Engineers work to circumvent flow on Trans-Alaska Pipeline

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reported that engineers are working to circumvent the damaged portion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, also known as TAPS, in an effort to restore flow to the major transmission line.

An oil spill was discovered on Saturday, January 8, at the TAPS Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay, and the flow of oil was immediately stopped on the line.

Super-majors who use the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to transport North Slope production to Valdez where tankers then transport the oil to US markets have curtailed production by 95 percent while the pipeline undergoes repairs.

While operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and authorities investigate the cause of the oil leak, engineers are working to “isolate and bypass the compromised booster pump piping section,” reported the ADEC.

The bypass design will likely connect one of the three booster pumps to the main TAPS pump, and work has already begun to install a 157-foot bypass pipeline.

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