UPDATE 1-Alaska pipeline restarts, oil flow expected soon

* Ends almost four-day shutdown after spill incident

* Alyeska Pipeline Service operates the pipeline

* Major owners are BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil
(Updates with approval to reopen pipeline)

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, May 28 (BestGrowthStock) – The Trans Alaska
Pipeline restarted late on Friday after getting permission from
U.S. regulators following a shutdown of nearly four days
prompted by a series of mishaps leading to a contained spill.

“We’ve actually initiated the restart and will begin moving
oil shortly,” said Michele Egan, spokeswoman for Alyeska
Pipeline Service Co, the consortium that owns and operates the
800-mile (1,300-km) oil line and its Valdez marine terminal.

Alyeska is owned by oil companies with interests on the
North Slope. Major owners are BP (BP.L: ), ConocoPhillips (COP.N: )
and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: ).

Approval for the restart came from the federal Pipeline
Safety and Hazardous Materials Administration, which required
Alyeska to adhere to a series of new safety measures at a pump
station where a power outage on Tuesday triggered the prolonged

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
had ordered Alyeska Pipeline Service Co to submit a written
plan demonstrating it can operate the line safely without
relying on the now idled storage tank that overflowed Tuesday,
an agency official said.

Alyeska was also told to assign workers to staff the pump
station, the site of the mishaps that triggered the extended
shutdown, said Damon Hill, spokesman for the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The pump station, located about 105 miles (170 km)
southeast of Fairbanks, normally runs by an automated system
and is controlled by operators at Alyeska’s command center in

The Trans Alaska Pipeline is the artery that ships oil from
Prudhoe Bay to the tanker port of Valdez. Year-to-date flow
through the pipeline has averaged about 677,000 barrels a day.

The pipeline problems started on Tuesday during scheduled
maintenance. A test of a fire-safety system at Pump Station 9
resulted in an outage of generator power, which tripped the
opening of safety valves allowing crude oil to pour into a
relief tank at the site.

Oil overfilled the tank, pouring into a secondary
containment area and presenting dangers from explosive fumes.

The incidents extended what was to have been a six-hour
maintenance shutdown. North Slope producers have sharply
curtailed oil deliveries into the Trans Alaska Pipeline.

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(Editing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid, Gary

UPDATE 1-Alaska pipeline restarts, oil flow expected soon