UPDATE 3-Oil sector withholding info on rail cargoes -U.S. regulator

Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:17pm GMT

(Adds detail, including API statement refuting regulators)

By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. transport regulators on Friday scolded the oil industry for not sharing important information on the kinds of rail shipments that have been involved in a number of fiery train derailments.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group that represents oil industry companies, disputed the accusations.

In letters to regulators and testimony to lawmakers, leaders of trade groups like the API have said since January that they will share results of their tests on fuel from North Dakota's booming Bakken oil patch, where the derailed trains were loaded.

But the Department of Transportation said the industry has dragged its feet in cooperating with regulators who are trying to understand why several recent derailments of freight trains carrying crude oil also resulted in explosions.

"Despite the energy industry making assurances to DOT more than two months ago, we still lack data we requested and that energy stakeholders agreed to produce," a DOT spokeswoman told Reuters in a written statement on Friday. "The overall and ongoing lack of cooperation is disappointing, slows progress, and certainly raises concerns."

Officials have been scrutinizing North Dakota rail shipments since a derailment in July in the Canadian town of Lac Megantic killed 47. Other derailments in North Dakota and Alabama prompted more scrutiny.

API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement the industry has been "cooperating and sharing proprietary data with the Department of Transportation on the characteristics of crude oil. Reports to the contrary are false."   Continued...

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