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Oil from North Dakota improperly classified, officials say
Fuel Fix ^ | February 4, 2014 | Associated Press

Posted on 02/05/2014 4:32:42 AM PST by thackney

Government investigators have found crude oil being transported from North Dakota’s Bakken region was misclassified in samples taken from 11 out of 18 truck shipments en route to rail loading stations, federal transportation officials said Tuesday.

Hazardous materials shipments are supposed to be classified into one of nine categories depending on the risk involved. If the materials are misclassified, they could wind up being shipped in less protective rail tank cars and emergency personnel might follow the wrong protocols when responding to a spill.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said it has proposed fining three companies involved in the shipments — Hess Corp., Whiting Oil and Gas Corp., and Marathon Oil Co. — a total of $93,000.

“The fines we are proposing today should send a message to everyone involved in the shipment of crude oil: You must test and classify this material properly if you want to use our transportation system to ship it,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

(Excerpt) Read more at fuelfix.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: North Dakota
KEYWORDS: bakken; energy; oil; rail
Excerpted for AP content.

The following is from:

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Safety Alert -- January 2, 2014
http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/1_2_14%20Rail_Safety_Alert.pdf
Preliminary Guidance from OPERATION CLASSIFICATION

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is issuing this safety alert to notify the general public, emergency responders and shippers and carriers that recent derailments and resulting fires indicate that the type of crude oil being transported from the Bakken region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil.

Based upon preliminary inspections conducted after recent rail derailments in North Dakota, Alabama and Lac-Megantic, Quebec involving Bakken crude oil, PHMSA is reinforcing the requirement to properly test, characterize, classify, and where appropriate sufficiently degasify hazardous materials prior to and during transportation. This advisory is a follow-up to the PHMSA and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) joint safety advisory published November 20, 2013 [78 FR 69745]. As stated in the November Safety Advisory, it is imperative that offerors properly classify and describe hazardous materials being offered for transportation. 49 CFR 173.22. As part of this process, offerors must ensure that all potential hazards of the materials are properly characterized.

Proper characterization will identify properties that could affect the integrity of the packaging or present additional hazards, such as corrosivity, sulfur content, and dissolved gas content. These characteristics may also affect classification. PHMSA stresses to offerors the importance of appropriate classification and packing group (PG) assignment of crude oil shipments, whether the shipment is in a cargo tank, rail tank car or other mode of transportation. Emergency responders should remember that light sweet crude oil, such as that coming from the Bakken region, is typically assigned a packing group I or II. The PGs mean that the material’s flashpoint is below 73 degrees Fahrenheit and, for packing group I materials, the boiling point is below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the materials pose significant fire risk if released from the package in an accident.

As part of ongoing investigative efforts, PHMSA and FRA initiated “Operation Classification,” a compliance initiative involving unannounced inspections and testing of crude oil samples to verify that offerors of the materials have been properly classified and describe the hazardous materials. Preliminary testing has focused on the classification and packing group assignments that have been selected and certified by offerors of crude oil. These tests measure some of the inherent chemical properties of the crude oil collected. Nonetheless, the agencies have found it necessary to expand the scope of their testing to measure other factors that would affect the proper characterization and classification of the materials. PHMSA expects to have final test results in the near future for the gas content, corrosivity, toxicity, flammability and certain other characteristics of the Bakken crude oil, which should more clearly inform the proper characterization of the material.

“Operation Classification” will be an ongoing effort, and PHMSA will continue to collect samples and measure the characteristics of Bakken crude as well as oil from other locations.

Based on initial field observations, PHMSA expanded the scope of lab testing to include other factors that affect proper characterization and classification such as Reid Vapor Pressure, corrosivity, hydrogen sulfide content and composition/concentration of the entrained gases in the material. The results of this expanded testing will further inform shippers and carriers about how to ensure that the materials are known and are properly described, classified, and characterized when being shipped. In addition, understanding any unique hazards of the materials will enable offerors, carriers, first responders, as well as PHMSA and FRA to identify any appropriate mitigating measures that need to be taken to ensure the continued safe transportation of these materials.

PHMSA will share the results of these additional tests with interested parties as they become available. PHMSA also reminds offerors that the hazardous materials regulations require offerors of hazardous materials to properly classify and describe the hazardous materials being offered for transportation. 49 CFR 173.22. Accordingly, offerors should not delay completing their own tests while PHMSA collects additional information.

For additional information regarding this safety alert, please contact Rick Raksnis, PHMSA Field Services Division, (202) 366-4455 or E-mail: Richard.Raksnis@dot.gov. For general information and assistance regarding the safe transport of hazardous materials, contact PHMSA’s Information Center at 1-800-467-4922 or phmsa.hm-infocenter@dot.gov.

1 posted on 02/05/2014 4:32:42 AM PST by thackney
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To: thackney
You must test and classify this material properly if you want to use our transportation system to ship it,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. A perfect illustration of how socialists in power view the world.
2 posted on 02/05/2014 4:59:40 AM PST by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: thackney

So, it’s higher quality crude than they thought? Sweet!
(pun intended)


3 posted on 02/05/2014 5:00:02 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: thackney
our transportation system

So the government owns the railroads now?

4 posted on 02/05/2014 5:02:49 AM PST by Ben Hecks
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To: thackney

“...recently tested oil was classified as packing group II
when it should have been packing group I.
...other truckloads were classified as packing group III
when it should have been packing group II
Regulations require shippers to have a security plan in place
for packing groups I and II, but not for packing group III...”
-
Some of my work involves DOT haz-mat shipping and shipping papers.
It is not clear to me how any of the reclassification would have
prevented or mitigated any of the accidents referred to in the article.
The requirement to “have a security plan” certainly would not.
For emergency responders, yes, knowing what you are having to deal with
is extremely important, but, as far as I can tell,
the emergency response to a spill of crude oil is not going to change
based on if the shipping papers classify it as class I, II, or III.
They would approach them all with the same procedures.


5 posted on 02/05/2014 5:06:02 AM PST by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: thackney
Looks like just another way for the Obama admin to block U.S. citizens from getting oil from domestic resources. One way or another they want to end our self production of oil.

They have effectively shut down coal, now they are getting the same results with oil. Obams wants us to fail.

Just another reason that 4 million conservatives who did not vote cost our republic so much more than a lesson taught when they VOTED FOR Obama by not voting against Obama. Wait for when in the next 2 years Obama appoints his 2 to 4 justices to the supreme court before he leaves office. That is IF he does leave office, but given the reaction to oppose him on anything he wants to foist on to the republic and it's citizens, that is nearly a certainty.

Thanks guys...../not

To the voters who did vote against him a very sincere thank you and remember to stand strong. 'cause a NON-Vote (not voting at all) is not enough in our troubled times. Keep in mind that at the formation of our country all that allowed us success was the 33 to 45 who worked to forming our country. The rest did NOTHING to form the country!

We still need everyone like those on FR to be part of the core that possibly will afford our republic a chance to save it self.

The rest; ead my tag line.
6 posted on 02/05/2014 5:08:41 AM PST by JSteff (It was ALL about SCOTUS.. We are DOOMED for several generations. . Who cares? Dem's did and voted!)
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To: thackney

“may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil”.

-

It is traditional heavy crude oil.

This is government showing its regulatory, partisan side.

Government really, really needs to stand down.


7 posted on 02/05/2014 5:08:54 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: Repeal The 17th

It appears from the article it may impact tank design choices for loading/transporting.

It also might convince responders to not fight the direct fire but keep more distance for greater fear of explosions and just keep it from spreading.

I know the propane storage fire codes spend significant guidelines on when NOT to fight a fire and how close you should be compared to the potential fireball diameter.


8 posted on 02/05/2014 5:10:43 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

So are these companies transporting thier own oil? Mine is sold to either Navajo or Pecos at the battery and it’s tested by them before it ever gets loaded. Once it’s in their truck it’s their resposibility, now if the producer is transporting their own then thats a different story but not something that I’ve ever seen around here.


9 posted on 02/05/2014 5:12:48 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
It is traditional heavy crude oil.

No. Bakken oil is light crude. And like all light crudes, it is more explosive than heavy crudes. So the comparison is meaningless.

http://www.ndoil.org/oil_can_2/faq/faq_results/?offset=5&advancedmode=1&category=Bakken%20Basics

Question
What is the API gravity of Bakken crude oil? Explain its relative quality.

Answer
Bakken crude oil gravity ranges from 36 to 44 degrees API. The quality of this oil is excellent, almost identical to WTI. The benchmark crude oil is West Texas Intermediate, which is 40 degrees API sweet crude. It is the benchmark because it requires the least amount of processing in a modern refinery to make the most valuable products, unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel.

10 posted on 02/05/2014 5:13:17 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Thought you’d want to see this. Better oil then expected?


11 posted on 02/05/2014 5:14:09 AM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: Dusty Road

Hess Corp., Whiting Oil and Gas Corp., and Marathon Oil Co.

I think all of those companies would buy oil from smaller independent producers.


12 posted on 02/05/2014 5:15:49 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: hoosiermama
Bakken oil quality is not something new.
13 posted on 02/05/2014 5:16:31 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network

Oh.

Sorry. If the regulators are standing on solid ground this time, I take it back.

Not in oil, so I’ll stand down. Thanks.


14 posted on 02/05/2014 5:17:33 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network ( http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: Dusty Road
If I think what they're doing is correct one would have to test every well and in some cases keep that oil separate due to cross contamination such as H2s. No centralized battery's but individual for each well.
15 posted on 02/05/2014 5:18:58 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: cuban leaf

Higher or lower quality is not the issue.

The issue is, you put the wrong placard on the shipment and now owe us $96,000.


16 posted on 02/05/2014 5:20:44 AM PST by Delta 21 (If you like your freedom, you can keep your freedom. Period.)
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To: thackney

1.) I find it strange that trucks loaded with crude oil would be going to rail loading facilities and not vise versa (I am ignorant of ground to refinery process).

2.) If the source is the same, namely Bakken, then why the differing qualities?

3.) Now do we know whoever tested the product was not intent on falsifying the data in order to collect a fine?


17 posted on 02/05/2014 5:23:10 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Delta 21

Higher or lower quality is not the issue.

The issue is, you put the wrong placard on the shipment and now owe us $96,000.


Yep. That’s kinda how I see it.


18 posted on 02/05/2014 5:38:07 AM PST by cuban leaf
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To: Fester Chugabrew

We go from tanks to trucks to pipelines to the refinery here. It’s back to that pipeline thing.


19 posted on 02/05/2014 5:43:37 AM PST by Dusty Road
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To: thackney

What is the typical flash of this crude ?


20 posted on 02/05/2014 5:48:10 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: Delta 21; cuban leaf
There is only one placard designation for Petroleum Crude Oil.

All of the potential "not really crude oil" alternative classifications ("distillates", petroleum, "oil, petroleum", "petroleum products") do have different placards.... BUT THE SAME GUIDE NUMBER, 128.

What would Hillary say?

21 posted on 02/05/2014 5:54:22 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: Fester Chugabrew
1.) I find it strange that trucks loaded with crude oil would be going to rail loading facilities and not vise versa (I am ignorant of ground to refinery process).

Rail does not run to each individual well. Trucks go to well sites and typically haul to either a train or pipeline loading station for shipment direct to the refinery. Some wells are close enough to haul direct to the refinery but that in not typical. Truck haul over distance is more expensive than rail or pipeline, so you try to minimize the distance trucks run.

2.) If the source is the same, namely Bakken, then why the differing qualities?

The Bakken isn't one large interconnected pool, but rather a play in the area and layer of the Williston sedimentary basin.

But I think this article includes descriptions outside the Bakken, it just focused most of the discussion on the Bakken.

3.) Now do we know whoever tested the product was not intent on falsifying the data in order to collect a fine?

I would say just the opossite. Testing wasn't originally done to avoid cost. Either dulicate a previous test result or to avoid using a more expensive tank. I expect the sample used for creating a fine includes a sample for verification, or the test was witnessed.

22 posted on 02/05/2014 5:55:48 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Not exactly what you asked, but this helps compare.


23 posted on 02/05/2014 6:00:34 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Here is one sample value:

Flash Point (°C) & Method: <-35 (PMCC)

http://www.cenovus.com/contractor/docs/CenovusMSDS_BakkenOil.pdf


24 posted on 02/05/2014 6:04:47 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

That’s a nice sulfur...


25 posted on 02/05/2014 6:08:00 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: thackney

Thanks. A few more questions if you would please bear with me:

1.) Are the trucks that come from the wells hauling the same product that requires placard 1267?

2.) In the case at hand, would the differing classification result in a different placard?

3.) Once a railroad tank car goes into service of crude oil, is it dedicated to that particular substance throughout its history?


26 posted on 02/05/2014 6:14:19 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Fester Chugabrew
1) & 2) Need some other FReeper help for those.

3) I think that is typical, but I also expect that it can be cleaned and used for others. Typically train oil cars are bought/leased by an oil company, or a refinery, that keeps the same car in the same service.

27 posted on 02/05/2014 6:19:30 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

It is a high quality oil from a low price location.


28 posted on 02/05/2014 6:20:08 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
So. OK. Wouldn't the Keystone Pipeline resolve this difficulty? This all sounds like a lot of excess government protocol set up to justify one entire bureaucracy - the EPA.
29 posted on 02/05/2014 6:31:41 AM PST by Gumdrop
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To: thackney
It is a high quality oil from a low price location.

That's a pitch-perfect way to put it, Thackney.

You are really invaluable on these threads.

Many thanks for taking time.

30 posted on 02/05/2014 6:32:23 AM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: hoosiermama
Likely just confusion over the hazmat classification for shipping. Of course, when this drilling boom (you have to drill the well before you can frack it, so "fracking boom" seemed an odd choice of words unless the onus was supposed to fall on the (eeeeeevil) practice of enhanced recovery.) was young, the US attorney out of Denver tried to fine seven oil companies over 28 'protected' birds found in reserve pits (out of 7000 drilling and production locations). He actually wanted people to do jail time over the birds, even though no one could say how they died or how they ended up in the pits. They even flew around in helicopters to find the birds.

The industry pretty much eliminated the reserve pits, which has led to a boom in manufacturing and renting 400 bbl upright tanks, which can be moved by truck, and in solids control and disposal, which incidentally, uses coal fly ash as one of the consolidating agents (another problem turned into a product).

The attempts to stifle just end up creating more jobs and industry, which I believe really frustrates the administration.

In short, no angle is left unexplored in the drive to attenuate or stop oil development.

The anti-fracking stuff hasn't found a case where fracking (the subsurface procedure) has led to environmental disaster, the Federal Lease permitting lag (6 months or more, where the State takes only a few weeks) hasn't been able to stop things because relatively few of the lease acres are Federal Land, and the bird angle didn't work (thrown out by the judge).

Now they are down to transportation accidents and somehow trying to make crude oil produced partly because of hydraulic fracturing more dangerous than crude oil that is produced from vertical wells.

I forsee a boom in railcar construction, perhaps, but this is too big for the Government to shut down.

31 posted on 02/05/2014 6:49:15 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: thackney

Hess was Amerada Hess, and at one time controlled about 1/3 of the mineral acres in the Williston Basin (where the Bakken FOrmation lies). Marathon and Whiting have considerable mineral interests up here, also, along with Continental Resources and XTO Energy, to name a few.


32 posted on 02/05/2014 6:51:12 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: thackney
I was at Cushing Oklahoma Station 32 on the Trans Canada pipeline last week trying to address some cavitation issues with 38,000 GPM transfer pumps. Initial impressions are that the pumpage is much lower in SG than they were designed for - I was surprised when the customer told me they weren't pumping crude "at the moment" but a much lighter hydrocarbon from a tank farm a mile or so away. None of this makes any sense to us. The customer said they expected cavitation with "this" pumpage - "we start taking suction from Ponca City in a week or so - that's the higher SG crude". " as long as you can guarantee the noise us cavitation and not a mechanical issue - that's what we care about now".

good article

33 posted on 02/05/2014 6:55:35 AM PST by atc23 (The Confederacy was the single greatest conservative resistance to federal authority ever.)
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To: Dusty Road
You aren't supposed to mix oils from different formations--regulations forbid mixing Mississippian oil with Silurian oil, for instance. (There are some 14 or so different formations in the Williston Basin which produce oil). Mixing sour crude with sweet would only lower the value of the sweet crude, so no one would consider it.

The pad well setups have multiple wells producing from the same formation, or from the Bakken and the Three Forks, and the oil is sourced from the Upper and Lower Bakken Shales, respectively.

Same age, same source rock formation, so separate tank batteries do not make sense in that situation.

One of the attractions for drilling multiple wells from one pad is the savings in production infrastructure (lower cost, one location, one lease road, one pipeline tie-in for gas/oil, etc.).

The Bakken and Three Forks oil is sweet, so no H2S.

34 posted on 02/05/2014 7:00:51 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Wonder if any of those railroad cars will be built by Lafayette Trailer or Monon Trailer here in Indiana. They’ve expanded to trucks and containers Dont know if they do that type of car. Regardless, the impact of this industry is NOT just felt in the immediate vacinity!


35 posted on 02/05/2014 7:02:40 AM PST by hoosiermama (Obama: "Born in Kenya" Lying now or then or now)
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To: hoosiermama
You are right, the impact covers much of the country, and we won't even consider the 'toys' that get bought.

Consider:

Manufactured housing

Vehicles, from semis to pickups

Rail cars

Semi trailers

lumber

Cabinetry

flooring

plumbing supplies (residential/commercial)

Electrical equipment from switch boxes to substations

Valves (oil field), wellheads, parts for and Blowout preventers.

Pumps, of all types and sizes

Tubular goods (drill pipe, casing, pipeline)

tires

fuel

anything you can buy in Walmart, including groceries.

Flame Resistant Clothing (NFPA 2112 Compliant)

work boots

hard hats

the list goes on, but most of that comes from somewhere else, and people here are buying it (and wearing it out or using it up.

That covers a lot of economy, and has created or maintained a lot more jobs than the Obamites, even with their Government Boom.

36 posted on 02/05/2014 7:45:29 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Thanks for that info.

While they produce their own, do you know if companies like also buy oil from smaller companies?


37 posted on 02/05/2014 8:21:32 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: atc23

I do work in Mont Belvieu at a facility that has over 60 different pipelines entering and leaving the facility (natural gas and multiple different grades of natural gas liquids).

Not everything is cross-connected but the manifolding via valving is incredible. Pumps designed for one grade get used for another as price and market conditions swing. It can be very frustrating for a design engineer when operations gets a new idea for a “temporary” condition.


38 posted on 02/05/2014 8:28:36 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Blocking the pipeline isn’t enough. Time to step up the harassment of trucking.


39 posted on 02/05/2014 8:33:52 AM PST by BinaryBoy (Starve the RINOs: Not one dollar, not one vote.)
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To: thackney

I can’t say with certainty, but I would expect very small companies sell their oil to others. Not so much with the Bakken, but with older wells in formations like the Duperow and Red River


40 posted on 02/05/2014 9:25:37 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: thackney

And 7 out of 18 loads were classified appropriately and the other 11 went into the same friggin tank cars. So it all got handled as the proper classification.

Stazi. Gestapo. NKVD. Take your pick. Thugs and dictators.

We are at war in case anybody doesn’t know it already.


41 posted on 02/05/2014 9:38:04 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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