Skip to comments.Trans-Alaska oil pipeline marks 35 years of production
Posted on 06/21/2012 5:51:46 AM PDT by thackney
The engineering feat that is the trans-Alaska pipeline is celebrating a milestone.
On Wednesday, the 800-mile pipeline marked 35 years of production with more than 16.5 billion barrels of oil loaded at the North Slope's Prudhoe Bay oil field for delivery to Valdez at the line's southern end. There, tankers leave Prince William Sound and head for West Coast refineries.
It was June 20, 1977, when oil was loaded for the first time into the pipeline, also known as TAPS. It arrived in Valdez -- the country's northernmost ice-free port -- 38 days later.
"The pipeline is an engineering marvel, but it's the TAPS workforce who has kept oil moving for 35 years," Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. President Tom Barrett said in a statement.
The pipeline now accounts for 11 percent of U.S. domestic oil supply.
(Excerpt) Read more at adn.com ...
This statement is misleading. The vast majority of the money comes from the oil production, taking it out of the ground. The pipeline transportation is an insignificant number compared to the oil value itself.
I have a 20’ piece of very slightly curved section of the pipeline at the place I work at, we welded a pair of plates on the end, put it on a skid frame and its our aboveground diesel fuel storage. Capacity might be about 2,000 gallons.
Yes its an actual piece of the original 1970’s era pipeline.
There are over 124,000 heat pipes along the pipeline. These pipes transfer ground heat into the air to ensure soil remains stable and able to support the pipeline.
Thickness of the pipeline wall: .462 inches (466 miles) & .562 inches (334 miles).
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System cross the ranges of the Central Arctic heard on the North Slope and the Nelchina Herd in the Copper River Basin.
The pipeline ends at the Valdez Marine Terminal.
The pipeline is often referred to as “TAPS” - an acronym for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System starts in Prudhoe Bay and stretches through rugged and beautiful terrain to Valdez, the northernmost ice-free point in America.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System was designed and constructed to move oil from the North Slope of Alaska to the northern most ice-free port in Valdez, Alaska.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System is protected by three separate leak detection systems that are monitored at the Operations Control Center in Anchorage.
Some 420 miles of the 800-mile-long pipeline is elevated on 78,000 vertical support members due to permafrost.
Telluric currents caused by the same phenomenon that generates the Northern Lights can be picked up by the pipeline and zinc/magnesium anodes. The anodes act like grounding rods to safety return these currents to the earth reducing the risk of damage to the pipeline.
The high point of the pipeline can be found at Atigun Pass with an elevation of 4,739 feet.
The Operations Control Center (OCC), located in Anchorage, monitors and controls pipeline and terminal operations 24/7.
Booster Pumps are located at all pump stations to move oil from the storage tanks to the mainline.
Cleaning pigs sweep the pipe of built up wax, water or other solids that precipitate out of the oil stream. They also prevent the built-up of corrosive environment and makes the oil easier to pump.
Controllers can stop pipeline flow within four minutes.
Crosses three mountain ranges and more than 30 major rivers and streams.
Grade, Maximum: 145% (55%) at Thompson Pass.
Length: 800 miles.
Maximum daily throughput was 2,145,297 on January 14, 1988.
Miles of buried pipeline: 380.
More than 11,000 tankers have been escorted through Prince William Sound.
More than 16 billion barrels have moved through TAPS.
More than 170 bird species have been identified along the Trans Alyeska Pipeline.
Mountain ranges crossed by the pipeline: Brooks Range, Alaska Range and Chugach Range.
Pig: A mechanical device that is pushed through the pipeline by the oil to perform various operations on the pipeline without stopping the flow of oil.
Area covered by Pipeline System: 16.3 square miles.
71 gate valves can block oil flow in either direction on the pipeline.
Air temperature along route: minus 80 F to 95 F.
All laden tankers are escorted over 70 miles through the Prince William Sound into the Gulf of Alaska.
Average tanker turnaround time at the Valdez terminal is 22 hours and 20 minutes for berthing, offloading ballast, loading crude and deberthing.
SERVS (Ship Escort/Response Vessel System) exists to prevent oil spills by assisting tankers in safe navigation through Prince William Sound.
SERVS (Ship Escort/Response Vessel System) has contracted over 350 fishing vessels for incident response in Prince William Sound.
SERVS (Ship Escort/Response Vessel System) maintains one of the world’s largest inventories of oil spill response equipment including more than 42 miles of boom and 100 skimmers, with a total recovery capacity of more than 75,000 barrels per hour.
The Valdez Terminal covers 1,000 acres and has facilities for crude oil metering, storage, transfer and loading.
Year Completed: 1977.
The pipeline project involved some 70,000 workers from 1969 through 1977.
The first pipe of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System was laid in 1975.
Construction began March 27, 1975 and was completed May 31, 1977.
Construction Time: 3 years, 2 months.
Controllers can stop pipeline flow within four minutes.
Cost to build: $8 billion in 1977, largest privately funded construction project at that time.
Diameter: 48 inches.
First oil moved through the pipeline on June 20, 1977.
First tanker to carry crude oil from Valdez: ARCO Juneau, August 1, 1977.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company was established in 1970 to design, construct, operate and maintain the pipeline.
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System was originally designed with 12 pump stations, though it was decided that only 11 were needed and a 12th was never built.
Oil was first discovered in Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope in 1968.
All the wildlife along the pipeline should be dead by now. That was our evil plan?
This is a feat that could not be matched again... leastways, not under this turd of a President.
The same environmentalists and our pandering president are now telling us the Keystone XL pipeline would cause untold environmental catastrophes and thus should be stopped. The route of the Keystone pipeline is largely prairie land and faces few of the engineering problems of the Alaska Pipeline plus would be built with technologies and techniques far in advance of those 35 years ago. The environmentalists are as wrong on the Keystone pipeline as they were about the Alaska pipeline almost 40 years ago.
And I remember ‘experts’ confidently predicting Alaska would run out of oil to pump in less time than it took to build the pipeline!
Co-existing with oil development, Central Arctic
caribou herd thrives, population at record high
The Alaska Department of Fish and
Game has reported that the Central Arctic
caribou herd, which occupies summer ranges
that include the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk
oil fields, grew sharply in numbers between
2002 and 2008.
The herd included approximately 67,000
animals in summer 2008, compared to
32,000 in 2002. The herd had less then
5,000 animals in 1975, several years before
North Slope oil production commenced.
Throughput, actual average per day
1977 575,897 bbl.
1978 1,087,695 bbl.
1979 1,281,580 bbl.
1980 1,516,213 bbl.
1981 1,523,472 bbl.
1982 1,619,566 bbl.
1983 1,646,188 bbl.
1984 1,663,487 bbl.
1985 1,780,512 bbl.
1986 1,823,110 bbl.
1987 1,963,458 bbl.
1988 2,033,082 bbl.
1989 1,885,102 bbl.
1990 1,793,292 bbl.
1991 1,822,396 bbl.
1992 1,746,893 bbl.
1993 1,619,787 bbl.
1994 1,587,177 bbl.
1995 1,523,120 bbl.
1996 1,435,810 bbl.
1997 1,334,507 bbl.
1998 1,206,839 bbl.
1999 1,078,146 bbl.
2000 999,202 bbl.
2001 992,139 bbl.
2002 1,000,916 bbl.
2003 993,000 bbl.
2004 935,108 bbl.
2005 891,104 bbl.
2006 759,081 bbl.
2007 740,170 bbl.
2008 703,551 bbl.
2009 672,028 bbl.
2010 619,655 bbl.
2011 582,895 bbl.
I have driven along alot of the pipeline from Center to Valdez...It is an amazing feat of Human accomplishment and I doubt we could ever do it again...
It has outlived what “they” thought as well.
Oh and Alaskans hate to admit it but Texans built it. They just didn’t have the manpower back then.
My Sister has pictures of the pipe yard in Fairbanks it was HUGE.
I remember in the early 1970s when they wanted to build the pipeline. The enviros went wacko against it till the project was shelved.
One person said the pipeline would NEVER be built. I said, “Wait till the Arabs shut off the oil again and it will be built.
Well, Thirty Five Years it has been pumping!
Nice drop in production.
Nor today for all the work needed just to maintain and do little projects. I am back to doing engineering for Alaskan North Slope work but I do it from Houston, Texas with a small team.