Delivering the Goods: Making the Most of North America’s Evolving Oil Infrastructure

Center for Strategic and International Studies / by Frank A. Verrastro, Michelle Melton, Sarah O. Ladislaw, Lisa Hyland and Kevin Book

[Oil and Gas Journal] The US crude oil renaissance has created strong demand for expanded US transportation systems, resulting in five primarily challenges, a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies report concluded.

“Fundamentally, the US midstream infrastructure is changing in response to production volumes, locations, and quality. Between 2008 and 2013, 2.3 million b/d of production was added,” said Sarah O. Ladislaw, who directs CSIS’s Energy and National Security Program and is one of the report’s authors. “We also shouldn’t forget that Canada began increasing production from its oil sands activity, and Mexico is attempting to increase its production with major reforms.”

At a Feb. 26 event where the report was released, Ladislaw said that the primary US crude oil transportation challenges that have emerged include:

• Transportation safety, particularly crude-by-rail “which requires more policy attention and is beginning to be addressed.”
• The US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, primarily logistical and maintenance issues, and whether it needs to be reconfigured from its largely crude oil orientation.
• Crude exports, where there’s been a lot of work already framing it more as an economic than a security issue, but with political implications.
• Issues with the Jones Act, which was enacted for economic and security purposes, but which also has begun to create distortions in moving crude around the US.
• Climate change, specifically which US midstream oil transportation modes have the most impact on it…


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