Railroads are moving almost 70% of the oil produced in North Dakota. That represents volumes of more than 600,000 b/d, which is up from less than 100,000 b/d in 2011.
The importance of rail has increased as Bakken production surged over the past few years. The North Dakota Pipeline Authority estimates pipeline capacity out of the region will total 565,000 b/d and rail capacity will total 865,000 b/d at year-end 2013.
If the Bakken is going to truly surpass production of 1,000,000 b/d, additional pipelines will be needed. Even if the pipelines don't come quickly, operators benefit from ample rail capacity.