NEW YORK Dec 2 Several empty crude oil train
cars derailed in North Dakota on Sunday, rail company BNSF
Railway said on Monday, the latest in a string of
'crude-by-rail' accidents that have prompted calls for stricter
safety regulations in North America.
Nine cars of the train, traveling westwards, derailed near a
town called Selz in central North Dakota after a truck crashed
into it, BNSF said, adding that no injuries were reported.
Transporting crude oil by train has become increasingly
popular especially from North Dakota's Bakken shale oil
formation, where the unexpected surge in production in recent
years has outpaced any expansion of the pipeline network.
But as ferrying crude by rail jumped to around 770,000
barrels per day (bpd) now from just 23,000 bpd in 2009, so has
the potential for accidents.
The most serious rail disaster hit the small Canadian town
of Lac-Megantic, in Quebec, where 47 people died after a runaway
train that was supposed to be stationary on an incline derailed
and crashed, causing several tank cars to explode.
Last month several oil tank cars burst into flames after a
derailment in Alabama, creating an oil spill, although no one
Such incidents have prompted calls for better testing of
potentially explosive ultra-light shale crude and improved rail
tank car standards.
The Association of American Railroads has urged regulators
to improve safety standards for tank cars carrying flammable
liquids, including phasing out some old cars.
BNSF is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire
(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Alden Bentley)