From Alyeska: John Kurz named President and CEO of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

John Kurz, President of Alyeska

John Kurz became the next President and CEO of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on April 10, 2023. Kurz follows Interim President Betsy Haines who led the company during the executive search conducted by the Trans Alaska Pipeline System Owners.

Kurz brings over three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry. This includes serving as Senior Operations Manager for Greater Prudhoe Bay in Alaska in addition to multiple executive positions around the world. In his most recent role, Kurz was Chief Operating Officer for Santos and Oil Search in Papua New Guinea. Career highlights include overseeing operations in oil and gas fields, terminals, and pipelines. Kurz has a track record of improving safety and environmental performance and cultivating the next generation of leaders.

“Alyeska is a great company with a rich and proud history and an exciting future,” Kurz said. “Its employees are critical to the State of Alaska, the communities, the upstream and downstream customers we serve, and employees and families who rely on the oil and gas industry for work. Leading an organization and team of this significance is a tremendous responsibility and honor, and I intend to help Alyeska achieve even higher levels of performance.”

Kurz met his spouse in Anchorage, all three of his children were born here, and he holds a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Alaska.

“We have strong connections here,” John said. “It is an incredible opportunity to return home and serve as Alyeska President and CEO.”
In addition to his Prudhoe Bay experience, Kurz served as the executive responsible for operations in Baku, Azerbaijan for the Sangachal Terminal and in Basra, Iraq for the giant Rumaila Field. Kurz previously held other roles in oil and gas in Egypt, Indonesia, and Texas.

“In all my leadership roles, I have worked to inspire the Team to deliver greater performance and results across the board in safety, production, cost, and other business measures, while also leaving an enduring legacy of improvement,” Kurz said.

Including Haines, Kurz is the 13th president to lead Alyeska since its formation in 1970.

Haines, who retired from Alyeska in 2021 after 30 years of service, plans to resume her retirement plans after assisting with the transition to Kurz.

“It has been a privilege to lead this organization as Interim President,” Haines said. “Certainly, when I retired, I didn’t imagine this opportunity, and it was a surprising and wonderful way to end my career. I look forward to bringing John on board as he takes on this new challenge. We’re all looking forward to this next chapter for Alyeska.”


From Alyeska: Prince William Sound – a place of unrivaled beauty

By Andrés Morales
Alyeska’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Director

Tanker in Prince William Sound
To commemorate its 45th Anniversary, Alyeska is featuring stories about the people, projects and history of TAPS on its website.
To read more, head to’s Memories and Mileposts

I first came to the Valdez Marine Terminal on a tanker in 1984 as I was just starting my chosen career in the maritime industry. It was winter. It was the most stunning place I have ever sailed to and remains vivid in my memory. The VMT appeared to be carved from a mountain in the raw wilderness. We loaded our cargo into tanks larger than cathedrals. It was a place out of time; I had never seen anything like it. Once full, we sailed out into Prince William Sound: a place of unrivaled beauty.

When I heard about the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I was sailing in the mid-Pacific. I had been at sea continuously for more than a year. I remember the feelings of rage, sadness, and horror at the thought of a cargo of crude in those pristine waters. I returned home in April and shared a house with two other seamen; none of us could believe what had happened. It was unthinkable at the time. The images and stories from that time linger in my memory, and I know that many in our Alaska community feel the impacts still to this day.

From that catastrophe came global change. Tankers worldwide are now double-hulled and there are comprehensive training and verification standards for crews. Despite an increase in crude cargos, the rate and severity of tanker spills has dropped more than 10-fold. And 33 years later, at the epicenter of that terrible event, is one of the largest comprehensive prevention and response operations in the world, the Ship Escort Response Vessel System: SERVS.

The equipment and training here are purpose-built and world-class and our people are capable and passionate protectors of Prince William Sound. I am proud to lead a team with this mission and ownership. And that ownership fosters a culture of continuous improvement; we must work every day to be better and learn from where we have been. It’s not enough to prepare for the incidents of the past; we must anticipate and prepare for new – unthinkable – risks.

And even as we march forward with progress, we must never forget the lessons and tragedies of 1989. Those images that still linger are a powerful motivation to do everything in our power to prevent oil spills, and be ready to respond aggressively if the unthinkable happens.

From Alyeska: “A journey, never a job.”

Submitted by Alyeska. This profile is from their Memories & Mileposts story collection which commemorates 45 years of TAPS operations. 

After helping build the Trans Alaska Pipeline, or TAPS, from 1974-1977, operating rock trucks, fuel trucks, boom trucks, and forklifts, including working on a Hercules aircraft team offloading critical supplies while Wein F-27s were hauling workers in and out nearby, from Galbraith Lake to Coldfoot, Jeff Streit transitioned to removing remnants of that historic construction effort. He demobilized Prospect, Oldman, and 5-Mile camps, loading piece by piece onto numerous high deck trailers to be shipped out of state. Jeff even saw one of those Hercules blow up at the Galbraith airport. After crossing the Yukon River for years on a powerful hovercraft barge, he helped load up its dismantled pieces when the bridge was complete.

Jeff taking a break at Coldfoot Camp in 1976 with two of his favorite TAPS construction coworkers: “Jimmy” and “Full Bore.” Photo courtesy of Alyeska.

Seeing the signs that this phase was finite, Jeff sought a long-term gig on the now-operating pipeline. He followed a lead from a construction buddy about technician openings at Pump Station 8.

“I put in my application, took an aptitude test, and to my surprise got an interview with the station manager,” he said. “They offered me a job. I was excited and accepted, reported to PS8, and took the tour with a senior technician. He used to be a manager at a chemical plant and I thought to myself, ‘I will be lucky to last a week. I don’t know a darn thing about a pump station.’”

Jeff has lasted — more than 48 years on TAPS, in fact. And he knows a whole darn lot about its pump stations, history, people, and culture.

When asked what has kept him on TAPS so long, Jeff replied, “Curiosity, passion, being a student of the pipeline. It has always been a journey and never a job. And never wavering from the mission of doing my best each day to meet the core values of protecting people, the environment, and the TAPS system has kept me focused and energized. TAPS faces new challenges every day; the job is never done to continue learning and understanding the system. The system will always tell you what it needs if you are listening and watchful.”

Jeff is someone who still listens and learns, noting his “knowledge base, which I continue to build on.” His TAPS resume is filled with countless pipeline perspectives and illustrates endless opportunities to train, teach, and learn from others. Jeff has worked as a technician at three pump stations; a task force supervisor; a project supervisor; a pump station operations supervisor; a pipeline technician trainer; supervisor of the North and South Districts and the OCC; a process safety advisor; and as pipeline and civil maintenance supervisor at the Glennallen Response Base/RBS, where he’s been the past 14 years.

“My best memories are many, but the most powerful and influential are from the people who I have worked with since the construction days, that took a special effort to offer a helping hand to teach, coach, and mentor you through new jobs and experiences, and believed in you,” he said. “Being your ‘wingman’ when things are tough – you don’t forget those people.”

Naturally, Jeff feels an obligation to pass on what he’s learned, which is vast. He’s a mentor and instructor to countless TAPS workers in a variety of specialties: pipeline operations and hydraulics, topping units, ROW orientation, hazards of crude oil, OCC, civil supervising, cold restart system, process safety awareness. It’s his way of continuing the legacy of handing down nearly 50 years of TAPS history and complexities, while also paying respect to those who did the same for him.

“We are all basically the product of thousands of others who have taught and shared knowledge, each generation building on the previous,” he said. “I feel strongly that we all have a responsibility to not just pass the knowledge on, but to continue to build on it.”

Jeff’s TAPS experiences, and his memories of them, are rich and vivid, partly because of his impressive retention, partly because he is so thoughtful with his words, and also because he’s conveniently been in the middle of some of the most significant moments in the pipeline’s history, including many before the pipeline was even operating.

Read more from his time working at TAPS on the Alyeska website, beginning in 1978: “A journey, never a job.” – Jeff Streit  

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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