Category Archives: CPC-1232

ForestEthics: switch to newer rail cars for crude still not safe

Repost from ABC News
[Editor: Significant quote: “Matt Krogh, of the group ForestEthics, which has sued the U.S. Department of Transportation over the shipment of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars, told The Associated Press on Saturday that there’s little evidence the newer tank cars will truly prevent explosive spills. He argued that the newer cars are tested at slower speeds than the speed at which most derailments occur, and he noted that it was one of the CPC-1232s that exploded in a fireball during a derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia, in April Krogh called switching to the newer cars ‘a red herring.’   ¶  ‘It’s a marginal improvement, but it’s nowhere near safe,’ he said. ‘They’re essentially grasping at straws to convince people that they can do it safely. I don’t think you can safely and profitably run trains of crude.'”  – RS]

Refinery Switching to Newer Rail Cars for Crude

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Oct 11, 2014

A refinery in northwest Washington state says it will no longer accept any volatile North Dakota crude oil unless it arrives on newer-model tank cars.

By the first week of October, the BP Cherry Point facility had stopped using pre-2011 standard tank cars, known as DOT-111 cars, for the shipments, The Bellingham Herald reported ( http://is.gd/XmHxHN ).

The change comes amid public concern about the safety of shipping crude by train. Since 2008, derailments of oil trains in the U.S. and Canada have seen the older 70,000-gallon tank cars break open and ignite on multiple occasions, resulting in huge fireballs. A train carrying Bakken-formation crude from North Dakota in the older tanks crashed in a Quebec town last year, killing 47 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which recommended upgraded regulations for crude oil and ethanol cars in 2011, is working on updating rail safety standards and could require companies to phase out the DOT-111 cars for shipping crude oil during the next couple of years

Cherry Point was already using newer, safer tank cars to receive about 60 percent of its crude oil, but expedited the switch to the newer cars in response to community concerns, BP spokesman Bill Kidd said. The refinery now uses a fleet of about 700 newer cars, called CPC-1232s.

The newer cars have thicker shells, head shields on both ends and improved valve protection.

But Matt Krogh, of the group ForestEthics, which has sued the U.S. Department of Transportation over the shipment of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars, told The Associated Press on Saturday that there’s little evidence the newer tank cars will truly prevent explosive spills. He argued that the newer cars are tested at slower speeds than the speed at which most derailments occur, and he noted that it was one of the CPC-1232s that exploded in a fireball during a derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia, in April.

Krogh called switching to the newer cars “a red herring.”

“It’s a marginal improvement, but it’s nowhere near safe,” he said. “They’re essentially grasping at straws to convince people that they can do it safely. I don’t think you can safely and profitably run trains of crude.”

Trains carrying Bakken oil from North Dakota have been supplying Washington refineries at Tacoma, Anacortes and Cherry Point. Oil-train export terminals are proposed at Vancouver and Grays Harbor on the Washington coast.

About 70 percent of the crude-oil rail cars that BNSF Railway currently moves through Washington state are already the newer design, railway spokesman Gus Melonas said.

For two decades, the Cherry Point refinery received crude oil only by pipeline, Kidd said. It later added shipments by sea.

But Alaskan crude oil has turned into the last type the refinery is interested in because of the higher price. Crude oil from mid-continent shale formations has become a cheaper option for the refinery, Kidd said.

“It’s completely turned the industry on its head,” Kidd said. “Without access to crude by rail, this refinery cannot compete.”

Refinery Manager Bob Allendorfer said the facility is always going to be progressive when it comes to safety. “Safety is always first, and you have to get it right,” Allendorfer said.

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    Washington refinery switching to newer rail cars for crude

    Repost from The Bellingham Herald

    BP Cherry Point will allow only newer-model train cars at its crude oil terminal

    By Samantha Wohlfeil, The Bellingham Herald, October 11, 2014


    BP Cherry Point has announced its rail terminal will no longer accept or unload any Bakken region crude oil from pre-2011 standard tank cars.By the first week in October, the facility had stopped using older DOT-111 cars for crude, BP spokesman Bill Kidd said.

    After several high-profile derailments in the last year, groups concerned about the safety of oil trains have rallied around a call to have companies trade in all old DOT-111 rail cars, which are used to carry a variety of hazardous and flammable liquids, for higher standard cars, like the CPC-1232.

    For decades the DOT-111 cars have been found more likely to puncture or burst. The National Transportation Safety Board, which recommended upgraded regulations for crude oil and ethanol cars in 2011, is working on updating rail safety standards.

    The newer cars have thicker shells, head shields on either end of the car and improved valve protection.

    BP Cherry Point, which received its first crude shipment from the Bakken region Dec. 26, 2013, was already using CPC-1232 tank cars to receive about 60 percent of its crude oil from that area and had planned to get about 400 more by the end of 2014, Kidd said.

    “But we expedited that in order to respond to community concerns,” Kidd said. “We pulled a lot of leverage to get to this point.”

    The refinery now uses a fleet of about 700 CPC-1232s.

    The NTSB could require companies to phase out the DOT-111 cars for crude oil shipping over the next couple of years.

    About 70 percent of the crude oil rail cars that BNSF Railway currently moves through Washington state are already the newer design, said Gus Melonas, BNSF spokesman for the Pacific Northwest.

    Transition to crude by rail

    For two decades the refinery received crude oil only by pipeline, later adding waterborne tanker service, Kidd said. But Alaskan crude oil has turned into the last type the refinery is interested in, due to price.

    Though many people did not see it coming, mid-continent shale formation crude oil has become a cheaper option and an advantage for the refinery, Kidd said.

    “It’s completely turned the industry on its head,” Kidd said. “Without access to crude by rail, this refinery cannot compete. … If there was a pipeline there wouldn’t be the big discount. Right now there is no other way to move it.”

    The Cherry Point rail terminal is made up of two complete loops that allow the refinery to hold up to two trains of about 120 cars – one full and one empty.

    It takes crews from BP contractor Savage Services about 18 to 20 hours to offload a train loaded with crude oil using gravity to drain one quarter of the train at a time, said BP Operations’ Ryan Kennedy, who oversees the rail terminal work. Once crews unload a train, it sits empty while BNSF sends a crew back to the facility to pick it up.

    The loop is about as flat as it gets, both for working purposes and safety, Kennedy said. A 0.25 percent grade keeps couplers between the cars tight when the trains are parked, and there is a slight grade at the entrance to/exit from the loop so in the event a train did get loose for whatever reason, it would not leave the refinery.

    A variety of safety precautions, like plastic liners built in under the rail loop and bins placed under each hose when the cars are hooked up for draining, are designed to prevent bad situations, Kennedy said.

    “There’s a lot of fat built in naturally, a lot of redundancy,” Kennedy said. “We secure the train above and beyond the minimum requirement. We’ve determined the standard for the longest train we could hold and we put on that many brakes for all trains, regardless of length.”

    BP’s terminal is permitted to receive an average of one unit train per day. It currently gets about 25 per month, Kennedy said.

    Refinery Manager Bob Allendorfer said the facility is always going to be progressive when it comes to safety.

    “Safety is always first, and you have to get it right,” Allendorfer said.

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