Rail May Benefit from Local Constraints on Pipelines

The growing influence of environmental and citizen groups is being felt in an increase of constraints at the local level on the shipment of liquid energy products by pipeline. Railroads, however, fall outside of the scope of such local efforts.

Rail Provides Growing Share of Hattiesburg Hub’s Propane Supply

The NGL storage hub at Hattiesburg, MI was a key destination for rail shipments of propane that were diverted from the shutdown of Sunoco Pipeline’s ME1 pipeline in March and April. The PA Public Utilities Commission ordered the line shut in early March.

AAR Sees PTC as Priority to Cut Human Error; Cybersecurity Noted as “Challenge,” but Not “Obstacle”

The AAR this week filed comments with the FRA and the PHMSA, saying that emerging automated technologies make it possible to build a transport future free of human error. The AAR wrote that cybersecurity risk “is a challenge, but not an obstacle, to autonomous rail operations.”

Energy Transport Insider Exclusive: Loaded LPG Tank Car Moves Slip in April from March

Loaded LPG tank car moves slipped in April from March as the winter heating season wrapped up. Total loaded LPG tank car moves fell 5.4% in April from March, according to a sampling of tank car moves compiled by Energy Transport Insider.

Tank Car Sublease Levels Mostly Range Bound; Congestion Seen In Some Areas

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank car sublease rates were little changed this week, with some tempering in DOT-117 tank car rates after a report of transactions all the way up to the $1,000-mark last week.

PA DEP Stoppage of Mariner East 2 Remains in Place after Public Hearing

Construction work remains halted on part of Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 (ME2) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline following a public hearing held April 30 in Pennsylvania for discussion of the project.

Longer-Term Tank Car Sublease Levels Inch Higher as Market Adjusts

Longer-term LPG tank car sublease rates moved slightly higher in the latest week, as a refinery accident and continued delays in the Mariner East (ME) natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline project were a focus.

Research Firm Contends “Crude-by-Rail is Back”

Because Canada’s crude oil pipelines are full, shipping crude by rail “has become a necessity in order to deal with the production glut,” wrote analysts with Desjardins Energy Research in a recent research paper.

New Conway LPG-by-Rail Picture Forming as Mid-Continent Supply Grows

When the ME2 NGL pipeline opens this year, propane and butane production from the Marcellus and Utica shales is likely to be diverted to the pipeline. This will leave consumers looking for alternate sources of supply. One place they may look to is Conway, Kansas.

Tank Car Sublease Levels Up Marginally as Slow Climb into Spring Continues

Near-term rail tank car sublease rates were up slightly this week, as climbing crude prices and planning for coming days seemed to take center stage despite a bumpy start to spring weather.

Yes, Houston Has A Problem: Rail Congestion, Again

In response to shipper complaints, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in March asked all seven Class 1 railroads operating in the U.S. to report on their operational plans for 2018. A late March letter from UP CEO Lance Fritz and early April letter from KCS CEO Patrick Ottensmeyer both specifically mentioned slowdowns in the Houston area.

ME2 Uncertainty Continues; Class 1 RRs Face STB Reckoning

ME2 is still in the news, with questions still outstanding as to the timing of its opening. The Surface Transportation Board wants the major railroads to report on how they will fix operational issues in 2018. New England is seeing some upgrades of propane terminal facilities. And the outlook for tank car leases.