By Austin Love
Council Project Manager
For the first time since the facility’s construction was completed in 1977, a majority of the large diameter crude oil piping at Alyeska’s Valdez Marine Terminal is undergoing a comprehensive inspection, both externally and internally. The inspections of these 36 and 48 inch diameter pipes began in 2016, and will be completed by the end of 2018.
Alyeska can use the data from these inspections to evaluate the current, complete condition of the large diameter piping used to move Alaska North Slope Crude onto tanker ships at the terminal.
A tremendous amount of work by Alyeska and their contractors is making these inspections possible:
- Concrete foundations had to be reinforced to accommodate loading stresses associated with the inspections;
- Piping inspection tool access and retrieval points had to be created at multiple locations;
- Sharp bends and large valves had to be removed from certain piping sections to allow for the passage of inspection equipment;
- The piping has to be cleaned of accumulated wax and debris after 40 years of use; and
- With the exception of a few necessary, planned pipeline shutdowns, most of this work was done while crude oil was still flowing through the pipeline and tank ships were still loading.