May 5, 2015

Crude By Rail Accounts For More Than Half Of East Coast Refinery Supply In February

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May 5th, 2015 | U.S. Energy Information Administration| Mindi Farber-DeAnda, Tony Radich

The US Energy Information Administration reports, for the first time, that more than half of the crude oil sent to East Coast refineries was delivered by train. The reason we’re watching this at Inside Energy is much of this oil comes from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Eastern Montana.

EIA Graph

As we’ve reported, evidence shows the oil being transported from the Bakken is more volatile than from other regions. There has been an increase in explosions of these oil-carrying train cars over the last few years, including one in 2013 in Lac Megantic, Quebec, which killed 47 people. The US Department of Transportation has since announced plans to phase out old train cars considered more vulnerable, but concerns remain.

The oil making its way by rail to East Coast refineries is displacing shipments which had been arriving by boat from countries such as Nigeria. The EIA says the growth in rail shipments is due to expansions in the capacity of these refineries to load and unload crude oil trains.