NEW YORK, July 2 A routine shutdown for
maintenance on the Trans Alaskan Pipeline System helped push
U.S. oil inventories lower last week, an analyst at the Energy
Information Administration said.
"That's certainly part of it," the oil and natural gas
analyst at the EIA, the statistics branch of the Department of
Energy, said about the shutdown. "How much of a role it played
we're not sure."
Traders had been puzzled by weekly U.S. petroleum numbers
the EIA published on Wednesday that showed oil inventories fell
last week by a larger-than-expected 3.7 million barrels,
despite slightly lower refinery runs and imports that rose a
The draw was heavy on the West Coast, which operates as a
separate market and receives oil from Alaska.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co, operator of the 800-mile (1300
km) pipeline, said last month it had scheduled maintenance
starting on June 20 that was expected to last up to 36 hours.
Alyeska typically does one or two line-wide maintenance
shutdowns each summer. The pipeline shutdowns are also
coordinated with North Slope oil producers' summer work plans.
A similar maintenance shutdown on the pipeline is slated
for July 18 to 19.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Walter Bagley)