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Issues Faced by the Alaskan Pipeline

The Alaskan Pipeline is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world today. It measures about 800 miles long and primarily transports oil from northern Alaska to a port in an ice-free area. The Trans-Alaskan pipeline transports more than 10 percent of the United States’ crude oil supply. With any pipeline, there are environmental factors that could cause potential issues to the pipeline’s pathway. In this large of a pipeline, there are a lot of issues faced by the Alaskan pipeline.

Corrosion

Corrosion is an issue that affects most metals—especially when used in an outdoor or damp setting. Pipelines experience exposure to plenty of environmental factors that leave them susceptible to developing multiple types of corrosion. Corrosion can cause a plethora of issues in the pipeline industry, including but not limited to leaks, holes, failures, and more. Multiple factors can cause this corrosion as well—exposure to water, extreme temperatures, and issues with corrosive soil.

Ice buildup and cold

Because this pipeline resides in northern Alaska, extremely cold temperatures are a guarantee. Under normal circumstances, the pipeline should have no issue standing up to cold temperatures when properly maintained. However, an issue that can stem from a lack of proper maintenance is ice buildup. Ice buildup can lead to decreased diameter, inaccurate measurements, and serious malfunctions that could result in the potential loss of pressure control.

Low flow

Low flow is the main issue that the Trans-Alaskan pipeline currently faces. The pipeline is transporting less and less oil through it on a daily basis. In fact, the capacity has steadily dropped every year since 1988 when the pipeline reached its production peak. The pipeline slowing down production can cause other issues, such as temperatures inside the pipeline dropping significantly below 32 degrees. This could encourage ice buildup and even slow down or stop the flow of the oil.

Overall, the Trans-Alaskan pipeline could benefit from proper maintenance and monitoring.

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Ty Pier

I am the Co Owner/Podcast Producer here at Cerebral Overload. I have been involved in the online media since 2011 and happily get to work with two of my best friends every day. I currently reside in Findlay OH, I have a dog (Emperor Zurg) and a cat (Anastasia Beaverhausen). I am always up to speak to our readers or get down on some Xbox Live (Black Person686). Feel free to give us a shout and check out our podcast!

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