Safe Oil & Gas Transport
In certain areas of the onshore US, the production of oil and gas increased by as much as 900% from 2006 to 2015. In response, refineries switched from overseas imports to transporting the components of oil and natural gas domestically via train and barges. Additionally, the pipeline industry expanded capacity and reversed several pipelines. To maintain safe, environmentally sound, resilient, and reliable ways to transport hydrocarbons within the US or for export, work is needed to more effectively: classify hydrocarbons for transport; design and monitor transportation by road, rail, pipeline, and barge; design tank cars; and respond to emergencies.
What We Do
To ensure the safe and reliable delivery of fossil energy resources when and where they are needed, Sandia focuses on testing and analyzing the properties of each transport and what could go wrong.
- Hydrocarbon sampling method testing and development
- Large-scale combustion hazard testing
- Combustion modeling and simulation
- Interdependencies, vulnerabilities, and consequences analysis across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Department of Homeland Security at national, regional, and local levels
Combustion and impact testing and modeling to simulate transportation and handling accidents and for evaluating and certifying hazardous material shipping containers
Small- to large-scale open pool fire and fireball simulation
Process-based systems dynamics models
Mathematical network optimization models
Physics-based models of existing infrastructure
High-fidelity agent-based simulations of systems
Need For Safe Transport
After several well-publicized rail accidents involving crude oil combustion in 2013-2014, some of which involved loss of life and significant property damage and environmental impacts, the Department of Energy commissioned a technical team through Sandia National Laboratories to examine the properties of tight crude oils as they relate to potential combustion events in the rail transport environment. Key investigation objectives are to characterize and define tight crude oils based on their chemical and physical properties, and identify properties that could contribute to increased potential for accidental combustion.
Crude Oil Characteristics Research