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Trans Alaska Pipeline System moves its 17 billionth barrel

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World Pipelines,

The 17 billionth barrel of Alaskan North Slope crude started down the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) on 19 July 2014.

“This is an operational milestone and legacy that we are all proud of,” said Tom Barrett, President of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, TAPS’ operator. “We have a remarkable team on TAPS. The work they do every day directly benefits our company, our owner companies, and the state. It also benefits our communities across Alaska. Our employees volunteer generously of their time and resources, and every oil industry job leads to 20 more jobs for Alaskans.”

Startup of the pipeline on 20 June 1977, with the first barrel of oil arriving in Valdez on 28 July, and the first tanker departed the Terminal a few days later. The launch of the pipeline transformed Alaska from a frontier state to an economic force. In its 37 years of operation, TAPS has generated roughly US$ 183 billion in state revenue, and the oil and gas industry accounts for roughly 92% of the state’s discretionary funds.

The pipeline’s startup and first major operational achievements were met with fanfare and national recognition. Decades later, TAPS employees still celebrate major operations landmarks – such as the number of tankers loaded (21 300 and counting) and how many tanker escorts have been provided by Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (12 500+). Billion-barrel marks are also heralded. The last significant one, 16 billion barrels, came on 8 October 2009.

“We honor this accomplishment while recognising, under present conditions, these milestones are slower to come,” Barrett said. “To operate for another 37 years, Alaska requires a business climate that supports increased production.”

Alyeska Pipeline has joined other members of the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission in supporting the Vote No on 1 coalition. The group opposes Ballot Measure 1, which would repeal the current oil tax structure provided by Senate Bill 21 and revert to the former tax structure.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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