North Dakota ready to fight Washington state over crude oil shipments ban

North Dakota’s oil and gas regulator says it will ask the federal government to block Washington state from enforcing a crude-by-rail law that could prevent as much as 200K bbl/day of Bakken crude from reaching Puget Sound refineries.

The state law, which Gov. Inslee signed into law in May and will go into effect Jan. 1, prohibits Washington’s five existing refineries from unloading any crude from a rail tank car unless the oil has a vapor pressure of less than 9 psi, potentially setting a de facto ban on Bakken crude shipped by rail.

North Dakota says Bakken operators would not be able to condition Bakken crude to below the 9 psi level without removing valuable product, including butane, from the crude stream, and has warned that the law, if imposed, would disrupt 150K-200K bbl/day of Bakken crude through the state.