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Operator Classification

In March 2013, PHMSA and the FRA began planning Operation Classification, also known as The Bakken Blitz. It involved joint activities at all phases of transportation to investigate to determine if shippers were properly classifying crude oil for transportation and to better understand the unique characteristics of materials being transported.

The operations, which launched on August 29, 2013, primarily targeted shipments from the Bakken and consisted of unannounced spot inspections, data collection and sampling as well as verifying compliance with federal safety regulations. As a result of Operation Classification, two companies – Hess Corporation, and Marathon Oil Company – received Notices of Proposed Violations for improper hazardous materials classification.

PHMSA investigators continue to collect and test samples from various points along the crude oil transportation chain, including cargo tanks that deliver crude oil to rail loading facilities, storage tanks at the facilities, and pipelines connecting storage tanks to rail cars that would move the crude across the country.

Click here for more information about the Operation Safe Delivery Update report, which was issued in July 2014.