Transport Minister Visits PCK Oil Refinery

High vapor pressures can increase the flammability of crude oil and Bakken grades were determined to have higher pressures than several other common international grades refined in the US, which raises rail transport safety questions. “Given the recent derailments and subsequent reaction of the Bakken crude in those incidents, not enough is known about this crude,” said Sarah Feinberg, chief of staff at the U.S. Transportation Department. “That is why it is imperative that the petroleum industry and other stakeholders work with DOT to share data so we can quickly and accurately assess the risks.” [Wall Street Journal]

Daniel Yergin gave the keynote address at last week’s MIT Energy Conference, in which he said despite rapid renewable energy growth, fossil fuels are expected to remain the world’s main energy sources for the next several decades at least. “It’s a contest, or even a battleground,” Yergin said in an interview this week. “Renewables will grow a lot, but they will still be, 20 years from now, a relatively small part of the overall mix.” [Boston Globe]

US natural gas market participants expect prices to continue increasing over the near term. With inventories depleted and another bout of cold weather on the way, hedge funds and other market players have been extending long positions. “Money managers’ net-long positions, or wagers on rising prices, jumped 5 percent in the seven days ended Feb. 18, to the highest level since May, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.” [Bloomberg]