Oil Train Revival: Booming North Dakota Relies on Rail to Deliver Its Crude
In the booming North Dakota’s Bakken Shale region, producers aren’t waiting for pipelines. In a reprise of the industry’s pioneering days, they’re loading oil on railroads.
U.S. railroads have seen the number of cars filled with petroleum products jump 44 percent in the past year. A large share of that traffic starts in North Dakota, where more oil is being transported by rail than by pipeline. That might be expected until more pipelines can be built. More surprising is that shipping by rail, which is costlier than pipeline transport and raises new environmental concerns, may become a fixture of the industry and not just a temporary fix, analysts say.
And it's not just North Dakota that's becoming an oil-train hub. A new combination of drilling and extraction technologies has oil gushing from out-of-the-way fields from South Texas to Alberta, Canada. With few nearby pipelines, drillers flush