Thursday, January 13, 2011

TAPS to Be Shut Down Again 36 Hours for Repairs This Weekend

Platts, Jan 13, 2011
The Trans Alaska Pipeline system, restarted on Tuesday after a four-day [3½-day] stoppage due to a small leak, will be shut down again for 36 hours this weekend to install bypass piping at Pump Station 1, according to the Joint Information Center, a task force comprised of Alyeska and state and federal government agencies.

Other repairs will be made at the pump station, where the discovery of a leak on Saturday [Jan 8] resulted in the shutdown.

Regulators approved a temporary restart on Tuesday because of worries about technical risks associated with a prolonged cold-weather shutdown. ...

Since the restart Tuesday about 55 barrels of crude oil have been recovered from a 800-gallon containment vault from the still leaking pipeline. Vacuum trucks are removing oil from the vault as it accumulates.

"The current startup of TAPS is a temporary startup and one part of a multi-part plan to return to normal operations," the JIC said in a release issued Wednesday in Alaska.

After the interim startup, throughput reached 400,000 b/d on Wednesday. The pipeline had been flowing at about 630,000 b/d before it was shut.

Crude inventories at the Valdez terminal, from where ANS is shipped out, were down by 789,575 barrels to 2.158 million barrels on Wednesday, compared with 2.948 million barrels on Friday.

A Platts survey of refiners in California and Washington said they have not been affected by the closure of the TAPS.

(See the related post on this topic, as well as my remarks and map, here. The 84-hour shutdown turned out to be the longest since Aug 15, 1977, when the TAPS was shut down for four days, 14 hours and 11 minutes, a few months after it went into operation. Or the second longest since the pipeline began operating in 1977. -- D.R.)

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