The pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States. This rise made exploration of the Prudhoe Bay oil field economically feasible. Environmental, legal, and political debates followed the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay in 1968, and the pipeline was built only after the oil crisis provoked the passage of legislation designed to remove legal challenges to the project.
The task of building the pipeline had to address a wide range of difficulties, stemming mainly from the extreme cold and the difficult, isolated terrain. The construction of the pipeline was one of the first large-scale projects to deal with problems caused by permafrost, and special construction techniques had to be developed to cope with the frozen ground. The project attracted tens of thousands of workers to Alaska, causing a boom town atmosphere in Valdez, Fairbanks, and Anchorage.
The first barrel of oil traveled through the pipeline in 1977, and full-scale production began by the end of the year. Several notable incidents of oil leakage have occurred since, including those caused by sabotage, maintenance failures, and gunshot holes. As of 2010, the pipeline has shipped almost 16 billion barrels of oil.
|The pipeline is checked and flown over several times a day|
|We stopped at a checkpoint near Fairbanks|
The Fairbanks Ice Museum is downtown in a former movie theater. The temperature of the ice sculpture area is 20 degrees! They have many creative sculptures and a demonstration of an ice carving. It's a fun place to go!
|Norman in the ice house|
|The ice bird carved in front of the audience|