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Crude-by-rail rises in March as storage remains high despite Alberta curtailments

Crude-by-rail rises in March as storage remains high despite Alberta curtailments


Genscape says crude-by-rail shipments from Western Canada staged a minor recovery in March after falling in February to their lowest level in nine months, but oil storage levels remain stubbornly high.

The U.S. company, which monitors western Canadian rail terminals handling about 80 per cent of typical volumes, reports average rail loadings in March were 150,000 barrels per day.

That’s up about 6,000 bpd from an average of 144,000 bpd in February, but still down from the 281,000 bpd it recorded in January.

Genscape senior oil analyst Mike Walls says the recovery came as Imperial Oil Ltd. restarted rail shipments from its Edmonton-area terminal after largely shutting them down in February, blaming market reaction to Alberta’s oil production curtailment program.

Walls says Genscape estimates the amount of oil in storage as of March 29 was 35 million barrels, about the same as in early December when the Alberta government announced its curtailment program designed to free up export pipeline space and reduce stored barrels.

The March number is about two million barrels lower than peak levels just before the cutbacks officially began in January, he said, and higher than the 33.4 million barrels stored at the end of March 2017.



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Brampton man departs to collect remains of 6 family members killed in Ethiopia plane crash

Brampton man departs to collect remains of 6 family members killed in Ethiopia plane crash


Manant Vaidya didn’t sleep at all last night. 

Then early Saturday morning, the Brampton, Ont., man departed for a trip that nobody would want to take.

His parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces were all killed last Sunday, when a flight from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa crashed shortly after takeoff. None of the 157 people on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 survived.

“I lost my family,” Vaidya said shortly before boarding a plane at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. “It’s still hard to believe. I’m totally broken.”

Along with his wife and two children, Vaidya is on his way to Ethiopia to collect the remains of his loved ones. Then, he intends to fly to India — where his extended family resides — for final rituals. He has been in frequent contact with officials at both the Canadian and Indian consuls to facilitate transportation of the remains. 

“My priority is to get the closure, to the bodies, to the souls. I want to make sure that they rest in peace,” he said.

Vaidya expects to spend two days in Ethiopia, where he will try to help authorities identify the remains of his family members and visit the field where the Boeing 737 Max 8 slammed into the ground. He said Peel police collected a DNA sample from him on Tuesday that will be used to attempt to distinguish his relatives from the other victims.

He lost his father, Pannagesh Vaidya, 73, and his mother Hansini Vaidya, 67; his sister Kosha Vaidya, 37, and his brother-in-law Prerit Dixit, 45; as well as his two nieces Ashka Dixit, 14, and Anushka  Dixit, 13. The teenage girls, who were both students at schools in Peel, were his sister’s daughters.

From left to right: Ashka Dixit, Prerit Dixit, Kosha Vaidya, and Anushka Dixit. The family was among those killed when a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed in Ethiopia. (Pramesh Nandi/Facebook )

“It’s still unbelievable for me to even digest the news that they are no more,” Vaidya told CBC Toronto. Sometimes he prefers to think that they are still on vacation and that “they are still going to return.”

But he expects the tragic truth of the situation to hit him particularly hard in Addis Ababa.

“Once I get over there, maybe I will face reality. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I just want to get the closure and answers to all my questions about what happened and why it happened.”

Answers, however, could still be far off. A team of investigators in Paris have begun examining the black box recorders recovered from the crash site. Experts say it is too soon to know what caused the crash, but aviation authorities worldwide have grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX 8s and 9s in response.

Flight data has already indicated some similarities with a crash by the same model of plane during a Lion Air flight in October. All 189 people onboard were killed. Both planes crashed within minutes of takeoff after pilots reported problems.

Investigators have notified other families that it could take up to six months to identify their loved ones

Vaidya says he eventually wants clarity about what led to the crash. But for now, he’s focused on his family. In India, he will gather with other relatives to say goodbye to those they have lost.

Six members of this Brampton family are among the dead in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash. (Garry Asselstine/CBC)



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