Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Logistics executive tells industry leaders that moving oil by train is better than using pipelines

Despite a recent rash of oil train derailments and a myriad of safety concerns about train cars, moving oil by train is a more flexible and better means of transportation than using pipelines, Eric Slifka, CEO of the oil logistics firm Global Partners LP., told industry leaders and analysts Monday.

Slifka said at the Energy Information Administration’s annual summit, “Rail as a method of transport provides optionality and can be just as effective if not more effective than pipelines. If I were an owner of a refinery I would want to make sure . . . I had the utmost flexibility to purchase that product from the cheapest sources in the country.”

He said that "pipelines, whether newly proposed or built decades ago, may be a simple solution to moving product, but they can’t keep pace with the rapid change in U.S. energy markets today," Dlouhy writes.

While lawmakers continue to debate the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil sands crude from Alberta to Cushing, Okla., Slifka downplayed concerns about the safety of flammable oil rumbling across U.S. train tracks, saying "spills from oil-by-rail-car accidents can involve just a few tankers—potentially releasing less crude than could be emptied from a single stretch of damaged pipeline," Dlouhy writes.

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