Hydraulic fracturing has made practical the recovery of crude oil in the Bakken formation below Montana and North Dakota. Production topped 1 million barrels per day in April and continues to climb.
Derailments of trains carrying Bakken oil from the fields has many people worried about safety.
There is a way to render concerns about oil shipments by rail moot by shipping the Bakken oil the normal way — by pipeline.
Pipelines deliver 70 percent of the crude oil and petroleum products in the United States, the Manhattan Institute reported. Only 3 percent is carried by rail, with 23 percent traveling by barge and 4 percent by motor carrier.
“Road had the highest rate of incidents, with 19.95 per billion ton miles per year,” the institute reported.
“This was followed by rail, with 2.08 per billion ton miles per year. Natural gas transmission came next, with 0.89 per billion ton miles. Hazardous liquid pipelines were the safest, with 0.58 serious incidents per billion ton miles.”
Building the Keystone XL from Hardisty, Alberta, in Canada to Steel City, Nebraska, would eliminate most rail transport of this crude oil.
For nearly six years, the administration of President Obama has blocked the Keystone project, which would also carry oil from Canada’s oil sands.
Canadians are tired of the political games Obama is playing, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. A Canadian company — East Energy — announced it will spend $10.7 billion building its own pipeline to its oil.
“Its 2,858-mile path, taking advantage of a vast length of existing and underused natural gas pipeline, would wend through six provinces and four time zones. It would be Keystone on steroids, more than twice as long and carrying a third more crude,” Bloomberg reported.
That makes Canada safer.
Now to build the pipeline to the Bakken fields and make the United States safer.