Responders taking cautious approach to clean up trans-Alaska pipeline spill, restart oil flow

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline is assessing how to safely remove crude oil from a damaged storage tank and restart the pipeline after a spill.

Up to several thousand barrels of crude oil spilled Tuesday during a scheduled shutdown at a pump station about 100 miles south of Fairbanks. The spilled oil is designed to flow into a storage tank, but the tank overflowed, and oil poured into an outdoor containment area.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. has kept power shut off to avoid igniting volatile fumes.

Michele Egan, a spokeswoman for Alyeska, said Wednesday she can't predict when the pipeline might be restarted.

The 800-mile pipeline carries crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to tankers in Valdez, which deliver it to refineries. Last month, it moved an average of about 645,000 barrels a day.