Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Higher volatility of Bakken crude is not cause of spectacular explosions

Photo of empty oil train returning to North Dakota to pick up another load of crude oil. Photo by James Ulvog.

Photo of empty oil train returning to North Dakota to pick up another load of crude oil. End of the train is not visible around the curve. Photo by James Ulvog.

It is the volume of oil released in a railroad derailment that is the reason for massive fires we’ve seen in the headlines over the last few years, not the slightly higher volatility of crude from the Bakken shale oil.

9/23 – Minot Daily News print copy, from Bismannews – Oil company officials laud findings on crude oil volatility – Research from Dept of Transportation, Dept of Energy, and Federal Railroad Administration point toward the amount of fuel spilled as the biggest factor in whether an accident involving crude oil results in a fire or explosion. Volatility of oil is not the cause.

American Petroleum Institute points out Bakken crude had gotten a bad rap.

Bruce Oksol has pointed out multiple times that hitting another train or other immovable object at full speed could make bad things happen when there are dozens and dozens of tank cars of industrial stuff that come to a rapid halt.

Boxcar behind the engines holds containment equipment. Photo by James Ulvog.

Boxcar behind the engines holds containment equipment. There is another load of containment equipment at the end of the train. Photo by James Ulvog.

To round out the federal agencies who agree volatility of Bakken crude is not the issue, KFRY-TV reports on 9/28 that NTSB Says Bakken Crude No More Volatile Than Other Crude. Again,the biggest factor behind a massive fire is the volume of product released.

So, does that mean the regulator required extra treatment of higher volatility crude is an unnecessary and wasted effort?

A view of the middle of a looooong train. Photo by James Ulvog.

A view of the middle of a looooong train. Photo by James Ulvog.

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