May 20, 2014: Independent Study Shows Bakken Crude Oil Is Similar To Other Light Crude Oils

North Dakota Petroleum Council has completed a study that now shows Bakken crude oil is not only similar to other light crude oils but also meets both the current federal regulations as well as tank car design standards for shipping flammable liquids by rail. More than 150 samples of crude were collected from various wells and rail terminals. Some of the characteristics that were analyzed in this study include vapor pressure, API gravity, initial boiling point, light ends content and flash point. This study showed no significant change in transit, little geographical variation and no evidence of corrosiveness. The results of these tests were consistent with results from a previous test of 250 samples of crude oil. API members have already shared those test results with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In a separate test that was completed by industry experts working with DOT and Transport Canada it was determined that vapor pressure alone is not a decent indicator of crude oil flammability. This test, although it is preliminary, showed that both newer and legacy DOT-111 tank cars are designed to withstand vapor pressures of 100 psi or greater. The highest level that was measured in the NDPC study was only 14.4 psi.

American Petroleum Institute Article