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Drift River Oil Terminal back on line next month 14 July 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Alaska, eruptions, natural hazards, Redoubt, United States.
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In response to ‘a significant decrease in the rate of lava extrusion’ and indications that the growth of the lava dome had ‘significantly slowed, if not stopped’, the Alaska Volcano Observatory lowered the alert level at Redoubt volcano to aviation colour code Yellow and volcano alert level Advisory at the end of last month (AVO advisory 30 June 2009). The eruption may be coming to an end … or it may very well not. In an extended information statement, the AVO warns:

Despite evidence for the significant slowing, and possible cessation of its growth rate, the lava dome is potentially unstable and the possibility of a full or partial collapse remains high at present. Such a collapse would likely be accompanied by the production of a large ash plume and lahars in the Drift River valley. This event could occur with little or no advance warning.

Against this background comes the news that the Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company is planning to have the Drift River Oil Terminal back on line by the middle of next month. The terminal is 40 km from Redoubt’s main vent, at the mouth of the Drift River Valley, which forms a channel for the volcano’s lahars. Plans are apparently in hand to modify the facility so that oil will be shipped directly from the pipeline into tankers, by-passing the vulnerable storage tanks that have been the focus for much concern.

This will get the oil flowing and the people working again (dome collapses and lahars allowing) but the long-term future of the terminal is unclear: ‘The facility remains in pretty good shape’, says CIPL spokesman Casey Sullivan, ‘the concern is the location.’ No kidding.

For all our Redoubt coverage: Redoubt « The Volcanism Blog.

Volcano-halted Alaska oil production to resume – Reuters, 13 July 2009
Cook Inlet pipeline operations expected to resume in August – Radio Kenai, 13 July 2009

Global Volcanism Program: Redoubt – summary information for Redoubt (1103-03-)
Alaska Volcano Observatory – Redoubt – AVO information and updates for Redoubt
Alaska Volcano Observatory – main page for the AVO

The Volcanism Blog