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HP Brief

08.01.2013  |  Thinnes, Billy,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, Houston, TX

Keywords: [Quebec] [train] [accident] [spill] [Geismar] [olefins plant] [accident] [heat exchanger] [piping]

Train accident raises concerns on safety

The train derailment that killed at least 38 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, has heightened safety concerns about crude oil shipments by rail. It has been confirmed that the oil was being transported by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) to Irving Oil’s refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. The MMA said improperly secured air brakes may be to blame for the derailment, which set off fires and explosions that destroyed much of the center of Lac-Mégantic. The railway is a key link for oil from the Bakken formation and Canadian oil sands to Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery. Shipments of crude by rail have increased; oil shipments in Canada have almost tripled over the past two years, to more than 14,000 car loadings so far this year. The Quebec disaster is the fourth freight train accident under investigation involving crude oil shipments since the beginning of the year, according to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.

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