Crude Oil Classification

Recent accidents involving Bakken crude oil in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and North Dakota, Alabama, has prompted authorities to relook the classification process of crude oil shipments.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is jointly carrying out “Operation Classification” involving unannounced inspection and testing of crude oil samples to verify that product is properly classified and declared.

The scope of the laboratory tests involved in ‘Operation Classification’ includes

  • Reid Vapor Pressure
  • corrosivity
  • hydrogen sulfide content
  • composition/concentration of the entrained gases in the material

apart from other criteria commonly applicable for classification of crude oil.

Results of the tests and findings will be published by PHSMA when same is available meanwhile PHSMA has urged the shippers to properly classify and describe the hazardous materials being offered for transport.

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Safety Alert: Preliminary Guidance from Operation Classification

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