Nat Gas Can Fluidize Oil Flow in Existing Pipeline
Way to get natural gas to Valdez for export and keep pipeline full for more efficient operation. You can bet that pipeline engineers have already considered many scenarios for augmenting pipeline flow and fluidizing the oil viscosity which is lowered with entrained natural gas. Water flooding or carbon dioxide gas can be used for maintaining reservoir pressure if nat gas is exported. Nat gas in the oil saves building a separate pipeline just for gas. Breakout tanks at Valdez would separate fluids and gas. Koch Industries tapes flow at North Pole, Alaska for their 85,000 BPD refinery there. 60% of production is jet fuel for Alaska, also heating oil, gasoline and asphalt for Alaska market.
Very imaginative, however now you're getting into fluid dynamics with changing the properties and viscosity of the oil. Have no idea how that would effect the pipeline, pumps, temperature maintenance, etc. Joints that don't leak now may leak if you lower the viscosity of the oil. Heat transfers more easily with lower viscosity fluids. And declining flows would be called upon to underwrite the expense of these enhancements.
The only real solution is to "drill, baby, drill" on the north slope. Find more oil and pump it through the pipeline. But, Oil companies have better alternatives than arctic exploration, such as Bakken and Monterey shale, deep water drilling in the Gulf, and the holy grail, East coast continental shelf.
That was what I meant when I said "very imaginative".
I didn't get into details as I am not qualified to argue on the fluid dynamics and I suspect neither is the person who came up with this "idea". I'm sure there is a reason we have oil pipelines and NG pipelines, but not mixed oil/NG pipelines.