Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oil in Alaska

During my recent trip to Anchorage, I attended an Oil and Gas industry meeting. My company provides permitting, environmental assessment, and program management support to some of the large players in this arena. The guest speaker was informative, and I loved his pictures of the large drills moving along the ice roads that they create during the winter. You see, the companies mobilize their equipment via barge during the summer, and store it on gravel pads until winter. Using large snow-making machines, they build "mini glaciers" on the ice shelf, sinking dense ice and then erecting gravel pads on top. This provides them with a stable shelf on which they store equipment, set up temporary camps, and other support facilities during the winter drilling season. Whereas I have a new appreciation for the engineering marvel that this requires (think Palm Island outside of Dubai), I kept quiet amongst the industry leaders who are very pro-oil, pro-Alaskan jobs, and pro-exploration.

I learned about the copious amounts of paperwork, permitting, and safety plans required for the leases, farmed out leases, and mobilization costs (which is the price of doing business in Alaska).

With the nation's talk of cutting back, tightening up, becoming more green, I had to laugh that not a single person in attendence seemed like the type who was following this trend. And then I went home to my hotel, where I snapped the following picture at 1130 PM AST. Not a dern person at work, and every single light was on.


Flo said...

I love that picture, Christina! It's ironic and a little disturbing, and it was such an interesting follow-up to your meeting on oil and gas. I read a NYT article recently that mentioned most gas companies are not investing the money they need to in cleaner fuels because they don't "believe" in following the POTUS's lead. Sad :(

Jennifer said...

You should send this pic and article to a newspaper.