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Alaska News

Alaska by the numbers: Trans-Alaska pipeline's 40th anniversary

  • Author: Mike Campbell
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published June 10, 2017

The trans-Alaska pipeline, seen here near Delta Junction. The 800-mile oil pipeline is a critical part of the state’s oil production infrastructure. June 7, 2014. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

Beginning this week, We Alaskans magazine will publish an occasional feature in which we try to offer some perspective on an Alaska topic through some of the numbers surrounding it.

We start with what many consider Alaska's greatest engineering feat, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline that secured the economic future of the 49th state by moving more than 17 billion barrels of oil from the North Slope to waiting tankers in Valdez to date.

As always, we welcome your thoughts about this and any other feature in your Sunday magazine. Thanks for reading.

800: Length of pipeline in miles

17 billion: Barrels of oil that have moved through pipeline to date

2.03 million: Most barrels per day to move through pipeline, in 1988

557,539: Year to date average of barrels of oil moving through the pipeline in 2017 — up about 50,000 from last year

517,868: Barrels per day to move through the pipeline in 2016

55: Percent grade at its steepest point, in Thompson Pass

4,739: In feet, the highest elevation reached by pipeline — in Atigun Pass

380: Miles of buried pipeline

38: Months needed to build pipeline

8 billion: Dollars needed to build pipeline

48: Diameter of the pipe in inches

70,000: Estimated number of workers to construct pipeline

12,000: Tankers escorted through Prince William Sound in 40 years

22: Hours, on average, tankers need for berthing, offloading ballast, loading crude and setting sail again

3: Mountain ranges crossed by pipeline — Brooks Range, Alaska Range, Chugach Range

285,000: Gallons of oil spilled near Livengood in 2001 when Daniel Lewis put a bullet hole in the pipeline. Cleanup costs exceeded $13 million. Lewis was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

148: Total duration in hours of the longest shutdown in pipeline history. A leak at Pump Station 1 prompted the shutdown starting Jan. 8, 2011. Line was restarted to keep oil flowing before a second shutdown to complete repairs.

13 million: Reduction of crude production, in barrels, in the 13-day stretch of 1989 from when Exxon Valdez went aground in Prince William Sound to when it was refloated.

SOURCES: Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., The Associated Press