Friday, August 02, 2013

Where data does not flow

I have mentioned this before, but really am amazed at the amount of oil being shipped by rail through Pittsburgh. It is all a very new mode of crude oil shipment.  I am also amazed at how little data there is on crude by rail at a regional level.

What we know is that the total amount of crude oil being shipped by rail in the US has roughly doubled over the last couple of years per the following EIA graphic.  I am pretty sure the percentage increase in Pennsylvania is a much bigger jump than that and the % jump of oil moving through Pittsburgh even higher.

But there just isn't a lot of better data, which may explain why there is little other interest.  If you can't measure it, is it really happening. There must be folks asking the same questions as me as this is posted on the EIA web site. They just don't collect data on crude by rail.. likely because it was just not a big flow not long ago.

What it means?  I dunno, but worth noting.  But if you don't know what I am talking about, just keep an eye out for trains like this that just were not common here in the past:


Anonymous DBR96A said...

Time to build oil and gas pipelines from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where all the ports and refineries are. This would help boost Pennsylvania's economy for sure.

Friday, August 02, 2013 4:17:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

There has been a huge increase in oil shipment by rail due to the new shale plays in areas that have little pipeline capacity. It will continue to grow a few more years until more pipelines are put into place.
Pipelines take a while to build as they need to purchase ROWs from landowners, get all the permitting done and then build them. At this pint they do not have the right of eminent domain in Pa but that may change in the future.
I am not a proponent of the Excel pipeline from the Canadian tar sands as that is a heavy, high sulfur oil. And mining that tar sands is leaves a pretty heavy environmental footprint. And we have enough US oil that we don't need to import oil from Canada.
But I would like to see a line from the Bakken down to the Gulf and to the east coast to alleviate the use of rail as pipelines are both cheaper and safer than rail.

Sunday, August 04, 2013 2:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the number of carloads should increase in the fall as a new transloading faciilty in Philadelphia comes online. I don't pretend to know the ins and outs but Philadelphia area refineries were set up to refine high grade west african crude..the same stuff coming out of north dakota. the ND shale oil is keeping those refineries alive as they were all set to shut down because of the high price of west african sweet crude. additionally, pipelines require additives which then have to be stripped out at the end point. rail requires no such additives so the oil coming out fo the cars is ready for use at the refinery without producing low margin byproducts.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Anon: I think the pipeline suggestion was intended as a joke.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:18:00 PM  

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