The North Dakota Industrial Commission (IC) plans to finalize Bakken Shale crude content rules on Tuesday (Dec. 9) that would mandate equipment be updated to ensure petroleum is safely transported.
According to the draft rules expected to be finalized, equipment through which all Bakken petroleum products are produced would be designed "improve the marketability and safe transportation…” (see Shale Daily, Nov. 14).
A gas-liquid separator and/or an emulsion heater-treater operating at pressures of under 50 psi, 50-75 psi, and more than 75 psi, would be required.
Crude-by-rail shipments have fallen in recent months, but are still the predominant way to move Bakken crude across the United States. Nearly 60% of the production in North Dakota was moved by rail, according to statistics issued in November for the most recent period.
The IC has moved quickly on finalizing the new regulations to keep pace with a four-part federal effort, of which content rules are one part (see Shale Daily, July 24).
Also included are upgrades in rail safety as overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration, and tank car design and safety training state-by-state as implemented by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Pipeline Safety Administration (PHMSA), the latter in conjunction with the states.
PHMSA early this year issued a safety alert on Bakken crude oil that the light, sweet crude may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil (see Shale Daily, Jan. 3). The North Dakota Petroleum Council concluded following a study that Bakken crude is not significantly different than other oil produced around the nation (see Shale Daily, May 21).