TAPS planning bypass pipe at leaking pump station

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 11 -- Workers at Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. have begun preparatory work for draining the existing discharge pipe at Trans Alaska Pipeline System’s Pump Station 1, installing a blind flange to seal it off, and then installing a 157-ft bypass pipe.

Alyeska shut the 800-mile TAPS at 8:50 a.m. local time on Jan. 8 following discovery of an oil spill at Pump Station 1, Prudhoe Bay. Alyeska says the crude appears to have been released from a concrete-encapsulated section of the booster pumps’ underground discharge piping outside the booster pump building. Oil flowed into the pump station’s basement where pipes pass through the wall. Alyeska crews continue to recover via vacuum truck oil slowly seeping from the basement wall, the company said.

By Jan. 10, crews had recovered about 18 bbl of spilled oil, according to Alyeska. Alyeska says it continues to refine the design for a bypass pipe to connect one of the three booster pumps to the main TAPS pump. The company is also conducting its preliminary environmental assessment around the booster pump building.

Tankers at Valdez are so far being loaded from storage, while produced crude, reduced to 5% of normal volumes, is placed into storage at Prudhoe Bay.

TAPS and related Alyeska facilities are owned by BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. 46.93%, ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska Inc. 28.29%, ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. 20.34%, Unocal Pipeline Co. 1.36%, and Koch Alaska Pipeline Co. LLC 3.08%.

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

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