Platts confirmed CSX Corporation's train that exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia was carrying sweet crude obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin. CSX CEO Michael Ward has also confirmed this to Bloomberg.
“Trade sources said the train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was headed to Plains All American's terminal in Yorktown,” Platts explained. “The Yorktown facility can unload 130,000 b/d of crude and is located on the site of Plains oil product terminal.”
In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Safety Alert concluding Bakken crude is more flammable than heavier oils. Hence the term “bomb trains.”
At least 50,000 gallons of the oil headed to Yorktown is now missing, according to ABC 13 in Lynchburg. Some of it has spilled into the James River, as previously reported on DeSmogBlog.
A map available on CSX's website displaying the routes for its crude-by-rail trains offers a clear indication of where the train was headed.
Map Credit: CSX Corporation
Formerly a refinery owned by Standard Oil and then BP/Amoco, Plains All American has turned the Yorktown refinery into a mega holding facility.
Yorktown may become a key future site for crude oil exports if the ban on exports of oil produced domestically in the U.S. is lifted.