardless of current 2015 market trends, the top year for future oil by rail out of North Dakota “might be” the year 2017. Given the global price of energy factors, it is difficult to predict. What do you think?
For more, see: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/oil-shipments-by-rail-drop-as-pipeline-shipments-increase/article_6a02aa9b-55c0-5a28-8743-f2bc8b670e85.html
In response to growing community concerns surrounding crude oil train movements, BNSF has announced an aggressive track inspection and tank car inspection program.
BNSF spokesman Mike Trevino has told reporters in Illinois that the railway company has tightened its oversight of tank cars and reduced its tolerance for when potential wheel defects would lead the company to pull a car out of service.
The Texas headquartered freight railroad in late March slowed crude oil trains to 35 mph in all cities with more than 100,000 people.
It also increased track inspections near waterways.
It stepped up efforts to find and repair defective wheels.
“We wanted to take some operations steps to further drive safe operations while we waited for the new (tank car) standards” (finally ordered by the federal government in early May).
Most rail tank cars are not owned by the railroads, but by the shippers and oil receivers who lease them to move the oil freight.
BNSF confirms that its trained railroad personnel now inspect the crude oil route tracks that it operates over 2.5 times more often than FRA regulations require as the federal minimum safety standard.
BNSF also reduced the spacing between sophisticated track-side detectors along the crude oil train main line routes to better and more frequently identify wheels and axles that are beginning to fail.