Crude oil produced in North America’s Bakken region may be more flammable and therefore more dangerous to ship by rail than crude from other areas, a U.S. regulator said after studying the question for four months.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced its preliminary conclusion three days after a BNSF Railway Co. train carrying oil caught fire after a collision in Casselton, North Dakota.
The regulator “is reinforcing the requirement to properly test, characterize, classify, and where appropriate sufficiently degasify hazardous materials prior to and during transportation,” it said in a statement posted on its website today.
About three quarters of the oil produced in North Dakota is shipped by rail rather than pipeline. U.S. regulators, including the Federal Railroad Administration, began examining whether Bakken crude is more risky to move by rail following an explosion of railcars carrying North Dakota crude in Lac Megantic, Quebec.