Transportation System Planning for Alaska Development
Petroleum development is the dominant force determining the shape of Alaska’s economic future in general and of its transport needs in particular. Alaska is, and will continue to be, an important source of petroleum for the United States, as a result of the discovery in 1969 of 10 billion barrels of oil at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope and the completion of the trans-Alaska pipeline in 1977. About 1 3 million barrels of oil a day are currently flowing through the pipeline to the port of Valdez for shipment by tanker to refineries in the continental United States. The Prudhoe Bay field, although likely to remain the dominant element in the Alaska situation, is also proving to be the start of a series of related developments. Lease sales and exploration activities are now scheduled or under way in the Beaufort Sea north of Prudhoe Bay, in the National Petroleum Reserve west of Prudhoe Bay, and in various offshore areas in the Gulf of Alaska. Although estimates of recoverable petroleum reserves in Alaska are much lower than they were just a few years ago, it is conceivable that the areas now being explored could increase Alaska’s reserves by as much as 60 to 70 per cent. The exploration and development of these fields together with the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope would obviously add substantially to the strong economic growth already being stimulated by the Prudhoe Bay production.
KeywordsTransport Cost Transport Network Accessible Region General Cargo Direct Operating Cost
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