Friday, June 29, 2012

Crude by Rail and Barge -- A Random Note From a Reader

From "anonymous," this nice note comes in:
Illinois contacts tell me that rail-to-barge crude oil loadings on the Illinois River have spiked from next to nothing to up to 180K bbl [very recently] (2 weeks ago). At least a portion of this was ND crude, with the balance Canadian sand crude.
Accurate? rumors? My hunch is that it is right on the mark.

For those who want to explore more, this link was sent to me by Don:
Kirby Corporation
Kirby Corporation is the premier tank barge operator in the United States, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and coastwise along all three U.S. Coasts, Alaska and Hawaii. Kirby's service includes the transporting of petrochemicals, pressurized products, black oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemical products by tank barge. Kirby also owns and operates four ocean-going barge and tug units transporting dry-bulk commodities in United States coastwise trade.
Maybe it's just me, but one certainly gets the feeling that:
a) the Bakken is providing a lot of work for folks nationwide
b) killing the Keystone XL may have been a decision that was thought through very, very well ... or just lucky ...


  1. Bismarck AnonymousJune 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    Extra work certainly - born out of desperation (not wisdom) to sell the developing glut of oil in ND and Canada. If Obama shut down all air flights, that would also drive up train and barge traffic.

    Wait until a unit train of oil crashes in some suburb, or some oil-filled barge has a collision with a bridge pier, creating a large oil spill. Might not the environmentalists be clamoring for a moratorium on rail/barge oil shipments, like the moratorium on drilling in the gulf???

    It is ironic that the most efficient and most environmentally safe method of oil transport (pipelines) has been throttled back by government fiat. Eventually, the greater societal consciousness will recognize the wisdom of KEYSTONE XL - - but how long will it take?

  2. You are certainly correct about a derailment. It's a credit to the railroad industry that they've been able to scale up to the degree they have.

    So, we'll see. For the Keystone XL folks, the biggest worry is not whether federal government will okay the pipeline, but how much difficulty the TransCanada folks will have with individual land owners in Nebraska and, particularly, Texas.