Protecting the Environment

Fracking has opened up new oil fields, many of which are in remote, undeveloped areas that do not have pipeline or rail infrastructure. Accordingly, oil from these wells must be trucked to a rail spur, refinery or pipeline.

The fracking process involves continuous movement of the producing wells and tank batteries, which means that even long term, truck transport will remain the most effective way to bring this oil to market. However, truck transport of crude oil has a spill rate four to six times higher than transport via rail or pipeline when measured in accidents per million cubic meters of oil transported, see table below [1]. While some of these spills involve traffic accidents when the tanker truck is on the road, most of the spills occur when loading at the tank battery or unloading at the rail spur, pipeline or refinery.

 

YearModeNumber of AccidentsVolume Shipped (m3)Rate (per million m3)
2011
Truck
45
31459085
1.430429388
2011
Pipeline
259
736285714
0.351765619
2012
Rail
1
3908266
0.255867934

 

In terms of incidents per cubic meters, truck transportation has an incident rate over 5 times that of pipeline or railcar transport. Heavy Duty Innovations provides oil companies and energy transportation fleets with the tools to eliminate tank truck translating spills and accidents. Deploying Safety Pumping Systems industrywide will significantly reduce the incident rate for oil transport via truck.


 

[1} Source: Volumes from Statistics Canada, Transport Canada. Accident counts from Transport Canada for rail and truck, provincial governments and NEB for Pipeline. Volumes estimated using crude oil density of 0.9 kg/l. There were no in transit rail accidents in 2011, therefore 2012 data is used for comparison. Pipeline volume includes some diluent.