Development of oil resources in Northern Alaska has involved the design of nearshore and offshore facilities in the Beaufort Sea. These developments also necessitate the bridging of many Arctic streams, Studies have been conducted to establish design criteria for the safe and economical construction of projects to withstand their production life. This presentation addresses our experience and solutions to a number of Arctic related civil engineering projects from this area.
In 1902, while many were prospecting for gold in Nome, Alaska's first oil field, the Katalla, was discovered. In 1957, Richfield Oil, now known as ARCO Alaska, found deposits of crude oil in the Kenai Peninsula at a place called Swanson River Field. More successes for Alaska and its oil partners soon followed. A series of lease sales gave the oil industry the opportunity it needed to do some exploration in the Upper Cook Inlet, where in 1962 an offshore discovery was made. Today, there are 14 platforms operating in the Cook Inlet, producing both oil and gas. ARCO gradually discovered its greatest interest was in the North Slope - one of the harshest, most remote and unforgiving places in the world to look for oil. In 1968 after years of exploration, ARCO and Exxon announced that they had discovered a big oil field in Prudhoe Bay. To help spread the enormous financial drain, Prudhoe Bay was developed as a multiple owner field with ARCO operating the eastern half and Standard the western half. Since it began operating some 15 years ago, the Prudhoe Bay field has produced an average of 1.5 million barrels a day. West Dock and the Seawater Treating Plant To produce oil in the remote area of Prudhoe Bay, the oil companies have had to build a variety of specially designed industrial complexes.