By LYNN DOAN & EDWARD WELSCH
FORT WORTH (Bloomberg)-- A BNSF Railway
train carrying oil erupted into flames after colliding with
railcars that went off the tracks earlier in North Dakota,
causing a series of explosions that forced local residents to
take cover. As of December 31, thousands of residents had been
advised to evacuate due to the possibly toxic fumes from
It was the fourth major North American derailment in six
months by trains transporting crude. Record volumes of oil are
moving by rail as shale plays from North Dakota to Texas have
spurred United States output to the most since 1988 and
pipeline capacity has failed to keep up. Berkshires
Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad carried about 500,000
bopd in March, CEO Warren Buffett said at the time.
A westbound train carrying soybeans derailed just west
of Casselton just after 2 p.m., and then an eastbound train
carrying oil hit that derailed train, causing a series of
explosions and then a subsequent fire, Fong said.
BNSF, based in Fort Worth, Texas, didnt provide an
estimate for when the tracks will reopen.
If it happened in a bad place, maybe a junction where
trains need to get through to go south or east, this could
become a big problem for both the Bakken market and for oil
refiners in the east, David Hackett, president of
Stillwater Associates, an oil markets consulting firm in
Irvine, California, said by telephone. It wouldnt
surprise me if the railway could move trains around all this
The train carrying crude was made up of 111 cars, about half
of which have been detached from the wreck, Fong said. The rest
were involved in the accident, she said.
One railcar can hold about 700 barrels of oil, according to the
Energy Information Administration, the Energy Departments