Bakken Oil Continues Moving To The Pacific Northwest

Bakken Crude Rail Costs
Bakken Crude Rail Costs

We've noted Bakken Oil can get premium prices on the West Coast before and more crude is making its way that direction. Most of the oil is moving by rail, but it is not being railed all the way to California.

Most of the oil is unloaded at ports in the Pacific Northwest, put on barges, and sent south to refineries. Some is consumed locally.

There are other projects that might come to fruition as well. Oil moving west is likely going to be a mainstay in North Dakota and Montana.

In total, there are 10 rail terminals planned or under construction in Washington and Oregon. One Tesoro facility has been completed in Anacortes, WA. Others include:

  • 2 in Anacortes, WA
  • 2 in Ferndale, WA
  • 1 in Tacoma, WA
  • 3 in Hoquiam, WA
  • 1 in Vancouver
  • 1 in Clatskanie, OR

It's an interesting development to watch.

While pipelines are the cheapest, safest, and most efficient way to move crude, rail has become competitive due to price differences around the country and barriers to building pipelines. Pipelines face significant regulatory scrutiny and high initial capital costs.

Bakken Oil Terminal Started From Mothballed Ethanol Plant in Oregon

Crude Oil Train Passing Mountain
Crude Oil Train Passing Mountain

An Oregon ethanol plant that went bankrupt within a year of opening is now being used to store and ship Bakken crude oil. The plant was built at a cost of $200 million and was supported by $36 million in green loans and tax credits. The plant was purchased by Global Partners of Massachusetts in February for $94.2 million.

Global Partners is using the facility for crude oil transloading and could restart the ethanol plant if market conditions improve.

The facility is in the Port of St. Helens' Port Westward industrial park near Clatskanie, OR. The facility began accepting crude oil by rail deliveries late in 2012.

It's the first major crude oil terminal to begin operations in the area in decades.