Oil & Gas Bakken Shale

News & Analysis as of

“Peace Train” or “Crazy Train”?

In my former days defending agency actions in federal court, I had a standard line I used with frequent success when rules were attacked by all sides: “Your Honor, we’ve been sued here by both industry and environmental...more

Recent Crude Oil Train Derailments Intensify the Spotlight on Rail Safety and the Value of Oil Pipelines

Few of us can erase from our memories the imagery of fires blazing at the scenes of crude oil train derailments in West Virginia in early February and in Illinois earlier this month. The fact that these trains carrying Bakken...more

Crude-by-Rail Still Outcompetes Pipelines in the Bakken

With low oil prices and producers slashing the rig count in the Bakken shale, it is fair to ask whether crude-by-rail will be able to compete with pipelines in the region. The bottom line is that crude-by-rail is likely to...more

When Oil Prices Head South, So Do the Bakken Oil Trains

Bakken crude oil increasingly heads south as low oil prices erode its competitive advantage in the U.S. East Coast market. The price of WTI crude oil—the benchmark price for most U.S. shale crudes—is moving toward parity with...more

Oil Patch Regulators Order Bakken Crude “Stabilized,” A Step to Enhance Oil Train Safety

On December 9 the North Dakota Industrial Commission issued an Order requiring production facilities to separate volatile gases, the so-called “light ends,” like propane and butane, from crude oil before it is shipped to...more

State Regulators Are On Track To Improve Oil Train Safety

Our November 13 post noted that most of the crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota is shipped to ports and refineries throughout the United States by rail, typically in unit trains with one hundred cars or more....more

Falling Oil Prices Ignite Concern Over Bakken Crude

Happy Days Are Here Again? Gasoline prices have been falling steadily for months. Now a gallon may be purchased for substantially less than three dollars in many regions of the country. ...more

Crude-by-Rail Update: Municipalities in the Bakken Push Back Against Increasing Train Traffic

Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, towns in the western United States grew and thrived around the railroad. In fact, the railroad tracks often became a central geographic feature within towns, birthing the...more

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

RE: Bakken Crude-by-Rail: Environmental Groups Ask New York State to Regulate DOT-111 Tank Cars

A recent state-law challenge by environmental groups to an aspect of crude-by-rail transportation has teed up the question of federal supremacy over railroad regulation. Because federal law generally preempts state regulation...more

Bakken Crude-by-Rail Update: Transloading Projects Dealt a Setback in California

Recently, we covered environmental groups’ increasing array of state-law challenges to midstream and end users of Bakken crude that transport or receive oil by rail. Since then, a California regulator has admitted to...more

Stephanie Pindyck Costantino Talks Domestic Oil and Gas M&A with The Deal [Video]

Amanda Levin, senior writer at The Deal, sat down with Stephanie Pindyck-Costantino, of counsel at Pepper Hamilton LLP, to talk about the robust domestic oil and gas M&A scene. The Bakken shale play has been of great...more

Environmental Groups Ramp-up the Crude-by-Rail Fight in the Courtroom

Bakken crude producers and midstream transportation companies already experience transportation woes related to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, railroad capacity, tank car supply, rail accidents, and new regulations. But...more

Truth and Illusion in the Fracking Debate

Gas Flaring - According to Earthworks, gas flaring in the Bakken and Eagle Ford Shale is out of control and tons of greenhouse gases are being fired into the atmosphere; therefore, we should ban fracking. According to...more

House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing On Characteristics Of Bakken Crude Oil

On September 9, 2014, the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittees on Energy and Oversight held a joint hearing entitled Bakken Petroleum: The Substance of Energy Independence. The hearing examined the...more

North Dakota Orders Limits on Gas Flaring

On July 1, 2014 the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) imposed new rules that will significantly limit the flaring of natural gas at all existing and future wells. Order 24665 will allow wells completed in the...more

Are Oil and Gas Producers Protecting the Environment?

In their search for Utopia, some opponents of oil and gas drilling ignore innovation … What’s harmful now will forever be that way....more

North Dakota Court Dismisses Flaring Cases

You might recall that North Dakota achieved nationwide notoriety when photos of flaring Bakken wells visible from space circulated around the news. According to the U. S. Department of Energy...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region (UPDATE)

On May 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration clarified its May 7, 2014, Emergency Order Regarding Notification to Communities of Bakken Crude Oil Shipments through the release of...more

Industry Takes Steps to Address Safety of Crude Oil Shipments

The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more

Industry Group Study Says Bakken Crude Poses No Different Risks Than Other Crude Shipped By Rail

As rail shipments of crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s Bakken formation have risen in recent years, so have derailments of trains carrying crude oil throughout the United States and Canada. One facet of the debate over...more

North Dakota Orders Gas Capture Plan For Wells Drilled In The Bakken And Three-Forks

On Thursday, May 16, 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission released a notice announcing new requirements for applications to drill additional wells in the Bakken and Three-Forks. The NDIC is now requiring that all...more

Virginia Governor McAuliffe Announces State Rail Safety Task Force on Hazardous Material Transport

While federal officials continue their efforts to address railroad transportation of petroleum crude oil (crude-by-rail), Virginia intends to make a parallel but somewhat broader effort with respect to hazardous material rail...more

Department of Transportation Issues Order Requiring Rail Carriers To Notify States of Crude Shipments

In response to recent derailments of trains transporting crude, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order pursuant to its regulatory authority over the transportation of hazardous materials. The order applies...more

DOT Issues Emergency Order For Transport Of Crude Oil From Bakken Shale Region

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued an Emergency Order requiring all railroads operating trains containing bulk quantities of UN 1267, petroleum crude oil, Class 3, that either originates or is...more

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