Crude oil spills in Minnesota after train derailment

As much as 30,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled in western Minnesota after a train derailment.

As much as 30,000 gallons, or 715 barrels, of crude oil was spilled in western Minnesota after a train derailment. According to Reuters, 14 cars of a 94-car Canadian Pacific train came off the tracks approximately 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. A 26,000-gallon tank car ruptured as a result of the derailment near the town of Parkers Prairie, the article stated.

This is the first major rail oil spill since the boom of crude-by-rail transport in North America began three years ago. However, Canadian Pacific officials were not sure whether or not the crude was from Canada's tar sands or conventional oil fields.

"We are focusing on drawing up the loose (oil) ... and once that has been taken up, they will then pump up the remaining oil in the tanks," Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesman Dan Olson said. "Because of the winter conditions, the ground is frozen and there is not any damage to surface water or ground water. After the initial recovery we will see if the oil has soaked into the soil at all."

Due to the frozen grounds and cold weather, the crude is thicker and has made the cleanup process more difficult than it would be in warmer temperatures.

To learn more about Canadian oil sands, visit PennEnergy's research area.

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