Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE NATION

Metal part missing in oil pipeline

February 04, 2007|From the Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Operators of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline hope a scraping device will push out a piece of metal 20 inches in diameter that's been missing in the pipeline since December.

A pipeline cleaning device known as a scraper or paraffin pig broke apart inside the pipeline in December between pump stations just north of Fairbanks and near Delta Junction, about 100 miles to the south.

Most of the pieces have been recovered, but a stainless steel ring that holds other pieces in place has not been found.

Mike Heatwole, spokesman for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., which operates the 800-mile pipeline, downplayed the risk. An Alyeska engineer described it as comparable to losing the pop top off of a soda can down the drain of a house, Heatwole said.

Scraper pigs pushed along by the flow of oil are designed to come apart if they encounter obstacles, so that they will not plug the pipeline. After this scraper pig broke apart, Alyeska sent another one in. It pushed out 40 barrels of wax and most remnants of the broken pig.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|