A 90-car train transporting crude oil from North Dakota derailed and exploded in a rural area of western Alabama Friday.

At least 20 of the derailed cars were burning after the derailment in Pickens County.

No injuries were reported.

The train was operated by Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway CBR.

North Dakota’s Bakken shale crude oil is ultra light and combustable.

In June this year, a train carrying Bakken crude derailed and exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic this summer, killing 47 people and flattening the center of the town.

Since then, government regulators in Canada and the U.S. and citizen groups have called for tighter standards on crude oil rail shipments, including the use of newer tanker rail cars meant for highly flammable liquids.

Tank cars manufactured prior to 2011 are easier to puncture, some regulators have said.

The cause of Friday’s derailment and the date of manufacture of the tanker cars wasn’t yet known.

“Assuming the tank cars were full, the train, which passes near schools and crosses rivers in the area, held around 65,000 barrels of crude oil,” Reuters said.

The train was headed to a terminal in Walnut Hill, Florida owned by Genesis Energy. The crude load was intended for a regional pipeline and delivery to Shell’s 80,000-barrel-per-day refinery near Mobile, Alabama, the report said.

Crude shipments during the third quarter rose 44 percent year over year to 93,312 carloads, equivalent to about 740,000 barrels per day (bpd). That’s about a tenth of U.S. production.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board recommended after a 2009 Illinois derailment and explosion that tank cars used to carry ethanol and crude oil be reinforced.

DOT-111 railcars ordered after October 2011 have been manufactured to the new code, Reuters said. But refitting the 300,000 old cars would cost about $1 billion and hasn’t been implemented.


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