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Alaskan oil pipeline volume increases for a second year

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World Pipelines,

The amount of oil transported through the Trans Alaska oil pipeline system increased for the second straight year in 2017, the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. reported yesterday.

With a daily average of 527 323 bbls, the pipeline moved almost 192.5 million bbls in 2017, a 1.5% increase over 2016's 189.5 million barrels, according to an Alyeska news release.

The year-over-year increase from 2015 to 2016 was slightly larger, at 2.1%.

2017 was also the 40th anniversary of pipeline operations, with more than 17.6 billion bbls being transported through the 800 mile, 4 ft wide pipe.

Prior to 2016, the amount of oil running through the pipeline had declined for 13 straight years.

"More oil flowing through TAPS means a safer, more efficient and more sustainable pipeline system," Alyeska President Tom Barrett stated in the news release.

"Increased throughput also signals a stronger economy for Alaska and more opportunities for Alaskans."

When flow declines, oil moves slower, creating the potential for cooling temperatures, ice formation in the line and accumulation of water and wax.

A friendly business and regulatory environment supporting North Slope development is allowing operators to leverage efficiencies and technology to increase production and discover new oil fields, resulting in the increase of oil throughput, according to Barrett.

Alyeska was formed in 1970 to design, build and operate the pipeline system. It is a consortium of the major oil companies that own the pipeline.

“When we see two years in a row of increase, it gives us lots of optimism for the state of Alaska and also for pipeline operations going forward,” Michelle Egan, a spokesperson for Alyeska, said.

In mid December, Alaska oil companies settled a dispute over Trans Alaska Pipeline tariff charges.

The settlement between Alaska and the companies that own the pipeline concerns transportation tariffs charged by the pipeline owners between 2009 and 2015.

Alaska claimed that the Alyeska owner companies, including BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Unocal, overstated the tariffs and improperly devalued the oil delivered by the pipeline, thus reducing state income.

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