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Analysis and market implications of crude-by-rail movements in North America

Gain insight into the market with the industry's most comprehensive crude-by-rail data  

Genscape's monitoring network offers an important view into the North American crude-by-rail market, which has evolved in recent years to become an important component of the crude transportation landscape.

Genscape monitors rail loading terminals

It's vital to understand how rail is used as a flexible option for oil producers to send product to market in times of arbitrage opportunities or pipeline constraints. Our crude-by-rail proprietary network continues to expand as the market matures following a rush of midstream developments in recent years.

Genscape's PetroRail Report includes fundamental rail loading and unloading volume data, forward-looking and trend market analysis, and spot assessments for U.S. crude benchmarks. Additionally, the report provides the price of Bakken at the rail terminal, loaded onto pipeline, and at North Dakota’s most active crude hub in Beaver Lodge, ND. Genscape assesses the crude tank-car leasing markets for unheated 30,000 gallon, unheated 31,800 gallon, and coiled and insulated 29,000 gallon rail car models, plus provides monthly information on tank car storage rates.

Genscape's proprietary monitors are able to track the number of trains moving and the number of cars per train, resulting in a highly accurate calculation of crude volumes. The movement of crude on rail cars became a key component of the oil supply chain in tandem with the North Dakota Bakken shale boom, but the view of the movements remain opaque.

Genscape currently monitors loadings in key areas and receipt points, including:

  • North Dakota/Wyoming: Genscape monitors 87 percent of crude-by-rail capacity in North Dakota, as well as two terminals in Wyoming. Eighty-Eight Oil's terminal in Guernsey, and USD Group-owned terminal in Casper.
  • Canada’s Western Sedimentary Basin: Genscape monitors three rail loading facilities in Alberta: the Cenovus terminal in Bruderheim, the Kinder Morgan/Imperial Edmonton facility and the USD Group’s Hardisty terminal.
  • U.S. Gulf Coast: In Louisiana, Genscape monitors the NuStar Energy and Plains All American receiving terminals in St. James, as well as Murex’s New Orleans unloading facility. In Texas, the Maverick GT Omniport Port Arthur is monitored, while volume data is also collected in New Mexico at Murex’s Carlsbad facility.
  • U.S. East Coast: Genscape monitors the following unloading terminals on the East Coast: Global Partners’ in Albany, NY, Plains All American’s in Yorktown, VA, Philadelphia Energy Partners’ in Philadelphia, PA, PBF Energy’s in Delaware City, DE. 
  • U.S. West Coast: Genscape collects data at Tesoro’s Anacortes, WA, facility, Plains’ Bakersfield, CA, facility.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

Delivery: Emailed PDFs, access to Genscape's Oil Intelligence dashboard

Frequency: Weekly newsletter, daily Bakken data

Locations: North America

Subscribe: Call 866 292 8060

PetroRail Report

Key Insights into Bakken-by-Rail evolution & its new place in the U.S. midstream market
White Paper: Hub Offers Takeaway Optionality for Evolving North Dakota Market

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The PetroRail Report includes:

  • Market information
    • Analysis of fundamental developments
    • Calculated producer netbacks
    • Rail freight costs
  • Price assessments
    • Genscape rail delivered crude price assessments
    • Rail-car leasing rates
    • Crude differential assessments
  • Fundamental data
    • Rail loading volumes
    • Rail unloading volumes
    • Key pipeline flows

Subscribers Receive:

  • A weekly newsletter with the information that will help develop new trading strategies, identify competitors' economics and determine the price of the marginal barrel
  • A daily newsletter updating rail loading and pipeline flows in the Bakken producing region, as well as crude-by-rail receipts at two key St. James, LA, unloading facilities

Weekly PetroRail Report Benefits:

  • Genscape monitors the Canexus rail terminal at Bruderheim Understand how rail is being utilized as a flexible option for oil producers to sell their product at the highest price possible
  • Develop new trading strategies when you know where oil is going and where it’s coming from by rail
  • Identify competitors’ economics when you see the price and time it takes to transport on various rail systems
  • Gain insight into rail infrastructure development to better assess Bakken crude oil deliveries
  • Determine the price of the marginal barrel when you have the most up-to-date insight into rail movements and transportation costs

 

White Paper: Hub Offers Takeaway Optionality for Evolving North Dakota Market

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PetroRail: Methodology & Specifications

General Methodology

Genscape gathers information for its price assessments throughout the trading week so that they are accurate and representative of market value. To get this information, Genscape analysts collect bids, offers, and transactional information from a wide variety of market participants. The aim in this data-collection process is to determine all the circumstances surrounding this information, including quantity, location, dimensions, loading times, delivery times, etc. 

In this assessment process, Genscape considers all information gathered and assess the value of the particular markets included in the PetroRail report at 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Monday's. This analysis reflects the tradable value of the commodity in question at that time. Genscape analysts may also look at related data inputs, such as corresponding markets and its own proprietary rail-car loading data.

Genscape aims to evolve its PetroRail price methodology with changing market conditions. Analysts regularly engage market participants to determine if market conditions warrant a revision to the PetroRail Report’s underlying methodology.

Click here to access more detailed information about Genscape's PetroRail Report methodology and specifications.

See how PetroRail price methodology produces analyses that represent market value

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A transparent look into daily Bakken shale market price and takeaway fundamentals

See the Bakken shale picture evolve in North Dakota and Wyoming with pipeline and crude-by-rail takeaway volumes and Bakken crude prices

Genscape’s Daily Bakken Update features monitoring coverage of 87 percent of North Dakota crude-by-rail terminals, as well as six key takeaway pipelines that deliver the light, sweet shale crude to destination markets. Analysis is shown regarding the relationship between the two transportation methods. The so-called transportation split has shifted in recent years as new pipeline capacity became available and regional crude producers sought takeaway optionality and arbitrage opportunities from the play.

Additionally, the report includes daily Bakken spot prices at key locations, including the premiere crude hub with pipeline and rail takeaway flexibility in North Dakota and at crude-by-rail loading terminals in the state.

Prices for Bakken Beaver Lodge and North Dakota Bakken Railhead are assessed using market intelligence gathered daily through traditional price-reporting methods. Tracking prices at these trading points is vital in making strategic decisions around the Bakken crude landscape.

Also included are recent Genscape Bakken crude pipeline alerts and daily data for crude-by-rail receipts at St. James unloading facilities. 

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PetroRail Daily Bakken Update: Methodology & Specifications

General Methodology

Genscape assesses Bakken Beaver Lodge and North Datoka Bakken Raihead crude grades based on market intelligence gathered daily through traditional price-reporting methods. Genscape market reporters contact market participants, gather bid, offer and trade information and assess each market based on the tradable value at 4 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. CDT.  

Genscape’s daily Bakken crude assessments are published as a differential to a basis price and an outright price. For its basis prices, Genscape sources its West Texas Intermediate from publicly available prices reported by exchanges.

Publication time: Genscape’s daily Bakken crude prices are assessed at 4 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. CDT.

Assessment Timing: The assessments for Bakken Beaver Lodge and North Dakota Railhead roll to the next front month on the date that Canadian pipeline nominations are due as published by the Crude Oil Logistics Committee on its website.

Basis: Genscape assesses Beaver Lodge against the WTI Calendar Month Average basis for the month of loading/injection. The CMA is the average of the prevailing front-month NYMEX crude contracts during the month of loading/injection. For example, for barrels injected in April, Genscape calculates the CMA for April using the prevailing front-month contracts during April, which would be May and June.

Grade Specifications

Bakken Beaver Lodge: This assessment reflects Bakken shale available at a storage terminal in Beaver Lodge, ND on a free-in-pipe basis, with an API Gravity of 40 to 44 degrees and a maximum sulfur content of 0.2 percent. Price information for Bakken crude sold on a delivered basis to nearby storage or rail loading terminals are normalized based on relative transportation costs back to the Beaver Lodge hub. The assessment also reflects trade volume of at least 500 bpd. The assessment takes into account prompt-month delivery timing and has a basis of the calendar month average derived using the prevailing front month and second month NYMEX light sweet crude contracts in the month of injection. 

North Dakota Bakken Railhead: The assessment reflects Bakken shale crude sold into a North Dakota crude-by-rail loading terminal, with an API Gravity of 40-44 degrees and a maximum sulfur content of less than .2 percent. It also reflects trade volume of at least 250 bpd. The assessment takes into account prompt month delivery timing, has a basis of the calendar month average derived using the prevailing front month and second month NYMEX light sweet crude contracts in the month of injection.

White Paper: Hub Offers Takeaway Optionality for Evolving North Dakota Market

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Click here to download a sample of the PetroRail Report

PetroRail Report

Key Insights into Bakken-by-Rail evolution & its new place in the U.S. midstream market