Crude oil train derailment in US’s second largest oil state

Crude oil train derails in North Dakota, US.
By Anders Lorenzen

A train carrying crude oil derailed on Monday in North Dakota, US. The spill caused ten cars to set fire, though no one was injured.


The train was transporting crude oil from the Bakken oil field also in North Dakota. Bakken is one of the largest oil reserves in the US with 10% of oil coming from Bakken, making North Dakota the second largest oil state in the US, only trailing Texas. One million barrels of oil are being extracted from Bakken daily.


After the accident, criticism is being directed at the method of transporting crude oil by train, and some are even suggesting that oil from the Bakken reserve might be more flammable than from other reserves.


Oil from Bakken is being extracted using the controversial fracking method, most associated with gas extraction. But the technique of fracking has led to the US extracting more oil than ever before, and by 2020 the US is set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. Due to the boom at Bakken, the reserve is producing more oil than can be transported by pipelines, making trains used more for exporting the oil.

Environmentalists will argue that this train derailment shows that the US oil and gas boom has come at a price. The argument that transporting oil by train and pipelines are both unsafe will be put forward by advocates of moving away from oil. Don’t expect the anti-US oil fight to go away anytime soon.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

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