The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which once sent 2.1 million barrels of oil a day rushing toward the coast of Alaska at 7.4 miles per hour, is now carrying a feeble trickle , the Los Angeles Times reports. As production has dwindled to 660,000 barrels a day, the flow is a sluggish 2.4 miles per hour, and the pipeline itself is at risk:
Engineers have warned that the pipeline — the only means of delivery of North Slope oil — will develop potentially dangerous problems with corrosion and ice if flows drop below 500,000 barrels a day, as they are expected to within the next five to 10 years.
At 350,000 barrels a day, which pipeline operators say could happen by 2022, frost heaves could cause the underground portions of the pipeline to dangerously wrinkle and kink.
Why can't we pump some more oil into the pipeline to protect it? Partly, those meddlesome tree-huggers in the Obama Administration won't let Alaska get at new supplies, because they're worried about "wildlife" and "oil spills":
The BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted the Obama administration to freeze new offshore oil exploration off the North Slope; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has rejected a key permit to allow access across the Colville River to expanded drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing calls for permanent wilderness protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which holds up to 15 billion barrels of oil [...]
Liberal bureaucrats don't care about Alaska's pipeline. If only America had someone who could speak up about importance of energy development—what's that you say, Los Angeles Times?
[...] and oil companies are balking at spending the estimated $40 billion needed to coax new oil out of existing fields, partly in protest of Alaska's oil production taxes, raised significantly under the administration of former Gov. Sarah Palin .
BP is so put out about the restraints on production, a spokesperson told the Times, that it has slashed its oil-field development budget by 30 percent since 2007. And we all know what happens when
BP starts cutting costs