Oil-rich Plains states get rail overhaul

Aug. 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- BNSF Railway Co. said it was investing more than $300 million to improve railway systems in the northern Plains states, which host major oil deposits.

The rail company said it plans to invest $115 million on rail projects in Montana this year. This includes the replacement of nearly 100 miles of rail. A $220 million investment in North Dakota finances the replacement of about 315 miles of rail this year.

BNSF Chairman Matthew Rose said the capital investments would help ensure the regional network is prepared to handle the growing demand for commodity traffic on U.S. railways.

"We are focused on investing to meet our customers' expectations and on expanding capacity where growth is occurring," he said in a statement Friday.

The Association of American Railroads said the 12,726 carloads for petroleum and petroleum products shipped during the week ending Aug 10 was 16.8 percent higher year-on-year. Oil production in the United States has increased to the extent that it's outpacing existing pipeline capacity.

The U.S. Energy Department said the Bakken oil reserve area under Montana and North Dakota could potentially give up as much as 3.7 billion barrels of oil.

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