In a move that was expected Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. announced Friday it will reduce the amount of crude oil moving through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System by 50,000 barrels a day, or 10 percent, to help bring down crude oil inventory in storage tanks at the Valdez Marine Terminal.
The reduction was effective at noon Friday Alaska Standard Time, said Michelle Egan, spokeswoman with Alyeska. Egan described the move as temporary. “We are staring a proration today due to a high inventory we are trying to manage toward the end of May,” she said in an interview.
Alyeska is projecting a buildup of crude oil at that time due to information on tanker schedules and North Slope production and is opting for a small reduction in throughput spread over time to work down the current Valdez inventory rather than having to deal with it in a short period of time, Egan said
The Alaska Department of Revenue reported 3.91 million barrels of crude oil were in storage tanks at the Valdez Marine Terminal as of April 23. Fourteen tanks at the terminal have about 7.14 million barrels of storage, although one tank is undergoing maintenance and is be back in service soon, Egan said.
In terms of “working” capacity that is actually available Alyeska can store about 6.6 million barrels because the terminal operators must leave some room for “surge,” or system upsets. TAPS has been moving about 500,000 barrels per day over the last year. The reduction would be shared on a pro-rata basis among North Slope producers.