Oil-by-rail refiners say regulators will have data by end of May

HOUSTON Fri May 9, 2014 3:48pm EDT

HOUSTON May 9 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators seeking data from refiners in the effort to gauge the volatility of North Dakota Bakken crude being shipped by rail will have the information by the end of May, according to the industry's trade group.

Seventeen companies have anonymously submitted data from more than 1,000 samples to an undisclosed third-party auditor hired by the American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM), the U.S. independent refining industry's trade group, the group's general counsel, Rich Moskowitz, said on Friday.

A technical consultant is compiling the information into a report that will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation by month's end, Moskowitz said. It will be submitted without the companies identifying themselves because they consider the data to be proprietary.

A spate of fiery crude train crashes has prompted regulators to examine oil-by-rail safety, and earlier this year DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) called for Bakken operators and shippers to share crude testing data to help regulators evaluate the volatility of oil produced there.

DOT didn't set a deadline, but last week it identified only three companies that it said have shared such data: Exxon Mobil Corp, Continental Resources Inc and privately held Savage Companies.

Other companies say they have shared data as well. Oil producer Hess Corp said the company has shared such data with DOT personnel in North Dakota.

J.P. Fjeld-Hansen, managing director at Musket, a privately held trading and logistics company with Bakken oil-loading operations, also said crude shipped from its facilities "is properly tested, classified and reported to DOT". He said PHMSA and DOT have visited Musket's crude loading facilities several times this year.

Pipeline company Plains All American, which has crude by rail operations in the Bakken and other U.S. oil plays, said the company shared crude sampling data from several Bakken locations with DOT in mid-March.

Independent refiners Phillips 66 and Tesoro Corp also said they also are sharing data through the AFPM initiative.

"We want to find a solution and work with regulators on that," said Phillips 66 spokesman Dean Acosta.

PHMSA did not immediately comment. (Reporting By Kristen Hays; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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