NEW YORK, March 4 Oil-by-rail shipments via a
dozen major loading terminals in the Bakken region in North
Dakota rose again on Monday after running at unusually low rates
last week following new U.S. testing and shipping regulations,
Genscape data showed on Tuesday.
A total of 688,425 barrels of crude was loaded at 11
terminals on Monday, up from 665,000 on Sunday and more than
double the average rate of the four days proceeding Sunday,
according to an assessment by industry intelligence group
Genscape, which uses cameras to count the number of tank cars
loaded at major terminals.
In the two weeks prior to Tuesday's emergency order imposing
new oil testing rules, shipments had been running at about
550,000 barrels per day (bpd), on average. But in the four days
following the order, shipments dropped to some 312,000 bpd. On
Friday and Saturday, an average of 280,000 barrels was loaded.
"Over last week, Bakken rail loadings averaged 470,692 bpd,
their lowest average level since the week ending Sept.
13 last year. This constitutes a 103,093 bpd week-on-week
decline, a fall of just below 18 percent," Genscape analysts
said in their weekly PetroRail Report.
They said factors apart from regulation had also affected
loading rates, including severe cold weather that has slowed
traffic and caused congestion in the Midwest.
Oil traders were on high alert for any sign that tougher
rules on shipping Bakken's light crude by rail could slow
supplies out of the booming region, where existing pipelines are
unable to keep pace with rising production.
U.S. regulators denied a rumor on Friday that unannounced
inspections across the region had forced terminals to shut down.
The Genscape data showed all of the dozen terminals it monitors
have loaded at least one cargo since Feb. 26.
Genscape's report also showed that NuStar's
oil-by-rail offloading terminal in St. James, Louisiana, handled
132,000 bpd of crude last week, the highest since it began
monitoring the facility, one of the largest on the Gulf Coast.