If you have time to read only one external link, read the RBN Energy link today -- posted earlier. History in the oil and gas industry was made again, this time last month when the first unit train shipment of bitumen -- western Canadian oil sands heavy oil -- made it the 3,000 miles from its source to to the US Gulf Coast. I'm calling it BBR.
CBR: crude-by-rail; generally Bakken crude oil to the east and west coasts, but also to the Gulf
BBR: western Canadian oil sands heavy oil, from Alberta to Texas
In addition to "everything else," this article provides some background to the reason bitumen is being shipped to the US Gulf Coast and why Bakken crude is not the best fit for US refineries in the south. Wiki also reminds us that Venezuelan oil is also bitumen.
This particular linked post is one of series on the subject. RBN Energy will compare the costs of BBR vs BBP (bitumen by pipeline). Folks said CBR would not work because of the cost. Folks said CBR was a temporary fix to a short-term problem. The jury is still out whether CBR is here to stay. Regardless, one gets the feeling we might be seeing the same paradigm shift with regard to bitumen-by-rail. Does it really matter whether it's 100 miles or 3,000 miles for a unit train when it comes to "time"? Yes, the additional distance incurs an additional cost, but a) remember all the television commercials telling us how inexpensive it is to ship by rail; and, b) once the unit trains start rolling, it becomes a continuous process.
Oh, by the way, the same trains can return to Canada carrying the diluent from the Texas coast that is needed if one wants to ship bitumen by pipeline or by rail. Western Canadian operators get the needed diluent by rail from the Gulf coast.