by Benjamin Storrow – Click here for article on Casper Star Tribune – Oct., 21, 2014

Granite Peak Development unveiled a new $60 million crude-to-rail facility on Tuesday.

State officials said the new rail yard will provide an infusion of revenue and employment in the local economy.

“It says to the rest of the state and country, we’re doing things here in Casper and here in Wyoming,” Gov. Matt Mead told a crowd at a ceremony.

Casper Crude to Rail differs from other crude-oil loading stations in Wyoming, several of which have come online recently as drilling in the state increases.

The new loading station, near the Casper/Natrona County International Airport, is largely aimed at serving the Express Pipeline.

Express begins in Canada and connects to the Platte Pipeline, which runs to Illinois, in Casper. However, the Canadian line can ship 280,000 barrels of crude daily, while Platte can transport only 160,000 barrels. Casper Crude to Rail will take the excess from Express and load it onto trains traveling to various points throughout the U.S.

Working with the pipeline offers a degree of stability for the new rail yard, said Granite Peak Development CEO Rich Fairservis. Contracts cover three- to five-year periods and prices are fixed, insulating the yard against a drop in oil prices.

The facility will also take local production. It is shipping about 71,000 barrels of Wyoming-produced crude a week, Fairservis said.

About 20 people work at the rail yard, but employment will increase with local shipments, he said.

Casper Crude to Rail was in operation before Tuesday. The facility had been transporting smaller shipments for some time. Large shipments known as unit trains began leaving the yard in September.

Each unit train transports around 71,000 barrels of oil. The facility can load one unit train in 12 hours and can accommodate up to 3 unit trains at a time.  It also boasts storage capacity of 1.2 million barrels.

The facility is served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Tuesday’s open house drew a star-studded crowd. U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis was on hand, along with Mead and former Gov. Michael Sullivan.