The American Petroleum Institute on Thursday issued guidelines for moving crude oil by rail, the latest response to a string of fiery derailments in the United States and Canada that has raised calls for reform. The guidelines from the industry group include procedures for sampling and testing crude oil before transport, criteria on how often to test samples and document the results, and procedures to prevent overfilling crude oil in rail tank cars.
API President Jack Gerard said in a release that the guidelines represented cooperation between the energy and rail industries and the U.S. Transportation Department’s pipeline and hazardous materials safety office. While the guidelines are only recommendations, they could influence coming regulations on crude-by-rail. A federal proposal on moving hazardous cargoes was announced in July.
More than 100 API standards and technical publications have been incorporated into U.S. regulations since 1924, the group said. U.S. officials have been scrutinizing rail shipments from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields, the heart of the country’s oil boom, since a derailment last year of a train carrying Bakken crude killed 47 people in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic.
In March, transport regulators scolded the oil industry for dragging its feet in providing information on the kinds of rail shipments that have been involved in a string of high profile train derailments. The API disputed those accusations in March.