Safety

Oil

Lac-Megantic braces for return of crude-by-rail, one year after crash

Source: 
The Wall Street Journal

One year after a deadly oil train derailment and explosion killed 47 in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, residents are anticipating that crude-by-rail will return to the town as other shipping fails to produce enough business, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Oil

Islamic militants seize Syria oil field

BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic militants seized an eastern Syrian oil field near Iraq and inched closer to the Turkish border on Friday as they try to consolidate their control of an area along the length of the Euphrates river stretching through Syria and Iraq.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that fighters from the Islamic State group seized the al-Tanak oil field early Friday. Another group, the activist collective of Deir el-Zour, also reported the seizure.

The field is in the eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour, near Iraq, and it followed the Islamic State group's seizure of Syria's largest oil field on Thursday. Both oil fields were taken from other rebel groups.

Oil

Quebec town still recovering from train disaster

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (AP) — Backhoes and bulldozers are still digging out oil-seeped soil and pavement in the center of this lakeside Quebec town. Where the post office, public library and restaurants once stood, there is only the clanging of machinery kicking up dust over the emptiness.

It is the daily soundtrack of a town fighting to rise up from one of the worst railway disasters in North American history.

A year has passed since a runaway oil train slid quietly down a hill in the middle of the night and derailed in a series of explosions that obliterated a large swath of downtown Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people. Paved roads and new buildings remain a long way off in the fenced-off disaster zone. The damage to the surrounding river system hasn't been fully made public, and the environmental cleanup alone will cost at least $200 million.

Oil

Oil train dangers extend past Bakken: Safety officials

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. safety officials say the dangers posed by a sharp spike in oil shipments by rail in North America extend beyond shipments from the booming Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, and include oil from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Acting National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Chris Hart says all crude shipments are flammable and can damage the environment — not just the Bakken shipments involved in a series of fiery accidents.

He cited recent accidents in Mississippi, Minnesota, New Brunswick and Pennsylvania that involved oil shipments from Canada, and said they exemplify "the risks to communities and for the environment for accidents involving non-Bakken crude oil."

Oil

North Dakota discloses oil train shipment details

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Dozens of mile-long trains loaded with crude are leaving western North Dakota each week, with most shipments going through the state's most populous county while en route to refineries across the country.

The U.S. Department of Transportation ordered railroads last month to give state officials specifics on oil train routes and volumes so emergency responders can better prepare for accidents. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said a pattern of fiery accidents involving trains carrying crude from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana had created an "imminent hazard" to public safety.

Oil

Washington state getting up to 19 BNSF oil trains per week

Source: 
Platts

Washington has posted on its Emergency Management Division website information on oil trains transiting the state, reporting that BNSF alone sends up to 19 shipments a week carrying at least 1 million gallons of crude, according to Platts.

Montana says oil-train details not confidential

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials said Wednesday they intend to release details next week on the frequency of oil trains passing through the state, despite efforts by railroads to keep the information from the public after a string of fiery accidents raised safety concerns.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last month ordered railroads to provide specifics on oil-train routes, crude volumes and other information to state emergency officials. The order was meant to guard against further accidents.

Feds aren't inspecting 4 in 10 higher-risk wells

NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks.

Roughly half or more of wells on federal and Indian lands weren't checked in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, despite potential harm that has led to efforts in some communities to ban new drilling.

In New Castle, a tiny Colorado River valley community, homeowners expressed chagrin at the large number of uninspected wells, many on federal land, that dot the steep hillsides and rocky landscape. Like elsewhere in the West, water is a precious commodity in this Colorado town, and some residents worry about the potential health hazards of any leaks from wells and drilling.

Oil

2 die in crash of chopper approaching Gulf oil platform: Westwind Helicopters

Source: 
Houston Chronicle

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating Wednesday’s crash of a helicopter approaching an oil platform south of Houma, La., in which Westwind Helicopters said two men were killed, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Oil

California unprepared for oil-by-rail surge, agencies say

Source: 
Bloomberg

A report from California's government says the state's agencies are ill-prepared to oversee inspections and respond to emergencies related to a current surge in oil shipments by rail, Bloomberg reports.

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