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Full text of "Alyeska reports, October 1976, vol. 2,no. 5."

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Published quarterly by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, buildéwef the trans Alaska Pip Jp ©, October 1976 

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Photographs by Harald Sund 


Harald Sund is a free-lance photographer 
whose work has appeared widely in 
magazines and books. 

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>rudhoe Bays 96 Billion Barrels 

hey’re developing 
something like 9.6 billion 

barrels of oil in Alaska’s 
Prudhoe Bay field along the edge 
of the Arctic Ocean. That’s more 
proved reserves — in just one 
field — than currently exist in 
Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas 
and half of Texas combined. 

The oil there was discovered 
eight years ago and, so far, has 
not returned a single penny for 
the billions of dollars being 
invested in the field — not to 
mention the additional billions 
expended on the Alyeska 
pipeline system that will carry the 
crude to market. 

Obviously, the Prudhoe Bay 
producers are making certain the 
oil will be ready for delivery just 
as soon as the Alyeska system is 
ready to receive it. They've been 
forced to wait for the pipeline and 
they vow the pipeline will not 
have to wait on them. 

Titan tasks already have been 
accomplished in preparation for 
production. Much remains to be 
done before scheduled output 
can be achieved, but the 
producers say they will be 
waiting with plenty of wells and 
plenty of capacity ahead of the 
pipeline’s scheduled mid-1977 
initial-stage completion as well as 
all subsequent expansions. 

Taking full advantage of the 
nightless Arctic summer, 
Prudhoe Bay’s two operating 
companies are primed for the 
final push to bring the field's 
production level to 1.2 million 
barrels daily in 1977. Subsequent 
efforts will be devoted to 
boosting the flow to about 1.5 
million barrels daily and 
maintaining productive capacity. 

The two operators — BP 
Alaska and Atlantic Richfield Ca. 
(Arco) — acting on behalf of the 
field’s 11 interest-owners, are 
meeting State of Alaska 
requirements to develop the field 
as a single unit to ensure 
maximum efficient production 
and environmental protection 
while avoiding unnecessary 
duplication of common facilities. 

For anormal field in the United 
States, a single company would 
act as operator. But the size of 
the Prudhoe Bay field — it 
underlies 250 square miles of the 
Arctic tundra and permafrost — 
and the extremely hostile 
environment dictated a minimum 
of two operators. No single 
company could spare the 
management, money and 
manpower necessary to handle 
development alone. 

By Riley Wilson 

Riley Wilson is oil editor of the Tulsa Daily 
World and has written extensively about 
Alaska oil developments. 


Fingers of gas safety flare pipe extend over pond 

P Alaska and Arco were 
chosen by the 11 lease 

holders to handle 
operating tasks. Standard Oil of 
Ohio is another major lease 
holder. British Petroleum holds a 
25 per cent stock interest in 
Sohio, which will increase to 54 
per cent shortly after the field 
goes into production. Exxon Co. 
USA is a partner with Arco, 
contributing to the initial capital 
investment and assisting in other 

However, BP Alaska and Arco 
management are basically 
responsible for the field which, 
for operating purposes, was 
arbitrarily divided in half — BP 
Alaska taking the western side 
and Arco the eastern. 

Different techniques are being 
used by the two operators for 
some installations and well 
development, but the two firms 
are not deviating basically from 
the approved development plan. 
This formula includes carefully 
selected well locations and other 
facilities to assure fullest and 
most efficient recovery of 
Prudhoe Bay’s oil as well as its 26 
trillion cubic feet of natural gas. 

All of the interest-owners 
eventually will share in the 
expenses and the production 
according to ratios currently 
being developed. The unitization 
agreement when approved by 
the State of Alaska, will assign 
the specific shares based on 
scientific evaluation of the 
individual leases covering the 
productive portion of the field. 

Mobil Oil Corp., Phillips 
Petroleum Co. and Standard Oil 
Co. (Ind.), as partners ina 
three-company group, will be 
assigned shares jointly for 
subsequent division among 
themselves. Similarly, a 
six-company group will receive a 
single allocation for individual 
breakdown. The six include 
Amerada Hess Corp., Getty Oil 
Co., Louisiana Land & 
Exploration Co., Marathon Oil 
Co., Placid Oil Co., and 
Hunt Oil Co. 

Sohio/BP, Arco and Exxon, 
however, will account for the 
lion’s share of the ownership, 
although the field is so huge that 
even a one per cent share Is 
worth about 100 million barrels of 
oil — a “major” field in the Lower 
48 states. 

rudhoe Bay’s wells are 

being drilled directionally 

from gravel pads — six or 
eight wells per pad — to 
bottom-hole locations that will 
effectively drain the reservoir 
over the years. : 

Vertical depth of the oil zone is 

about 9,000 feet. Because of the 
angle, linear depth of the wells 
often approaches 13,000 feet. 
Initially, each well will drain an 

average of about 640 acres, but 
greater well density will be 
required in some areas where 
the oil column is thicker. 

Drilling of the wells can 
continue winter and summer from 
the pads, which are made of 
gravel. Some are up to 566 yards 
long and 78 yards wide, allowing 
the rigs to be moved from one 
hole to the next with ease. 

Each well takes about 30 days 
to drill. BP and Arco are using 
different techniques in their wells, 
just as they have different 
programs for handling the oil 
after it leaves the wellheads. But 
the effects are the same. 

Once through the permafrost, 
the drillers carry the holes into the 
oil-bearing formation, install pipe 
and the wellhead equipment, 
called Christmas trees. These 
shut in the well until production is 
needed. At that time, rigs will be 
returned to “perforate” the pipe 
in the wells to allow the oil to flow 
from the formation rocks into the 
production facilities. Because the 
wells on the slope flow naturally 
due to gas pressure, no pumping 
units will dot the landscape and 
only a few rigs doing 
maintenance or additional 
development drilling will be 
found throughout the 250 square 

BP is using seven inch pipe to 
carry the oil out of the ground and 
Arco is.using five inch, but 
average flow will be about the 
same. Currently, BP is using two 
drilling rigs — including a 
mammoth unit especially 
designed for mobility in the Arctic 
environment. Arco Is using five 

hen on stream, wells will 
be tied into production 
facilities strategically 

located throughout the field. 
These facilities — called 
“gathering centers” by BP and 
“flow stations” by Arco — will 
handle about 300,000 barrels 
daily of crude each from 

24 to 26 wells. 

In 1977 there will be two 
centers in operation on each side 
of the field with a capacity of 1.2 
million barrels daily. A third 
center on each side is under 
construction, giving amaximum 
production capability of 1.8 
million barrels daily. However, 
when these are in operation, 
production probably will not 
exceed 1.5 million barrels daily, 
carefully allotted among all wells. 
This will provide flexibility 
necessary to maintain total 
production while some wells are 
shut in for routine maintenance. 

BP is laying flow lines from 
each individual well directly into 
its “gathering centers” while Arco 
is combining oil from individual 
wells at the drilling pads, then 
moving the crude to its “flow 

1) Standing pipe await 
use in drill rig, 2) Drill ri 
crew positions pipé 

3) “Christmas tree” cap 
drilled well, 4) Drill rig 4 
Prudhoe Bay, 5) Worke 

6) Control room at centré 
gas compressor plani 

7) Control panel at Bi 
power plan} 

Stations” by a common line. At 
the center/stations of the two 
firms, however, virtually the same 
thing happens. The crude oil will 
pass through equipment which 
separates it from the natural gas 
and small volumes of water that 
are mixed with oil. The crude also 
will be cooled to about 140 
degrees Fahrenheit and then 
delivered, through further 
pipelines, to the Alyeska Pump 
Station No. 1. 

ater recovered from the 
crude will be treated and 
reinjected into disposal 

wells at the station site. 

Natural gas taken from the oil 
will go through huge lines to a 
single, giant compressor plant on 
the Arco side of the field which 
includes the “gas cap” that 
overlies the oil formation. 

Here, the natural gas will be 
compressed and, mostly, 
reinjected into the gas cap to 
await the eventual completion of 
a system pipeline to carry the 
natural gas to market. When this 
occurs, the compressor plant — 
thanks to its design — can be 
utilized to pump gas down the 
gas pipeline. 

A lot of the gas, however, will 
be utilized at the compressor 
plant and at the mammoth central 
power station, which will provide — 
electricity to all facilities at = == 
Prudhoe after completion of , . 
subsequent stages of = 
construction. With the equipment: 
now in place, it already is ; 
contributing greatly to electrical 
power needs. Also, some gas will 
power Alyeska’s pump stations 
on the North Slope. 

At all gathering center flow 
stations, and at the compressor 
plant, elaborate safety 
precautions have been taken for 
handling the gas. Included are 
flare systems through which the 
gas can be funneled for 
emergency burning in case of 


Again, BP and Arco have taken 
different approaches to achieve 
the same results. BP will utilize a 
few big vertical flares designed 
to channel radiated heat away 
from the tundra while effecting 
such complete combustion 
that the flames will be almost 
invisible. Arco prefers a 
horizontal system with thousands 
of little flares — like candles on 
a cake. 

s with the Alyeska 
Pipeline itself, the 
Prudhoe Bay field's 

operators are incorporating 
designs to accommodate Arctic 
wildlife including the caribou. The 
ribbons of pipelines through the 
field are buried in places to 
provide caribou crossings. 
For year-long access to all 

sectors of the field, a 30-mile 


“spine-road” was constructed 
with other roads shooting off as 
necessary. Built of gravel five-feet 
thick to protect the tundra and 
permafrost, roads in the field now 
total about 130 miles. 

airstrip at Deadhorse, on the 
edge of the field, a Prudhoe 
Bay strip also lies in the active 
area. Next to this strip, Arco built 
its operations center. completing 
the first section in the Summer 
of 1970. 

A spacious two-story complex, 
it consists of a central building 
with living quarters, water supply 
system, power generation 
system, vehicle storage, main- 
tenance shop and warehouses. 
Initially designed to house 210 
workers, the center will be 
expanded after the 1976 seailift to 

I: addition to the commercial 

accommodate 440 personnel. 

Eight miles to the northwest 
is BP Alaska’s three-story 
operations center, a three-year- 
old self-contained complex that 
accommodates 140 people with 
built-in expansion capabilities for 
124 more as a result of the 
1976 sealift. 

Both the BP and the Arco 
centers are designed to 
withstand the rigors of the Arctic 
while helping workers avoid 
claustrophobia in the dark, 
sub-zero winters. 

BP’s multi-million dollar 
structure includes a glass- 
enclosed arboretum landscaped 
with trees and tundra flowers plus 
recreational facilities that include 
a 40-foot swimming pool which 
doubles as a reservoir for 
fire-fighting purposes. 

In addition to the operations 

centers, BP has built two 
500-man construction camps 
and Arco has built one camp 
capable of handling 1,750 
workers engaged in the 
installation of facilities. These 
work camps are used by 
employees of contractors and 
subcontractors, mainly. 

mong the other early 
installations at Prudhoe 
Bay were a small crude 

oil processing plant opened in 
1969, and an electric generation 

The “topping plant” uses 
about 13,000 barrels of crude 
oil daily from nearby wells. 
However, the output of useable 
products — diesel fuel and 
a naphtha-type gasoline — 
amounts to a maximum of 
3,500 barrels daily. The residue 

is reinjected into the oil reservoir 
below ground. 

Also installed at Prudhoe Bay 
in 1969 was a dock and staging 
area on the southeast shore to 
handle sea shipments. 
Subsequently a new dock was 
built about 10 miles to the 
northwest and a 5,000-foot 
extension was added last winter 
to reach the deep-draft barges 
which were caught in the ice 
before being able to unload their 

The docks have allowed BP 
and Arco — as well as Alyeska — 
to utilize barge operations from 
the lower 48 states. Because 
barge transportation was 
available, buildings for the 
operations centers and many 
other installations were 
prefabricated as modular units in 
the lower 48 and shipped to 

Prudhoe Bay by sea. At the 
docks, crawler units — like those 
used to move space rockets onto 
their pads — carried the modules 
off the barges to their positions 

ometimes the barge 

convoys have been 

massive. In 1970, 70 
barges carried 187,000 tons of 
cargo. And sometimes the 
barges haven't made it because 
of the contrary Arctic ice pack. In 
1975, some tugs and barges 
turned back and others were 
stopped short of the docks. 

This year’s sealift, of about 60 
modules and skid-mounted units 
provided more facilities 
necessary for the initial 1.2 million 
barrels of production daily. 

Prudhoe still, however, relies 
heavily on aircraft, particularly for 

| Prudhoe 
| Bay © 

_{ BP Operations 
Re . 
| Alyeska Pump. - 
Station’ =, 

Drill Site 

i7 Pad/without 

O Flow Stations/ 
Gathering Centers 

Oot eee eM 

0415345675 9 Km 

Trans Alaska 
Pipeline, reg 

personnel, mail, rush-cargo and 
perishable items. Aircraft haul 
about 1.2 million pounds a 
month. Trucks move additional 
supplies over the Yukon-Prudhaee 
haul road which links to the State 
highway system. 

Once production is 
established, however, all of that 
will change drastically. The two 
operations centers will house 
most of the permanent personnel 
and the control facilities. 
Construction workers will return 
to wherever they came from, and 
Prudhoe will start becoming a 
mature field with a minimum 
of activity. 

\ARCO Operating Area 



“i Dead Horse Airtield 

t this time, the Prudhoe 

Bay field resembles for all 

the world a military 
operation with thousands of 
workers, hundreds of vehicles of 
all types and scores of structures 
in various states of readiness. 

1) Generation plant 
provides electric power for 
field activities, 2) Feeder 
lines installed, 3) Cause- 
way extends out to sea, 

4) Tugs and barges 

reach Prudhoe Bay, 

5) Collector pipes at 

Flow Station One. 


rom its capital city of 
Fr Juneau to the beaches of 

Nome, Alaska’s history is 
colored gold. But etched in 
copper is one of its gaudiest 
chapters — The Shootout at 
Keystone Canyon. 

By 1906, Keystone Canyon 
was being hailed as the portal to 
Alaska’s interior. Through it, sur- 
veyors had staked out a right- 
of-way for a railroad that would 
link Valdez, just 14 miles away, 
with Fairbanks. Other rails would 

-carry freight as far as Circle on 
the Yukon River and haul copper 
ore to tidewater from the new 
fields in the Copper River region. 

During the next three decades, 
four copper mines would extract 
more than $200 million in ores 
from those fields lying in the 
shadows of the Wrangell Moun- 
tains fewer than 150 miles from 
the sea. Owners of the field 
included the Guggenheim 
brothers, J.P. Morgan and other 
New York financiers organized as 
the Alaska Syndicate. In Valdez 
in 1906, they were being hailed 
as the men who were building the 
Copper River & Northwestern Rail- 
way through Keystone Canyon. 

To those in Valdez that 
summer, the recurrent dynamite 
explosions at the Canyon, long a 
favorite spot for picnics and 
outings, were considered 
pleasant overtures to the train 
whistles just around the bend. 
The townsfolk were ill-prepared 
for the jarring note that was to set 
the stage for violence. 

Acting on recommendations 
of railroad-building engineer, 
Thomas Heney, the Alaska Syn- 
dicate announced it was with- 
drawing from Keystone Canyon. 


Me en sll _P —— — 

“.. , the Guggenheim brothers, J.P. Morgan < _were... hailed as the men building the Copper River & Northwestern. . ne 

Locomotive blows whistle leaving Valdez for the first time, August 4, 1907 

The railroad to the Interior would 
be built not from Valdez, but from 
Katalla, about a hundred miles to 
the southeast on the Gulf of 

Heney once said, “give me 
enough snoose and dynamite 
and |'ll build you a railroad to 
hell.” Now he had convinced the 
Alaska Syndicate he could build 
one to their copper holdings over 
a route more profitable, but, on 
appearance, just about as 
damned. In 1898, Heney had 
built the railroad that clawed its 
way over the White Pass from 
Skagway to the Klondike gate- 
way community of Whitehorse. 
That cachet, coupled with the 
fact that the Katalla route would 
tap some potentially rich coal 
deposits, doomed Valdez. 

eney would need more 
fT than snoose and dyna- 

mite to win his Katalla 
gamble. His biggest challenge 
was to be the Copper River, 
which would have to be bridged 
virtually mid-point between two 
vast glaciers, the Miles and the 
Childs. Bridge builders would 
face 40 below temperatures and 
winds up to 90 miles an hour. 
Cassions would be threatened by 
huge icebergs dropped by Miles 
Glacier, only a half-mile up- 
stream. (Later, these challenges 
paled when it was determined 
that falsework for the final 400- 
foot steel span would have to be 
built on the ice — and completed 
before the spring breakup!) 

In Valdez, feelings against the 
Alaska Syndicate ran hot and 
deep over the Katalla project. 
The change in plans created an 
ideal climate for the Cultivation of 

the indignant and the gullible. 
Within a few days, a flamboyant 
Valdez copper developer, H.D. 
Reynolds, began the harvest. 

eynolds chartered a 
[bo steamer, took the town’s 

businessmen ona cruise, 
then called a mass meeting. 
When it was over, the town had 
pledged Reynolds $100,000 as 
seed money for a start on the 
Alaska Home Railway, to be built 
and operated by the people of 
Valdez, with Reynolds in the cab, 
of course. 

Valdez further responded by 
giving Reynolds a franchise that 
gave him control of most of the 
town (which the promoter had 
promised to rebuild into a sort of 
sub-Arctic Athens) and turned 
over to hima church. Reynolds, 
who knew a bit about God and 
mammon, promptly converted it 
into a bank, causing the few 
cynics remaining to dub his op- 
eration, “Jesus & Co.” 

By the summer of 1907, the 
Alaska Home roadbed was 
inching toward the only barrier 
lying between Valdez and the 
riches of the Interior — Keystone 
Canyon, held by a score of 
CR&NW workmen and two 
deputy U.S. marshals. 

The showdown came during 
the early morning hours of Sep- 
tember 25, 1907. Urged on by 
their attorneys, who argued that 
the CR&NW right-of-way claims 
were Invalid, some 200 Alaska 
Home Railway workmen headed 
for Keystone Canyon, paced by 
their foreman, mounted on a 
horse. None was armed, but all 
had been issued picks, shovels 
and axes. 


J. P. Morgan 

“., . Deputy Marshal 
Edward C. Hasey 

shouted a warning to 
the approaching mob. 

lt was ignored...” 


ear the canyon’s enda 
Ni barricade barred further 

passage. Behind it as- 
sembled about 30 CR&NW 
workmen. Deputy Marshal Ed- 
ward C. Hasey shouted a warn- 
ing to the approaching mob. It 
was ignored. He stepped forward 
with a rifle and fired. When the 
firing from behind the barricade 
ceased, five Alaska Home Rail- 
way men were wounded. One, 
Fred Rhinehardt, died later in a 
Valdez hospital and became a 
cause celebre in Alaska and 
Washington, D.C. 

A Valdez grand jury indicted 
Hasey on murder charges. In 
April 1908 his trial opened in 
Juneau. It was one marked by 
charges , many of them later 
substantiated, of jury tamper- 
ing and manipulation of wit- 
nesses. Hasey was found 

not guilty of murder. But he 
was convicted of assault 
with a deadly weapon, 

and sentenced to two 
years in prison. Ina 

subsequent appeal, 
which was denied, he 
was to argue that 
, others should have 
been prosecuted in- 
stead of myself.” 

Shootout at Keystone 
Canyon had little ef- 
fect on the collapse 
that same year of the 
Alaska Home Railway 

“... He stepped forward 
with a rifle and fired...” 


First and only locomotiv 

| at 

Extent of the Alaska Home Railway's rails 

e of the Alaska Home Railway 

and the later conviction of 
Reynolds on mail-fraud charges. 
But the incident was to echo for 
years throughout Alaska and in 
Washington, where anti- 
monopoly feelings ran high. 

Like those in Valdez, the 5,000 
hopefuls drawn to Katalla (Where 
the Rails Meet the Sails) were 
jilted. Following winter storms 
that ripped out breakwaters and 
a pier, the CR&NW moved its 
railhead again, this time to 
Cordova, 75 miles to the 

Heney never lived to see the 
winning of his Cordova gamble. 
He would have loved it, 
particularly when the last steel 
links of the 1,500-foot Copper 
River bridge were joined just 
hours before the spring ice 
breakup ripped out the 
temporary supports. The first 
CR&NW train into the copper 
mines at Kennicott in 1911 carried 
on the locomotive’s front a picture 
of Heney, the “Irish Prince,” who 
had died the previous winter. The 
CR&NW was to go no further than 
Kennicott and ceased operations 
in 1938 when the mines closed 
for good. 

The entire drama, from the 
Shootout at Keystone Canyon to 
the completion of the 198-mile 
Copper River & Northwestern 
Railroad can be found in the 
novel of Rex Beach, The /ron 
Trai!. But it reads equally well as 

Jim Faber is a Seattle writer who has 
traveled Alaska. His book, An 
Irreverent Guide to Washitigton State/s 
now in its second printing. 

Ted Leonhardt, who created the 
illustration, is a Seattle designer and 
illustrator who serves Alyeska Reports as 
designer and art director. 



By Mark Godwin 

Shootouts in Keystone Canyon 
(page 8) are a matter of history. 
But events there continue to 
make news with construction of 
the trans Alaska pipeline. 

Mark Godwin is an Alaska 
free-lance writer. 

The trans Alaska pipeline, all 
along its 800-mile route, crosses 
many obstacles, both natural 
and man-made. The frigid North 
Slope, the imposing Brooks 
Range, the migration paths of 
the caribou, the Yukon River, 
highways and tundra all stand 
between Prudhoe Bay oil and 

its destination of Valdez. 

But one of the most 
challenging sections of the 
pipeline route — indeed, 
perhaps the most difficult four 
miles of the project — is not 
above the Arctic Circle nor high 
inthe Brooks Range but a scant 
18 miles from the Valdez Terminal 
in Keystone Canyon. 

Keystone Canyon is as 
picturesque a piece of Alaska as 
can be found anywhere. The 
roiling waters of the Lowe River 
flow through the center of it. 
Sheer cliffs of rock rise on both 
sides into the low clouds, while 
green trees and shrubs cling 
precariously to the steep slopes. 

Numerous waterfalls, including 
famous Bridal Veil Falls, tumble 
over the edge of the canyon and 
plunge through the clouds. The 
historic wagon trail that used to 
lead out of Valdez can still be 
seen from the highway on the 
other side of the river. 

Where miners and home- 
steaders once trudged 
laboriously with their life’s 
possessions, now rumble the 
trucks and heavy equipment 
being used to build the pipeline. 
But it’s a toss-up as to who had 
it tougher, the miners and 
homesteaders of old or the 
engineers of today. 

The ghosts of Alaska’s 
pioneers must have chuckled 
when the pipeliners came up 
against Keystone. Imagine their 
glee at the thought of hundreds 
of men and millions of dollars in 
equipment being stymied by the 
same terrain that they once 
crossed with such difficulty on 
foot and in buckboards. 

But like those pioneers, the 
engineers of Alyeska and its 
contractor Morrison, Knudsen- 
River did not give up. 

Pooling their hundreds of years 
of pipeline construction experi- 
ence, they launched a battle 
that covered two full construction 
seasons. Modifying office plans 
in the field and standard 
equipment in construction camp 
shops, they worked a total of ten 
months, using nearly 200 people 
a day, finally finishing most of 
the job in September. 

The pipeline rests now high 
atop the east wall of the canyon. 
To have built it in the bottom 
would have required digging up 
the existing highway, requiring 
lengthy road closures and great 
public inconvenience. The 
danger of rock and snow slides 
prevented anchoring the line to 
the side of the canyon walls. 

The battle to build the canyon 
section began in the late spring 
and early summer of 1975 when 
Jack C. Cave, Alyeska senior 
construction engineer, arrived 
with orders to clear a right-of-way 
in the canyon. 

Cave, a burly, craggy-faced 
construction veteran who had 

been working on a huge port 
expansion project in Seoul, 
Korea, arrived in Alaska 
expecting to work on the tanker 
terminal in Valdez but instead 
was handed the Keystone 
Canyon job as a welcoming 

Cave and MK-R site manager, | 
Jack Owens, got the crews down | 
to business immediately. Men 
and machines attacked the 
canyon from both ends, north 
and south. Since the two ends, or 
faces, are the steepest points in 
the canyon, work went slowly. 
Tracked vehicles were the only 
machines that could negotiate 
the slopes, and everything 
needed at the top to start with 
had to be pulled there by huge 
Cats or dozers. 

Indeed, one section of the 
north face, which appears to go 
nearly straight up, was named 
“Walking Tom’ in honor of a 
foreman who supposedly told his 
men: “Boys, if you want to get up 
there, you're going to have to 
walk, just like old Tom.” 

Work, however, progressed 
steadily until the middle of July, 
1975, when crews reached a 
seeming bottleneck at a place 
named Gobbler’s Knob. Huge, 
overhanging rocks made it 
unsafe for drillers to work, and 
unless the drillers could 
complete their work, nobody 
else could follow. Getting 
equipment above the cut was 

A decision was reached to 
launch an airlift so that crews 
could work above the rock. And 
what followed was one of the 

1) Work proceeds 1) Winch helps 
on mountainside, machinery on slope, 
2) Helicopter hauls 2) Equipment gets 

assist from winch atop 
Site 3, 3) Rock cut atop 
canyon, 4) Pipe 
lowered into ground, 
5) Work at Site 3. 

supplies, 3) Pipe 
lengths joined on 
mountain, 4) Workers 
unload pipe on steep 




most dramatic chapters in the 
history of the pipeline. 

Small helicopters first ferried 
work crews to several points 
along the top of the canyon to 
clear patches of land. After the 
land was cleared, a huge 
Sikorsky Skycrane, capable of 
lifting payloads weighing tons, 
was called in to hoist heavy 
equipment to the work sites. 

One after another, tractors, 
truck drills and compressors,and 
dozers were flown up and over 
the canyon. Smaller machines 
were lifted whole by the brute 
choppers, while the big ones 
were disassembled, the parts 
lifted, then reassembled on top. 

For days, the whir of the 
Sikorsky’s blades echoed off the 
canyon walls. No sooner would a 
helicopter set a piece of 
equipment down than it would lift 
off again for another load. 

The airlift broke the bottleneck. 
Keystone work could now be 
attacked from eight places 
instead of two, and by the end of 
the 1975 season most of the 
necessary basic construction 
work had been completed. 

When the winter snows came, 
some 300 inches of it, the work 
was Called to a halt. However, in 
May of this year, the effort began 
again with Don Hand as MK-R 
site manager. Additional roads 
were built. Massive amounts of 
rock were moved while new 
techniques were developed for 
moving pipe up the steep canyon 

Permission was received for 

construction of a new switchback 
road up the north face. Men and 
machines cleared the last of the 
snow, built the road and started 
work preparing a ditch for the 

The trip up and down the 
canyon still was so tortuous that it 
was cheaper to build a rock 
crushing plant at the top of the 
canyon than to truck gravel back 
and forth. The crusher processed 
40,000 yards of material before it 
was through. 

The steepness of the 
approaches also caused crews 
to pre-tape pipe at the bottom 
of the canyon so that the cum- 
bersome taping machines 
wouldn't be forced to make the 
harrowing journey up and down. 

At a place called Site 3 witha 
60 per cent grade drillers and 
blasters had to carve a huge 
notch out of rock in order to lay 
the pipe. About 120,000 yards of 
more than a half-million yards of 
rock moved in the entire canyon 
were blasted out at that spot. 

To keep waterfalls and streams 
clear during construction 
numerous Catch basins were 
built to contain the silt and allow it 
to settle before the water plunged 
down the cliffs into the view of 
tourists below. 

Gating pipe up the north face 
also proved difficult. Choppers 
could not safely lift 80-foot 
sections of pipe; pipe trucks 
couldn't negotiate the slopes, 
and dozers and tractors couldn't. 
drag the pipe up hill without 

E. CHAMPIONIN G Machinery Co 

The solution to the problem, 
when it was finally found, looked 
like something out of a Ray 
Bradbury book of science fiction. 

Roland Cain, below-ground 
construction superintendent for 
Alyeska, and Guy Owens, 
assistant superintendent for 
Morrison, Knudsen-River, 
dreamed it up and Don Mackey, 
MK-R master mechanic at Sheep 
Creek Camp, put it together. 

Developed was a bulldozer 
with the blade taken off the front 
and the ripper removed from the 
back. Crossbars and cradles 
were installed in their place. 
Eighty-foot sections of pipe were 
then lowered onto each side of 
the dozer, placed in the cradles, 
and strapped in, parallel to the 
dozer. The dozer, assisted by 
another, then slowly clanked its 
way up the switchback road. At 
every sharp corner the operator 
had to hydraulically raise and 
lower the sections as they hung 
out over the edge of the canyon, 
turning in spurts, going first 
forward, then backward, then 
forward again as 80-foot pipe 
bobbed over shrubs and rocks 
on the narrow road. 

Nearly half an hour after they 
began their journey, the two 
dozers reached the top of the 
canyon. Workers and foremen 
congratulated one another. 
Cameras clicked. Hands 
were shaken. 

One week later all the pipe 
was up the north face. The pipe 
gang arrived and by the end of 
September construction on 
Keystone Canyon was history. 

Clean-up crews then went to 



work on the switchback roads, 
putting them “to sleep”, which in 
construction parlance means 
restoring them to their natural 
appearance. Next year tourists 
will drive up Keystone Canyon, 
marvel at its beauty, take pictures 
of Bridal Veil Falls, and never 
realize that they are surrounded 
on one side by the spirit of Alaska 
past in the old wagon trail, and on 
the other by the spirit of Alaska 
present in what may be the 
hardest four miles of construction 
on the trans Alaska pipeline 

[. all, Keystone Canyon contains 
23,000 feet of pipe. In one 
2,500-foot section on the north 
face, the pipe rises 840 feet. In 
only 2,300 feet on the south face, 
it drops 820 feet. In between, the 
pipe goes up and down like an 
elevator, through a path once 
blocked by some of the most 
difficult rock anywhere. 

“Journalists keep asking me 
about this so-called ‘critical 
section’ of the pipeline,” said 
Cain on the day the first piece 
of pipe went up the north face. 
His eyes twinkled with 

“Hell, there ain’t nothin’ critical 
unless it can’t be done.” 

And because of men like Cain 
and Cave and the other 198 or 
so workers who could be found 
there on any given day for ten 
months, Keystone Canyon wasn't 
critical at all. 

lt was being completed. And 
all in good time. 



By John Scott 

John Scott is editor of 
Petroleum Engineer, a trade 
journal devoted to oil 

O.. of the most significant 

of Alyeska Pipeline Service 
Company's engineering and 
scientific achievements may be 
development of the earthquake 
monitoring system which will be 
used once the line goes into 

The special system will 
continuously monitor any 
earthquake activity along the 
route and provide virtually 
instantaneous notification and 
analysis of the seismic motion to 
a master station at the Valdez 

Not that Alyeska is expecting 
any pipeline earthquake 
damage. The earthquake design 
criteria for the trans Alaska 
pipeline system approach those 
for nuclear power plants and 
exceed building code 
requirements for public 

The 800-mile pipeline route 
has been divided into five 
seismic zones and an 
earthquake design level has 
been established for each zone. 
The design magnitudes range 
from a mild quake of 5.5 on the 
Richter scale in the zone on the 
North Slope to extremely severe 
quakes of 8 to 8.5 on the Richter 
scale in the Alaska Range and 
near the Valdez Terminal of the 
pipeline. All pipeline facilities 
within each zone are designed to 
withstand the maximum 
expected quake — one with a 
likelinood of occurrence 
estimated to be once in two- or 
three-hundred years. 

The monitoring system was 
conceived by Dr. Douglas J. 
Nyman, Alyeska seismic 
engineer, and design 
engineering was completed by 
Nyman, several other Alyeska 
engineers and consultants from 
the University of Illinois. 

The system consists of 
a computer-oriented, com- 
munications surveillance 
package of strong-motion 
accelerographs located along 
the pipeline route from Pump 
Station No. 1 south to Valdez. 
Overall, the system resembles 
the computer production-control 
systems now being used by 
major oil companies for remote 
operation of fields in many 
sections of the Lower 48 states. 

Unlike the seismograph which 
records small ground motions 
due to earthquakes thousands of 
miles distant, a strong-motion 
accelerograph measures only 
the strong motion in its immediate 
area. While the seismograph 
presents its information in a form 
difficult to assess in terms of 
design and construction 
considerations, the 
accelerograph, recording only 
motions that probably would be 
noticeable to a person nearby, 
provides information that can be 

utilized by the design engineer. 

The strong-motion instru- 
mentation used in the Alyeska 
system is composed of an 
acceleration sensor unit anda 
modular electronics panel about 
two feet square and five feet 
high. The modular assemblies, 
packaged by Sundstrand Data 
Control, Inc., will allow greatly 
simplified maintenance. 

Three sensors in the system 
will provide the acceleration 
information. Two horizontal 
sensors, oriented 90 degrees to 
each other, will register motion on 
that plane. The third will measure 
vertical motion. The sensor 
assemblies will be mounted on 
protected concrete foundations 
on bedrock or otherwise stable 
soil. Signals from them will be fed 
into the electronics panel at each 
remote location. Eleven such 
units will be set up at selected 
sites along the 800-mile pipeline 

The accelerometer provides 
its Signal as an analog, or 
measurable voltage, reading. 
These voltage signals are 
interpreted electronically 200 
times each second, and 
converted to a numerical 
value suitable for computer 
processing. A microprocessor, or 
microcomputer, evaluates this 
data continuously to determine if 
the motions have exceeded a 
certain threshold level, indicating 
that an earthquake has occurred. 
Once an earthquake has been 
detected, the data is channelled 
toa magnetic cartridge tape and 
recorded for the duration of the 
event. The tape data can be 
retrieved manually for later 
scientific analysis. 

Diz an earthquake, the 
microprocessor evaluates 
earthquake data to describe the 
earthquake severity in 
engineering terms. Using the raw 
acceleration information, system 
computers analyze the energy 
content of the earthquake in 
terms of velocities, accelerations 
and structural response levels 
and weigh the likely impact of the 
quake on the pipeline system in 
the affected area. 

Thus, when the Alyeska 
monitoring system senses an 
earthquake along the pipeline 
route, it immediately will send 
alarm signals to the Valdez 
Operations Control Center over 
the pipeline communications 
system. Once the earthquake is 
over the terminal computer at 
Valdez will automatically poll 
each of the station instruments 
for the data recorded. About 30 
to 40 seconds will be required to 
transmit the approximately 40 
pieces of data from each 
instrument, depending on how 
much information each 
instrument has to send. Auxiliary 
information describing system 

gee A ee 




Accelerometer Assembly 

Remote Field Analog to 
Installation of Digital 
Accelerometer f Converter 

ys i Assembly 

Data Processing 
e Compute Peak 
e Compute Peak 


e Determine Structural 
Response Levels 

e RecordAcceleration | 

Time History on 
Magnetic Tape 





‘ourlesy of Sundstrand Data Control Corp: 

fault status will also be sent as a 
check of the integrity of the 
instrument itself. 

The data will be stored ina 
terminal computer master data 
file. And after all of it has been 
collected, a second program will 
be run on the terminal computer 
to confirm there was an 
earthquake, determine how 
severe it was and fix the 
approximate location of the 

The system will then estimate 
levels of shaking that occurred at 
each station along the line. And 
within minutes after the event, 
Alyeska should have enough 
information to decide quickly 
(1) whether a shutdown is 
necessary and (2) where to go to 
inspect the line and what types of 
damages to look for. It will not 
give definitive yes or no answers 
about whether conditions are 
safe, however. These are 
decisions to be made by Alyeska 
operations personnel using the 
data from the monitoring and 
other control systems. 

The major point is that Alyeska 
will be collecting the best 
available data along the route to 
describe severity of a particular 
earthquake enabling operators to 
decide whether to shutdown the 
pipeline and how to go about 
inspection. Otherwise, the 
pipeline might be shutdown 
needlessly because of relatively 
minor earthquake activity. 

Mace are two independent 
communication routes to each 
instrument. If there is a break ina 
microwave communication path 
due to the earthquake, data can 
be collected via satellite. If the 
terminal computer at Valdez 
breaks down there will be a 
back-up keyboard and printer 
available to poll each instrument 
manually for data. Each 
instrument also has a memory for 
storing key parameters 
processed for ten earthquake 
events should a major shock be 
followed by numerous 
after-shocks within an hour or 
two. The tape units have the 
capacity for recording one hour 
of earthquake data. 

Since the earthquake 
monitoring instruments are in 
remote locations and exposed 
to extreme environmental 
conditions during long inactive 
periods, steps have been taken 
to assure their operation when 
needed. This is accomplished 
through a built-in, self-check 
capability. Once commanded to 
check itself out, the instrument 
exercises its accelerometer 
along each axis independently 
and the motions are recorded 
and processed and all of the 
alarms and data are transmitted 
to Valdez just as though there 
were a real earthquake. Periodic 
exercises of this type will verify 


the system's ability to function 
properly in an actual earthquake. 

Avyeska believes it has 
achieved its basic objectives with 
the monitoring system. 

Earthquake activity along 
the route can be detected 
immediately so that appropriate 
action can be taken, including 
shutting down the pipeline if 

The system will provide data to 
justify a decision not to shut down 
if the earthquake motion is not 
severe. And the system will make 
it possible for Alyeska to continue 
pumping valuable crude to 
Valdez following an earthquake, 
knowing that the pipeline system 
has not been subjected to 
motions approaching design 





Jui August and September 
were the busiest months of the 
1976 pipeline construction year, 
as work on pipeline, pump station 
and Terminal facilities passed the 
80 per cent completion mark, 
and a peak work force between 
20,000 and 22,000 was 
sustained for most of the duration 
of the quarter. Indications were 
that the worker level would begin 
tapering off in October. 

Nearly 700 miles of the 800- 
mile pipeline were in place by 
early September, with pipe 
installation continuing toward 
completion in the fall. With the 
exception of remedial and repair 
work, all pipeline welding was 
nearly finished. 

About half of the line has been 
hydrotested. In hydrotesting, the 
line Is filled with water and the 
water pressure increased to at 
least 125 per cent of the 
maximum operating pressure for 
a 24 hour period. Maximum 
operating pressure may vary 
from place to place depending 
on such factors as proximity to 
pump stations, elevation and 
ground topography. 

A major milestone passed 
in July was completion of the 

installation of vertical supports, 
although some remedial work 
remained. Nearly 78,000 support 
members have been installed to 
support 425 miles of above 
ground pipe. 

Insulation for the above- 
ground portion of the line was 
more than three-quarters 
complete by late September, and 
the majority of 120,000 thermal 
devices required in certain 
portions of the pipeline route 
were installed. Thermal devices 
are installed deep into the 
ground through the top of vertical 
support members. These units 
circulate liquid ammonia through 
natural convection and insure 
the stability of pipeline support 
structures by keeping soils and 
sub-soils in a permanently frozen 

Resoiution of engineering 
problems allowed work in three 
areas Critical to the pipeline 
construction schedule. These 
areas were Keystone Canyon 
and Thompson Pass near Valdez, 
and Atigun Pass in the Brooks 
Range far to the north. 

The more than four miles of 

2 — See 

» BMWAR : maaan 


24. Way 



right-of-way preparation and 
ditching required to cross 
rugged Keystone Canyon, 
approximately 16 miles north of 
Valdez was finished in 
September. Welding of pipe was 
completed in this area by the end 
of September, with ditch 
backfilling and hydrotesting to be 
accomplished later this fall. 

Approximately one mile of 
critical work through the 2,100- 
foot high Thompson Pass was 
concluded. Right-of-way clearing 
was finished in August, ditching 
and welding was to be 
completed in October and 
backfilling and hydrotesting were 
scheduled to be finished soon 

Ditching on the north side 
of 4,700-feet high Atigun 
Pass began in mid-July. Work 
commenced in early August on 
2Va2 miles on the south side of the 

All of the 12 major pipeline 
bridges required at larger rivers 
and scheduled to be built this 
year were finished. Among those 
completed was the 1,200-foot 
free-span suspension bridge 
across the Tanana River, the 
largest suspension bridge in 


300-foot high boiler stack hoisted at Valdez 

“oe SE ay) 

wes co 
Pipe gets insulation 

Alaska and second longest 
bridge in the state. 

Nearly all of the 62 remote 
gate valves required for pipeline 
Operation were installed by 
September. To operate the valves 
from the Valdez Control Center, 
microwave signals will be sent 
first to pump stations. Orders will 
then be transmitted from pump 
Stations to valves via VHF radio 
Signals. The valves will be used 
to stop oil flow in the event of a 
malfunction at any point along 
the line. Installation of generation 
units to power the valves was 
underway at many sites. 

W... progressed rapidly at 

all pump stations during the 
Summer, with overall construction 
passing the three-quarter mark 
in September. 

Installation of pumps, turbines, 
mainline corridors, ancillary 
buildings, fuel lines, piping and 
tankage was essentially finished 
at pump stations 1, 3, 4, 8 and 10 
by late September. Along with 
Station 5, equipped with a large 
relief tank and one fuel tank, 
these stations will be needed for 
the initial operating level of 

"aes vu» we 
teas PTT TT 

600,000 barrels of crude oil 
per day. 

At stations 6, 9 and 12, which 
will be brought into operation for 
the 1.2 million barrel-per-day 
operating level, significant 
progress was made on the 
erection of buildings, interior 
partitions, installation of electrical 
conduit, heat-medium piping, 
pipe supports, fuel lines, mainline 
corridors and tank construction. 
Hydro-testing of crude oil and 
turbine fuel tanks was essentially 
completed at nearly all stations 
by September, with mainline pipe 
hydrotesting continuing at 
several stations in the fall. 

Pass-through stations 2, 7 
and 11 were expected to be 
completed by mid-October. 
These stations will become 
pumping stations when 
operations are expanded to 
the 2-million-barrel-a-day 
operating level. 

Aithough random material 
shortages at the Valdez Terminal 
affected work sequencing, and 
limited bed space for workers 
was a problem, work on various 
facilities advanced quickly 

during the long summer 
daylight hours. 

Piping, structures and 
buildings for the impound basin 
in the ballast water treatment 
area were finished in August. 
Hydrotesting of outside piping 
and tanks was completed in 
September. Insulation on outside 
lines and other measures to 
prevent freezing were also 

At the power generation and 
vapor recovery area, work in July 
was concentrated on earthwork, 
concrete pours, equipment 
installation, piping emplacement 
and steel erection. Knock-out 
drums and scrubbers were 
installed in August, and 
incinerator piping was complete 
in September. Critically needed 
sections of prefabricated pipe 
were received at the Terminal 
in August. 

At the East Tank Farm, all but 
one of fourteen 510,000-barrel 
capacity crude-oil storage tanks 
have been hydrotested. Twelve 
of these tanks at the East Farm 
will be required for the 600,000- 
barrel-per-day operating level. 

Internal components and door 
plates were installed on tanks 15, 


Pipe mounted on Yukon River bridge (above) Valve lifted into place (below) 

17, 16 and 18, at the West Farm 
in September. Tanks 15 and 17 
were also hydrotested during 
this month. Work began on 
underground oil, water and 
sewer lines to the Ballast 
Treatment Plant separation units. 
The upper reinforced earth wall 
was finished in September, and 
activity began on the west 
fire-water pumphouse. 

The Operations Control Center 
building was completed, with 
the exception of computer 
and communication system 
installation. The administration 
and maintenance buildings were 
also finished. 

Work continued on berths 1, 4 
and 5. By September, installation 
of marine structures, piping, 
electrical and control equipment 
was completed at Berth 4. At 
Berth 5, roadway concrete, 
turn-around and loading dock 
were finished. 



October 1976 Vol.2 No.5 

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company 
1835 South Bragaw 
Anchorage, AK 99504 

E. L. Patton, Chairman and 
Chief Executive Officer 

Dr. W. J. Darch, President 

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company 
has.committed itself to keeping the 
public informed about its progress in 
the design, construction and, 
eventually, operation, of the trans 
Alaska pipeline. 

To help meet this commitment, 
Alyeska has undertaken the 
quarterly publication of this 
magazine, Alyeska Reports. Your 
comments and suggestions are 

Alyeska Reports is published 
quarterly and is produced by the 
Public Affairs Department, Robert 
L. Miller, manager. 

©Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, 
1976. For permission to reprint or 
reproduce any portion of the 
magazine, please write to Editor, 
Alyeska Reports, 1835 South Bragaw, 
Anchorage, AK 99504 

Alyeska pipeline 


Waiver request based on results of British tests 

Alyeska’s request to the federal 
government to exempt from repairs a number 
of field girth welds does not mean that 
Alyeska asked the government to approve a 
defective pipeline. 

Quite the contrary. The strength and 
integrity of the trans Alaska pipeline will in no 
way be impaired. 

Special destructive tests, involving welds 
like those for which exemptions are asked, 
have demonstrated that the minor 
irregularities found in such welds do not 
require repairs. The tests revealed that the 
small irregularities are “completely 
innocuous” and that questioned welds are 
able to withstand levels of stress far beyond 
the maximum for which the pipeline was 

The welds included in the exemption 
request were either buried in permafrost, in 
flood plains of rivers or under rivers where 
repairs would be extremely difficult. All 
involve only those irregularities, as revealed 
by actual X rays, which the tests 
demonstrated will not jeopardize the integrity 
of the welds or the safety of the line. 

Alyeska originally had planned to ask for 
exemptions on only 11 such welds. The 
Department of Transportation, however, 
asked the firm to make application for all 
exemptions which might be sought. Alyeska, 

thereupon, filed requests on 612 welds 
containing minor irregularities, not in strict 
compliance with federal regulations, but 
which the tests proved to be harmless. 

Repair of the welds continues as the 
company awaits Federal response to the 
waiver request, and as of September 26, 
Alyeska had repaired all but 320 of the 612 
welds in question. Waiver requests are being 
withdrawn for each weld repaired. 

Alyeska based its request on fracture 
mechanics studies carried out by the British 
Welding Institute of London and the Cranfield 
Institute of Technology in Cranfield, 
Bedfordshire, England. The testing 
organizations conducted about 900 tests on 
specimens cut from actual trans Alaska 
pipeline welds to arrive at their conclusions. 
Representatives of the Department of Interior 
and Transportation observed the tests. 

Alyeska initiated the British testing program 
after a 1975 Alyeska audit of welds revealed 
3,955 irregularities of all kinds. More than 90 
per cent of those already have been 

Despite the workload imposed by the weld 
and radiographic resolution program, 
Alyeska expects to complete the project as 
planned by mid-1977. 

At Prudhoe Bay, drilling and 
construction work moved into its final 
phases as oil companies prepared 
to deliver 1.2 million barrels of oil 
daily to the trans Alaska pipeline 
from 9.6 billion barrel field in 

Special earthquake monitoring 
equipment is being installed at 
pump stations along the 800-mile 
pipeline route to provide Alyeska 
with almost instant notification and 
analysis of any seismic action along 
the 800-mile route. 

Waivers are being sought on some 
buried pipeline welds in which 
radiographs revealed minor 
irregularities. Extensive tests by 
British laboratories demonstrated 
that such irregularities are 
“completely innocuous” and verified 
the integrity of the welds. 

Between 20,000 and 22,000 
workers were employed on the 
pipeline this summer as 700 miles of 
the 800-mile line were put in place. 
More than half of the line has already 
been hydrotested with water at 125 
per cent of the maximum operating 

Contractors battled some of the 
roughest terrain on the entire 
pipeline route to complete a tough 
four-mile section of pipeline in 
historic Keystone Canyon. Crews 
called on a huge helicopter and built 
special pipe-hauling tractors to help 
finish the job. 

Bering Sea 

Arctic Ocean 

Gulf of Alaska 

Pipeline .......... — 
Pump Stations ......... 3 

dhoe Bay Oil Field