Two slowdowns on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in January — requests by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. to producers to reduce production — resulted in a 1.5 percent Alaska North Slope oil production drop from December to January.
ANS production averaged 796,121 barrels per day in January, compared to 808,129 bpd in December.
There was a two-hour slowdown Jan. 9 due to a pipeline leak found south of Pump Station 4 near Atigun Pass, the Department of Revenue’s Tax Division reported.
A significant slowdown lasted several days, Jan. 17-21, and was in response to Valdez inventories, which peaked Jan. 21 at 6.3 million barrels of 7.1 million barrels of storage capacity.
Tankers were not arriving on schedule to pick up the oil after two BP tankers lost anchors in rough seas in December.
The U.S. Coast Guard said in a Jan. 22 statement that the Alaskan Navigator and Alaskan Frontier had been outfitted with new anchors and were back in service, while two other tankers, the Alaskan Legend and Alaskan Explorer each had a new temporary anchor installed and are operating under restrictions outlined by the Coast Guard.
Valdez inventories dropped to 4.5 million barrels on Jan. 23, and to 3.1 million barrels Jan. 24, and ended the month at 3.1 million barrels, with a daily average of 4.4 million barrels, compared to a 3.4 million average inventory level in December and 4.2 million in November, when ANS production was also slowed due to tanker delays, this weather related, and Alyeska was also forced to slow oil flow.
See full story in the Feb. 11 issue of Petroleum News.