In this week's news update, a West Virginia University study finds the Utica Shale reserves could hold more oil than previously believed, and the FRA fines inspectors who missed a track defect that caused February's derailment.

An oil train derailment that forced the evacuation of hundreds of people in West Virginia last February was caused by a rail defect that railroad inspectors from CSX Corp missed twice in the preceding months, U.S regulators said on Oct. 9.

Twenty-seven of the train’s 109 cars derailed near Mount Carbon on Feb. 16. Nine cars caught fire and burned for days.

The Federal Railroad Administration fined CSX and its contractor, Sperry Rail Service, $25,000 each for failure to properly verify a potential rail defect. It is the maximum allowed under federal law for such a violation.

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Utica Shale May Hold More Oil and Gas Than Previously Thought
The Utica Shale could hold far more oil and gas than previously estimated according to a study by West Virginia University, says the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy Office.

The two-year study, led with financial support from DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratories and 14 industry members of the Utica Shale Appalachian Basin Exploration Consortium, estimated that the Utica Shale holds technically recoverable volumes of nearly 2 billion bbl of crude oil and 782 tcf of gas.

The results far exceed the U.S. Geological Survey’s 2012 assessment and highlight new potential for the Utica Shale.

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