2 train Collision at Casselton ND

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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby CPSK » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:53 pm

NRGeep wrote:The issue of fracked crude being contaminated with toxic, flammable chemicals is not going away...

"Crude oil dosn't usually explode and burn with the ferocity that this train did."
-Loyd Burton (referring to the tragedy in Quebec) and this possiblity should be included in the investigation of the ND event it seems.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-1 ... afety.html

Someone wrote earlier in this post that this particular crude may be more volatile than others. In that case, it is most likely the vapors which exploded, after the oil caught fire.

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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby NRGeep » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:37 pm

CPSK wrote:
NRGeep wrote:The issue of fracked crude being contaminated with toxic, flammable chemicals is not going away...

"Crude oil dosn't usually explode and burn with the ferocity that this train did."
-Loyd Burton (referring to the tragedy in Quebec) and this possiblity should be included in the investigation of the ND event it seems.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-1 ... afety.html

Someone wrote earlier in this post that this particular crude may be more volatile than others. In that case, it is most likely the vapors which exploded, after the oil caught fire.

CP
. We will see what the investigators conclude. Up till then, everything is speculation.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Dick H » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:46 pm

"Tracks Reopen after ND Train Derailment, Fire"
Via the TRI-CITY HERALD, Kennewick WA and
the Associated Press,

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/01/0 ... train.html
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:49 pm

Figure on a new Hazard Class for "Petroleum,Crude oil-Fracked" to be created real soon, the current Class 3(Flammable)
ID # 1267 not longer fits this "Crude oil"!!
Retrofitting "Head Shields" and Rubber Liners to the current DOT 111W tank car fleet may become the "Stopgap Fix" untill
a new safer tank car design can be developed/tested and built.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby jstolberg » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:08 pm

sandyriverman wrote:But no pipelines are going to be built in N America as long as the poliitical culture that exists today.....is in power.

Until such time (many years)where things might be different, rail transport is going to be the method of choice!

Pipelines are being built in N America.

Flanagan South, 600 miles Pontiac, IL to Cushing, OK. http://www.enbridge.com/FlanaganSouthPipeline.aspx
Seaway, 500 miles Cushing, OK to Texas gulf coast. http://inforney.com/business/item/1425- ... man-county
Eastern Gulf Access, 614 miles Patoka, IL to Boyce, LA. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130 ... -race-gulf
Southern leg of Keystone XL, 485 miles Cushing, OK to Texas gulf coast. Service begins January 22nd.
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-12- ... jan-dot-22
Enbridge Line 6B, 210 miles Griffith, IN to Marysville, MI. http://www.mlive.com/business/west-mich ... e_lin.html
http://www.indystar.com/article/2013082 ... /308280090
Enbridge Line 79, 35 miles Stockbridge, MI to Freedom Junction, MI. http://www.annarbor.com/news/new-enbrid ... e-protest/

Once built, they generally charge 20% to 30% the price of rail transport.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:22 am

Backshophoss wrote:Figure on a new Hazard Class for Petroleum,Crude oil-Fracked to be created real soon, the current Class 3(Flammable) ID # 1267 not longer fits this Crude oil!!


Well, that certainly is a start in the right direction that the FRA is not waiting for investigative reports from either Megantic or Casselton to be released. It certainly will create awareness within the HAZMAT handling community covering all transport modes the fracked stuff goes BOOM a lot quicker than does other crude such as Middle East. If I recall correctly, when Saddam deliberately attempted to destroy his oil reserves, it took a lot more than a 'jolt' to get the stuff burning - in fact try explosives on for size.

But all concerned can only hope that the FRA's (and FHWA and USCG - Coast Guard has jurisdiction over inland waterways) rulemaking will be 'proactive' rather than the usual 'reactive'.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby CPSK » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:26 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Backshophoss wrote:Figure on a new Hazard Class for Petroleum,Crude oil-Fracked to be created real soon, the current Class 3(Flammable) ID # 1267 not longer fits this Crude oil!!


Well, that certainly is a start in the right direction that the FRA is not waiting for investigative reports from either Megantic or Casselton to be released. It certainly will create awareness within the HAZMAT handling community covering all transport modes the fracked stuff goes BOOM a lot quicker than does other crude such as Middle East. If I recall correctly, when Saddam deliberately attempted to destroy his oil reserves, it took a lot more than a 'jolt' to get the stuff burning - in fact try explosives on for size.

But all concerned can only hope that the FRA's (and FHWA and USCG - Coast Guard has jurisdiction over inland waterways) rulemaking will be 'proactive' rather than the usual 'reactive'.

Why is fracked crude more explosive? Does it have natural gas mixed in, or is it just the nature of the crude?

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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Zeke » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:49 pm

One of the links here stated the NTSB is looking at a broken axle found at the wreck site as a possible factor in the pileup.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:17 pm

Would believe by now,the Drillers,the RR's,and the Refinerys have samples in the Lab in an attempt to figure that out!
The Canadian TSB and the NTSB have samples in their labs as well,but testing takes time.
The "Material Safety Data Sheet" for Bakken Crude Oil has been revised many times already,with many more revisions to come.
According to an article in today's New York Times , the RR's developed a newer stronger standard of DOT 111W cars with about
14,000 cars in service out of a fleet of 98,000 cars used for crude oil transport.

(This fair use Quote comes from a hard copy of the NY Times pg A10,this might be buried behind a "PAYWALL")
"Concern Over Safety Grows As More Oil Rides the Rails"
"That concern was heighteed Monday when a train of oil-tank cars near Casselton ND,plowed into a train carrying grain
derailed on an adjacent track.
The fire burned for more than a day."
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby jstolberg » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:47 pm

CPSK wrote:Why is fracked crude more explosive? Does it have natural gas mixed in, or is it just the nature of the crude?

CP

Time for a quick lesson in API gravity. The American Petroleum Institute kind of turns the idea of specific gravity on its head so that the lighter the oil, the higher the API gravity. The API formula gives water an API gravity number of 10 degrees. Bitumen from Alberta is heavier than water and has an API gravity of 8 degrees. Here are some other values:
Brent crude: 35 degrees
# 2 Diesel fuel: 30-42 degrees
Bakken crude: 36-44 degrees
Fuel Ethanol: 48 degrees
Gasoline: 50 degrees
Eagle Ford crude: 35-65 degrees.

Higher numbers are lighter and more volatile.

Crude from hydrofractured shale has to flow through fissures in the rock that are held open by the frac sand. Typical frac sand is about half a millimeter in diameter although the driller can specify material from 0.1 mm to 2 mm. So the crude has to be quite thin to make it to the wellhead.

Sulfur can be a factor, but most Bakken and Eagle Ford crudes are light sweet crudes without much sulfur.

Fortunately, most Eagle Ford crude is handled by pipeline or barge.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:21 am

Here is The Times article noted by Mr. Backshop; the byline is that of Matthe Wald - a long time Times journalist who reports on transportation safety matters:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/us/co ... rails.html

Brief passage (in case the paywall will not break):

    Even before the accident in Quebec, the United States Transportation Department had warned that shippers were failing to follow basic precautions, like determining the temperature at which oil will turn into a gas and burn or explode, and selecting appropriate tank cars to transport the material.

    On Thursday, the department told oil shippers and railroads that it was “imperative” to test the oil being transported to determine its volatility. The department is also considering stricter requirements for the tank cars themselves, which are prone to puncture and burn in derailments. Sometimes the problem is as basic as the effect of a derailment, which can throw open valves and spill flammable contents.

    Tank car specifications pit the shippers, which own the rail cars, against the railroads, which say they do no more than haul the cars. The National Transportation Safety Board recently called the level of threat to the public “unacceptable.” Municipal officials are worried.
What has me somewhat astounded is that in light of these rail incidents and the material Mr. Stolberg immediately reported, I am surprised that the roads, including ones that should know better like the BNSF, were treating Bakken Crude as if it were, say, Brent, which also includes crude extracted in the Middle East. As Mr. Stolberg noted, it takes a bit more 'pop' to make that varietal go BOOM.

Additional articles regarding this matter have appeared in The Journal; I will post links to such in due course.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby JayBee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:11 am

There are several misunderstandings about what Crude Oil is and about how it is priced, and how WTI and Brent Pricing works.

First what is Brent Crude. Brent Crude is Crude Oil produced in the North Sea in one of 4 separate fields, the first is the original North Sea Brent field, the second is crude oil produced in the North Sea Forties field, the third is crude oil produced in the North Sea Oseberg field, and the forth and final is crude oil produced in the North Sea Ekofisk field. It is not produced in the Middle East or Africa or anywhere else. It is a Light Sweet Crude. Next, what is WTI(West Texas Intermediate). WTI is Crude Oil produced in the Permian Basin and shipped by pipeline to Cushing, Oklahoma. The are many other named crudes. All other crudes are priced based upon how much they differ from one or the other of Brent or WTI crudes.

Now what is Crude Oil. Crude Oil is a mixture of various Hydrocarbon molecules ranging from the Alkanes (like Pentane, Hexane, and Octane), these are the stright or unbranched molecules typically up through C40H82. Diesel has at least 9 Carbon atoms (Nonane), Asphalt has at least 35 Carbon atoms. There are also more complex branched Hydrocarbons present such as Naphthenes, Aromatic Hydrocarbons, and Asphaltenes. There will also be some contaminants such as water, dirt, and metals.

I believe the problems with Bakken Crude are due to the amount of Pentane, and Hexane present, as well as fractionally higher amounts of Isobutane. Pentane (aka"Natural Gasoline" though it has an Octane rating less than 1), behaves much like you would expect given its common name). Bakken Crude just has more of the shorter chain Hydrocarbons and therefor is more volatile than some other Crudes. Eagle Ford with a higher API rating, should be even more volatile. WTI which is produced from conventional wells is specified to be API 38 degrees and should be less volatile. But remember that the Bakken Crude has an average API of 42, but each well, especially given the size of the field will produce Crude Oil with a varying API ratings.

Each refinery will "Post" every day a request for bids to supply a batch of Oil. They will specify the desired API rating, and sulfur content, and a price they are willing to pay. They will also specify how much less they are willing to pay for each tenth of a degree variation from the requested API, and tenth of percent of sulfur, both greater and lesser. typically there are also plateaus were the price change jumps.

If you was to understand how everything works may I suggest you sign up for the RBN Energy Blog, and devote sometime to reading the relevant posts.

https://rbnenergy.com/daily-energy-post
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby NRGeep » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:00 pm

" Bakken crude tends to be flammable because it contains a large fraction of volotile propane and butane."
Zak Mortenson
Inspectorate America Corp.
(oil quality inspectors)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-0 ... -u-s-.html
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:23 am

As a New York Times reader for at least the past 65 years (know so; for at about age 7, both my Sister and I were to select an article other than from Sports, read it and be prepared to summarize it at Sunday Dinner to our Father's satisfaction), I have always thought their editorial position has been 'rail favorable'. Now here comes this blast that I do not think has put any additional information on the table:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/busin ... train.html

Brief passage:

    CASSELTON, N.D. — Kerry’s Kitchen is where Casselton residents gather for gossip and comfort food, especially the caramel rolls baked fresh every morning. But a fiery rail accident last month only a half mile down the tracks, which prompted residents to evacuate the town, has shattered this calm, along with people’s confidence in the crude-oil convoys that rumble past Kerry’s seven times a day.

    What was first seen as a stopgap measure in the absence of pipelines has become a fixture in the nation’s energy landscape — about 200 “virtual pipelines” that snake in endless processions across the horizon daily. It can take more than five minutes for a single oil train, made up of about 100 tank cars, to pass by Kerry’s, giving this bedroom community 20 miles west of Fargo a front-row seat to the growing practice of using trains to carry oil.

    “I feel a little on edge — actually very edgy — every time one of those trains passes,” said Kerry Radermacher, who owns the coffee shop. “Most people think we should slow the production, and the trains, down.”
OK; both the railroad and car building industries as well as the shippers are learning that the 'stuff ain't as safe' as once thought. As I have noted at likely every crude safety topic originated at this site, no longer can such be dismissed with 'oh it was just a one in a million' and on some ragtag jerkwater excuse for a railroad, as was I think to a great extent the sentiment was with Megantic. But now incidents are starting to occur on well managed and well maintained properties such as BNSF . Yes, it should be evident that there is something about Bakken Crude that makes it more volatile, and that additional rules (beyond simply a new placard code than 1267) regarding handling, and in what kind of equipment such may be handled. There could well be a call to withdraw the Series 111 Tank Cars from handling Bakken, and new operating rules prohibiting the tying down of trains handling crude.

Volks, there's a lot at stake here for railroad industry stakeholders - and even hobbyists who follow industry affairs; I can only hope that the industry will address these issues before too much more muckraking material is circulated and that pols, both TePee and Libby, start banging the drums.

Shame on you, Gray Lady.
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Re: 2 train Collision at Casselton ND

Postby NRGeep » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:35 pm

Good points Mr Norman. I do think it's not "off limits" for the Times to report the concern of residents in North Dakota re: the potential hazards of Bakken crude moving through their neighborhoods.

Given the current shortage of propane in the frigid Midwest, it raises the question of whether the use of propane in PA and New York state etc in the fraking process in place of water is a factor in the propane shortage for heating folks homes?
Also, it has been stated that propane is an element in Bakken crude. Is it already present in the crude or is it one of the petrochemicals used in the extraction process there as it is in the East?
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