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Alaska, Trans-Alaska pipeline owners reach $389M settlement on tariff disputes

The state of Alaska entered into a $389 million settlement agreement with the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to resolve alleged overstated tariffs and the devaluation of the oil being flowed through the pipeline.

Under the settlement, which involves transportation tariffs charged from 2009 to 2015, the state would retain $224 million in already collected revenues and receive an additional $165 million, Reuters reported Dec. 16. The disputes being settled within the time period comprise about 40 rate cases.

The parties filed the settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska for approval, which is expected by the spring of 2018, Reuters reported, citing a statement from Chief Alaska Attorney General John Ptacin. The settlement is expected to "[create] certainty going forward, avoids future litigation, and will provide additional taxes and royalties — bringing needed money to the state treasury," according to Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth.

The 800-mile pipeline, also called TAPS, carries North Slope crude oil to a terminal in Valdez, Alaska. TAPS's owners include subsidiaries of BP Plc, ConocoPhillips Co., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Unocal Pipeline Co.