By BEN LEFEBVRE
BNSF Railway Co. said it has expanded its rail capacity out
of North Dakota and Montana to be able to haul up to 1 million
bpd of oil out of the Bakken shale formation, illustrating the
breakneck pace of US domestic crude production.
The private railway company said Tuesday its $197 million
investment has increased rail capacity out of the Bakken by 25%
over the past year.
The expansion will help oil producers
move their oil to market. Advances in drilling technology have unlocked oil and
natural gas from shale formations and caused US oil production
to surge past the capacity of the country's pipeline system to
The boom in oil production has caused a parallel increase in
railway use. Tesoro, Phillips 66 and Statoil have all purchased
rail cars - and in Tesoro's case, built rail lines - to move
oil from increasingly productive US fields.
BNSF said its investment will allow it to expand train sizes
to up to 118 tank cars from 100, hire 560 new employees in
North Dakota and Montana, build two new terminals and replace
121 miles of rail.
BNSF said it expects this year to haul 88.9 million bbl of
oil out of the Williston Basin, the geographic area
encompassing the Bakken region, up from 1.3 million bbl in
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