More Tankers More Pirates
A crude oil spill in the booster pump room basement at Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay Alaska may send more crude tankers through the Gulf of Aden. The northeast monsoon affects the Horn of Africa more directly than the southwest monsoon, thus piracy from small boats is likely to move deeper into the Gulf of Aden, December to March. Demand may be strengthened by the closing of a pipeline feeding Alaskan crude oil to other U.S. states. The shutdown may prompt U.S. refineries to bolster imports of crude from overseas. The Trans-Alaska pipeline system, which transports oil from the Prudhoe Bay field, was closed on Saturday following the discovery of a leak. A BP spokesman based in America described the leak as "a significant event" and it is not clear how long it will take to restart production.
Prudhoe Bay is America's largest oil reserve. BP is the largest shareholder in the company which runs the Trans-Alaska pipeline, called Alyeska Pipeline Service. The leak occurred at a pumping station at Alaska's North Slope, and forced 95% of oil production at the site to be cut off. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the pipeline's operator, has engineers working around the clock to restart the pipeline by constructing a 170-foot, 24-inch bypass section around the pump station where a leak was discovered Saturday in Prudhoe Bay. Charter rates for very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, declined because of a surplus of ships for hire. The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, a wider measure of crude-oil transportation costs, fell 1.7 percent to 763 points.