BNSF Railway Co. is exploring the potential for using liquid natural gas as a locomotive fuel, but has not not yet made a decision to proceed, according to company officials.
"We have been working with state and federal elected officials from North Dakota to make this concept viable," company officials said, adding, "We appreciate the leadership of the state's elected officials as we explore this important technological challenge and opportunity."
On Friday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple's office issued a news release that the governor is encouraging BNSF officials to build in North Dakota if the proposed project moves forward. He said the state's vast natural gas resources and location within the BNSF rail system would make North Dakota the ideal place to build and operate a natural gas processing plant and locomotive refueling station.
A BNSF train with tank cars waits Monday afternoon at the north end of Main Street in Minot. BNSF has been hauling Bakken crude out of the Williston Basin area for more than five years, said Amy McBeth, Minneapolis, BNSF public relations director for this region. “In that time, we have seen the volume increase from 1.3 million barrels in 2008 to 100 million in 2012. Currently, NSF hauls about half of the Bakken crude production,” McBeth said.
The study of the feasibility to build a liquid natural gas processing plant and refueling station is still in the preliminary stages.