Tag Archive for oil

Fire fighters tell their side of resulting fire from oil train accidents

Cude Oil train in Interstate median in front of cntral Albany capital area Crude Oil Train passing adjacent capital area of Albany NY

From a TV report on 06/08/2015 6:59 PM by WNYT.com ALBANY NEW YORK
By: Samantha DiMascio

(DISCLOSURE: My Uncle Jim was a career fireman in Milwaukee)

Firefighters confronted by catastrophic oil train derailments shared their stories with people in Albany today. It was part of a summit put on by the Albany County Executive, and Sheriff at the College of St. Rose.

Over the last five years, the amount of crude oil traveling through Albany has tripled

One listener said that what we learned today is that you cannot fight the fire, you have to run away from the fire and let it burn out.  That is the same message I received when at a seminar in April in Easton PA.  Mostly we evacuate and let it burn out said the fire marshal in Easton.

A local Albany sheriff said warned that on a bigger scale “we didn’t think about the oil going into the sewer systems, taking out water systems, taking out infrastructure”.  Those are worst case scenarios that we might not be able to handle.

A Battalion Chief from Lynchburg, VA had an oil train derail in his city. He stressed to the audience in Albany the need for depth in the emergency response system. “You’ve got to have people in place to backfill positions, you have to have those command functions filled and people able to come in place of someone else’s absence. Because you cannot just ignore other possible fires and incidents happening in your town while you fight the train fire for multiple days.

To put manpower and equipment resources in perspective, Lac Megantic depleted resources from 85 different fire departments over the course of their three week disaster response. “That would wipe out all of Albany County’s 48 departments and put a sizeable dent in surrounding county services” said one Albany firefighter.  Imagine what that might do in an even larger urban area with more population both residential and working day time employees to possibly evacuate.

Who has calculated that catastrophic risk scenario and how recovery and claims would be paid?

For more go to: http://wnyt.com/article/stories/s3820216.shtml

Jim Blaze quoted in State Impact Pennsylvania NPR story on tank cars near Amtrak 188 derailment

NTSB Chairman Sumwalt surveys scene of Amtrak derailment, Philadelphia

Jim was quoted in Susan Phillips report for State Impact Pennsylvania, a National Public Radio project, about the tank cars narrowly missed by the locomotive of Amtrak #188 during the recent tragic derailment near Frankford Junction in Philadelphia.


Bloomberg: Canadian Crude Strengthens as Enbridge Fills Pipeline

"Industrial" by woodleywonderworks from Flickr.com via Creative Commons License

Heavy Western Canadian Select crude’s discount to West Texas Intermediate shrank to the least since 2012 as a new pipeline started and production sites were shut for maintenance. To read the entire article, go to http://bloom.bg/1FLETYu

Key observations

Heavy Western Canadian Select discount to the U.S. benchmark narrowed to $8.50 a barrel Monday, the smallest margin since September 2012, according to data from Bloomberg.

The grade’s absolute price rose 3 cents to $50.43, the highest since Dec. 4. WTI futures were $58.93 in New York.

The Enbridge Company reported that it filled a new 570,000-barrel-a-day pipeline last month. In part the pipeline adds to the inventory (in motion) storage. The Enbridge line will raise the amount of crude that can be shipped from Edmonton, in northern Alberta, south to the storage terminals located at Hardisty, Alberta. From Hardisty, crude can move by unit crude oil trains either south to the upper Midwest or to the southern US state refineries. Or west towards markets along the Pacific Ocean coast or for export to Asia.


MN lawmakers demand oil train disaster response plans in wake of Heimdal crash

"Industrial" by woodleywonderworks from Flickr.com via Creative Commons License

Not impressed by railroad explanations, on 8 May 2015.

Thirty nine state legislators want to know more about how BNSF insures against a catastrophic crude oil train accident

This is the URL for the full discussion. http://bringmethenews.com/2015/05/08/mn-lawmakers-demand-oil-train-disaster-response-plans-in-wake-of-heimdal-crash/#.VU2Uve_xj68.mailto

Here is a quick summary:

1) State lawmakers have called on rail operator BNSF to provide details of how it would respond to an oil train disaster in Minnesota. The notice came two days after this week’s BNSF crude oil train crash in North Dakota. A BNSF train carrying 107 cars of crude oil from the Bakken derailed in the town of Heimdal on Wednesday. About 10 cars caught fire in what was the second major oil train crash the state has seen in the past 18 months.

2) The 39 Minnesota lawmakers have written to BNSF demanding the information it had agreed to provide back in January, details describing the company’s emergency response procedures for “worst case scenario” oil train disasters should they occur in Minnesota.

3) The House and Senate lawmakers want the company to tell the legislature about the level of catastrophic insurance coverage the company maintains in the event of crude oil train accidents, spills and explosions.

4) They want BNSF to state how the company determines and analyzes the routes through Minnesota that trains carrying crude oil and other hazardous materials will take. This reflects a lack of community confidence in the carriers’ storyboard after multiple accidents and little evidence of improvement.

Objections to new crude oil regulations noted by New York Times

"Industrial" by woodleywonderworks from Flickr.com via Creative Commons License

“Oil trains — with as many as 120 cars — have become common sights in cities like Philadelphia, Albany and Chicago as they make the movement from the upper Midwest Bakken region of North Dakota, towards US refineries. Local and state officials from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast have complained that rail-friendly rules protecting business confidentiality make it difficult to predict when trains will pass through their local jurisdictions,” reports The New York Times

Missing from the discussion of this “what is in the train” emergency responder issue is the fact that by working together at the State DOT or Safety Department level, the affected states could effectively by pass this lack of rail safety information by collecting necessary sampled train movement origin – destination data as a collective effort.

This could be done using available technology and private terminal data that does not interfere with the primary federal mandate over interstate commerce. The states considering themselves at risk need to be creative in the face of bureaucracy and private rate railway confidentiality. There are sufficient “known” pieces of movement intelligence to fill in the blanks of the unknowns at a reasonable state cost. Given that possible but extra work technical solution, the rail managers might want to consider a more cooperative selective state by state info sharing approach. Why?

Because as part of their everyday businesses they do need to have cooperative and productive liaison with these states on many normal matters.

ALBERTA hit hard by dependency on oil…who’s next?

Oil price crash hits Provence budget hard. Forced to jack up other taxes

Bloomberg report: Alberta Budget Deficit Soars to Record on Oil Collapse

HOW BIG? The hit from plunging oil prices is estimated at a whopping C$7 BILLION Revenue will fall 11 percent to C$43.4 billion this fiscal year while spending is forecast to be little changed at C$48.4 billion.

WITH OIL… “We had the best tax structure in North America,” said Scott Hennig, a spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in an interview in Edmonton. “The government didn’t want to make the tough decisions. Are they spending too much? Absolutely.”

ARE MONGOLIA and South Africa listening?

Government greed and poor due diligence based on state resource windfalls set up a lot of great government plans for failure. They never evaluate for down cycles.

Alberta’s dependence on petroleum revenue had fed an expectant population of 4.2 million people with visions of prosperity. Alberta, with the lowest taxes in the country, now instead faces more job cuts as corporate profits for its leading industry sink 50 percent this year and energy investment falls 30 percent.

That is from a Bloomberg evaluation of Alberta’s budget documents.

To wean itself off the oil habit, Alberta will now have to devote only 50 percent of its energy revenue to finance its budget by 2019-20. That is down from 100 percent curently. The recent oil collapse forced the government to draw down C$4 billion from its contingency fund for fiscal year 2015-16, reducing the balance to C$2.5 billion. “We need to get off the roller coaster of oil,” Campbell said.

Alberta relied on royalties from oil and gas for almost a fifth of its revenue this current fiscal year. In the next fiscal year it will account for less than 7 percent, “It MIGHT rebound to 17 percent in a decade.” Maybe. Higher Fees Higher local taxes and fees will help fill the budget gap, bringing in a combined C$11.4 billion over the next five years. The province’s income tax rate of 10 percent will increase to 10.5 percent for those earning more than C$100,000 starting in January That will rise to 11.5 percent by 2018. Albertans earning more than C$250,000 will see their tax rates rise to 12 percent over three years. Gasoline taxes will increase by 44 percent to 13 cents a liter, effective tonight. Buyers of wine and cigarettes will pay more, while traffic fines and motor vehicle fees will also increase.