Crude oil shipments from the west side of Cook Inlet are expected to resume in mid-August, bypassing the storage tanks at Drift River, Cook Inlet Pipe Line Co. said today.
Modifications at the Drift River Terminal and Trading Bay facilities necessary to resume pipeline operations are expected to be completed in July, the pipeline said, and subject to regulatory approvals it “plans to resume pipeline operations in a safe and timely manner by mid-August.”
The majority of Cook Inlet oil production comes from the west side and is dependent on loading at the Christy Lee platform adjacent to the Drift River Terminal. Cook Inlet production averaged more than 11,000 barrels per day in early April, but dropped to some 3,000 bpd when the terminal was shut down to the Mount Redoubt volcanic eruptions and has maintained that reduced level since.
Completion of modifications and resumption of oil shipping are dependent on the status of volcanic eruption activity at Mount Redoubt, the pipeline said.
The plan is to transport oil stored at Granite Point and Trading Bay facilities through Cook Inlet Pipe Line’s 42-inch line for direct delivery to tankers berthed at the Christy Lee platform near the Drift River Terminal.
“This modified procedure is designed to bypass the tanks at the Drift River Terminal, and crude oil storage operations at the terminal will remain suspended,” the pipeline said.
Chevron Shipping arranged for the Mississippi Voyager to load 4.4 million gallons of crude oil and water at the Christy Lee platform in late April. Since the eruption of Mount Redoubt, the pipeline said, it has removed more than 85 percent of the crude oil stored at the Drift River Terminal, and expects to remove most of the remaining crude oil and water from the storage tanks by mid-August.
See story in July 19 issue, available online at noon, Friday May 17 at www.PetroleumNews.com.