Oliktok pipeline to be converted to NGLs
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Oliktok Pipeline Co. has requested authorization from the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Section of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas to convert the Oliktok Pipeline from natural gas to natural gas liquids.
The 16-inch 28-mile pipeline originates near Pump Station 1 on the North Slope and terminates at Central Processing Facility 1 within the Kuparuk River unit. The line, which began service in 1981, was the original crude oil line from Kuparuk to Pump Station 1. The line was converted to natural gas service and used for that purpose in the mid-1980s after a larger crude oil line was built. It was idled until 1995 when it went into service carrying NGLs; it was converted to fuel gas service in late 2014.
A January request from the pipeline company said shippers ceased fuel gas shipments on Jan. 1, 2017, and the line was placed into suspended operations indefinitely.
Shippers have now requested that the Oliktok Pipeline return to NGL service.
The company said it planned to shut down the line and discontinue fuel gas service as of April 30 and begin required construction activities with the expectation that the line would return to NGL service by Aug. 1.
The conversion back to NGL carriage will allow shipment of NGLs from the Prudhoe Bay unit to the Kuparuk River unit for enhanced oil recovery use. The pipeline company said the project was being managed by ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. on behalf of the Oliktok Pipeline Co. ConocoPhillips is the owner of the Oliktok Pipeline Co.
An inspection program approved by the federal Department of Transportation was begun by ConocoPhillips on the line in 2010, using inline inspection or smart pigging. The pipeline was modified for pigging and smart pigging was completed in September 2010, with inline inspection performed every three years, most recently in September 2016.
- KRISTEN NELSON