Pipeline pig snags piece of valve

Posted: Sunday, July 09, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A piece of a valve from the trans-Alaska oil pipeline has been carried down the pipeline by a ''pig'' sent through the line, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. said.

The pig, a device used to gather data from the inside the pipeline, arrived in Valdez on Friday morning carrying a large steel ring from a valve somewhere in the pipeline.

Alyeska Pipeline employees were inspecting the pipeline to determine which valve lost the ring, said Alyeska spokesman Curtis Thomas.

The pig was put into the pipeline June 26 at Pump Station 4, about 18 miles north of Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range, to move south with the flow of oil. Workers discovered the ring when the pig was removed.

Between the pump station and Valdez, there are 38 check valves -- valves designed to close automatically when oil flow stops or runs backward in the pipe, Thomas said. All the valves will be inspected for leaks or other damage, he said.

Alyeska officials say there is little immediate risk of a leak from the 800-mile pipeline, and the pipeline will not be shut down.

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