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Bakken Crude Tanker Runs Ashore

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted December 28, 2012

The Stena Primorsk, a 600-foot oil tanker bearing Bakken crude to Irving Oil Corp.’s New Brunswick, Canada refinery from Albany, New York, suffered a breach to its outer hull and ran aground in the Hudson River last Thursday.

Its cargo, 11.7 million gallons of crude, are being offloaded to Buckeye Partners LP’s  (NYSE: BPL) terminal and subsequently loaded onto barges to be shipped out.

According to Energy Department figures, over the first nine months of 2012 U.S. crude exports hovered around 57,000 barrels per day. That’s the highest level since 2000.

From Bloomberg:

“Exports to Canada will probably pick up quite a bit in the next year,” Amrita Sen, chief oil market analyst for Energy Aspects Ltd., said yesterday in London. “The repercussions will have more to do with how much the U.S. continues to displace West Africa. That’s the one that really competes with Brent.”

It remains uncertain, says the Coast Guard, what actually caused the outer hull to breach. Whatever it was, the event occurred some 10 miles south of Albany at around 7 in the morning.

The shale revolution across the U.S. has meant an increasing focus on crude shipments abroad. Refining companies like Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) and Irving hope to ship North American crude over to Canadian plants, replacing shipments that need to travel across the Atlantic.

North Dakota’s output, for example, has increased by 57 percent over just the past year. Even rail shipments have gone up dramatically, with Q3 shipments increasing fourfold over the past year.

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