Trans Alaskan Pipeline Restarts

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. restarted the Trans Alaska pipeline just before 8:30 a.m. Alaska Time Wednesday. It is expected to take up to six hours before the 800-mile long pipeline reaches full capacity. Alyeska is performing the restart carefully not only to check for damage from a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that shut the pipeline Sunday, but to ensure repairs to support structures damaged Sunday are able to withstand smaller earthquakes common in the area. If all goes well with the restart, it will be sometime Thursday afternoon when oil tankers can begin loading oil from the pipeline at the Valdez terminal.

The trans-Alaska pipeline has an average daily throughput of 1 million barrels. The shutdown is estimated to be costing $20 million per day in cash flow, of which at least $3 million would go to state coffers. North Slope producers reduced output on Tuesday to 3 percent of their average daily production of 1 million barrels. That small amount is being placed in storage tanks until the pipeline restarts.