The Trans-Alaska Pipeline


 

The pipeline was built by, and operated by, a consortium of oil companies.
The system is now operated under the name of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
(Alyeska, and ancient Aleut word for Alaska that means "The Great Land."
 

We first encountered the pipeline on our trip down to Valdez on July 20th.
 

We will let this section go largely "un-captioned" - as we have included
signs that are at many of the pipeline view points - so hopefully, you will learn
 about the pipeline, as we did, by reading the signs. We traveled parallel to
the pipeline for most of journey all the way up north to Fairbanks along the Richardson
Hwy
- and then saw it by air as well, as can be seen in our flight section.

We were concerned about the apparent lack of ANY security along the many
locations where the pipeline is readily accessible to the roadside visitor.

We happened upon a Pipeline Security Officer (alongside the road, taking a photo of a
Moose with us.) We asked about it. He said they do patrol by
air, and some vehicles, such as he was driving, but....
 

 

 

 

Two commercial views: The Valdez terminal (above), and Pump Station # 12 (below),
just 65 miles north of Valdez - which we passed on the roadway

 

 

 

No heat escaping at all - solidly insulated.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sliding shoe, and below, the red underside of the Teflon shoe

 

One of several designs of a "Pig."
 

These "pigs" are sent at intervals through the entire length of the pipeline.
Some of them are used to scrape the naturally occurring paraffin from the inside pipeline walls,
the other type has electronic sensors which record and transmit information concerning
corrosion (inside & outside) of the pipeline, and any deformities to its size. When they reach Valdez,
they are trucked back north to Prudhoe Bay, and start their trip all over again.
 

(Mark, if you look really carefully - you will see the AT&T Alascom sign,
building and microwave tower in the background)
 

 

The pipeline visitor center, just north of Fairbanks has an interesting gift shop as well.
A major tourist stop for busses of folks.
We are 450 miles south of Prudhoe Bay, and 350 miles north of Valdez.
 
 

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