2016 ends with throughput increase for TAPS
First calendar year-over-year increase since 2002
The volume of oil moved through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System increased in 2016, the first calendar year-over-year increase since 2002.
This is welcomed news for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, TAPS’ operator.
“More oil is the best long-term solution for sustaining TAPS, from a technical and operational standpoint,” said Tom Barrett, Alyeska President. “It’s also the best thing for Alaskans and our economy. Every barrel matters to us. The more throughput, the better we can plan for the continuing safe operation of the pipeline.”
In 2015, the pipeline moved 185,582,715 barrels and averaged 508,446 barrels per day. The predicted total amount moved in 2016 is around 517,500 barrels a day – a 1.8 percent increase.
Entering its 40th year of operations, the pipeline has mostly reported annual throughput declines since its peak flow of 2 million barrels a day in 1988. The only exceptions were slight year-to-year increases noted in 1991 and 2002.
Alyeska employees for years have worked to anticipate and respond to escalating challenges brought on by declining flow. Lower flow means slower-moving oil, which allows more potential for cooling temperatures, ice formation in the line, and for water and wax to drop out of the flow stream and accumulate.
While Alyeska has worked to adjust to lower flows, including adding heat to the pipeline and continually modifying pipeline pigging operations, the best-case scenario is bringing more oil to TAPS, Barrett said.
“We’re supportive of an external environment that encourages responsible resource development and helps us sustain TAPS’ flow level and work toward future throughput increases,” Barrett said.
For more information about Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s work, visit www.alyeska-pipe.com.