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Rail News: Safety

North Dakota commission sets conditioning standards to reduce volatile gases in Bakken crude


The North Dakota Industrial Commission yesterday ordered oil producers in the state to reduce volatile gases in Bakken crude oil to make it safer to transport via rail.

The commission adopted conditioning standards that require oil companies to use equipment designed to remove light and potentially explosive hydrocarbons from crude prior to shipping. The standards take effect April 1, 2015.

"This order will bring every barrel of Bakken crude within standards to improve the safety of oil for transport," commission officials said in a press release.

Oil producers must condition Bakken crude to a vapor pressure that's lower than the national standard. Light hydrocarbons or natural gas liquids will need to be separated from crude and can’t be blended back in prior to shipment.

State officials plan to conduct field inspections to enforce the order, which stipulates a penalty of up to $12,500 per day for violations.

The commission developed the conditioning standards after conducting a public hearing Sept. 23 and receiving additional public comments. While considering the new standards, commission members received feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including North Dakota residents and energy industry representatives.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/10/2014