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The volume of crude oil transported by rail plummeted 45 percent during the first five months of 2016 compared with the same period last year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported yesterday.Movements of crude oil by rail averaged 443,000 barrels per day (b/d) through May. Fewer shipments of crude oil by rail from the Midwest to the East Coast account for about half of the decline, the EIA reported in its "Today in Energy" brief."Crude oil shipments by rail have generally decreased since last summer for several reasons, including narrowing price differences between domestic and imported crude oil, the opening of new crude oil pipelines, and declining domestic production in the Midwest and Gulf Coast onshore regions," the brief states. Crude oil transported by rail from the Midwest to East Coast refineries remained the largest crude-by-rail movement at 176,000 b/d, or 45 percent of the total crude oil moved by rail in the United States in May, the EIA reported."Crude oil imports processed by East Coast refineries have generally increased since early 2015, averaging 760,000 b/d in May 2016, up from 666,000 b/d in May of last year," according to the brief.