Category Archives: Oil spill

Canadian province of Alberta leases 4,400 rail cars – enters crude by rail business

Repost from Reuters

UPDATE 2-Canadian province of Alberta leases 4,400 rail cars to clear oil glut

By Rod Nickel, February 19, 2019 / 12:06 PM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Canada’s oil-producing province of Alberta has leased 4,400 rail cars in a multibillion-dollar move to clear a glut of crude that depressed prices, Premier Rachel Notley said on Tuesday.

Notley said Alberta would start putting cars into service in July so it can buy and sell oil itself. Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd will haul a combined initial volume of 20,000 barrels per day that will reach 120,000 bpd by mid-2020.

Alberta’s rail investment is part of a rescue package for an oil industry struggling with high costs and the exit of some foreign majors. Pipelines have become congested because of environmental opposition that has stymied expansion.

The provincial government took the rare step in January of ordering oil production cuts.

“Rather than produce less, we have to find ways to move more,” Notley said in Edmonton.

The three-year plan will cost Alberta C$3.7 billion ($2.80 billion), consisting of buying oil, leasing cars and purchasing rail and loading services. Alberta expects to earn gross revenues of C$5.9 billion ($4.5 billion) from reselling oil and higher royalties to produce net revenues of C$2.2 billion.

Shares of CN and CP gained nearly 1 percent in Toronto. CN expects to handle 60 percent of Alberta’s barrels, Chief Executive J.J. Ruest said in a statement.

The Alberta government said in November, when Canadian oil fetched near record-large discounts to U.S. oil, that it was seeking train capacity. It has also provided incentives for petrochemical and partial-upgrading plants.

Canadian crude-by-rail volumes hit record highs last year, but declined in 2019 after production cuts made rail shipments less economic. Imperial Oil said it was forced to cut its own rail shipments to “near zero,” illustrating the potential for unintended consequences when governments intervene.

Economic conditions were already improving for rail shipments, Notley said.

Rail shipments are seen as a relief valve for oil when pipelines are full, but they are generally more expensive and less safe. A CN oil train derailed on Saturday in Manitoba.

Notley’s New Democratic Party government faces a stiff spring election challenge from the United Conservative Party (UCP). UCP energy critic Prasad Panda said the party was reviewing the rail plan.

Three-quarters of the cars will be the DOT-117J model, featuring thicker steel than some types. The rest will be DOT-117R cars retrofitted to meet some DOT-117J standards, but a type that BNSF Railway Co is phasing out after a derailment in Iowa last year. ($1 = 1.3205 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)

    Train carrying oil derails near western Manitoba village

    Repost from Trend News Agency

    Train carrying oil derails near western Manitoba village

    17 February 2019 02:07 (UTC+04:00)

    CN Rail is working to clean up an oil leak after nearly 40 train cars carrying crude oil derailed near a village in western Manitoba early Saturday morning, Trend reported citing CBC.

    CN crews are responding to the derailment, which occurred at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning near St. Lazare, about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, a spokesperson from the railway said.

    “You can smell crude in the air. That’s really concerning,” said rancher Jayme Corr. The derailment happened on his property, about 10 kilometres south of St. Lazare, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie.

    “There’s oil leaking, and where they’re sitting is [near] a water lagoon,” he said.

    Emergency personnel woke Corr up around 5 a.m. Saturday to alert him to the derailment, which happened just under two kilometres from his home.

    Initial reports are that approximately 37 crude oil cars have derailed and that there is a partial leak of crude oil, Jonathan Abecassis, a media relations director for CN, wrote in an email to CBC.

    “A perimeter has been set up around the area to facilitate site access. There are no reports of injuries or fires,” he wrote.

    “CN crews will be conducting a full site assessment to determine how much product has spilled and exactly how many cars are involved. First responders are on location.”

    CN’s environmental team has started cleaning up the area.

    Corr said his cattle have since been moved away from the area, but he’s concerned that his main water source for the summertime will now be contaminated.

    The rancher says he thinks a derailment like Saturday’s has been a long time coming.

    “It seems to be the trains go faster, they’re longer, heavier, and the maintenance is getting less and less,” Corr said.

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent investigators to the site of the derailment.

    Jean-Paul Chartier, a rural municipality of Ellice-Archie councillor, said staff from the local fire department are on the scene of the derailment, assisting CN crews.

    “They’re trying to do their best to get everything contained, and trying to get the traffic going, and trying to clear whatever debris there is,” Chartier said.

    Trains frequently run through St. Lazare, and Chartier said he’s thankful the crash didn’t occur closer to the community. In areas of the village, there are houses just hundreds of metres from the tracks, and 30 to 40 trains can travel past each day, he said.

    “Every time they come through, you think of the tragedy that happened in Quebec,” he said, referring to the Lac-Mégantic, Que., rail disaster, which killed 47 people after a freight train loaded with fuel exploded.

    “It’s discouraging. Like you look at it everyday and you say ‘hopefully it’s not today and hopefully it doesn’t ever happen.’ But you’ve always got it in the back of your mind.”

      Train derailment: 230,000 gallons of crude oil released into Iowa floodwaters

      Repost from the Des Moines Register

      230,000 gallons of crude released into floodwaters after train derailment, railroad says

      Associated Press, 4:59 p.m. CT June 23, 2018


      DOON, Iowa — A railroad official says 14 of 32 derailed oil tanker cars in the northwest corner of Iowa dumped an estimated 230,000 gallons of crude oil into floodwaters, with some making its way to nearby rivers.

      BNSF spokesman Andy Williams confirmed the details Saturday. He said that nearly half the spill had been contained with booms near the derailment site and an additional boom placed approximately 5 miles downstream. Williams had earlier said that 33 oil cars derailed.

      Williams said that oil will be removed from that containment site with equipment to separate the oil from the water.

      The railroad will focus on environmental recovery. Williams said “ongoing monitoring is occurring for any potential conditions that could impact workers and the community and, so far, have found no levels of concern.”

      The train derailed early Friday just south of Doon in Lyon County, leaking oil into surrounding floodwaters from the swollen Little Rock River.

      Crews work to clean up cars from the BNSF railway afterSome officials have speculated that floodwaters eroded soil beneath the train track. The nearby Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.

      Within hours of the derailment, BNSF had brought in dozens of semitrailers loaded with equipment to clean up the spill, including containment booms, skimmers and vacuum trucks.

      “We are working as quickly as we can to get this cleaned up,” Williams said Saturday. “We’ve had skimmers working since yesterday on the floodwater south of the site.”

      A major part of that work includes building a temporary road parallel to the tracks to allow in cranes that can remove the derailed and partially-submerged oil cars. Williams said officials hoped to reach the cars by sometime Saturday afternoon.

      The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons of oil.

      Beaudo also did not know whether the derailed oil cars were the safer, newer tankers intended to help prevent leaks in the event of an accident.

      “We lease those cars and are in the process of verifying with the owners the exact rail car specifications,” Beaudo said in an email.

      Gov. Kim Reynolds was set to visit the derailment site Saturday afternoon as part of a tour of areas hit by recent flooding.

      The derailment also caused concern downstream, including as far south as Omaha, Nebraska, about 150 miles from the derailment site. The spill reached the Rock River, which joins the Big Sioux River before merging into the Missouri River at Sioux City.

      Omaha’s public water utility — Metropolitan Utilities District — said it was monitoring pumps it uses to pull drinking water from the Missouri River.

      Rock Valley, just southwest of the derailment, shut off its water wells within hours of the accident. It plans to drain and clean its wells and use a rural water system until testing shows its water is safe.