Low oil prices could threaten trans-Alaska pipeline

A high-ranking federal Energy Information Administration official has said lower production levels could threaten the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, and that oil prices may not rise above $100 a barrel until 2030 or later.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that EIA administrator Adam Sieminski said Thursday at the Alaska Oil and Gas Associations annual luncheon that geopolitical tension could drive prices up much sooner than 2030.

He said the agency is concerned that engineering complications could jeopardize the oil pipeline if the flow falls below 300,000 barrels a day, potentially resulting in an unexpected shutdown.

The pipeline is designed to move 2 million barrels of oil daily. Today production is about 525,000 barrels daily.

Oil prices are currently around $60 a barrel, leaving the state with a $3.5 billion deficit.