UPDATE 1-Alaska oil pipeline supply cut to 8 pct of normal

* Supply of oil to pipeline cut to 8 pct of normal

* No estimate when pipeline will reopen

* No effect yet on tanker shipments
(Adds details on tanker shipments, background)

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Alaska North Slope oil
producers have cut their flow of crude to 8 percent of normal
levels as the Trans Alaska Pipeline remained closed for a third
day, the pipeline operator said on Thursday.

There is still no estimate of when the pipeline will reopen,
after it was closed on Tuesday following an unexpected power
outage that triggered a spill from an overflowed storage tank at a
pump station along the 800-mile (1,287-km) pipeline.

The shutdown has not disrupted tanker traffic in Valdez,
Alyeska said. The amount of oil spilled from the storage tank has
still not been determined.

The 8 percent rate of flow from North Slope producers ensures
that storage capacity at the pipeline’s Prudhoe Bay intake station
will not be filled until sometime on Friday, said Michele Egan,
spokeswoman for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, operator of the
pipeline system.

“This 8 percent rate gives us enough time until midday
Friday,” Egan said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t go longer than
that.”

The Trans Alaska Pipeline, which runs from Prudhoe Bay to the
tanker port of Valdez, is the artery carrying all crude oil
produced from the North Slope. Alyeska’s major owners are the
three major North Slope oil producers: BP (BP.L: ), ConocoPhillips
(COP.N: ) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ).

Tuesday’s mishaps occurred during some scheduled maintenance
work at Pump Station 9, a site about 100 miles southeast of
Fairbanks. Power from a backup generator failed, triggering the
automatic opening of storage tank safety valves that are supposed
to relieve pressure in the main line.

Once the safety valves opened, crude oil overfilled the
storage tank, spilling into a lined containment area, Alyeska and
state officials said. None of the oil has escaped the containment
area, and monitors have found no fumes from the pooled crude oil
spreading to the area outside the pump station’s tank farm,
Alyeska said.

As of Thursday, Alyeska had made significant progress in
restoring operations at the pump station, Egan said.

“Last night we restored power to the station, which is a very
important step. We also started to draw down the crude in the tank
and prepare for cleanup efforts, and that’s another important
step,” she said.

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(Editing by Jim Marshall)

UPDATE 1-Alaska oil pipeline supply cut to 8 pct of normal