Welding flash causes brief pipeline shutdown

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A welding flash triggered a shutdown of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline Tuesday morning when maintenance workers failed to isolate the fire response system.

Officials with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company said the system detected an arc flash at Pump Station One about 7:30 a.m., during maintenance work. The system responded as designed, discharging halon, a fire suppressant used at the facility.

Officials said workers should have temporarily diverted the fire-and- halon-discharge system during the maintenance. When they didn't, the system was activated by the flash.

No damage or fire was reported. Officials said the pipeline was restarted about 20 minutes after the initial shutdown, and in full production by 8:10 a.m.

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