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The 18 billionth barrel of Alaska North Slope crude started down the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) from Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay at 8 a.m., December 6, 2019, says Alyeska Pipeline Services Company.

“This marks another significant operational milestone for TAPS, for Alaska and Alaskans, for the oil and gas industry, and countless individuals whose work carries on the remarkable legacy of this unique infrastructure,” said Tom Barrett, President of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, TAPS’ operator. “This milestone brings justifiable TAPS Pride among the smart, tough people at Alyeska Pipeline and our contractors who run TAPS safely every day.”

The launch of the pipeline transformed Alaska from a frontier state to an economic force. June 20, 1977, marked the startup of TAPS operations, with the first barrel of oil arriving in Valdez on July 28, and the first tanker departing the Valdez Marine Terminal a few days later. TAPS’ billionth barrel arrived on January 22, 1980. The 17 billionth barrel started down TAPS on July 19, 2014. Since startup, North Slope crude transported by TAPS has brought in an estimated $145 billion in revenue to the State of Alaska.

Other recent major operations landmarks include: the 40th anniversary of TAPS operations in 2017; the number of tankers loaded (22,600 through October 2019); and the number of tanker escorts provided by Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (nearly 14,000).

 “TAPS workers achieve these milestones with a laser focus on safety and the environment. Our team just marked 26 million hours of work without a serious injury,” said Barrett.

For more than 42 years, Alyeska has operated the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), safely moving oil from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska south to the Port of Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the United States. The pipeline traverses three mountain ranges, permafrost regions and 34 major rivers and streams. Alyeska personnel work in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Valdez and at pump stations and response facilities all along the pipeline.