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TAPS turned 40: What's your pipeline story?

TAPS' 40th anniversary of operations arrived June 20, 2017, and Alyeska is commemorating the milestone all year. At the heart of this celebration are the memories and voices of those who helped build, operate and maintain the pipeline, and the stories of people, families, businesses and communities with unique ties to TAPS. You'll find many of those stories here in the coming months. We'd also love to share your story!
What's your pipeline story?
• What are your favorite moments working on TAPS?
• What has TAPS meant to you and your family?
• What’s your vision for the next 40 years of TAPS operations?
• How has TAPS impacted your community and Alaska?

Share memories, stories and photos by emailing them to All submissions will be entered in a random drawing for very special TAPS 40th anniversary prizes! Alyeska’s Corporate Communications team will contact you for more information if they plan to use your content. #mypipelinestory #40more #TAPSPRIDE

Pipeline Partners: United States Coast Guard

TAPS at 40 in the news: "TAPS After 40 Years," Midnight Oil concludes, and more

E&E News recently kicked off its TAPS at 40 series with a look at the challenges and successes, politics and people that led to the pipeline being built. Two stories in the series have been produced:

Part 1: Big finds, bitter clashes and NEPA: The tale of the Trans Alaska Pipeline

Part 2: How Spiro Agnew helped save the Trans-Alaska project

Alaska Public Media's Alaska Energy Desk wrapped up its well-received eight-part Midnight Oil podcast series recently with a fitting episode exploring the future of TAPS and Alaska: The future of an oil state: What's next for Alaska?

Check out the full podcast series, as well as its many complementary audiograms, sidebar stories and pipeline people profiles here.

Alyeska's 40th special anniversary celebration in Valdez was a big hit. Many residents attended the event, which featured a showing of the 40th anniversary film, "Pipeline," and a panel discussion of Valdez residents and Alyeska employees past and present: Marine Services Transitions Manager Mike Day, Valdez Terminal Director Scott Hicks, retired Alyeska Ballast Water Operations Supervisor Steve Goudreau and Oil Spill Response Coordinator Kate Goudreau. Click here to read the Valdez Star's report on the event.

The August issue of Alaska Business Monthly included a thorough feature by Garrison Wells titled, "TAPS After Forty Years." In the piece, Wells writes about the origins of TAPS, the impact of construction on Alaska and workers, how TAPS fuels Alaska’s economy and the next 40 years of TAPS.

#TAPS40: Proclamation celebration

To recognize the 40th anniversary of TAPS operations and the pipeline's positive impact on Alaska, on June 20 Alaska Rep. Dan Saddler (Eagle River) wrote on his Facebook page, "'They didn’t know it couldn't be done,' but 40 years ago this summer, Alaskans finished construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. … I (wrote) and won passage of a legislation citation this session honoring the achievement that made modern Alaska possible." He shared an image of the legislative citation on the page, as well.

A few weeks later in Anchorage, Rep. Saddler formally presented the citation to Alyeska President Tom Barrett, as well as Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Scott Jepsen of ConocoPhillips.

Click here to read the proclamation.

Pipeline Partners: Hawk Consultants

Hawk Consultants may have formed in 1985, but its three principals have been connected to TAPS since construction began in 1974. Mike Jens, now a Hawk senior advisor, worked as a senior construction manager and district superintendent during TAPS construction; Dave Norton, one of Hawk's senior advisors, was a field engineer; and Maynard Tapp, Hawk's founder and senior advisor, worked as a project controls specialist. Today, this trio and their team at Hawk provide Alyeska with supplemental and professional staff to help support major maintenance projects along TAPS. 

Andrea Rhyner, Alyeska's contracting lead, discusses the value of partnering with organizations like Hawk.

"Alyeska's fluctuating work and seasonal projects drives a need for flexible services – Hawk has been a consistent partner to Alyeska over the years," Rhyner said. "They understand and provide support to the challenges we face on TAPS. Hawk's company culture also aligns with Alyeska's. And we are moving in the same direction for the future success of TAPS."

Norton recently reflected his company's journey and successes while partnering with Alyeska on maintaining and improving TAPS. 

Please talk about the special working partnership between Hawk and Alyeska that spans decades on TAPS.
"Hawk has supported Alyeska's efforts to maintain the pipeline and operate in a safe and environmentally-sound manner. Among the many projects along TAPS, a few notable projects we have played a role in were the renewal of the TAPS 30-year right-of-way agreements and projects associated with reconfiguring TAPS' adjustment to lower throughput."

You've been around TAPS from the beginning. What has its impact been on Alaska and its communities, as a whole? 
"We knew that we were building something significant at the time, but the developmental effect on the fabric of the state has been breathtaking. It has been amazing to see the positive changes and economic impact that safe production of oil throughout TAPS has had on Alaska. Alyeska and Hawk have been able to provide scholarships for Alaska residents and sponsor workforce development programs such as the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP)."

Would you like to add anything else? 
"We are extremely proud of our partnership with Alyeska and everyone else on TAPS. Personally, TAPS has provided a meaningful career to me and has fed my family – the success of TAPS over the long term is extremely gratifying."

#mypipelinestory: Frank Baker, 40 years of Prudhoe Bay oil: Here’s to the people who made it happen

Lifelong Alaskan and pipeline professional Frank E. Baker recently provides a fresh perspective on 40 years of Prudhoe Bay and TAPS operations in his recent opinion piece in the Alaska Dispatch News titled, "Here's the to people who made it happen."

Baker, who worked as a writer for Bechtel Inc., Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., BP and Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska (PRA) from 1974 until 2015, opens his piece with, "The 40th anniversary of production from the Prudhoe Bay field — which, along with other North Slope fields, has yielded 17 billion barrels of oil since 1977 —has given us an opportunity to reflect upon this landmark achievement and pay tribute to the thousands of people who made it possible. ... In the spring of 1974, I became a technical writer with Bechtel Inc. when the pipeline camps from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay were under construction. Fresh out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in journalism, it was the start of my involvement with Alaska's oil and gas industry — a career that lasted 40 years. ... Dar after day in 1974, about every 60 minutes, a Hercules aircraft (C-130) left the Fairbanks airport bound for Prudhoe Bay, loaded with oil field drilling equipment and supplies."

Baker reflects on about "Building history," "High-profile visitors," and, of course, "The people." In that section, he writes,"As a journalist at BP among drillers, engineers, scientists and other technical people, I often felt like a square peg in a round hole. But as I learned more about the process of drilling and producing oil, I acquired a keen fascination for the remarkable people doing these jobs. ... This was the most rewarding part of my career. For decades, I wrote stories about people who relentlessly strived to develop new seismic survey and data interpretation technology to pinpoint pockets of oil missed in early field developments. The power of computers that once filled rooms now sat on these employees' desktops."

Read Baker's full account here.

TAPS throwback: ARCO M/V Juneau departs Valdez, August 1, 1977

On this date in 1977, the Arco Juneau departed the Valdez Marine Terminal with the first oil transported from the North Slope on TAPS. Were you there? Have a story? Photos? We'd love to see them! Share your memories with us at You'll be entered to win some very cool TAPS at 40 prizes. #TAPS40

#40More: The outlook for the "next 40"

As we celebrate 40 years of TAPS operations, we are still hearing and learning more about the range of powerful and positive impacts that the oil and gas industry has had for Alaska and Alaskans. But what's the outlook of the next 40 years of the oil industry in our state? Rebecca Logan of The Alaska Support Industry Alliance provides some perspective. #TAPS40 #40MORE

TAPS #TBT: Journey to Prudhoe, 1975

The journey to Prudhoe Bay is never easy. But in 1975, thousands of tons of critical equipment and infrastructure for North Slope rigs and modules were hauled there from Houston, Texas, through the Panama Canal, around Mexico, and up the West Coast by tough tugs, barges and crews. After some fabrication in Tacoma, the Arctic-bound armada headed toward Prudhoe Bay in a race to avoid an ice pack and meet deadlines. Learn all about it and follow the journey in this awesome TAPS #TBT film.

Alyeska Community Connections: Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce focuses on boosting the economic health of its community by advocating for active businesses partners. Alyeska's membership with Chamber began in 1973 and those strong ties have led to informative discussions with the community on oil and gas, the main contributor to Alaska’s economy. 

Alyeska staff is also active as volunteers and supporters at Chamber events, like the popular annual rubber duck race/fundraiser. When thousands of rubber ducks float down the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks, Alyeska uses its response equipment to capture them after crossing the finish line.

Bill Bailey, Alyeska Fairbanks Communications Manager and former volunteer Chamber chair, said, "Alyeska supports this event every year by donating resources and time from our hardworking and highly skilled response team. The rubber duckie removal is a perfect way for us to support the Chamber as it showcases our dedication to protecting the environment and giving back to our town."

Marisa Sharrah, Chamber President and CEO, recently talked about the Alyeska-Chamber partnership and how it improves life and business in Fairbanks.

Talk about the impact of TAPS on Alaska and the Fairbanks community? 
"Fairbanks has benefitted greatly from the generosity of Alyeska employees and the financial support through Alyeska's corporate philanthropy program. Alyeska is the consummate community supporter and has given the greater Fairbanks area a tremendous amount of support throughout their long history as an Alaska business. By Alyeska and other organizations partnering with us as a financial resource and their employee's spirit of volunteerism, the Chamber is able to continue organizing community events and special programs in Fairbanks."

How does Alyeska and its staff partner with the Chamber and your important work? 
"Alyeska's steadfast support of the Fairbanks Chamber is given in a variety of ways. Alyeska has invested in the future of Fairbanks' economic health by taking part in the Executive Partners program, the backbone of our organization and the pillar that holds up our advocacy efforts. The Executive Partners program is a vital financial source that allows us to promote a healthy community and business success for our members."

Can you discuss some of the volunteer support that Alyeska's employees have provided for the Chamber? 
"Golden Days is a series of summer events that celebrates our town. We have several unique events, but Alyeska helps us with the annual Rubber Duckie Race. The Alyeska's Spill Response Team's official role as official Rubber Duck Removers during the race provides safe and effective duck removal from the Chena River. This speaks volumes to the commitment that the Alyeska team has to our environment and health of the state."

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