Alyeska restarts Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 17 -- The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System resumed operations at 10:18 a.m. local time on Jan. 17 after crews at Pump Station 1 successfully installed a 157-ft bypass pipeline. TAPS operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., contractors, and regulators are closely monitoring the restarted line.

Alyeska initially shut down the line the morning of Jan. 8 after discovering crude oil in the booster pump building basement at Pump Station 1 at Prudhoe Bay. The leak source appears to be a below-ground pipe encased in concrete, the company said.

The pipeline temporarily restarted Jan. 11 while Alyeska employees and contractors prepared bypass piping. Alyeska shut down TAPS again overnight going into Jan. 15 to begin bypass installation.

During the shutdown oil producers on the North Slope reduced production to first 24% and then 16% of normal. Shortly before the restart, they scaled down further to 12%. All crude oil was routed to two tanks at the pump station.

After detecting the leak, responders installed an 800-gal containment vault and parked vacuum trucks on-site to remove oil from the vault. Total recovery estimate from Pump Station 1 is about 317 bbl.

Alyeska said officials would investigate the source of the leak and that no known harm had occurred to wildlife or the environment as a result of the leak.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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