Discuss the transportation of crude oil

Word Limit: 2,000 words (with 10% plus or minus leeway) SAFELY TRANSPORTING CRUDE OIL Background Crude oil is transported around in world using every available transportation modal – by road, railcar, ship and pipeline. On any specific modal flow from oil field to refinery, it usual to discover only one modal used, as transhipment from (say) pipeline to rail costs money, and the oil industry has eliminated such transhipments in order to minimise transportation costs and inventory losses. Each of these transportation modals has its own risks, characteristics and cost profile; some of them require specific infrastructure, others may not be feasible, for instance ship movements to inland refineries. In North America – Canada and the USA – examples of all 4 transportation modals are used to move crude oil, from import terminals, oil wells, or tar sands and coastal/waterway distribution to refinery locations. But which of these transportation modals is the safest means of getting the crude to the refinery? Your assignment task is to research and evaluate which is the safest modal and justify your arguments and choices with supporting evidence, using statistical accident and incident data. In a 2,000-word Report you should outline recent experiences of accidents when transporting crude oil within North America, and come to a judgement on the safest form of transportation incorporating the criteria of human death, property destruction, volume of oil spilled and environmental impacts. Discuss any constraints that may influence, or limit, the choice of transportation modal, and cite statistics about the market share of crude oil movements in North America by each of the modals. For the future, research and present how increasing amounts of tar sands oil and shale oil will be moved to refineries, and whether this alters the dynamics of the current risks by modal choice. Your own interpretations and conclusions from your researches are fundamental. Supporting your own arguments in a robust and objective manner will qualify for better marks than a simple re-statement of the data and opinion found in the research. This should be a high-level review; the allowed word count is a deliberate constraint, so make sure you write a “rounded” essay, and do not discuss in too much detail. There is no requirement to discuss other geographical markets, nor the movement of petroleum products.  

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