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Town escapes tragedy, but derailments won't curb soaring oil shipments

  • The town of Casselton, N.D., narrowly escaped tragedy yesterday when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, and its mayor says shipping oil by pipeline would be a safer option.
  • Residents said explosions continued for hours after the derailment, and BNSF Railway (BRK.A, BRK.B) said ~20 cars caught fire after its oil train left the tracks; the cars are being allowed to burn out.
  • The incident could draw more regulatory scrutiny to rail shipments of crude, but analysts say the soaring use of trains to move oil is a long-term trend that isn't likely to change soon.
  • "Rail will be the long-term transportation solution out of the Bakken to the U.S. east and west coasts due to the lack of pipeline infrastructure to those refining centers," Tudor Pickering says.