Alyeska starts work at second pump station

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2007

FAIRBANKS - The Alyeska Pipeline Co. is in the process of switching over a second pipeline pump station to new technology.

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Pump Station 3, on the north side of the Brooks Range, is the second of 4 stations being updated with new power sources, electronic pumps, and automated controls as part of the company's Strategic Reconfiguration Project.

Alyeska spokesman Mike Heatwole said there was one glitch during initial start of the new equipment at Pump 3 this week.

"We're pretty encouraged by what we're seeing. We have had a challenge with one of the 2 turbine generators," he told radio station KUAC.

"One came on just fine and drove the pumps to expectations. The other one dropped off shortly after bringing it on line, and we're trouble shooting it right now, and we've had a manufacturer's representative on site just helping us through it," Heatwole said.

Strategic reconfiguration is the largest project undertaken on the pipeline since construction.

Heatwole said phasing in the new equipment at Pump 3 will be a multi-week process and the old system will be kept operational as a back up.

Pump Station 9 near Delta Junction was the first to switch over to new equipment last February.

It's been operating for 10 months, but there have been some problems there, as well.

Heatwole said Alyeska has taken mitigating measures to address pipe vibrations.

"We put in some metal bracing around the station piping, and so far that has eliminated a high amount of the vibrations we were seeing, and so we're kind of in an observation mode on that right now," he said.

Two more pump stations are in line for overhaul as part of the nearly half billion dollar reconfiguration project.

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