Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to restart operations using bypass

By Phaedra Friend Troy

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is scheduled to restart operations following the installation of the pipeline bypass to circumvent the damaged Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay.

On January 8, the 800-mile-long TAPS line was shut down following the discovery of a crude oil leak at Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay, north of the Arctic Circle. The line was restarted with a very limited flow on January 11 to allow Aleyeska Pipeline Services, the operator of the export line, the opportunity to prepare the line and mitigate any damage the harsh Alaskan winter might cause.

The pipeline was then shut down again for the installation of the bypass line on January 15. This bypass will circumvent the leaking booster pump discharge pipe at Pump Station 1.

While the installation of the bypass was originally expected to take only 36 hours, the shut down was extended because the sealing and draining of the pipeline took longer than expected.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is now expected to restart the morning of January 17.

A report from Bloomberg claims that the bypass installation was completed in the early hours of Monday morning, but a restart time has not yet been published.

Providing transport to some 15 percent of US domestic production, the TAPS shut down forced major North Slope producers to curtail production, which helped to push the price of oil higher in trading last week.

Oil dropped slightly in trading Monday morning, but the price per barrel remained near the $91 mark.

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