Alyeska restarts Trans-Alaska Pipeline System following bypass installation

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Pipeline operator Alyeska has restarted the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) following the successful installation of the bypass line to circumvent the damaged Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System restarted on January 17 at 10:18 a.m. after crews installed the 157-foot bypass pipeline at Pump Station 1.

On the morning of Saturday, January 8, the massive crude pipeline system was shut down when an oil leak was discovered at Pump Station 1.

The oil leak on the TAPS line has been identified as a below-ground pipe that is enclosed in concrete. The pipe leads to the basement of the booster pump building.

The pipeline was then restarted on January 11 at a severely reduced rate to allow crews to winterize the pipeline and mitigate any risks the harsh Alaskan winter might pose on the empty pipeline.

All the while, Alyeska crews and engineers worked to design and fabricate the bypass line to circumvent the damaged portion of Pump Station 1.

The pipeline was then shut down again on January 15 to allow for the installation of the bypass system.

The bypass line will allow the safe restart of the 800-mile pipeline while crews work to repair the leak.

On the afternoon of January 17, North Slope producers were given approval to resume 100 percent production levels.

Spanning 800 miles to transport crude oil from Alaska’s North Slope to tankers in Valdez, the Trans-Alaska pipeline transports some 15 percent of US production.

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