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North Dakota crude oil rides the rails to Washington refineries

Alaska Dispatch

The Associated Press reports (via the Juneau Empire) that crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken deposit arrived at the U.S. Oil refinery in Tacoma, Wash., last week, the beginning of what will likely be weekly trains to the new $8 million rail yard.

Earlier this year, North Dakota took Alaska’s place as the second-leading oil-producing state in the U.S. In 2006, North Dakota was No. 8 on the list, but advances in drilling technology enabled rapid growth in production from shale oil deposits in the western portion of the state. Now North Dakota is breaking its own records as Alaska's production continues its familiar decline.

U.S. Oil spokeswoman Marcia Nielsen told the AP that her company is focusing on shipping oil from the Great Plains because it is cheaper and has better availability.

North Dakota crude is also heading to the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash., where it will replace at least 30,000 barrels per day of the more-expensive and harder-to-clean Alaska North Slope crude.

Meanwhile, companies are working on building new facilities in Washington; BP has applied for a $60 million rail yard permit north of Bellingham, while Westway Terminals plans to build more tanks at the Port of Grays Harbor where it exports methanol. US Development is also eyeing the possibility of using the port to load oil from trains onto ships.

Read more at the Empire.