We got to see and touch the AK Pipeline at the Fairbanks location! I didn’t even know it existed until I got to Alaska! I sure found out quick just how important this pipeline has been…not only to Alaska but to the ‘lower 48’ as well. Here’s some fun facts for ya…
In 1968, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay (far northern slope, tundra climate, with a tour you can see the Arctic Ocean from there). In 1975, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) construction began…an $8 billion project! It is built mostly on permafrost (ground frozen below 32 * for 2 or more years). Because of this, specialized construction techniques were invented as needed. There are 800 miles of pipeline and 12 pump stations. It is built half below ground and half above ground because the ground is soooo cold. Tens of thousands of people worked on this endeavor for 2 years in extreme temperatures and horrid conditions BUT with great pay and benefits! The first barrel of crude oil was was delivered on July 28, 1977. It took 31 days to travel from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Now, it only takes about a week. Much has been learned about crude oil transport regarding how to keep a constant temperature for the trip’s duration…which is crucial.
Approximately 1 million barrels are delivered DAILY! There have been over 13 billion delivered to date. Prudhoe Bay Oil Field is not only the largest in Alaska, but in the U.S. and all of North America. In fact, 1/5 of U.S. domestic oil goes through TAPS. Being like so many, the transport of oil and how it happens never occurred to me…I simply enjoyed the benefits of the result. I now have a much better appreciation for the comforts of life available to me because of such an endeavor. Hopefully, you will too.
|You can see at the far right end of the
picture, the pipeline goes underground