The search for oil in the state of Alaska is a venture that began in 1967, when large crude oil reserves were discovered at Prudhoe Bay by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). ARCO joined with BP Oil and Humble Oil to form the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Systems (TAPS). TAPS was proposed to ship crude oil to the southern Alaska seaport of Valdez (an ice-free port), from where it would be shipped to refineries by tanker. TAPS, an 800-mile system transporting oil efficiently from Prudhoe Bay to Port Valdez on Alaska’s Prince William Sound, paved the way for future pipeline dreams and exploration. Jobs upon jobs were created around TAPS!
Is there another TAPS-sized (or bigger!) project on the horizon?
There are actually several major projects in the works. In this section, you’ll learn about the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, the construction of which will create thousands of jobs. There’s a remote chance that two different pipelines will be built. If this happens, then the number of jobs will be astronomical.
On the north slope of Alaska there lies another vast resource of clean, natural fuel – a natural gas resource consisting of approximately 35 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. The federal government estimates as well that there may be more gas resources yet to be discovered in both onshore and offshore areas of the North Slope.
Beyond the pipeline project(s) there are ongoing efforts to find and recover more oil from the North Slope.