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Energy

Oil and gas industry reports precautionary shutdowns, little earthquake damage

Southcentral oil and gas operations appear to have made it through Friday morning’s earthquake largely unscathed based on initial reports.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. issued a statement saying the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was shut down at 8:34 a.m., minutes after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the region. It was brought back online at 3:30 p.m., Alyeska announced Friday afternoon.

“There were no damages reported at the time and Alyeska’s Earthquake Monitoring System did not trigger any alarms. TAPS workers launched ground & air surveillance and system assessments of TAPS from Pump Station 9 near Delta Junction south to the Valdez Marine Terminal,” Alyeska said via Twitter.

“Surveillance and system assessment efforts on TAPS will remain heightened in the hours and days ahead,” Alyeska said Friday afternoon.

Alyeska is headquartered in Anchorage near the epicenter of the quake. The oil pipeline system, known as TAPS, ends in Valdez roughly 100 miles to the east of Anchorage.

Lori Nelson, public affairs manager for Hilcorp Alaska LLC, which is the dominant oil and gas producer in the Cook Inlet, said via email that the company had no spills or injuries to report. Hilcorp temporarily shut down some of its operations and is inspecting the integrity of its oil and gas infrastructure, which includes numerous oil and gas platforms in Cook Inlet, according to Nelson.

“Our current focus is to ensure the safety of all our employees as we work to assess the impact,” she wrote.

However, utility natural gas leaks have been reported across the Anchorage area.

Officials for BlueCrest Energy LLC and Furie Operating Alaska LLC, which also have oil and gas operations in Cook Inlet, could not immediately be reached.

Officials for the Kenai-based Cook Inlet Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council were in Anchorage pm Friday morning and had heard no reports of oil spills or commercial gas leaks in the region. CIRCAC is a federally mandated nonprofit organization focused on preventing and responding to oil and gas spills in Cook Inlet.

Interior Gas Utility General Manager Dan Britton said the Fairbanks-based gas utility’s small Titan LNG plant — located on Point MacKenzie very near the epicenter of the quake — was without power but no damage had been found.

“Preliminary inspections aren’t showing any damage,” Britton said.

He said the plant, which produces LNG that is trucked up the Parks Highway for use in Fairbanks, shut down automatically as it is supposed to when it lost power.

Elwood Brehmer can be reached at elwood.brehmer@alaskajournal.com.

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