However, American ingenuity and the entrepreneurial spirit have entered the fray, transforming the semi-moribund railroad industry so that it now ships crude oil...and a lot of it. So much so, that pipelines may no longer be necessary.
According to the Wall Street Journal, shipping crude by rail is quickly becoming a permanent part of the nation's energy infrastructure:
- In 2014, 1.6M barrels of oil (~20% of the total pumped in the U.S.) are being shipped by rail per day.
- Revenues for the railroads have increased from $25.8M in 2008 to $2.15B in 2013.
- What’s needed are terminals to load and unload the crude. A large terminal can cost $50M.
While the railways cost more to ship crude than pipelines do, they are more flexible and can reach the highest bidders. This is where the owners of new oil fields in Texas, North Dakota, and Colorado must move their product.
If one is to believe the stormy petrels who already oppose the Keystone Pipeline, this “fall back” option now is “the option.” Unfortunately, it’s equally hazardous to public safety.
This cacophony despite the fact that the stormy petrels have already prevailed upon federal regulators to require sturdier freight cars to carry crude as well as lower speed limits on railways. “Regulate those railways out of business,” is their cry. And if that’s not enough—and The Motley Monk thinks the regulations are a reasonable compromise to keep the oil flowing—railways don’t intrude on the property rights of landowners upon whose property pipelines would be built.
Can it get any better? Not for those who worship at the altar of environmentalism.
Get ready for the propaganda barrage featuring train wrecks, oil spillage, and pools of oil causing the death of ducklings, endangering saplings, and poisoning of the water table.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Wall Street Journal article, click on the following link:
"Dangers Aside, Railways Reshape Crude Market."