Tundra Energy Marketing Ltd. and CN, Canada’s national railway company, have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a crude oil car loading terminal in southwestern Manitoba, near the border with Saskatchewan, to serve Bakken oil producers in the two provinces, the companies said Thursday.

The terminal, which would be built near Cromer, is planned to initially load 30,000 b/d into rail cars beginning in the second quarter of 2013. The facility would have the potential to accommodate a unit train of 100 tank cars, with each train carrying about 60,000 b/d of crude oil, the companies said.

“This project, combined with 410,000 barrels of oil storage currently under construction at our terminal in Cromer — a six-fold increase in existing capacity — will provide us with access to alternative North American markets for Williston Basin crude oil over CN’s network at a time when there is inadequate pipeline takeaway capacity,” said Bryan Lankester, president of Tundra. “Our Cromer location at the most easterly point of crude oil production in Canada should provide a market advantage to our crude oil producers and shippers.”

Tundra handles crude oil on behalf of producers in the Williston Basin, including its parent company, Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership, which has been an active driller in the area for the past 32 years.

Announcement of Tundra and CN’s plans follows U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s approval Wednesday of a “land-into-trust” application submitted by the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota to build the first U.S. refinery in decades in the heart of the Bakken (see Shale Daily, Oct. 16). The $400 million refinery, which was proposed by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes, would refine Bakken crude oil into products including diesel fuel and propane.

Numerous rail loading and related projects within the United States, including by Calgary’s Enbridge Inc., have been completed or announced in the Bakken Shale region as producers look for outlets because of a lack of pipelines to meet their needs (see Shale Daily, Oct. 8; Oct. 5).