UPDATE 1-Kansas City Southern says crude-by-rail volumes soared in 2013

Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:10pm EST
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* 2013 crude shipments up 51 pct despite 8 pct decline in Q4

* Pipeline startups replaced Bakken shipments, growth expected in Canadian crude

By Kristen Hays

HOUSTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Kansas City Southern is "working on several new opportunities" to move Canadian heavy crude oil via rail to the U.S. Gulf Coast region, a top executive told analysts on Friday.

The regional railroad operator's shipped crude volumes rose 51 percent in 2013 compared with the prior year, despite a pullback in shipments of North Dakota Bakken crude to the Gulf region, Patrick Ottensmeyer, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said on a quarterly earnings call.

The company expects shipments of Canadian heavy crude to increase in 2014 and beyond, he said, as specialized offloading equipment is installed at various destination points, such as Port Arthur, Texas, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"We are working on several new opportunities throughout the Gulf region," he said.

On Thursday, safety officials in Canada and the United States urged regulators to take steps aimed at preventing fiery crashes of trains carrying crude oil, after a string of recent accidents.

Kansas City Southern's results missed quarterly profit estimates on weakness in its energy business, primarily a drop in utility coal shipments.   Continued...