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Photos: Exxon operates at Point Thomson

Two wellheads are in place on the Central Pad on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson. A 22-mile pipeline has been built to connect Point Thomson with existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west.
Erik Hill
A 55-acre gravel pad serves as foundation for the Point Thomson Project as construction continues on Thursday, July 31, 2014, along the Beaufort Sea on the North Slope.
Erik Hill
Sofia Wong, Pipeline and Infrastructure Manager for the Point Thomson Project, briefs visitors on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at the Permanent Operations Camp.
Erik Hill
A 22-mile pipeline built to connect Point Thomson with existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west awaits connection to production facilities on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. The pipeline to carry condensate liquid stripped from natural gas was built by Doyon Associated LLC, a subsidiary of Doyon Ltd. of Fairbanks.
Erik Hill
To protect the gravel pad from the Beaufort Sea, 4,863 Kevlar bags filled with 13,000 pounds of gravel each line the perimeter of the site on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at the Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
Storage tanks capable of holding 2.3 million gallons of diesel fuel supply operations on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. Fuel deliveries are made by barge in late summer or by ice road in late winter.
Erik Hill
Some spill response equipment is staged for display on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
Rig mats provide stability for a work area near the pipeline on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
Caged entryways provide polar bear protection at facilities including this building at the airstrip on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
American, Alaskan and ExxonMobil flags flutter while suspended from a crane on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
This is one of two wellheads in place on the Central Pad on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson. A 22-mile pipeline has been built to connect Point Thomson with existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west.
Erik Hill
A tug sits at the ready for an imminent barge arrival on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. Kevlar bags filled with 13,000 pounds of gravel each, foreground, line the perimeter of the site, including the area adjacent to the dock.
Erik Hill
To protect the gravel pad from the Beaufort Sea, 4,863 Kevlar bags filled with 13,000 pounds of gravel each line the perimeter of the site on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at the Point Thomson Project. These bags flank the dock.
Erik Hill
Warren Christian of Doyon describes the 22-mile pipeline built to connect Point Thomson with existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. The pipeline to carry condensate liquid stripped from natural gas was built by Doyon Associated LLC, a subsidiary of Doyon Ltd. of Fairbanks.
Erik Hill
A 22-mile pipeline built to connect Point Thomson with existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west crosses two streams near the Central Pad on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. The pipeline to carry condensate liquid stripped from natural gas was built by Doyon Associated LLC, a subsidiary of Doyon Ltd. of Fairbanks.
Erik Hill
A Ravn Alaska Dash 8 prepares for departure in a view from the airstrip control tower on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. Windows are shaded to reduce afternoon brightness. Morris Engineering Group of Juneau oversaw the airport project for ExxonMobil.
Erik Hill
Materials are staged for construction of a fabrication shop by CH2M Hill on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project.
Erik Hill
The main Point Thomson Project sits atop a 55-acre Central Pad above the tundra on Thursday, July 31, 2014, on the North Slope along the Beaufort Sea.
Erik Hill
A helicopter hovers above a bridge construction project on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. An aerial survey was being conducted to inspect and photograph tundra covered during winter construction season by ice pads and ice roads. Construction was on a road leading to the West Pad.
Erik Hill
A computer monitor displays the swath of area to the west of Central Pad scanned by radar to detect polar bears in a pilot program located in the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. The program includes a west-facing radar system installed by Exxon Mobil to spot bears that move around in conditions that can be dark, foggy or snowy. The ground-surveillance system, the first of its kind to be used to track polar bears in the Arctic, warns Point Thomson managers when the animals are approaching facilities or people from the west. One bear has been spotted using the system so far. ExxonMobil continues to work with Spotter RF, the radar vendor, NANA Management Services security, and the Alaska Zoo to adjust the technology for potential expansion of use at the site. The coastline of the eastern North Slope, where Point Thomson sits, is important polar bear habitat, so keeping the animals separate from workers is a high priority.
Erik Hill
A directional panel radar antenna, top left, sits above pan-tilt-zoom cameras on a tower at the wildlife management program located in the Emergency Operations Center on Thursday, July 31, 2014, at Point Thomson Project. A pilot program for polar bear detection includes a west-facing radar system installed by Exxon Mobil to spot polar bears that move around in conditions that can be dark, foggy or snowy. The ground-surveillance system, the first of its kind to be used to track polar bears in the Arctic, warns Point Thomson managers when the animals are approaching facilities or people from the west. One bear has been spotted using the system so far. ExxonMobil continues to work with Spotter RF, the radar vendor, NANA Management Services security, and the Alaska Zoo to adjust the technology for potential expansion of use at the site. The coastline of the eastern North Slope, where Point Thomson sits, is important polar bear habitat, so keeping the animals separate from workers is a high priority.
Erik Hill
Pipe is lifted onto vertical support members in March of 2014 to carry liquid natural gas condensate 22 miles from Point Thomson to existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west.
Courtesy ExxonMobil
Construction of West Pad takes place in March of 2014 at Point Thomson Project.
Courtesy ExxonMobil
A pipeline is built by Doyon Ltd. in March of 2014 to carry liquid natural gas condensate 22 miles from Point Thomson to existing North Slope infrastructure at the Badami field to the west.
Courtesy ExxonMobil
The moon hovers above an ice road at the Point Thomson Project in March of 2014.
Courtesy ExxonMobil
Alex DeMarban

Exxon is going big in Alaska.

With memories still raw a quarter-century after the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the litigation that followed, Exxon Mobil Corp. now holds the reins to a pair of projects considered pivotal to the state’s future.

And that puts the global oil giant in an odd position: In addition to producing hydrocarbons, it’s working to regain public trust.

On Thursday, as part of an effort to increase transparency, Exxon flew journalists to see the biggest development underway on the North Slope: The $4 billion Point Thomson gas field near the fiercely protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

With frenetic construction work temporarily slowed, it was the first time members of the media could safely visit the site, Exxon officials said.

Hugging the edge of the Arctic Ocean 60 miles from the nearest village -- and 60 miles from the Prudhoe Bay oil patch -- the field is unusually remote.

The introductory workers’ handbook doesn’t flinch, even with glints of humor: When it comes to the environment, what should you expect? Think of an island in Hawaii. Then think of the opposite.

Temperatures once dropped to 66 below zero and the place can feel, says the handbook, like a “remote outpost on the dark side of the moon.”

But in less than two years -- after Exxon won a key federal permit -- a shiny oil field village has sprung from the tundra.

READ MORE: Exxon could hold keys to Alaska future at Point Thomson