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Monday, August 12, 2013

Federal Railroad Administration tightens crude oil regulations

In an effort to improve safety, the Federal Railroad Administration discussed plans to begin asking shipping companies to provide its supply data for crude oil shipments, according to The Wall Street Journal. The FRA believes that some crude oil shipments are transported in unsafe tanker cars.

By using the supply data, the FRA will investigate whether certain oil companies are shipping crude oil with chemicals that would make the transport more hazardous than their current classification.

Some tanker cars have been reported to show "severe corrosion," possibly as a result of the dangerous chemicals included in the mixture.

If shipping companies are unable to provide their supply data, the FRA will work with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to independently test specific cars.

The aggressive approach by the FRA comes after a runaway train derailed and exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-M├ęgantic. The train was carrying 72 crude oil tanker cars. Forty seven people were killed in the blast.

"They seem to be saying, 'Get your house in order or we'll do it for you,'" said Grady Cothen, a former FRA safety official.

More information about integrity management issues in the United States can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

Posted courtesy of our friends at PennEnergy

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