IN THE PIPELINE: 18 Billionth Barrel of Alaskan Crude for TAPS
Delegation Joins Alaskans in Marking Milestone for Alaskan Energy, Thanking Barrett
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today issued the following statements after the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the operator of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), announced the 18-billionth barrel of oil entered Pump Station 1 of the 800-mile pipeline—more than double what was originally projected.
“TAPS is not just a pipeline, it is Alaska’s economic lifeline. From day one, Alaska’s pipeline has helped us build our state while also strengthening the prosperity and security of our nation,” Murkowski said. “I congratulate Alyeska on this milestone and appreciate their constant focus on the safe operation of the pipeline. I also thank the Trump administration for recognizing the value of Alaskan energy and for working with us to restore throughput.”
“Alaska is witnessing some incredible energy milestones, including the 18 billionth barrel to travel down TAPS, thanks in large part to the cooperation and alignment among the congressional delegation, federal agencies that oversee much of our lands, our governor and state legislators, North Slope communities, and private sector companies,” Sullivan said. “It’s important for Alaskans to recognize that this degree of cooperation and alignment has not always been the case, and we can’t take it for granted. We must work together to ensure we maintain these strong working relationships so that we can continue responsibly developing our world-class resources for the benefit of those living on the North Slope, for all Alaskans, and for our nation’s energy security. If we succeed, Alaska will continue to serve as America’s energy powerhouse with many more milestones to celebrate in the future.”
“Alaska is the proud home to vast natural resources that help power our country and are central to our state’s economic health,” Young said. “Today’s milestone is good news for our resource economy, and serves as further proof of the safe operation of the Trans Alaska Pipeline by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Carefully balancing energy development with environmental stewardship has always been a top priority for our state, and Alyeska continues to set the gold standard for energy production and transportation. I congratulate Alyeska on this incredible milestone, and look forward to continuing to work with the Alaska Delegation and the Trump Administration to ensure that Alaska is front-and-center in making America energy dominant.”
In 1969, the Prudhoe Bay oilfield was projected to hold 9.6 billion barrels. TAPS total throughput has now more than doubled that initial projection.
The delegation also appreciates the years of service by Admiral Tom Barrett, the president of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. As he approaches a well-deserved retirement, this 18-billionth barrel is a significant capstone to a remarkable career. When TAPS turned 40, he wrote: “Though there has been a lot of change on TAPS in 40 years, one unwavering constant remains: the commitment of the people who work on TAPS today to provide safe, reliable, operational excellence, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, resilient amid all of Alaska’s extreme geography and weather.”
Construction of TAPS began in 1974, and the first oil entered the pipeline on June 20, 1977. The pipeline itself was the largest privately funded infrastructure project ever undertaken in America at the time, at about $8 billion. In October 1975, about 28,000 people were working to make it a reality. While TAPS once carried 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, accounting for a full quarter of America’s supply, today it runs just one-quarter full.