From Pipelines to Track Lines: How Crude by Rail Reshaped Energy Transport

Between 2008 and 2013, railroads saw a nearly 284% compound annual growth rate in revenues from crude oil shipments.

This started as a stopgap measure, because there wasn’t enough capacity in pipelines to handle higher U.S. oil production. Today, nearly 20% of the oil pumped in this country is riding the rails.

Why the dramatic increase?  It’s often more economical to ship by rail.  For example, the price tag for building a terminal for loading crude onto railcars costs about $50 million (with a five-year payback). The same amount only buys about one mile of pipeline—not to mention the environmental impact studies, community concerns and maintenance issues surrounding new pipelines.

To learn more about how crude by rail became a viable option—and why it’s here to stay—see this Wall Street Journal article click here. (subscription required)