Canadian Oil and Gas Train Derails, Catches Fire

This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world

A Canadian train carrying five cars of crude oil and four cars of liquefied petroleum gas derailed and caught on fire yesterday in New Brunswick province, prompting the evacuation of 150 nearby residents.

The Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX: CNR  )  train derailment comes only days after another derailment of a train carrying Canadian crude in North Dakota, prompting a deeper intensification of the debate over the dangers of transporting crude by train since the Quebec train disaster that killed scores last year.

The CNR train derailed near the town of Plaster Rock in New Brunswick, not far from the border with Main, on 8 January after "an undesired emergency brake application," according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.  After derailing, the train caught fire and was still burning on 9 January.

No one was injured in the incident, but some 150 people were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure.  

CNR CEO Claude Mongeau apologized to residents of Plaster Rock and said the cause is under investigation.

"It's a bit early to assess the cause. At the moment, we're focused on containing the site and dealing with the fire," he said at a press conference.

Mongeau said they were concentrating on a "controlled burn" of some crude oil and the venting of some propane tankers on the train, which was carrying a total of 122 cars and four locomotives originating in Toronto and heading to an assembly yard in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The derailment comes after a similar incident just over a week ago.

On 30 December, a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of the North Dakota town of Casselton, bursting into flames and erupting into a series of explosion, prompting the temporary evacuation of nearby residents.

This the fifth major derailment of crude oil transport trains in six months. The most devastating was the explosion in Quebec of a runaway train carrying North Dakota crude in July last year, killing 47 people.  

The recent derailments could see a tightening of regulations on crude oil shipments.

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Related article: Buffett Looks at Pipelines after North Dakota Train Wreck

Related article: Why the U.S. Oil Boom may go off the Rails


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