Between the Lines: March 7

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New Jersey Explosion Serves As Reminder for Safety Vigilance

  The terrible gas explosion in New Jersey on Tuesday serves as a stark reminder to consistently emphasize proper safety procedures when working around natural gas.

While details surrounding the explosion are still unknown, the outline presented so far is sadly typical.

It appears a contractor, hired by Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), may have accidentally damaged a gas line. PSE&G employees were rushed to the scene, but about an hour after they began repair attempts, the explosion occurred, killing one person, injuring seven, and damaging dozens of homes.

Too Much Propane Could Be a Factor in Exploding Oil Trains

As federal regulators continue investigating why tank cars on three trains carrying North Dakota crude oil have exploded in the past eight months, energy experts say part of the problem might be that some producers are deliberately leaving too much propane in their product, making the oil riskier to transport by rail.

Red Bear Rising: Russia’s Putin Makes Strategic Miscalculation

Just last week Russia was showcasing it’s $51 Billion dollar investment in Sochi as the world watched the XXII Winter Olympics. Yet no matter how much Russia tried to show the world its softer side, Vladimir Putin was also closely watching events unfold in Ukraine.

For President Putin, Sochi was to be a showcase of modern Russia and every detail – from rounding up stray dogs to moving tons of snow around the warmest part of Russia – was carefully considered and choreographed. Putin attempted to whitewash the horrors of the Soviet Union during the ceremonies and even Misha, the Russian bear mascot of Moscow’s 1980 XXII Summer Games, was back and eager to show the world just how cuddly and cute Russia had become.

Energy Department Prepares for Deeper Look at Crude Oil Exports

The Energy Department is preparing new analyses of the potential effects of lifting U.S. restrictions on crude oil exports as political pressure on the Obama administration to ease the decades-old limits increases.

Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration, said he envisions a “series of reports that begin to lay the foundations to allow policymakers to understand the issue.”

US orders oil-by-rail shippers to test ND cargo

Shippers moving crude oil by rail out of North Dakota must test the fuel for dangerous volatility before loading it onto the tracks, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

Last month, officials warned that fuel produced out of the Bakken Formation could be more flammable and explosion-prone than previously thought after a number of explosive derailments over the past year.

Gerard: U.S. set to become a superpower in global energy market

The emergence of the United States as a global energy leader was hardly imagineable even five years ago. In the past two years, U.S. production of crude and natural gas liquids has jumped by 27 percent – more than 2 million barrels a day – making us the world’s leading natural gas producer and putting us on track to surpass Saudi Arabia as the leading producer of oil by next year. Our trade balance has shifted – with imports dropping from 60 percent of supply 10 years ago to a projected 25 percent of supply by 2016, according to Energy Information Administration statistics.

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