Colorado’s connection between people and drilling goes back much further than the recent frenzy of oil and gas development: Coloradans aren’t just living among new wells, they are also living among – and sometimes on top of – wells drilled and abandoned decades ago.
We wanted to find out if the increasing debt load of many oil companies is making them more vulnerable to sliding oil prices. Understanding how debt plays into the web of a company’s finances was a beast – nay, a monster – we faced with only financial documents to protect us.
As more and more crude oil travels by rail, the number of railroad accidents involving oil are on the rise, Politico reports. But whether crude-by-rail’s safety record is actually getting worse remains an open question: Are crude-by-rail accidents growing faster than shipments, or are they simply keeping pace? There are a few ways to measure the severity of an accident:
fatalities and injuries
gallons of oil spilled. Politico published the number of crude-by-rail incidents, by year, from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) database and the monetary damages (in dollars) of those incidents. So for now, we’ll focus our analysis on those metrics.
In the wake of a series of deadly spills, the safety of crude oil traveling on railroads has become a national question. A new federal rule requiring railroad companies to notify state officials where Bakken oil is moving went into effect last week (although railroad companies are doing all they can to keep routes secret). Yet the most basic questions about crude-by-rail – how much oil is moving on railroads and where exactly is it going – have proven difficult to answer. How much crude oil is moving on U.S. railroads? It depends on who you ask and how you ask.
Is it “fracking” or “frac’ing”? As Grace Hood reports for KUNC and Inside Energy, it depends on who you ask. If you ask people who search on Google, “fracking” dominates. This chart from Google Trends shows the relative popularity of “fracking” and “frac’ing” as search terms:
You’re looking at “how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.” When it comes to Google searches, it’s “fracking” not “frac’ing.”
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting