Mt. ReDoubt Update: CIPL Ops Suspended

It looks like yesterday's eruption had a greater impact than first thought. The Unified Command: Drift River Terminal Coordination has agreed to suspend Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company operations. Here are the important points from the Unified Command's news release issued earlier today:

* The Unified Command has authorized plans to draw down oil from the Drift River Terminal starting today. A tanker is tentatively scheduled to arrive this afternoon at the Christy Lee platform to begin draw down operations. The envisioned operation will reduce the current oil levels in the two active storage tanks. The goal is to reduce crude oil by about 60 percent overall. After modifications to the facility, ballast water will be added to each tank to maintain their integrity.

Oil removal operations remain dependent on weather conditions and volcanic activity as well as equipment functionally.

* “The top priorities of the Unified Command are protecting the health and safety of people and the environment and we believe this is the best option for achieving those priorities,” said Gary Folley, state on scene coordinator, Unified Command.

“Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company will not accept oil shipments for storage or transport until Mt. Redoubt volcanic activity ceases," said Rod Ficken, vice president, Cook Inlet Pipeline Company, Unified Command. "Long term plans for Cook Inlet shipping are being evaluated.”

According to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the tanker Seabulk Arctic is being brought in, and the oil at the Drift River Terminal is scheduled to begin being transferred this evening. The generator damaged during Saturday's eruption has been repaired, and the transfer lines between the terminal and the offshore platform have been pressure tested. Oil response vessels will be on hand at the Drift River Oil Terminal during the transfer of oil, and additional oil spill response equipment has been positioned in Cook Inlet as a precautionary measure.

- photos of Mt. ReDoubt taken April 4 by Game McGimsey AVO/USGS