WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) -- Petroleum product delivery on the U.S. rail system for the week ending March 15 was up 2.9 percent year-on-year, the Association of American Railroads said.
The AAR said 14,365 railcars of petroleum and petroleum products, or about 10 million barrels, were delivered on the U.S. rail system last week. While a 2.9 percent increase year-on-year, last week's deliveries were 2.8 percent less than the week ending March 8.
Last week, the rail group said fourth quarter 2013 delivery was the equivalent of about 76 million barrels of oil. For the entire year of 2013, about 285 million barrels of oil traveled on the U.S. rail network, a 74 percent increase from the previous year.
So far this year, 99.6 million barrels of petroleum and petroleum products traveled by rail in the United States, a 7 percent increase from the same period last year, AAR said Thursday.
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 last week's short-term market report 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.
The AAR's rail count excludes deliveries from the Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway.