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.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday adopted a new rule -– to be enforced in 2016 -- ordering utilities to identify key points that, if disrupted, would cause blackouts, and take steps to protect them, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Republican-controlled House on Thursday approved H.R. 4795, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to provide to the public information on the pre-construction permits it issues under the Clean Air Act, The Hill reports, noting that lawmakers passed the measure in the face of a veto threat from the White House.
China’s move to cut its interest rates sent oil higher early Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery jumped 2 percent, or $1.55, to $77.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent crude gained $1.67 to $81, Bloomberg reports.
Exxon Mobil is now the fourth-biggest oil company worldwide, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly’s annual list, behind Saudi Aramco, National Iranian Oil Company and China National Petroleum Corp., FuelFix reports.
The step by Baker Hughes to stop using the trade secret designation to avoid disclosing chemicals used in the fracking process could be jeopardized when the company is bought by Halliburton, which has opposed disclosure moves, FuelFix reports.
The natural gas contract for December delivery closed out on the Nymex Thursday at $4.489 per million British thermal units, an increase of 11.8 cents, on continuing cold weather and a report of greater-than-expected storage withdrawal, Platts reports.
With the fall in oil prices making it more challenging to profit from drilling, Apache Corp. announced it would be substantially reducing its capital spending in North America to $4 billion next year, although it still anticipated a 4 percent increase in production from the region, Reuters reports.
Spanish company Iberdrola Renewables’ proposal to build a solar facility next to a wind farm in a corner of the Mojave Desert has been rejected by the Bureau of Land Management on the grounds that it would disturb a remote area that has wildlife as well as historical, recreational and scenic value, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman, who determined last month that he couldn’t reach a conclusion regarding the firing of Hanford whistleblower Donna Busche, wrote to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in April complaining that contractors involved were not cooperating in getting him interviews he’d requested with employees, according to a memo obtained by E&E through the Freedom of Information Act.