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Tesoro upgrades crude oil rail car fleet

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company LLC (Tesoro) is upgrading its crude oil rail car fleet with the addition of 210 enhanced tank cars that exceed new safe transport standards issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) on 1 May.

Tesoro worked with Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) beginning in February of last year to develop a rail car expected to meet or exceed forthcoming regulations. UTLX, which is manufacturing the cars and leasing them to Tesoro, has substantially completed the first group of enhanced cars, which are expected to be in service this year once enough cars have been delivered to form a full unit train.

Tesoro and UTLX collaborated to modify the design of the DOT 120, which is built according to pressure car standards, rather than to enhance the design of the CPC 1232, which is built according to general service car standards.

“In building our crude oil rail car fleet, Tesoro has consistently chosen rail cars that are among the safest and most robust available at the time of order,” said Tesoro Executive Vice President of Operations Keith Casey. “Every time we’ve added to our fleet, it’s been with cars that offer additional safety enhancements.”

In February 2014, Tesoro was the first to announce a commitment to phase out legacy DOT 111 cars from its crude oil fleet, well in advance of federal regulations. This latest set of cars reaffirms the company’s commitment to continually improve our fleet and lead the industry in the safe transport of crude oil via rail.

Tesoro’s new rail cars, which are classified as DOT 120s, have many of the same safety features as the new DOT 117 standard: 9/16 in. shell thickness; thermal protection; full height head shields; high flow pressure relief valves; protected top fittings; and upgraded bottom outlet valves.

However, they offer additional safety features, including: a thicker tank head; protective housing for the manway; and two times the rated tank test pressure.

“Connecting domestically produced crude oil with US refining centres by rail supports American jobs and enhances our energy security, but these benefits are null if it can’t be done safely and efficiently,” Casey said. “Industry partnerships like ours with UTLX, along with hard work from regulators and legislators including the Washington State congressional delegation, are helping to improve the safety of the system.”

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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