Committed to our environment

Media Resources

2016 Sustainability: Fueling the 40th year of TAPS operations

This message from Alyeska President Tom Barrett opens the new 2016 Alyeska Sustainability report.

"Many people have stories about the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). Maybe they helped build TAPS more than 40 years ago. Maybe their family took advantage of those boom days and launched a business. Maybe they're among the Alyeska workforce now, team members united by a mission of safely moving Alaska's oil every day. The people who built TAPS were generally not Alaskans. The people who operate it today are. Ninety-five percent of Alyeska employees live in this state and 70 percent of the contractors we do business with are headquartered here.
"At Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the pipeline story reverberates with purpose, innovation, pride and performance. It's a story of transforming Alaska’s communities and economy. As we head into 2017 – our 40th anniversary of operations – we can reflect on the positive impact TAPS had on Alaska and Alaskans, and we look forward to shaping our future and Alaska's future for continued success.
"We feel TAPS pride. TAPS people are special. We know our work, what we do, and how well we do it matters all across Alaska. And we are vigilant about delivering excellence 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"This 2016 Sustainability report provides data on performance, snapshots of some of our people, and a look at our work to remain a resilient, sustainable organization well into the future. When TAPS was built, no one anticipated it would be around for 40 years, yet here we are. And as long as Alaska wants us to go to work, we will proudly rise to the occasion."

Lisa Booth named Alaska Native Program Director

Lisa Booth is the new Alaska Native Program Director for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.

Lisa is an 18-year APSC employee and Alaska Native who first joined Alyeska through the internship program. Lisa said she is especially proud to take over the Alaska Native Program because it played a personally meaningful role in her career, and the careers of many other Alaska Native company employees.

"This role is about more than running a program; it's about giving back and supporting opportunities and development for others, and I'm passionate about the value in that," Lisa said. "I have seen firsthand how our Alaska Native Program builds on relationships and cultural foundations to achieve amazing business results, while growing and supporting really talented employees who care deeply about Alaska's future."

Lisa's Alaska Native roots run deep: she grew up in Metlakatla, and is Tsimshian, Yupik and Alutiiq. Her parents and maternal family still live in Metlakatla, while her father is originally from Bethel and her maternal grandfather is from Ninilchik.

Lisa joined Alyeska in December 1999 as an intern through the Building Foundations for Excellence Program, working as a contract administrator. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility in Business Planning, IT, HR, and Supply Chain Management and most recently as Business and Strategic Planning Director. Lisa has also served on the Alaska Native Program’s Advisory Board for several years.

"I'm excited to lead a high-functioning program with a proven track record of hiring, training, developing and retaining Alaska Native people," she said. "One of my goals is to fully integrate the various components of the program to ensure we are meeting and exceeding the requirements of the Alaska Native Utilization Agreement and working effectively with partners such as ANSEP, Alaska Native Corporations and TAPS contractors."

Alyeska's Alaska Native Program was created in October 1995. Through the program, Alyeska supports recruitment, employment, mentoring, education and training opportunities for Alaska Native People. The program helps fulfill commitments embodied in the TAPS Federal Agreement and Grant of Right-of-Way.

"Lisa brings a rich and unique background to this role," said Tom Barrett, Alyeska President. "She has demonstrated excellent leadership at Alyeska, she is passionate about the value and culture the Alaska Native Program brings to our company and community, and I look forward to working with her as we continue to build on the program's strong legacy."

Lisa has a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master's of Business Administration in Management from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Hillary Schaefer named TAPS Sr. Director - Pipeline O&M

Hillary Schaefer has been selected as Alyeska's new Senior Director for Pipeline Operations & Maintenance.

Hillary began work with TAPS in 1999. Most of those years were spent in roles in the field and at pump stations; work in recent years deepened Hillary's knowledge of the inner workings of pipeline operations and Alyeska's core business functions.

"Hillary has built a reputation as a leader who collaborates across workgroups, utilizing unique strengths to achieve the best possible outcome," said Rod Hanson, VP Operations & Maintenance. "She actively participates in creating a system view by drawing on her diverse experience on TAPS, using every opportunity to leverage resources and share knowledge. She has demonstrated exemplary leadership and decision-making acumen during crises, shutdown projects and everyday operation of TAPS."

Hillary joined Alyeska as an Environmental Coordinator. Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility and visibility, including Pipeline & Civil Maintenance Coordinator, Response Base Supervisor, Pump Station O&M Supervisor, and Pipeline Area Manager accountable for safe operations, effective maintenance, and emergency preparedness.

"The Pipeline Operations and Maintenance team has reached remarkable milestones, and I attribute that to both O&M leadership and line-wide teamwork," Hillary said. "I am thrilled about this opportunity to lead pipeline operations as we turn the corner on 40 years of moving oil safely and reliably for Alaska."

Prior to Alyeska, Hillary spent five years working for environmental consulting firms in the Fairbanks area. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and has successfully completed numerous additional leadership training opportunities while at Alyeska. Hillary also has extensive experience in Incident Command System (ICS) processes, having served as On-scene Commander, Ops Section Chief, Deputy Incident Commander and Incident Commander on numerous actual responses and drills.

She will assume full responsibilities of this role on April 26, coinciding with John Baldridge's retirement and last day in the position.

"Please join me in congratulating Hillary on her new role and provide her with your full support as she assumes the responsibilities," Rod said. "Please also join me in once again congratulating John Baldridge on his 40 years of TAPS service and an outstanding record of strong leadership as he moves into a well-deserved retirement."

Going the extra mile: Atigun Award recipients announced

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company has selected 2017 Atigun Award recipients, honoring employees, contractors and teams who truly “go the extra mile (801).” Alyeska President Tom Barrett also named a TAPS Professional of the Year, the TAPS Engineer of the Year, a Contractor-Partner of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement award recipient.

"It is always exciting to recognize the outstanding contributions of Atigun Award recipients and nominees," Barrett said. "As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of TAPS operations, we know it will be the inspired and innovative efforts of people like this year’s recipients and nominees that sustain TAPS into the future. Please join me in congratulating them."

The 2017 Atigun Awards are for 2016 performance and recognize excellence in the company values of environment, health and safety, innovation, integrity and teamwork. The recipients and honorable mentions are: 

Environment: Recognizing achievements in environmental protection, habitat enhancement, regulatory compliance or pollution prevention.

• MP 18 mainline investigation team. Cross-functional teams installed sheet piles and dewatering wells to creatively and safely manage discharge of more than 127 million gallons of water for a particularly challenging and successful MP 18 mainline investigation. (Atigun Award)

• Right of Way Baseline team. This large, always very busy team demonstrated exemplary spill prevention work and exceptional environmental stewardship. (Honorable Mention)

Health and Safety: Recognizing achievements in health and safety of people and property, including process and operational safety.

• Pump Station 1 gas leak repair team. TAPS workers utilized a highly creative solution to quickly mitigate a below ground natural gas leak at PS1 in the middle of winter. Their actions aligned with sound design and safe-work controls, even though time was very limited. (Atigun Award)

• Tanker mooring line handling improvements. A cross-functional group developed an operational enhancement that eliminated line boat hazards and improved safety and cost efficiency. (Honorable Mention)

Innovation: Leveraging knowledge and creativity to continuously improve operations and efficiency.

• Winter operating temperature team. Based on extensive risk analysis and improved understanding of TAPS system heating requirements, the team enabled reduction of winter flow temperature from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 37, safely managing risks while reducing costs. (Atigun Award)

• Temporal and spatial 3D modeling of TAPS aboveground pipe. This new modeling approach applied cutting-edge technologies to identify cost-effective solutions to soil movement issues that TAPS faces. (Honorable Mention)

Integrity: Demonstrating commitment to the highest ethical standards. Recognizing achievements in meeting commitments to protect the operating integrity of TAPS and the integrity of APSC business practices.

• Rachel Baker-Sears, Project Compliance and Admin Lead. Recognized for leadership in creating proactive and innovative processes that reduce risk, ensuring compliance and keeping her group and their work efficient. (Atigun Award) 

Teamwork: Applying shared responsibility for Alyeska’s mission and resources entrusted to us.

• Pump Station 1 flare tip replacement project (G014). A diverse group of TAPS workers safely and very efficiently replaced this critical safety system under challenging conditions and a tight timeline. (Atigun Award)

• Electrical power maintenance and testing team (POWER Team). This group drove multiple improvements to ensure that TAPS power systems are safer, more reliable and more efficient than ever. (Honorable Mention)

The 2017 President’s Awards recipients are:

• TAPS Professional of the Year: Geneva Walters, Development Manager
• TAPS Engineer of the Year: Alan Beckett, Mechanical Integrity Manager
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Duke, Measurement Technician
• Contractor-Partner of the Year: GLM Corporation

Alyeska one of World’s Most Ethical Companies for sixth year

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company is one of the World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies® for the sixth year in a row. The Ethisphere® Institute announced its selection on Monday, March 13, and honored recipients at the 2017 WME Honoree dinner on Tuesday, March 14, in New York.

"This year marks 40 years of operations on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. As we celebrate our history, we appreciate how far we've come," said Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President. "Earning this honor for the sixth consecutive year is a tribute to the people who operate TAPS and provide a foundation of operational and professional integrity and ethics that is part of our everyday culture. This ethical base makes us proud and resilient in the face of challenges and fortifies us for the future."

For 11 years, Ethisphere has honored companies that recognize their role in society to influence and drive positive change, consider the impact of their actions on their employees, investors, customers and other key stakeholders and use their values and culture as an underpinning to the decisions they make every day. Companies are evaluated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program, corporate citizenship and responsibility, culture of ethics, governance, and leadership, innovation and reputation.

"Over the last eleven years we have seen the shift in societal expectations, constant redefinition of laws and regulations and the geo-political climate. We have also seen how companies honored as the World's Most Ethical respond to these challenges. They invest in their local communities around the world, embrace strategies of diversity and inclusion, and focus on long term-ism as a sustainable business advantage," explained Timothy Erblich, Ethisphere's Chief Executive Officer. "Congratulations to everyone at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for being recognized as a World's Most Ethical Company."

The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition program. The full list of the 2017 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at

Heat pipes super-chill the ground, winter only

Forward looking infrared (FLIR) technology captures infrared radiation emitted from a heat source. A forward FLIR camera captured this image north of Fairbanks where the ambient temperature is -50 F today.

"We use the FLIR T640bx camera to monitor the radiator section of the heat pipes," said Larry Mosley, Aboveground Engineer. "This particular infrared camera is rated to operate at extremely cold temperatures and the thermal sensor can detect less than one degree of temperature change."

There are 78,000 vertical support members (VSM) along TAPS – most of them south of Atigun Pass have heat pipes to help maintain the permafrost around the VSMs. The heat pipes act to reduce soil temperature when the temperature of the air drops below that of the ground.

The heat pipe is a natural convection, two-phase heat transfer loop, which transfers heat by vaporization and condensation within the closed system. It consists of a sealed tube, charged with a working fluid, which functions as a two-phase (gas-liquid) system at operating temperatures.

Heat from the soil enters the lower end of the tube, causing the fluid to boil. The vapor travels to the upper, radiator end of the tube in the air, where it condenses on the cooler surface, releasing energy. The condensate then returns to the lower end of the tube as a film along the tube wall.

Alyeska's Civil Integrity Team monitors air and ground temperatures at 52 locations between Pipeline Milepost 85 and 725. As reported by the Alaska National Weather Service, the past three winters have been relatively mild.

"These extreme temperatures present significant challenges to maintaining our homes and vehicles," said Phil Hoffman, Senior Engineer Advisor. "But on TAPS we are ecstatic when these cold temperatures set in, giving the heat pipes a chance to chill the soil."

An exhibition of TAPS teamwork, knowledge helps museum

A rather unusual challenge from one of Alyeska's community partners surfaced last yaer, and addressing it successfully involved the professionalism and teamwork of several TAPS employees.

The Anchorage Museum contacted Alyeska about the remodeling of its second-floor Alaska Gallery. All its contents had to go – from the tiniest grass baskets to pioneer panoramas to Gold Rush-era tools. It also meant the removal of a beloved and behemoth pipeline exhibit: a 21-foot-long piece of 48-inch-diameter pipe in place since 1998.

The display in its totality weighed at least 11,500 pounds – though no one at the museum knew that before the removal began. In fact, the pipe exhibit was in place for so long that no one at the museum recalled how it got there or who installed it. They weren't even sure how the pipe was held in place, with its base concealed by flooring.

Monica Shah, the museum's Director of Collections and Chief Conservator, reached out to Alyeska. She hoped TAPS engineers could advise on potential dismantling strategies. If the museum crew could get the pipeline display apart, they could then move the parts to large doors 19 feet away and remove it via crane.

"What was really difficult about it was there was no record of anybody putting it in there," said Valisa Hansen, the Alyeska Project Coordinator who led the effort to support the museum.

Hansen and Senior Engineering Director Betsy Haines visited the exhibit in late July. Up close, they found little room for maneuvering: the front and back ends of the pipe hovered a snug 47 inches and 22 inches from the ceiling, respectively.

"I didn't really see how they were going to fit a forklift in there with limited room," Hansen said.

Several colleagues suggested slicing the pipe into smaller pieces onsite, but that wasn't a good option for the museum crew due to permitting requirements and the tools and labor they had on hand. Hansen busted out her measuring tape and got to work.

"Overall, this project was more demolition, more of the construction side of things," Hansen said. "The part I helped with, that's engineering – looking up weight, the sizes, the specs."

Critical to this work: Phil Hoffman, Aboveground Program Support Engineer. Fresh off helping with a recently unveiled pipeline exhibit at a new Juneau museum, he walked Hansen through the process of estimating weight on specific pipeline components.

Meanwhile, a note went out to all TAPS employees asking if anyone recalled logistics of the original exhibit. How was it installed? Did anyone still employed here work on it?

Leave it to the often-long memories of TAPS staff to come through.

Tapping TAPS knowledge, teamwork
Dave Norton, now owner of Hawk Consultants, had saved articles from the Anchorage Times and Anchorage Daily News. The original exhibit was made for the Smithsonian, he said. He remembered coordinating the installation and attending the reception in D.C. After its Smithsonian run, it was donated to the Anchorage Museum.

Also involved: Greg Campbell, a baseline mechanical superintendent at the time. He's now the program director for Houston Contracting Co. and has vivid memories of constructing the original exhibit for the United States’ most famous museum.

"It was very cool, back when Bob Malone was president," Campbell said. "We built it here in Fairbanks at the Fab Shop and got to travel with it back to D.C. Joel Lindsay and I went back and brought the unit into the Smithsonian and got to go through the basement of the museum and put it together. And we went to the christening ceremony."

Campbell spoke with the Anchorage Museum team and explained the original display's construction. While the exhibit here was modified, the information still proved helpful.

"They were concerned about how it was connected to the base, and I just talked them through how the pipe is connected to the shoes and everything is kind of bolted together," Campbell said. "It was actually welded to the wall, too. They put quite a bit of steel underneath it which we didn’t have when we built the original one."

Alyeska Operations SME Gregg Knutsen also helped out, visiting the exhibit to examine the pig and advising that the urethane object weighed about 2,000 pounds.

Throughout the process, museum staff traded emails with Hansen, covering topics such as the weight of various parts, floor strength and what tools and forklifts the museum would have.

When the day for the pipe removal came, the museum crews had removed pretty much everything around it – the flooring, the placards, the pig, the fans atop the VSMs, and more.

Using the input from Alyeska, and a collection of tools and machinery they had on hand and rented, the museum crew was able to safely get the pipe to the floor. It was then carefully moved to the doors and the waiting crane.

"By reaching out to the right people, and because of everyone's willingness to help make it all work out, we got it done," Hansen said. "That's Alyeska culture – teamwork. There is a lot of expertise within our company and it showed. I'm glad we were able to support the museum."

2016 ends with throughput increase for TAPS

The volume of oil moved through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System increased in 2016, the first calendar year-over-year increase since 2002.

This is welcomed news for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, TAPS' operator.

"More oil is the best long-term solution for sustaining TAPS, from a technical and operational standpoint," said Tom Barrett, Alyeska President. "It's also the best thing for Alaskans and our economy. Every barrel matters to us. The more throughput, the better we can plan for the continuing safe operation of the pipeline."

In 2016, TAPS moved 189,539,817 barrels and an average of 517,868 each day. That's nearly 4 million more barrels for the year than 2015's 185,582,715, and more than 9,000 barrels a day more than 2015's average of 508,446. Throughput in 2016 also surpassed totals in 2014 by more than 2 million for the year and 4,000 barrels a day on average.

Entering its 40th year of operations, the pipeline has mostly reported annual throughput declines since its peak flow of 2 million barrels a day in 1988. The only exceptions were slight year-to-year increases noted in 1991 and 2002.

Alyeska employees for years have worked to anticipate and respond to escalating challenges brought on by declining flow. Lower flow means slower-moving oil, which allows more potential for cooling temperatures, ice formation in the line, and for water and wax to drop out of the flow stream and accumulate.

While Alyeska has worked to adjust to lower flows, including adding heat to the pipeline and continually modifying pipeline pigging operations, the best-case scenario is bringing more oil to TAPS, Barrett said.

"We're supportive of an external environment that encourages responsible resource development and helps us sustain TAPS' flow level and work toward future throughput increases," Barrett said.

Fish streams: Mitigation at Moose Creek

This is the final installment of a three-part series on Alyeska's work with the hundreds of fish streams along TAPS. This work ranges from supporting and maintaining fish migration patterns to protecting TAPS to rebuilding waterways decimated by erosion and flooding.

Erosion and flooding are powerful forces, but thanks to the annual surveillances, surprises are rare.

Eight years ago, a glacial dam burst in the upper part of the Tazlina River, causing what Kenneth Wilson, Alyeska's Natural Resources SME, calls a "chute cutoff" or shortening of the river. Over the years, many tributaries were forced to adjust.

One of those tributaries is Moose Creek near Glennallen. Moose Creek's streambanks recently suffered significant erosion, including some of its worst just 90 feet from TAPS. Because of Alyeska's surveillance, teams were ready to respond.

"The Moose Creek project wasn't an emergency," Wilson said. "Integrity Management identified and monitored the issue for years before it could ever become a larger problem."

This summer, an Alyeska project crew launched erosion repair at Moose Creek. The crew used riprap and incorporated a habitat enhancement technique of embedding tree "root wads" at the creek edge. Those protruding tree roots provide overhead cover for juvenile salmon that migrate through the area.

The voids between the riprap were filled with streambed material to allow for reestablishment of vegetation and original streambank soil was spread along the surface. This created a seed source for repopulation of native plants. In the meantime, the short-lived annual grass holds soil in place.

Wilson credits Integrity Management for recognizing that the habitat could be enhanced by these repairs and the project team and Athna Construction for completing it successfully.

"Though it may not look like much right now, within a few years nature will have reclaimed this stretch of streambank," Wilson said. "We've created an ideal place for this to happen."

Wilson added: "Completing the Moose Creek project was necessary for protecting the pipe, but also for sustaining the environmental conditions in Alaska. Everyone on TAPS can be proud of this."

Fish streams: Serious surveillance, rapid repair

This is the second installment of a three-part series on Alyeska's work with the hundreds of fish streams along TAPS. This work ranges from supporting and maintaining fish migration patterns to protecting TAPS to rebuilding waterways decimated by erosion and flooding.

Maintaining fixed infrastructure like TAPS and its right of way in concert with wide-ranging, ever-changing environments like fish streams presents plenty of challenges.

Staff in Alyeska's Environment, Integrity Management and ROW Maintenance teams note that Mother Nature is the destructive force that most often alters waterways and affects its inhabitants: 30-plus fish species. Extreme weather events, flooding and erosion can be violent, unpredictable and the cause of disorder to fish habitat and stream crossings.

"Sometimes it feels like we are trying to protect the environment from itself," said Kenneth Wilson, Alyeska's Natural Resources SME. "It was impossible to predict all the changes in future stream movement when the pipeline was being constructed. So each year, Alyeska Right of Way and Integrity Management determine if a stream has migrated dangerously close to the pipe as a result of flooding and erosion. From there, the teams combine expertise to determine the best solutions that protect the fish and the pipeline."

Alyeska's Environment staff annually conducts fish stream surveillance, noting damage and potential problems. Environmental coordinators walk the streams looking for blockages, widened or rutted areas, excess gravel, vegetation or erosion issues, channel changes and fluctuations in fish populations.

Surveillance results from each stream are placed into one of three categories:
1. Fish passage OK
2. Monitor fish passage
3. Repair needed

Out of 686 fish stream structures surveyed in 2015, 532 provided adequate fish passage, 44 required monitoring and 110 needed some level of repair, including a handful that required immediate attention.

Wilson said that whenever possible, efforts are made to restore and improve fish habitat while also protecting the pipe. When streams require repair from flooding or erosion damage, team members utilize numerous techniques and special equipment. Some techniques are borrowed from other places and some have been developed to solve unique TAPS problems.

Traditional bank stabilization and river training structures use riprap to create barriers that prevent further devastation. Other efforts include salvaging and replanting vegetation along stream banks; placing topsoil and other materials along with riprap to encourage reinvasion of the area by native plants; installing willow cuttings and transplants; and placing large woody debris in the stream. Simple changes like planting annual grasses rather than perennial non-native grasses allow for a quicker return to nature.

"Alyeska has the right people to make this work successful, including several with master's degrees in Fisheries, Marine Biology, Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science and Engineering," Wilson said. "We also have the folks who know how to translate ideas into reality."

Lee McKinley, the Joint Pipeline Office Liaison for the Department of Fish and Game's Division of Habitat, understands the challenges and importance of Alyeska's work. He praised the organization following a preliminary inspection of fish streams from Pump Station 1 to Pump Station 5.

"I really appreciate Alyeska's efforts to ensuring fish passage along the right of way," he said. "I could tell a lot of extra efforts and attention to detail was performed at many of the sites that are typically problematic."

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