North Dakota Oil and Gas Industry Stresses Safety in Joint Hearing of U.S. House Subcommittees

WASHINGTON, D.C. –North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) Vice President Kari Cutting will testify before two U.S. House subcommittees today on the subject of Bakken Petroleum: The Substance of Energy Independence.
In her testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Oversight, Cutting will address the industry’s safety record and goals, the qualities of Bakken crude, the steps taken by the industry to properly classify and ship Bakken crude oil, and steps taken to ensure emergency responders are prepared to handle any incidences that may occur.

“Three independent studies have now shown that Bakken crude is similar to other North American light, sweet crude oils in gravity, vapor pressure, flash point and initial boiling point,” says Cutting. “According to these studies, Bakken crude oil chemical properties attest to its proper classification as a Class 3 flammable liquid. This category contains most of the valuable fuels and fuel feed stocks offered for transportation in the United States.”

With the increase of Bakken crude being shipped by rail, however, Cutting stressed the industry’s continued commitment to safely handling and transporting this cargo, including its partnership with railroads and local responders to develop a common educational tool to be distributed broadly to fire departments either through web portal or DVDs. This information is available for companies to use in continued interaction with EMS personnel.

The oil and gas industry will also continue development of additional response resources and periodic meetings to keep the lines of communication open to maximize information sharing of the latest data on emergency response for crude and other flammable liquids incidents.

“Hazardous Materials transported by rail arrive safely at their destination 99.997% of the time, but all stakeholders recognize the importance of implementing additional safety measures to reduce the probability of the remaining 0.003%,” says Cutting. “Routing analysis, infrastructure inspection and maintenance, railcar design, and additional training and information for Emergency Management personnel are all efforts being addressed.”

The joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee will begin at 2:00 p.m. EDT. The hearing may be viewed online at


ATTACHMENT: Cutting Testimony

For media inquiries, contact Tessa Sandstrom by email. (I will not be reachable via telephone, so please email with questions).

Since 1952, the North Dakota Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 525 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. Our members produced 98 percent of the 313.5 million barrels of oil produced in North Dakota last year.

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