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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #15-0147 ([Argus Petroleum Transportation North America] [Mr. Mark Babineck])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Argus Petroleum Transportation North America

Individual Name: Mr. Mark Babineck

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 6, 2015

Mr. Mark Babineck
Argus Petroleum Transportation North America
2929 Allen Parkway, Suite 700
Houston, Texas 77019

Ref. No. 15-0147

Dear Mr. Babinek:

This is in response to your July 14, 2015 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the requirements for unrefined petroleum-based products. Specifically, you ask whether "stabilized condensates that qualify for export under Bureau of Industry and Security rules" meet the definition of an "unrefined petroleum-based product" and are therefore subject to the sampling and testing requirements as specified in new § 173.41. This new section was added under a final rule entitled "Hazardous Materials: Enhanced Tank Car Standards and Operational Controls for High-Hazard Flammable Trains," and published on May 8, 2015 [80 FR 26644].

For the purposes of the HMR, the term, "unrefined petroleum-based products" would be any material that is petroleum based, and has not undergone refinement. Condensates refer to a wide range of products, and may include products from the treatment of crude oil for transportation or a product of refinement. In order to determine whether condensate meets the definition of an unrefined petroleum-based product, information about the specific processing and treatment of material prior to transportation is necessary. Heat treating to reduce vapor pressure or to remove the dissolved gasses in crude oil so that it may be transported for refinement would not meet the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) or other industry definitions of refining. However, AFPM includes the heating and separation of hot gasses through a distillation column as a refinement process.

The Department of Commerce (DOC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regulations for the export of petroleum products do not provide a definition for "stabilized condensates." Under 15 CFR 754.2(a) of the BIS requirements, condensate which has "been processed through a crude oil distillation tower" may be considered a "petroleum product" and therefore subject to fewer export provisions. These materials would be considered "refined" for the purposes of the HMR, and would not be subject to the requirements of § 173.41 for "unrefined" products.

I hope this satisfies your request.



T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.41 Sampling and testing program for unrefined petroleum-based products