U.S. Pipeline Safety Agency Teams with Alaska for Stronger Oversight

Reacting to recent events including pipeline failures on the North Slope, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the state of Alaska agreed to provide stronger oversight over oil and natural gas production and transportation facilities located within the state’s borders. A letter of intent signed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and PHMSA says they will enhance the protection of public safety, the environment, and the reliability of energy supply through more effective coordination of oversight.

The agreement is the first of its kind in Alaska; it will close gaps in inspection coverage between Alaska production and transmission systems, improve risk assessment and also oversight of unique and aging infrastructure, advance the development of design and construction standards for future Arctic pipelines, and increase the exchange of data about maintenance and corrosion management, PHMSA said.

“Protecting safe and reliable transport of energy from Alaska is essential to continuing economic growth and meeting the nation’s goal of energy independence,” said DOT Acting Deputy Secretary and PHMSA Administrator Thomas Barrett. “This partnership will help us to identify, assess, and address potential risks to the oil and gas transportation infrastructure, allowing us to prevent system failures before they occur.” There are some 4,600 miles of pipelines in Alaska.

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