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Irving Oil to convert tank-car fleet to newer-model cars

Irving Oil on Monday announced plans to convert its proprietary fleet of crude oil-carrying tank cars to Association of American Railroads (AAR)-recommended specifications for DOT-111 tank cars constructed after Oct. 1, 2011. The conversion is slated for completion by April 30.

The AAR specifications recommend that DOT-111 cars built after October 2011 feature reinforcements and enhancements to help reduce the risk of spills if cars are involved in a derailment. Currently, about 88 percent of Irving Oil's tank cars meet the AAR's enhanced specifications.

Over the next 10 weeks, the company's remaining older-model cars will be cleaned and removed from service, Irving Oil officials said in a press release. By April 30, the company's entire proprietary DOT-111 car fleet in Canada and the United States will include newer-model cars built in 2012 and 2013, they said.

Irving Oil also plans to advise crude suppliers and marketers about the conversion and ask for their adherence no later than Dec. 31 for cars serving the oil company's facilities. The conversion plan follows recommendations made last month by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada relating to enhanced protection standards for tank cars, Irving Oil officials said.

"We have made substantial progress in converting our fleet of crude-oil rail cars to meet this enhanced standard," said Irving Oil President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Browning. "Safety is paramount to our business, and by taking this voluntary leadership position with our own fleet of rail cars we expect to set a standard for the suppliers and marketers who ship crude oil to our facilities to quickly follow our example."

Several other oil producers — including PBF Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corp. — recently announced plans to convert their tank-car fleets to newer-model cars.

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