My recent quotes for Energy Intelligence on the impact of power blackouts in Venezuela to its main oil export facility Jose

An interesting tidbit buried towards the end of the Article which Jose Chalhoub placed in that Linked-In posting (above) references US Gulf Coast operators importing "112,000 bbl/day"  from Venezuela.  Then there was another opaque reference to the importers "figuring out" how to do the payment remittance, given the US sanctions on Venezuela.  Not recited in the article is that the US Government requires that all such payments be escrowed for the opposition regime, against the time that the Opposition takes over from Maduro.  

If you take the typical rail oil-tank car at 33,000 gallons (US), and a barrel of oil at 42 gallons, then one RR tankcar should hold 785 barrels. So that 112,000 bbl/d would equate to 143 tankcars.  The typical rail unit train for crude oil runs at about 100 cars.  OK, so if you structure the trains as 72 tank cars each, you only need two trains per day of heavy crude to replace what the Gulf Coast refiners are taking in at this point. 

Can you do that with Alberta oil?   Of course you can.  There is capacity in the rail network to accommodate two extra unit trains.  On a typical main line (and here I am using the Union Pacific line running through Oklahoma as a basis) the trains run seven minutes apart; that is admittedly a heavy use of the trackage, but shows what can be done.  I find it lacking credulity to argue that there are no routes, including circuitous routes, that cannot accommodate two extra seven-minute windows for those two trains.  

There might be a shortage of motive power units, concededly.  then the smart move for Alberta, since the Province is already ordering and leasing the tank cars, would be to purchase some extra locomotives, and let the unit trains plus the locomotives do the delivery and the back-haul (presumably with some refined product). There is a surplus of capacity in the locomotive building business; for example, the Erie, Pennsylvania locomotive works of General Electric has lots of idled capacity.  With the Wabtec merger of the GE Transportation division locomotive works, Wabtec has sent that Erie work to Fort Worth, Texas, leaving spare capacity galore in Erie.  Get your order in, and off you go to sell that crude. 

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