Sunday, January 16, 2011
Open Heart Surgery
An oil spill responder heads into the basement to work on the cleanup.
One of Alaska's main arteries sprung a leak. The Trans Alaska Pipeline spans 800 miles from the North Slope to it's terminal in Valdez and it started leaking at mile 0. Pump Station #1 is the location where Alyeska Pipeline Service Company receives crude oil from North Slope producers including BP and Conoco Philips, it gathers the oil, then starts it on its way south. A small section of buried pipe at the booster pump building sprung a leak and the crude was found spilling into the buildings basement. Once the leak was identified the pipeline promptly shutdown which subsequently caused the North Slope oil fields to follow suit. With frigid arctic temperatures creating concerns over freeze-up Alyeska was able to restart the line for a short time while they collected the oil from the leak and fabricated a bypass line that would allow production to continue. The resources and personnel that were used during this response were very impressive and before long things should be back to normal and the artery that provides the lower 48 with energy and the state of Alaska with royalties should be operating at full capacity.