An aerial view of Pump Station No. 3 and the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline at the base of the Brooks Range in Alaska. About 17percent of all oil produced in the USA is transported through this oil pipeline from the North Slope of Alaska to the shipping port of Valdez.
The oil pipeline was designed with a 30 year time life, it is now operating past it's design life and with a lower volume of crude oil which again represents new operational problems like lower crude oil temperature. Oil pipeline corrosion might become a major issue in the years ahead before the pipeline is shut down and decomissioned and removed!
The 800 mile long trans Alaska oil pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to the Port of Valdez. The oil pipeline is operated by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
In the 1980’s at the peak oil flows, a barrel of oil made the trip from prudhoe Bay to Valdez in four days. Today it takes 13 days. The slower flow causes the crude oil temperature to cool faster. At some point, the crude oil temperture will dip below the freezing point of water un-less the oilis reheated inside the oil pipeline.
With lower crude oil temperture, ice and wax may start to coat the inside of the oil pipeline.
The oil pipeline has transported more than 15 billion barrels of crude oil.
The peak oil flow was roughly 2,100,000 barrels per day through the pipeline. Today the oil pipeline transport about 700,000 barrels of North Slope crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. daily. With new design upgrades, the pipeline should be able to transport as littel as 300,000 barrels of oil per day.