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Vol. 12, No. 51 Week of December 23, 2007
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

New pumps start up at Pump Station 3

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. is in the process of switching over a second pipeline pump station to new technology.

Pump Station 3, on the north side of the Brooks Range, is the second of four stations being updated with new power sources, electronic pumps, and automated controls as part of the company’s Strategic Reconfiguration Project.

Oil began flowing through newly installed equipment Dec. 11.

Alyeska spokesman Mike Heatwole said there was one glitch during initial start of the new equipment at Pump 3. “We’re pretty encouraged by what we’re seeing. We have had a challenge with one of the two turbine generators,” he told radio station KUAC.

“One came on just fine and drove the pumps to expectations. The other one dropped off shortly after bringing it on line, and we’re trouble shooting it right now, and we’ve had a manufacturer’s representative on site just helping us through it,” Heatwole said.

Strategic reconfiguration is the largest project undertaken on the pipeline since construction.

Multi-week phase-in process

Heatwole said phasing in the new equipment at Pump 3 will be a multi-week process and the old system will be kept operational as a backup.

Pump Station 9 near Delta Junction was the first to switch over to new equipment last February.

It’s been operating for 10 months, but there have been some problems there, as well.

Heatwole said Alyeska has taken mitigating measures to address pipe vibrations.

“We put in some metal bracing around the station piping, and so far that has eliminated a high amount of the vibrations we were seeing, and so we’re kind of in an observation mode on that right now,” he said.

Two more pump stations are in line for overhaul as part of the nearly half billion dollar reconfiguration project.

Once Alyeska is satisfied with Pump Station 3 performance, the company said, crews will turn their attention to reconfiguring Pump Station 4, followed by Pump Station 1.

Four companies own Alyeska and the pipeline. BP has a 47 percent share, ConocoPhillips owns 28 percent and ExxonMobil owns 20 percent; Chevron and Koch Industries own the rest.

—The Associated Press



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