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Bakken oil OK for rail, industry says

API: "Speculation" eliminated on safety of oil at the heart of shale boom.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   May 21, 2014 at 7:45 AM
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute said it's important to "separate fact from fiction" when it comes to shipping crude oil from North Dakota by rail.

The North Dakota Petroleum Council published a study Tuesday that shows crude oil taken from the Bakken reserve area in the state is similar to other grades of oil from North America. It does not, as the U.S. Department of Transportation suggests, pose a greater risk when transported by rail, the council said.

"Bakken crude does not significantly differ from other crude oils and poses no greater risks than other flammable liquids authorized for rail transport," Kari Cutting, vice president of the NDPC, said in a statement.

U.S. regulators in January issued an advisory warning Bakken crude oil may be more prone to catch fire than other grades.

An accelerating rate of oil production from states like North Dakota has stressed existing pipeline capacity. Industry officials said rail is taking up the slack, though a series of derailments involving rail cars carrying crude oil has raised safety questions.

API President Jack Gerard said the NDPC study eliminates some of the speculation surrounding Bakken crude.

"It is essential to separate fact from fiction as we work to enhance the safe transportation of crude oil," he said in a Tuesday statement.

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