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Nearly 45 years of TAPS operations and fueling Alaska

For more than four decades, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company has played a reliable role in Alaska: North Slope producers delivered oil to TAPS, and the pipeline’s workers – the true caretakers of Alaska’s core economic driver – stewarded the safe delivery of that oil across hundreds of miles of historically challenging and stunning terrain to the terminal in the Port of Valdez. We knew people who helped build TAPS – we knew people that worked there and kept it going. We had seen historic photos and documentaries, and we pulled up alongside the pipe on road trips and Alaska outings to touch the cool steel and take pictures. We had neighbors who returned to and from the Slope like clockwork, and as Alaska seasons rolled on to the next, year upon year, TAPS thrummed along, consistent and resilient.

We stand together on the edge of a new time. We are witnessing the industry’s maturation, a turning point. “The way we’ve always done things” is fading against the brightness of fresh ideas. We still see airplanes full of our neighbors depart and return without fail, regardless of weekends and holidays. But who they are and the way they do their work is changing. We are benefiting from the greater diversity of minds and experiences, learning faster, and building up a workforce of professionals who are problem-solving for the pipeline’s path forward.  Automation is unveiling untapped potential to work smarter and safer. New science and equipment that would have been unimaginable in the 1970s is revitalizing a workplace that for so long felt unchanging. Indeed, for years, we noticed that industry pride in the fixed traditions and culture of the pipeliner’s workday; now there is booming enthusiasm for realizing and reaching potential, and a renaissance spirit toward seeing TAPS live well into the future.

Some things will not change. Trust remains TAPS’ precious license to operate. An indomitable focus on safety and environmental protection is paramount. These core values and commitments, combined with everyday learnings, historical knowledge, and cutting-edge science will carry us for decades to come. The impact of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. to date is nearly immeasurable – what it has meant to Alaskans, for its excellent jobs, its stewardship, its delivery of riches that built up our state and our families, for its proud and amazing story of determination, grit, and ultimately, excellence.

And so it is incredible to consider our ability to make an impact as a company is only growing. We can make our communities even more vibrant, our state even stronger, our economic future only better. When TAPS was built, those early minds proudly mused of their feat, “They didn’t know it couldn’t be done.” As we look ahead to TAPS’ future, we are everyday enthusiastically imagining what we have yet to do.

TAPS Timeline

Major Milestones

For full TAPS timelines, read the TAPS Fact book.
Learn TAPS Facts from the Construction era.
Learn TAPS Facts from the Countdown to Construction.


June 20 First oil flows from PS1 (10:26 a.m. Alaska Standard Time, pig in trap; 10:27 a.m. Alaska
Standard, pig depart signal).

June 24 Oil front at PS 3 (12:56 p.m.).

June 25 Oil front at PS 4 (7:50 a.m.).

June 28 Oil front at PS 5 (6:23 a.m.).

July 1 Oil front at PS 6 (6:30 p.m.).

July 4 Nitrogen leak detected ahead of oil front, MP 489.12 (near PS 8 north block valve). Oil flow stopped.

July 7 Pipe repair, MP 489.12. Pipe and elbow cracked from injection of super-cooled nitrogen. Pipe replaced.

July 7 Oil front at PS 8 (9:24 p.m.).

July 8 PS 8 pump building destroyed by explosion and fire; one fatality; oil loss, 300 barrels.

July 19 Oil leak (heavy equipment accident) at CV 7, 1,800 barrels.

July 20 Oil front at PS 9 (10:37 a.m.).

July 22 Oil front at PS 10 (4:46 a.m.).

July 26 Oil front at PS 12 (3:48 a.m.).

July 28  Oil reaches the Terminal (11:02 p.m.).

Aug. 1 ARCO M/V Juneau departs Valdez with first oil. (right)


Feb. 15 Oil spill caused by sabotage at Steele Creek, MP 457.53, 16,000 barrels.

March 7 PS 8 recommissioned.


June 13 ARCO M/V Heritage, 1,000th tanker to load.

July 1 First commercial injection of DRA into pipeline at PS 1.

Oct. 2 PS 2 commissioned.

October Yukon River Bridge opened.


Jan. 22 One billionth barrel arrives at the Terminal.

Sept. 20 Monument to pipeline construction workers dedicated at the Terminal.

Dec. 1 PS 7 commissioned.


Dec. 15 First Kuparuk field oil delivered to PS 1.


Jan. 11 M/V Overseas Boston, 5,000th tanker to load.

Nov. 2 Milne Point field start-up.


April 18 Union Oil Pipeline Company (TAPS owner) becomes Unocal Pipeline Company.

Sept. 15  Five billionth barrel arrives at the Terminal.

Dec. 15 Lisburne field start-up.

Dec. 24 Sohio Pipeline Company (TAPS Owner) becomes Sohio Alaska Pipeline Company.


Jan. 1 BP Pipelines, Inc. (TAPS owner) merged into Sohio Alaska Pipeline Company (TAPS owner).

Jan. 14 Highest daily throughput of 2,145,297 barrels.


March 1 Sohio Alaska Pipeline Company (TAPS Owner) becomes BP Pipeline (Alaska), Inc.

March 24 Oil spill, M/V Exxon Valdez, 250,000 barrels; vessel runs aground at Bligh Reef.

July 10 Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) established for oil spill prevention and response in Prince William Sound.


Feb. 8 Alyeska and Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (RCAC) signed contract.

July 31 Exxon M/V New Orleans, 10,000th tanker to load.

Aug. 25 1,000th SERVS escort.


Feb. 28 ARCO Pipeline Company (TAPS owner) becomes ARCO Transportation Alaska, Inc.


March 5 10 billionth barrel arrives at the Terminal.


March 9 Valdez Emergency Operations Center/Escort Response Base opened.

March 30 Alyeska employees work 1 million consecutive hours without a lost- time accident.

Oct. 20 Alyeska and U.S. Department of Interior sign new Alaska Native Utilization Agreement.

December Alyeska completed construction on new otter rehabilitation facility.


January Exxon Pipeline Company (TAPS owner) becomes ExxonMobil Pipeline Company.

Jan. 1 Phillips Alaska Pipeline Corporation (TAPS owner) stock reissued to Phillips Transportation Alaska, Inc.

June 20 20th anniversary of TAPS operations.


Oct. 15 Alyeska and U.S. Department of Interior renew Alaska Native Utilization Agreement.


June 30 Mobil Alaska Pipeline Company (TAPS owner) stock reissued to Williams Alaska Pipeline Company, LLC.

Aug. 1 ARCO Transportation Pipeline Company (TAPS owner) stock reissued to Phillips Transportation Alaska, Inc.


Aug. 21 SERVS receives Distinguished Achievement award in recognition of outstanding third-party oil spill response to the grounding of the F/V Windy Bay in Prince William Sound.

Oct. 4 Bullet hole at MP 400 leaks 258,000 gallons of oil. More than 178,000 gallons recovered and reinjected into the pipeline.

Oct. 25 Alyeska and U.S. Department of Interior renew Alaska Native Utilization Agreement.

Nov. 2 First oil from Northstar field received at PS 1.

Nov. 9 Chevron M/V Mississippi, final tanker load after 30 years of service and 1,002 sailings, all ports (432 from the Terminal).


June 20 25th anniversary of TAPS operations.

October Phillips Transportation Alaska, Inc. (TAPS owner) becomes ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska, Inc.

Nov. 3 MP 588 experiences 7.9 magnitude earthquake; damaged shoes and VSM crossbeams repaired and replaced. No oil spilled.

Nov. 26 State of Alaska renews pipeline right of way for 30 years.


April Alyeska Pipeline receives the American Petroleum Institute’s 2002 Environmental Large Operator Award and recognition for improved safety performance (29 percent reduction in OSHA recordables over a three-year period).


March 31 Williams Alaska Pipeline Company, LLC (TAPS Owner) stock reissued to Koch Alaska Pipeline Company, LLC.

April Alyeska Pipeline receives the American Petroleum Institute’s 2003 Environmental Large Operator Award and recognition for improved safety performance (47 percent reduction in OSHA recordables over a three-year period).


April Alyeska Pipeline receives the American Petroleum Institute’s 2004 Environmental Large Operator Award (no Pipeline Performance Tracking System (PPTS) releases).

Dec. 14 10,000th SERVS escort.

Dec. 21 15 billionth barrel arrives at the Terminal.


April Alyeska wins the American Petroleum Institute’s Distinguished Environmental and Safety Award, API’s highest recognition for a pipeline operator. Alyeska also received the 2005 Environmental Large Operator Award (zero releases).

August Smart pig run from PS 1 to PS 4, successful.

September Smart pig run from PS 4 to the Terminal, not successful due to wax buildup. Rerun scheduled for March 2007.


Feb. 9 Alyeska starts up new pumps at PS 9, the first station to receive upgraded equipment.

March Smart pig launches at PS 4.

March 22 Smart pig completes review of TAPS.

June 20 30th anniversary of TAPS operations.

Dec. 17 New pumps started at PS 3; second station to receive upgraded equipment.


Jan. 23 Operations Control Center begins 24/7 operations in Anchorage.


April Alyeska receives 2008 American Petroleum Institute’s Distinguished Operator Award (Large Operator), among the oil industry’s top honors and reserved for pipeline operators that demonstrate excellence in safety, environment and integrity. Alyeska also won API’s Distinguished Environment and Safety award for the fifth consecutive year.

May 21 New pumps started at PS 4: Third station to receive upgraded equipment.

July 10 SERVS marks 20th anniversary.


April Alyeska is awarded the 2009 American Petroleum Institute’s award for top environmental performance in 2009.


May 12 Alyeska Pipeline Service Company employees and contractors reach a major safety milestone: 10 million hours without a Day Away From Work Case (DAFWC).

July An Alyeska team completes the Low Flow Impact Study, a $10 million project designed to study and evaluate operational risks related to declining throughput.

Sept. 21 TAPS receives the 2011 Outstanding Environmental Engineering Geologic Project Award from the Association of the Environmental and Engineering Geologists.


Jan. 9 Alyeska receives a legislative citation for its response to the January 2011 booster pump piping leak at Pump Station 1.

March 16 Alyeska Pipeline wins a World’s Most Ethical Companies Award from the Ethisphere Institute.

May Alyeska receives the Most Improved Projects Process Award for small projects (between $2 and $10 million) from Independent Project Analysis.

June 20 Alyeska reaches its 35th anniversary of operations.

Aug. 2 The 35th anniversary of first tanker leaving Valdez.


July Koch withdraws as TAPS owner.


February Vessel of Opportunity Program, managed by Alyeska’s SERVS team, wins the Ocean Leadership Award from the Alaska SeaLife Center.

March At Governor’s Health & Safety Conference, Alyeska wins a Governor’s Safety Award of Excellence.

December Alyeska finishes year with best safety performance on record, with Alyeska employees and contractors working a combined 5,827,988 hours with just four recordable injuries.


Dec. 31 In 2016, the pipeline moved 189,539,817 barrels and averaged 517,868 barrels a day, the first calendar year-over-year throughput increase since 2002.


June 20 Alyeska marks its 40th anniversary of pipeline operations. Activities throughout the year include public receptions and events and employee celebrations. The hashtag #40more launches.

Oct. 24 The Valdez Marine Terminal Operations Control Center, or XOCC, was officially disconnected from TAPS.

Dec. 31 In 2017, TAPS moved 192,472,797 barrels, a year-over-year total increase of 1.5 percent over 2016.


July 1 The marine services contract transitions from Crowley Marine Corporation to Edison Chouest Offshore/Alaska Ventures.


April Alyeska introduced an improved and modernized version of its Earthquake Management System, the system’s fourth update since TAPS start-up.

July 31 A team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks completes the country’s first FAA-approved true beyond-visual-line-of-sight domestic flight of an unmanned aircraft system under the small UAS rule, flying along 3.87 miles of TAPS near the Chatanika River on the Elliott Highway.

Aug. 27 BP announces sale of its Alaska operations and interests, including Prudhoe Bay and the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, to Hilcorp Alaska.

Sept. 27 Major abatement and facility removal of Pump Station 10 is complete, marking first demolition of a legacy pump station.

December 18 billionth barrel departed Pump Station 1.


May Alyeska receives a gold-level William A. Benkert Award for Environmental Excellence from the United States Coast Guard.

Nov. 10 Alyeska passes significant safety milestone: 30 million consecutive hours worked without a Days Away from Work Case (DAFWC).

Dec. 21 BP Pipelines (Alaska), Inc. finalizes sale of ownership in TAPS to Harvest Alaska, LLC., an affiliate of Harvest Midstream Company.