Oil producers using trains to hunt for best price

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota oil producers are increasingly using trains to hunt for the best price for their crude.

North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms says as much as 40 percent of the state’s oil exports are being shipped by train instead of pipeline.

Helms says there isn’t enough pipeline space yet to handle all of North Dakota’s production. It is now almost 640,000 barrels a day.

Helms says rail transport is more expensive, but it also has advantages. There are sometimes large regional price differences for crude, and Helms says a trainload of oil can go to the refinery that’s offering the best deal.

A Canadian Pacific spokesman says oil shipments are rising in North Dakota, and he’s expecting the trend to continue.