SHARE
Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The American Petroleum Institute published a new set of recommended practices Friday for testing and classifying crude oil for rail shipment and loading it into rail tank cars.

The recommend practices provide guidance on a host of issues including procedures for testing and classifying crude and criteria for determining how frequently tests should be undertaken and documented.

Clarifying classification standards can help emergency responders more effectively deal with a rail tanker accident.

The API also provided guidelines for establishing a crude oil sampling and testing program and quantity measure procedures to prevent the overfilling of tank cars.

“Proper testing, classification and handling are important when shipping any material subject to PHMSA regulations, and crude oil is no exception,” API president and CEO Jack Gerard said.

The guidelines were created in collaboration with members of the oil, gas and freight rail industries along with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The API’s new practices comes two months after the U.S. Department of Transportation requested industry feedback on proposed new rules for the rail transposition of oil and gas products.

In July, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed new rules intended to make transporting flammable materials and crude by rail safer.

The rules would raise tank car standards, introduce new classification and testing programs and add operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains.

The DOT plans to phase out older DOT 111 tank cars for shipping group I flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude, unless the cars are retrofitted to comply with the new standards.

In 2013, about 415,000 rail-carloads of crude were transported in the U.S.