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Irving Oil to overhaul rail fleet for oil delivery

ST. JOHN, New Brunswick, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Canadian oil company Irving Oil said it will have its rail fleet overhauled to meet industry standards for crude oil transport by April 30.

The company said it would voluntarily decommission older rail cars, designated DOT-111, and reinforce those built after October 2011 to meet standards set by the Association of American Railroads.

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U.S. safety regulators said older DOT-111 cars, some of which were involved in recent derailments, may be more vulnerable to leaks or explosions than other types of rail cars.

"Safety is paramount to our business, and by taking this voluntary leadership position with our own fleet of railcars we expect to set a standard for the suppliers and marketers who ship crude oil to our facilities to quickly follow our example," Irving Oil President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Browning said in a statement Monday.

An increase in North American crude oil production has put a strain on existing pipeline capacity, prompting some energy companies to turn to rail for deliveries. Irving Oil operates a refinery in New Brunswick, Canada's largest with a production capacity of 320,000 barrels of oil per day.

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Irving Oil said it was advising companies it supplies, as well as those marketing its crude oil, of the enhanced standard and ask they comply in kind no later than Dec. 31.

The company said 88 percent of its DOT-111 fleet meets AAR specifications.

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