Statoil started transporting Bakken crude by rail, at the start of September, from North Dakota to customers on the U.S. East, West and Gulf Coasts and Canada.
The move was needed to boost the company’s North American production from less than 200,000 boe/d in 2011 to more than 500,000 boe/d in 2020.
An important part of the growth stems from Statoil’s 2011 acquisition of holdings in the Bakken and Three Forks oil plays in North Dakota.
“The value of our Bakken crude is lowered by present limited pipeline capacity in the region, said Tor Martin Anfinnsen, senior vice president of Crude, Liquids and Products in Statoil. The ability to create sufficiently marketable products and ensure that we have enough transport capacity is increasingly important. Transporting the crude by rail bypasses the pipeline bottlenecks and ensures our products get to market and that we get the highest possible price.”
The magnitude of the operations is best illustrated through the fleets of trains that will be transporting crude from Bakken. From now and onwards, the logistic chain will be upscaled with unit trains totaling more than 1,000 cars. The tank cars are on long-term lease and incorporate all the latest industry safety standards. The average length of a train with 100 tank cars is almost 2 km (1.2428 miles).
Rail transit times to Canada, the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico region are approximately 14-15 days round trip, including loading and unloading.