Trans-Alaska Pipeline:

Actions to Improve Safety Are Under Way

RCED-95-162: Published: Aug 1, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the progress made in correcting deficiencies in the operation and management of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), focusing on: (1) whether the planned corrective actions will address deficiencies in the pipeline's electrical systems, quality, and preventive maintenance; (2) whether regulators are taking action to improve oversight of the pipeline; and (3) the root causes of pipeline deficiencies.

GAO found that: (1) the pipeline contractor has corrected about 62 percent of the almost 5,000 identified deficiencies as of April 1995, but it does not expect to be finished until the end of 1996, 2 years later than it had originally planned; (2) the contractor has corrected most electrical problems, focused management attention on the quality program, and is overhauling its maintenance program; (3) if the contractor completes actions to address these deficiencies, the TAPS problems should be corrected; (4) pipeline regulators are making a concerted effort to increase staff and reorganize to strengthen their focus on monitoring contractor operations; and (5) the root causes of the pipeline's deficiencies include the contractor's philosophy of reacting to problems rather than conducting programs aimed at prevention and early detection and regulators' inadequate oversight of contractor operations.

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