NEW YORK An oil spill
following the derailment of a Canadian Pacific Railway (CP)
train could raise concerns about the increasingly common
practice of transporting fuel by rail rather than by
"Besides the obvious
(environmental impact), any kind of a spill is going to raise
awareness and caution," Kurt Minnich, manager at Tulsa,
Okla.-based Pipe Logix Inc., told AMM. However, the
latest incident was "not a large spill by most standards."
The 94-car train was carrying
crude oil from Alberta to the Chicago area when 14 of its cars
derailed near Parkers Prairie, Minn., early March 27. CP
estimated that less than 15,000 gallons of oil spilled from the
three cars that were punctured (
amm.com, March 28).
Pipeline companies such as
Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada Corp. had previously warned
that transporting crude by rail presents a greater
environmental risk than moving it by pipeline (
amm.com, March 15), and the company reiterated its
concern after the recent spill.
"When projects like Keystone XL
are delayed, the demand for the oil does not go away and
were seeing increasing volumes of oil moving to market by
barge, tanker, truck and rail," a spokesman for TransCanada
told AMM in an e-mail. "Obviously, no one wants to see
these kinds of things take place, and we certainly hope they
(CP) are able to complete their cleanup work as quickly and
safely as possible."
A CP spokesman told AMM
that the clean-up was "progressing well" and no safety or
environmental problems had developed as a result of the
"I would be very interested to
know in terms of volumes transported and the accidents that
happen what that looks like (for pipeline vs. rail)," Minnich
said of the possible safety advantages of one form of transport
Rail car builders have reported
a sharp uptick in orders as a result of the crude-by-rail
phenomenon, with one describing the market as "very hot" (
amm.com, Feb. 13).