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Northwest On Verge Of Becoming Pacific Crude Oil Gateway

Jan. 31, 2013 | Northwest News Network
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Tom Banse


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  • Westway Terminals VP Robbie Johnson and regional manager Ken Shoemake discuss the proposed expansion of this Aberdeen facility to receive crude oil by rail and transfer it to oil tankers or barges. credit: Tom Banse
Westway Terminals VP Robbie Johnson and regional manager Ken Shoemake discuss the proposed expansion of this Aberdeen facility to receive crude oil by rail and transfer it to oil tankers or barges. | credit: Tom Banse | rollover image for more

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Northwest is on the verge of becoming a gateway for crude oil. Three different developers have plans to use docks on Grays Harbor, Washington to transfer crude oil from trains to ships. Other projects are getting off the ground in Tacoma, Vancouver, B.C. and on the lower Columbia River.

There was a huge turnout Wednesday night at an introductory public workshop in Aberdeen, Washington. The response indicates crude-by-rail may be the region’s next big environmental controversy.

There’s a growing glut of oil in eastern Montana and North Dakota. It’s part of the shale drilling revolution, which promises to turn North America from an energy importer to an exporter. But pipelines can’t keep up with the gusher of production. Port of Grays Harbor CEO Gary Nelson says that creates opportunities for railroads and ports to get oil to market in other ways.

“You’ve always got to look for the next new thing.”

Nelson spoke to a standing-room-only audience in Aberdeen. The crowd was testy. Around the sides of the meeting hall, a trio of prospective crude oil terminal operators handed out literature and fielded questions.

One questioner asked which refineries are you going to be fed by rail. Other people asked about oil-spill response, rail congestion, how many jobs would be created and how big the oil tankers could be.

In many respects, this event represents a public “coming out”… continued at Northwest News Network where this report originally appeared.

© 2013 Northwest News Network
Grays Harbor exports oil
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