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Alyeska plans maintenance shutdown for TAPS, July 17-18

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company has scheduled a July 17-18 maintenance shutdown of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), its first major maintenance shutdown since August 2019.

Generally, Alyeska has at least one long-duration shutdown per year to provide maintenance crews time and opportunity to work on coordinated projects along the pipeline and at the Valdez Marine Terminal while the pipeline is not in its regular operating state. This weekend’s 30-hour maintenance shutdown is set to begin at 6 a.m. Saturday and continue into Sunday.

Alyeska employees and contractors will complete projects at various locations along the 800-mile pipeline, including at Pump Station 1 and Pump Station 7, and systemwide upgrades to the pipeline’s Safety Integrity Pressure Protection System (SIPPS). Planned work includes:

• At Pump Station 1, in Prudhoe Bay, teams will remove piping previously used to inject Drag Reducing Agent and replace it with 48-inch straight piping.
• Pump Station 1 will also see the installation of new actuators on the station’s two large oil tanks; this is the third phase in a four-part project to replace the tank’s input and output valves.
• At Pump Station 7, at milepost 43 on the Elliott Highway north of Fairbanks, crews will install a section of 48-inch piping between two valves, isolating a section of station piping no longer needed for operations. Pump Station 7 is not currently used to pump oil.
• Systemwide, teams will upgrade SIPPS.
• Other activities include valve work and testing, and cabling repairs.

This is the only long-duration shutdown scheduled for 2021. Alyeska has two short-duration shutdowns that are 12 hours or less scheduled for Aug. 13 and 27.

“Planned major maintenance shutdowns are a hallmark of our wholistic and innovative approach to integrity management,” said Brigham McCown, Alyeska President. “These actions demonstrate the care and attention TAPS’ people place into understanding our dynamic operations in Alaska’s unique environment so we can continue to operate this critical piece of infrastructure for Alaska and our country for years to come.”

A successful shutdown involves months of preparation and planning between field locations and Alyeska’s Operations Control Center, as well as coordinating with multiple organizations that work on TAPS and with North Slope producers.

Producers generally are not impacted during short-duration shutdowns because oil tanks at Pump Station 1 can receive incoming North Slope crude. During long-duration shutdowns, it’s typical that North Slope operations slow down – or prorate – the amount of oil delivered to Pump Station 1.