U.S. rail industry sees exponential growth in oil delivery

March 14, 2014 at 7:27 AM

WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- The Association of American Railroads said 285 million barrels of crude oil were delivered on the U.S. rail system last year, a 74 percent increase from 2012.

The AAR reported fourth quarter 2013 rail deliveries of crude oil were 108,590 carloads, or the equivalent of about 76 million barrels of oil. For full 2013, the AAR said Thursday 407,642 railcars, or about 285 million barrels of oil, traveled on the U.S. rail network, a 74 percent increase from the previous year.

Industry officials said the accelerated pace of U.S. oil production has strained the existing pipeline capacity, prompting energy companies to rely on rail as an alternate delivery method.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its short-term market report, published earlier this week, U.S. crude oil production should reach 8.4 million barrels per day by the end of 2014, a 12 percent increase from the previous year.

For the week ending March 8, AAR said 14,779 carloads carried crude oil, an 11.3 percent increase year-on-year. Since Jan. 1, 142,313 railcars, or the equivalent of 99 million barrels of oil, traveled the U.S. rail system, a 7 percent increase from the same time period in 2013.

The AAR's rail count excludes deliveries from the Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway.

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