How many leaks has the Alaska pipeline had
Reported oil spills
]Year No. of spills Amount spilled (bbl)
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The massive length and remoteness of the pipeline make it more or less impossible to secure
The pipeline has at times been damaged due to sabotage, human error, maintenance failures, and natural disasters. By law, Alyeska is required to report significant oil spills to regulatory authorities.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill
is the best-known accident involving Alaska oil, but it did not involve the pipeline itself.
Following the spill, Alyeska created a rapid response force that is paid for by the oil companies,
, which was found liable for the spill.
An explosion on July 8, 1977, Pump Station No. 8, killed one worker, injured five others, and destroyed the pump station. A US House of Representatives Committee later announced the cause was workers not following the proper procedures, causing crude oil to flow into a pump under repair at the time.
Since the startup of the Alaska pipeline on June 20, 1977, to August 15, 1977, seven incidents and accidents have caused the pipeline to be shut down periodically. The NTSB investigated the system, and made recommendations.
The largest oil spill involving the main pipeline took place on February 15, 1978, when an unknown individual blew a 1-inch (2.54-centimeter) hole in it at Steele Creek, just east of Fairbanks.
Approximately 16,000 barrels (2,500 m3) of oil leaked out of the hole before the pipeline was shut down.
After more than 21 hours, it was restarted.
pipe is resistant to gunshots
and has resisted them on several occasions, but on October 4, 2001, a drunken gunman named Daniel Carson Lewis shot a hole into a weld near Livengood
, causing the second-largest mainline oil spill in pipeline history.
Approximately 6,144 barrels (976.8 m3) leaked from the pipeline; 4,238 barrels (673.8 m3) were recovered and reinjected into the pipeline.
Nearly 2 acres (8,100 m2) of tundra were soiled and were removed in the cleanup.
The pipeline was repaired and was restarted more than 60 hours later.
Lewis was found guilty in December 2002 of criminal mischief, assault, drunken driving, oil pollution, and misconduct. He was sentenced to 16 years in jail and ordered to repay the $17 million cleanup costs.
The pipeline was built to withstand earthquakes, forest fires, and other natural disasters. The 2002 Denali earthquake
damaged some of the pipeline sliders designed to absorb similar quakes,
and it caused the pipeline to shut down for more than 66 hours as a precaution.
In 2004, wildfires overran portions of the pipeline, but it was not damaged and did not shut down.
In May 2010, as much as several thousands of barrels were spilled from a pump station near Fort Greely during a scheduled shutdown. A relief valve control circuit failed during a test of the fire control system, and oil poured into a tank and overflowed onto a secondary containment area. 
A leak was discovered on Jan 8, 2011, in the basement of the booster pump at Pump Station 1. For more than 80 hours, pipeline flow was reduced to 5 percent of normal. An oil collection system was put in place, and full flow resumed until the pipeline was again shut down while a bypass was installed to avoid the leaking section.