Statoil said the Bakken and Three Forks oil plays in North Dakota would play a key role in plans to boost its North American production from 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to more than 500,000 boepd by 2020. Rail, not pipelines, would be used for transportation, the company said.
Martin Anfinnsen, a vice president for crude oil products at Statoil, said the value of crude oil produced in North Dakota is lowered in part by the lack of pipeline capacity in the region.
"Transporting the crude by rail bypasses the pipeline bottlenecks and ensures our products get to market and that we get the highest possible price," he said.
Rail deliveries to all three coasts in the United States and to Canada are expected by September.
The Association of American Railroads said deliveries of crude oil and petroleum products by rail increased from 174,000 cars during the first six months of 2011 to 241,000 cars during the same period this year. Each rail car can carry around 700 barrels of petroleum products.