From Alyeska: New year, new barge, renewed optimism for 2022

By Danika Yeager
Interim President, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

Photo of Danika Yeager, Interim President, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
Danika Yeager

2022 marks an exciting milestone; the 45th anniversary of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS. And in January, I stepped into the role as Alyeska president after Brigham McCown’s departure. I couldn’t be prouder to serve; I joined TAPS in April 2021, and it’s already been one of my most memorable and meaningful professional experiences. I look forward to getting to know the Council’s Board members, staff, and volunteers as I transition into this new role.

I’m also excited to celebrate our anniversary with you; we would not be able to keep the pipeline running without Alaskans. Some of you were a part of TAPS design, construction, start up, and maintenance. Many have worked on TAPS or had a family member who did. Others provide goods or services to TAPS, or workers’ families. All share in this legacy and depend on one another for a robust future for our state.

The statue that commemorates the TAPS construction era and sits at the Valdez City Dock has a plaque that proclaims, “We didn’t know it couldn’t be done.” Today, we now know that our work is never done; maintenance and renewal activities will keep our crews busy this summer. Projects include the cleaning, inspection, and coating of ballast piping at the Valdez Marine Terminal. Elsewhere, a robotic inspection tool will inspect relief piping from the East Metering building to the East Tank Farm. This important piping system transports crude to tankage in the event of an overpressurization event. Tank cleaning and inspection work plans are underway.

At Alyeska’s Ship Escort/Response Vessel System, or SERVS, our team is preparing for spring Vessel of Opportunity training, as well as a full slate of drills and exercises this year. I’m pleased to announce that Alyeska and the TAPS Marine Shippers have commissioned a new large oil spill response barge, or OSRB. Barge OSRB-5 will replace the lightering barge Mineral Creek in 2023. It will be built at Gunderson shipyards in Portland, where several of the other open water barges were constructed during the 2018 marine services transition. Barge OSRB-5 is a sistership to the first OSRBs and will feature equipment to transfer cargo off a stricken tanker and assist with nearshore deployments. It also improves upon the earlier OSRBs with additional hydraulic systems for nearshore capabilities, a more robust snow removal system, and a stern mooring winch.

As we begin our 45th year with optimism and pride, our greatest asset remains our employees; Alaskans around the state working to keep TAPS running safely, reliably, and efficiently. In January, the American Petroleum Institute launched its annual State of American Energy event, highlighting the contributions of the oil and gas industry – and its employees – to the economy and communities around the country. This year, the virtual session held special significance to TAPS because it featured one of Alyeska’s own: lifelong Alaskan, small-business owner, and Valdez operations and maintenance coordinator, Jenna Compehos.
Jenna embodies #TAPSPride. Her family has lived in Prince William Sound for generations. She is a hard worker, a strong advocate for TAPS, and an engaged and passionate community member. We couldn’t be prouder that this year’s State of American Energy features Jenna, because employees like her truly represent a bright future for the oil and gas industry here in Alaska and nationwide. Watch this video to learn more about Jenna.

I look forward to celebrating our legacy and exciting future with you this year.

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