For the first time, EIA [The U.S. Energy Information Administration] is providing monthly data on rail movements of crude oil, which have significantly increased over the past five years. The new data on crude-by-rail (CBR) movements are integrated with EIA’s existing monthly petroleum supply statistics, which already include movements by pipeline, tanker, and barge. The new monthly time series of crude oil rail movements includes shipments to and from Canada and dramatically reduces the absolute level of unaccounted for volumes in EIA’s monthly balances for each region.
EIA is initiating the new series with monthly data from January 2010 through the current reporting month, January 2015. CBR activity is tracked between pairs of Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) regions (inter-PADD), within each region (intra-PADD), and across the U.S.-Canada border. EIA developed the new series using information provided by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) along with data from Canada’s National Energy Board, and EIA survey data.
Total CBR movements in the United States and between the United States and Canada were more than 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2014, up from 55,000 bbl/d in 2010. The regional distribution of these movements has also changed over this period.
DIGGING INTO THE DATA FURTHER…
Before digging into the data, a short explanation is required to understand PADDs (Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts). PADDs are geographical regions: PADD 1 is the East Coast, PADD 2 the Midwest, PADD 3 Gulf Coast, PADD 4 Rocky Mountain, PADD 5 West Coast, AK and HI.
From this knowledge, we can now look at each region for the number of barrels shipped and received. For example, let’s look at trends in crude oil shipments by rail for the entire U.S. by using this data table [found here.]
By putting a check box for the row labeled “Total”, we can now view this chart showing oil shipments by rail in the U.S. since 2010.
Besides many excellent charts, we can also look at recent data. This chart [found here] shows the thousands of barrels/day for the month of January 2015:
As you can see, the majority of the oil shipped from the Bakken fields (PADD 2) is shipped east to (PADD 1). 437,000 bbl/day. This is close to what we have calculated is heading through the La Crosse, WI area from both the CP and BNSF rail lines. Although it would be preferred to have data at a more refined level (by rail carrier, through cities, by day & month) at least we are able to now see trends on a regional level. Lot’s of digging to do!