As industry representatives remain focused on the pending decision over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a new poll carried out by Hydrocarbon Processing magazine reveals that more than two in three refinery industry representatives see pipelines as the most popular method for crude oil transportation over the next few years.

Other possible options for transporting crude were supported by far fewer industry representatives. Trains were cited as the most likely option by 16 percent, while barges — a means of transport that has recently been widely discussed — received even more modest support of 13 percent. As a whole, the majority of the respondents saw these as less effective and more expensive when compared to pipelines.

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Moreover, rail is seen by many as a less safe option, bearing in mind several incidents that have occurred with derailed trains carrying crude. In the most recent serious incident, a train transporting crude derailed in Quebec and killed almost 50 people.

Another reason for supporting pipeline networks was the fact that pipeline expansion is currently underway in the United States and many believed that this would continue even if Keystone did not get approval.

With both rail and pipeline transportation facing intense regulatory scrutiny, many industry representatives think that pipeline will win if efficiency is the factor that helps the industry decide either way, Hydrocarbon Processing reported.