The US oil and gas industry was shocked by the sudden death of one of its most influential executives. Aubrey McClendon was killed after driving his SUV into a concrete embankment, a day after being indicted on bid rigging and price fixing charges. We explore whether Chesapeake’s cautionary tale contains glimmers of hope.
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.
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative of partners across the US and supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting