BISMARCK, N.D. — After a number of explosions of North Dakota crude, the state began requiring companies on Wednesday to remove certain liquids and gases from oil before it's loaded onto rail cars — a move industry and state regulators believe will make for safer shipments.
The rules, developed over the past year, require all crude from the state's oil patch to be treated by heat or by pressure to reduce its volatility before being loaded onto train cars.
Dozens of mile-long trains loaded with crude leave western North Dakota each week, each pulling more than 100 cars laden with about 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude. About 60 percent of the more than 1.1 million barrels of oil produced daily from the Bakken region is being moved by rail and 75 percent of the rail shipments are on BNSF Railway.
Oil trains carrying that crude through the U.S. and Canada have been in several major accidents in the past two years, including an explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people, and a fiery derailment in Gov. Jack Dalrymple's hometown of Casselton that forced some residents to evacuate.