Modest Improvements Can Extend Life of Alaska Pipeline by Decades

NRDC Study Debunks Industry’s Claims of a Possible Shutdown

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–September 21, 2011.  The useful life of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) can be extended by at least three decades through modest improvements that also will yield profits at least ten times the upgrade costs, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The study debunks claims by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (“Alyeska”) that its pipeline will need to be shut down unless additional oil is allowed to flow through it.

“Our study exposes Alyeska’s big lie that more drilling should be allowed—so that more oil can be shipped through its pipeline,’’ said Chuck Clusen, NRDC’s director of national parks and Alaska projects. “Alyeska’s claim is a transparent ploy to force the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. It’s not going to happen.’’

NRDC’s study, prepared by Innovation & Information Consultants, Inc., of Concord, Mass., and Orlando, Fla., comes on the same day as a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Arctic Refuge.

NRDC’s study concluded that by investing as little as $539 million to $721 million, Alyeska can prolong its pipeline’s life for at least 30 years, while maintaining a minimum daily flow rate of 150,000 to 200,000 barrels per day. That investment would result in approximately $12 billion in additional profits and an equal amount to Alaska’s state coffers in the form of additional royalty and tax revenue.

“Thus, making a modest investment with an extremely high payout will mean that TAPS can continue to operate and is not in danger of being shut down in the near future,’’ the study said.

“Contrary to the industry’s ‘the sky is falling’ claim, TAPS is not in danger of being shut down without drilling in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Arctic Ocean,” Clusen said.

Find the report here:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at