Course SummaryThis third course in the series of America's Greatest Projects & Their Engineers describes the perseverance as well as the innovations developed and implemented on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. TAPS was s project of extreme national importance at a critical time in our nation's history. This course describes in great detail the many ups and downs of the project and the reasons why the project was more lengthy and much more costly than it should have been. This course traces the events from the time that ARCO had a major crude oil find in 1968 on the North Slope of Alaska until the first oil tanker left the Valdez Terminal in 1977. The many engineering challenges faced by Alyeska and its engineering and construction teams is related in an intimate manner never before described.
A. Initial Project Activities
1. Major Discovery
2. Securing/Storing the Pipe
B. Preliminary Engineering and Design
1. Surveying Challenges
2. Forming Alyeska
C. Environmental and Political Obstacles
1. Court Battles
2. Congressional and Presidential Approval
3. Pipeline Challenges
1. Dalton Highway
2. Yukon River Bridge
4. Pump Stations
5. Valdez Terminal
Introduction and Learning ObjectivesThe Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was the largest privately funded project up until it was first transporting crude oil in 1977. While the cost of more than $8 billion was staggering, the many environmental and ecological challenges that Alyeska and its engineers and sub-contractors faced was equally compelling. The wisdom of the Alyeska Task Group engineers was equally complemented by the many engineers and sub-contractors under the direction of The Bechtel Corporation as well as Flluou-Alaska. The project, in spite of numerous delays, came on stream at an opportune time for our nation. It solidified the United States as being self-reliant on our energy needs, and proved to the rest of the world that we could not be intimidated because of our religious or political beliefs.
The first part of this course focuses on the decision by Alyeska and its predecessor TAPS to move forward with an extremely difficult, if not impossible, project. The second part of this course describes in great detail the efforts of the many engineers and others to overcome the many political roadblocks and design/construction challenges that were being encountered, This project emphasizes the tenacity and wisdom of key people in the private sector who combined their considerable talents to complete such an enormous project that is still a great benefit to the United States today.
Course Objectives1. Understand why TAPS moved forward with the project despite lack of government approval.
2. Learn why the TAPS plans did not materialize in the early years of the project.
3. Acknowledge and understand the role that the federal government officials can play in the disapproval or acceleration of even a large, privately funded project.
4. Discover how leadership played such a major factor in one of the most significant projects in the history of the United States.
5. Discover how the Alyeska Task Group continued to emphasize quality control even during the lengthy delay process.
6. Understand the obstacles that confronted the Project Team members and the unique techniques that were implemented.
7. Realize that the success of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System startup and operation even to this day was the result of excellent engineering and full commitment by all of the staff and experienced construction workers.
American engineers achieved phenomenal success by creating the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, a project that many thought was almost impossible for a variety of reasons. Not only was the climate against them, but they also had to deal with the environment, the ecology, mountain ranges, and precipitous canyons at every turn. This latest course in the series of America's Greatest Projects and Their Engineers once again describes the nearly overwhelming challenges that were encountered by the engineers as well as the construction teams. This course, however, offers more insight and considerably more drama due to the fact that the author had access to the daily journals of those who actually performed the project tasks. Nevertheless, this course discusses the engineering challenges of the 1970's and how they relate to the basic concepts of modern engineering such as:
• Determining how this project benefitted Americans in particular.
• Getting a behind-the-scenes account of great project development and management.
• Seeing how government representation both prolonged and accelerated the project.