[Updated 12 June 2008]
Here are some photographs of the new bundled pipeline being installed by Pioneer Natural Resources from their offshore Oooguruk platform to the shore tie-in at Kuparuk. This is the second submerged pipeline put in to service an offshore production pad in the Beaufort Sea (the other is at BP’s Northstar project). There is a lot of concern about potential oil spill risks and the impact of Arctic offshore development on the north slope of Alaska. The North Slope Borough has come out against offshore development in the Arctic. (More links about Oooguruk here and here.)
The first two photos are of the bundled pipe being laid in the trench. These photos were taken about a mile offshore in the Arctic Ocean. Water depth is about seven feet – all ice. The bottom of the trench is mud. The bright yellow diapers on the machinery are designed to catch any oil or hydraulic drips. There is also a chipper team that goes around chipping out any ice that has spots of oil, antifreeze, coffee, etc. spilled on it and collecting the chips for remediation. All the dirt from the excavation will be scraped up and stockpiled on a pad on the shoreline. The yellow bands are strapping bands used to tie the pipe bundle together.
Looking towards the shoreline, the third photo shows the pipe welded, bundled, and laid out on the ice prior to installation. Pioneer intends to start production from Oooguruk in 2008. News stories about Oooguruk can be found here, here, or a Google search on “Oooguruk” or “Pioneer Natural Resources”.
H.C. Price has posted some additional photos on their website. Here they are:
Not everything we saw made us happy however. The photo below was taken at one of the older pads east of Deadhorse. The pad was originally put in by ARCO back in the early 1980s. If you think that one of the pipelines in this picture is not quite right, you’re not the only one.
Over on the east side of Prudhoe Bay we came across three musk ox grazing. It was the first time that I’ve seen musk ox up there, and I was kind of surprised that there were only three of them.