Murkowski Calls for Full Safety Review of Alaska Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today called on the president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. to undertake a safety review of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to ensure that it can continue to supply America with North Slope oil for decades to come.

“The integrity of the trans-Alaska pipeline is vital to both the economy of the state and our nation’s energy security,” Murkowski said. “It’s imperative that we have the highest level of confidence in Alyeska’s maintenance of the pipeline and its continued operation.”

In a meeting with Alyeska President Kevin Hostler, Murkowski received a commitment that the company would conduct an immediate review of safety and maintenance risks and procedures for the oil pipeline.

The declining volumes of oil being carried by the 800-mile pipeline and its decades of use have raised questions about its future operation and viability. Murkowski said it’s imperative that Alaskans have confidence in Alyeska’s maintenance of the pipeline and commitment to its continued operation.

Murkowski, the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, specifically called for a review covering a wide range of maintenance issues, including:

  • Pipeline remote gate valve functionality and controls;
  • Review of pump station relief tank capacity and pipeline overpressure protection system;
  • Pipeline control system reliability and levels of protection;
  • Pipeline leak detection system;
  • Power generation, distribution and critical backup.

“Alaska’s huge oil resources are a pillar of America’s domestic energy production,” Murkowski said. “Without TAPS, the oil in the North Slope and in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas would be forever stranded, leaving us far more dependent on foreign oil.”

The pipeline is owned and operated by a consortium of five companies – BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Unocal and Koch. Since construction was completed in 1977, the pipeline has carried more than 15 billion barrels of oil from the North Slope to the tanker facility in Valdez, Alaska.