Pipeline Rail

Oil from Bakken Formation may be extra-flammable, pipeline safety agency says

Washington – Crude oil shipped from the Bakken Formation – located in North Dakota, Montana and nearby Canadian provinces – may be more flammable than “traditional” heavy crude oil, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration warned shippers, sellers and emergency responders in a Jan. 2 safety advisory.

The advisory comes after several recent incidents in which trains carrying Bakken oil caught fire after derailing, including events in North Dakota and Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. PHMSA states that preliminary tests on the oil from the Bakken Formation indicate that it can ignite at lower temperatures than heavier oil.

The agency reiterated a recent safety advisory it jointly published with the Federal Railroad Administration that reminds crude oil sellers that they are required to provide oil shippers with information on the hazard classification and other characteristics of the oil. Additionally, PHMSA announced that, along with FRA, it has begun conducting unannounced inspections to determine whether sellers are providing all proper classifications and descriptions.