<a href=”http://geology.com/articles/bakken-formation.shtml” target=new><img src=”http://geology.com/articles/bakken-formation/bakken-formation-map.gif”></a>
<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakken_formation”>The Bakken Formation</a> underlies <a href=”http://geology.com/articles/bakken-formation.shtml”>large areas of northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana</a>, as well as southern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. The green area on this map shows the approximate extent of the Bakken oil play.
Advances in drilling and recovery technology such as <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directional_drilling”>horizontal drilling</a> and <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing”>hydrofracturing</a> have transformed the Bakken into a prolific oil and natural gas producer. The Bakken oil fields could become the world’s largest discovery in the last 30-40 years, with tens of billion bbls. Production is outstripping pipelines so trains are becoming the primary method of moving oil.
Crude oil shipped by railroad from North Dakota is drawing fresh scrutiny from regulators concerned that the cargo is adding environmental and safety hazards, something that analysts say could raise costs.
After <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-M%C3%A9gantic_derailment”>tank cars blew up July 6 on a train in Quebec</a>, investigators in Canada are considering whether the composition of the crude, which normally doesn’t explode, may have played a role in the accident that killed 47 people. The oil was from North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation.
The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating <a href=”http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/aug/18/north-dakota-oil-under-new-scrutiny/”>whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are corroding rail tank cars</a> and increasing risks.
<a href=”http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/jul/23/port-determining-oil-terminal-lease” target=new><img src=”http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3713/9536752483_50086b11bd_z.jpg”></a>
<a href=”http://www.tsocorp.com/TSOCORP/index.htm”>Tesoro Corp</a> and <a href=”http://www.savageservices.com/solutions/oil-and-gas-services.html”>Savage Services</a> want to <a href=”http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/aug/14/oil-terminal-plan-savage-tesoro-port-vancouver”>spend up to $100 million to build a 42-acre oil-handling operation at Port of Vancouver sites</a>, including the Terminal 5 rail loop and Terminal 4 marine-loading facilities.
<a href=”http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/aug/14/oil-terminal-plan-savage-tesoro-port-vancouver/” target=new><img src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2893/9536737705_9939026e29_z.jpg”></a>
Savage and Tesoro Corp. want to handle as much as 380,000 barrels of crude oil per day, hauled by train from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota. <a href=”http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/jul/23/port-determining-oil-terminal-lease/”>Vancouver Port commissioners on July 23 approved leasing 42 acres</a> to the companies, despite public testimony overwhelmingly against the oil-handling plan.
The Tesoro-Savage project would create an estimated 250 temporary construction jobs and, initially, 80 full-time jobs, Kelly said. At peak operation, the companies would employ “110-ish” full-time workers, nearly all of them from the local market, according to Kelly Flint, general counsel for Savage.