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Trans-Alaska pipeline shut as precaution after magnitude 7.0 earthquake

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Platts Bunkerwire

Trans-Alaska pipeline shut as precaution after magnitude 7.0 earthquake

New York —

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The 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System was closed Friday as a precaution following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, the company said.

The line transports crude from Alaska's North Slope to the Valdez terminal. Year to date, the pipeline has moved roughly 506,000 b/d, according to Michelle Egan, a spokeswoman for operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

"We have no known damage ... and are doing our check before restarting," Egan said. She did not have an estimate on when the pipeline would restart.

"Over the next several days, assuming we restart, we will be doing physical surveillance" on the pipeline, she said.

Physical checks on the line are not required prior to restart, she added.

ANS crude is transported mainly to refineries along the US West Coast, and on occasion exported overseas. A prolonged TAPS outage would cause USWC refiners to look for alternative crude supplies, most likely waterborne imports. USWC refiners regularly import crude from a variety of countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Canada.

The Port of Valdez reported no issues, according to port director Jeremy Talbott. There were no crude tankers inside the port at the time of the earthquake, according to cFlow, S&P Global Platts trade-flow software.

The National Tsunami Center canceled a tsunami warning for coastal areas of the Cook Inlet and Kenai Peninsula. No tsunami activity was reported in Kodiak or Seward.

There was no immediate price reaction to the closing of TAPS Friday.

Market sources said active spot trading for ANS deliveries in January is over, and trading for February barrels likely will not begin for another week or more.

ANS was assessed by Platts at an $8.90/b premium to the NYMEX WTI calendar-month average Thursday.

-- Jeff Mower, with Laura Huchzermeyer in Houston and Meghan Gordon in Washington, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Annie Siebert, newsdesk@spglobal.com