Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alyeska CEO: Low volume biggest threat to safety of trans Alaska pipeline system

JUNEAU, Alaska - Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.'s new president, Tom Barrett, on Feb. 17 told legislators that the biggest problem facing the trans Alaska pipeline is the low volume of oil being shipped from the North Slope.

, Alaska

Designed to deliver up to two million barrels of oil per day, it is now carrying a little more than six hundred thousand b/d.

Barrett and members of his staff specifically addressed the most recent oil spill on the line that began Jan. 8.

Barrett, a former commander of the Coast Guard, says his Coast Guard experience has taught him to throw every tool available into responding to an emergency, and low oil flow is an emergency.

Betsy Haines, the oil movements director for Alyeska, explained the effects of low volume in the line. She said TAPS was designed to handle warm oil and to carry that oil for shipment relatively quickly. But at current low flow rates, it is taking 15 days for oil to get from pump station one on the North Slope to the terminal at Valdez.

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