03.29.13 5:00 PM ET
America's Next Great Oil and Gas Boom is Here
The International Energy Agency, according to NBC News, predicts America will be the world's top oil producer by 2020.
And one reason it's coming so fast is because railroads are freeing producers from the burden of relying on pipelines:
Oil nearly always travels below ground—by pipeline. Unlike pipelines, which travel between two fixed points, trains can transport the oil in many more directions. They also let producers go where the demand is—taking advantage of spreads of as much as $25 a barrel in markets pipelines can't reach.
Out of fairness, I'll note one problem with transporting vast quantities of oil via rail: trains derail every now and then.