Proposals to tighten safety standards for crude carried by rail were published in the Federal Register Friday by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, kicking off a period for public comment that will run for 60 days, The Hill reports.
The Department of Transportation’s proposed regulation tackling oil train safety may have been dealing mostly with tank car construction, but the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is also reporting on the volatility of Bakken crude, E&E reports.
Trying to phase out old DOT-111 tank cars within two years, as proposed in new Department of Transportation regulations, could trigger a shortage and hurt oil and ethanol production, industry officials warned, Platts reports.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Officials need to improve communication with residents of North Dakota's booming oil patch during potentially dangerous situations, an emergency manager and residents said, after an oil field service supply facility storing toxic chemicals exploded this week and authorities failed to alert the public for more than six hours.
"They should have done more," Aaron Volesky, a resident of Williston, North Dakota said of the slow release of information. No one was injured or killed in the explosion and fire, which started about midnight Monday and raged most of Tuesday. Flights to and from the town of 20,000 people were canceled for several hours Tuesday as a plume of smoke shot hundreds of feet into the air.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, the government proposed rules Wednesday that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids through America's towns and cities.
But many details were put off until later as regulators struggle to balance safety against the economic benefits of a fracking boom that has sharply increased U.S. oil production. Among the issues: What type of tank cars will replace those being phased out, how fast will they be allowed to travel and what kind of braking systems will they need?
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday will announce new rules covering oil train safety, sources told The Wall Street Journal, which says the plan has railroads concerned about possible speed restrictions and oil companies worried about limits on tank car volumes.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A once-massive blaze at an oil supply and logistics company that housed flammable chemicals in Williston, North Dakota, has been extinguished, according to the town's fire department.
Most firefighters returned from the facility belonging to Red River Supply late Tuesday, though one truck remained early Wednesday to monitor hot spots, said fire department shift captain Steven Kerzmann.
"The fire is out, but you've got some smoldering embers that might pop up here and there," he said.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Three massive fires since the beginning of June have highlighted the threat lightning poses in the North Dakota oil patch, and in each case it was tanks that store the toxic saltwater associated with drilling — not the oil wells or drilling rigs — that were to blame.
The lightning-sparked fires destroyed the groups of silo-like storage tanks at the three locations, which are among more than 440 sites in North Dakota where so-called saltwater is stored before being pumped into permanent disposal sites miles underground. In each case, the fires burned for days, spewing noxious black smoke into the air and literally salting the earth.
China processed 10.3 million barrels of oil a day in September, a record analysts -- who say companies are replenishing their stockpiles -- attribute to the drop in crude prices, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Oil prices gained early Tuesday on news of record demand in China in September. Crude increased 55 cents, bringing the U.S. benchmark to $83.26 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent hit $85.95, Reuters reports.
Monday’s settlement for November natural gas futures on the Nymex – down 9.6 cents to $3.67 per million British thermal units – represents an 11-month low, and analysts told Platts a mild weather forecast for the month will likely reinforce the sluggish trend.
Despite recent improvements in the numbers, oil and gas firms still have more deaths from explosions and fires than any other private industry and carelessness is still a problem, according to E&E’s review of federal statistics.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex. and chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, has sent a second letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy about the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, this time demanding a full cost analysis in the face of what he calls “the flaws and deficiencies in EPA’s modeling,” The Hill reports.
The reduction in the federal investment tax credit that’s due to take effect at the end of 2016 will drive a wave of consolidation that will leave six to 12 major players in the solar industry, an analyst predicted at the start of the Solar Power International conference in Las Vegas, Bloomberg reports.
Tesoro Logistics is getting into the natural gas business, picking up assets from QEP Resources in Colorado, Utah and North Dakota in a deal with a $2.5 billion price tag, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
Taking the first formal step in the process to limit strontium in drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a preliminary determination to regulate levels of the substance and will take public comment on the matter, The Hill reports.