By:  Bob van der Valk

Traffic on the interstate highways and rails has become part of the way modern way of life.  Rail tanker car traffic hauling crude oil increased in multiples over the last five years and will continue to do so every year until more infrastructure is build to handle all of this new found oil.   Additional crude oil production in the Williston basin, within the Bakken Shale Formation is going at full speed on our way toward make our country energy secure.

The US and Canada rail systems are currently being over utilized with the lack of infrastructure reaching the point of having major accidents.  The one in Lac-Mégantic near Quebec on Saturday, July 6th killed up to 53 people along with destroying most the small village.  Railroad tracks laid over 100 years ago are still being used today but with higher and heavier traffic than for which they were originally designed.

The 70 thousand barrels of Bakken sweet light crude oil was being shipped via rail from Trenton, North Dakota to Saint John, New Brunswick with eventual delivery destination of the Irving Oil refinery.  World Fuel Services had title to the crude oil and 50 thousand barrels were lost in the derailment caused by human error.   The MM&A engineer had stopped the 102 chain of rail cars without setting the brake.  While he walked to town to get some rest the train rolled backwards eventually derailing and exploding into a fireball killing people and destroying most of the town.

You may not like pipelines or fossil fuels but the most efficient and safest way to move the highly volatile sweet Bakken Oil crude oil is by pipeline. Increased hauling of crude oil with our overused and in some cases antiquated rail system may well turn out to be “Hell on Wheels”.

The town of Lac-Mégantic near Quebec Canada was named for the lake near which it is located and was named by the Amerindian Abernaki tribe.  It means “Place Where the Fish Are Held” and Lac is the French word for Lake. The small village is about 20 miles north of the Maine border
As environmental disasters go, the explosion Saturday, July 6, 2013 of a runaway crude oil tanker train is a major catastrophe. One thousand people were forced to evacuate the immediate area. Quebec’s environment minister reported 26,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Chaudière River and could possibly reach Quebec and the St. Lawrence River before too long.

The derailed 72-car train belonged to MM &A, which is a subsidiary of Illinois-based multinational Rail World, and was carrying North Dakota shale oil extracted by hydraulic fracturing to the massive Irving Oil refinery in the port city of Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada.   They refine the crude oil into gasoline and diesel.  Irving then uses pipelines to ship their finished products to the Northeast US as well as supply Canadian petroleum distributors.

The Wall Street Journal reported in their March 2013 article,  the US rail system moved 9,500 carloads of crude oil in 2008 and surged to 233,811 carloads in 2012. During the same period, the total number of spills and accident increased exponentially. A derailed train accident spilled 714 barrels of crude oil in western Minnesota in March 2013 on frozen land.  But, this accident resulted in a quick and efficient clean up with the railroad skating by without doing much damage to the environment.

Application for the Keystone XL pipeline permit was first filed with the US State Department in late 2008. Since then, the amount of oil being shipped on rails has risen 24-fold mostly shipped mostly on the Burlington, Northern, and Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad owned by Berkshire Hathaway.  Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha and main stockholder of Berkshire Hathaway, has been am ardent supporter of BOLD Nebraska, which is blocking the Keystone XL from being recommended through Nebraska.  The second application is waiting for recommendation by the US State Department for an eventual final up or down decision from President Obama.

Earlier this year Jane Kleeb, the Director of Bold Nebraska, stated the Keystone XL pipeline would be build over her “dead body”.  The problem there is a possibility resulting in more dead bodies, hopefully not hers, if the Keystone XL pipeline does not receive its approval to build the necessary northern leg from Alberta, Canada to Steele, Nebraska.

 

Baker, Montana will be the location for an on-ramp into the Keystone XL pipeline to be utilized to ship a minimum of 100 thousand barrels per day of Bakken crude oil to the Gulf Coast of the US.  The total capacity of the pipeline is 830 thousand barrels with most of the oil in the pipeline coming from Alberta, Canada in the form of oil sands crude oil also called bitumen.  It is heavier than light sweet crude oil and is the type of heavy sour crude oil used in most US oil refineries to crack into gasoline and diesel fuel as well as other products.

The southern leg has already started construction from Steele, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma with President Obama taking credit for accelerating the approval process for this section.   It was a great photo opportunity for President Obama during the last Presidential election.  Only one problem the southern leg did not need his approval.  Only pipelines between countries have to go through the process of being reviewed and recommended for approval to the President.

The disaster at Lac-Mégantic should be a wake up call for this Administration to do the right thing and approve the permit for construction and operation for the full length of the Keystone XL pipeline to be approved without delay.

Video by Lac-Mégantic resident Adrien Aubert, who filmed the blast on July 6, 2013.

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We spoke with Burr Silver, CEO, Olympic Exploration & Production Company this week who took part in an exclusive interview sharing his views on the importance of mapping the extent, contribution and distribution of both reservoirs to accurately determine sweet spots and fully exploit both resources.

See A Preview Of The Interview Below:

Why is it important to accurately map the extent, contribution and distribution of the Bakken and Three Forks reservoirs to determine sweet spots?

If the Bakken/Three Forks is in fact an unconventional play, a well drilled anywhere in the Williston Basin where the Bakken is mature will recover 80 to 100,000 BO. Of course this is insufficient reserves to make the play profitable. However, if you have accurately mapped the members of the Bakken/Three Forks, you will have a better chance to predict sweet spots. Elm Coulee Field is an excellent example where facies mapping of the Bakken middle member along with production from vertical wells isolated a sweet spot. However, production from Bakken/Three Forks is a result of the sum of the history of the Williston Basin. For example, Antelope Field is a Bakken/Three Fork sweet spot caused by maximum flexure on a Laramide structure. Another possible natural fracture play could be produced by collapse of BOS members into salt voids caused by the solution of the Prairie Evaporite. So in that case, the Prairie Evaporite and age of the solution front would have to be accurately mapped.

Download The Full Interview Here

If you have any questions related to the summit, then please do not hesitate to call (1) 800 721 3915 or email info@american-business-conferences.com

If you are interested in joining E&P and Solution Provider peers at this unique event, and haven’t already registered, then secure your place online here today.

On behalf of American Business Conferences, I look forward to welcoming you to the Bakken and Three Forks Completions Congress 2013, returning to Denver on May 13-14.

Consultancy of the Year – Antea Group

Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year – Aon Corporation

Drilling & Well Services Company of the Year – Marquis Alliance Energy Group

E&P Company of the Year, sponsored by TEEMCO – QEP Resources, Inc.

Engineering Company of the Year, sponsored by Cosential – Spartan Engineering Inc.

Environmental Initiative of the Year, sponsored by Austin Exploration – TEEMCO, LLC

Future Industry Leader – Megan Starr

Health & Safety Initiative of the Year – FTS International

Industry Leader – Mark C. Peterson

Industry Supplier of the Year – Frank Henry Equipment USA, LLC

Insurance Provider of the Year – IMA, Inc.

Law Firm of the Year – Burleson LLP

Manufacturer of the Year – Cobra Manufacturing & Sales LLC

Midstream Company of the Year, sponsored by Spartan Engineering – High Sierra Energy, LP

Recruitment Agency of the Year – Precision Placement Services, Inc.

Terminal of the Year – Savage

Transaction of the Year, sponsored by mergermarket – Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc.

Trucking Company of the Year – Brady Trucking, Inc.

Water Management Company of the Year – BeneTerra

Congratulations to all of the 2012 Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Awards winners. Thanks to all of the sponsors and partners.

For full information on the awards please visit: http://www.oilandgasawards.com/?page_id=12

If you would like to arrange interviews, or review video and photo assets and for anything else please contact: Marc Bridgen on +1 (210) 591 8475 or email marc@oilandgasawards.com.

About the Awards:

The Oil & Gas Awards recognize the outstanding achievements made within the Upstream and Midstream sectors of the North American Oil & Gas Industry. The Awards are a platform for the Industry to demonstrate and celebrate the advances made in the key areas of the environment, efficiency, innovation, corporate social responsibility and health & safety. The Awards show the Industry’s motivation to develop by recognizing and rewarding the efforts of corporations and individuals.

The Oil & Gas Industry is of upmost importance to the U.S. National Economy and instrumental to both National and Energy Security. In its areas of operation the Oil & Gas Industry also plays a key role for local communities and their economies. Through innovation the Industry has driven forward technological developments, which have created a renaissance in the energy sector, enabling the U.S. to tap into one of the worlds largest natural gas reserves. In spite of its significance, the Industry still has its critics and gets more than its fair share of negative press. The Oil & Gas Industry has made great gains in meeting its responsibilities to the environment, to corporate social responsibility and the health & safety of staff and the public alike.

The awards take place in the six main onshore Oil and Gas producing regions of North America, including; Gulf Coast, Mid Continent, Northeast, Rocky Mountain, Southwest and West Coast. The Awards are designed to focus on specific regions of North America to allow geographically relevant organizations the ability to network at the gala dinner, and to ensure successful companies can utilize and benefit from their ‘winners status’ within their business community. In combining the Midstream and Upstream sectors, the awards bring together partners, and enable these co-dependent markets to acknowledge one another’s achievements. A number of the Award categories recognize service providers to the Industry, who play a vital role in its success and contribute to its reputation. The Awards welcome entries from organizations of every size and each entry is judged on its individual merits, and on a level playing field with its competition.

The Awards and the Organizations involved will be publicized in local, national and international trade publications and general press, in the run up to and after each ceremony. The core aim of the Oil & Gas Awards is to advertise and promote the Industry’s drive to improve and develop by rewarding organization’s achievements.

The Oil & Gas Awards mission is to become the most prestigious and sought after Awards in the Industry. The reputation of the Awards is paralleled to those of its judges and the Organizations they represent. To this end, appropriate candidates for the judging panels have been carefully researched and recommendations sought to find Industry thought leaders. Each judging panel consists of a mix of highly respected individuals from market leading E&P and Midstream companies.

For additional information, or to arrange interviews with staff, judges or partners please contact Marc Bridgen, Chief Marketing Officer on +1 210 591 8475 or marc@oilandgasawards.com.