One of Alaska’s most important and recognized landmarks will soon reach a significant milestone. On June 20, 2017, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, Alaska’s economic engine and among the world’s true engineering marvels, will reach 40 years of operations. At 800 miles long, TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems. When built in the 1970s, it was also the biggest privately funded construction project. Since startup in 1977, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company – TAPS’ operator – has successfully transported more than 17 billion barrels of oil and loaded nearly 22,000 tankers at the Valdez Marine Terminal.
Beginning in Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, TAPS stretches through rugged and beautiful terrain to Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in North America. More than half of the pipeline runs above ground – an engineering decision made due to Alaska’s prevalent permafrost terrain. TAPS’ visibility as it crosses Alaska has made it one of the world's most photographed pipelines.
Over the past 40 years, and during construction in the years prior, TAPS has powered Alaska’s economy and has had an immeasurable impact on the state’s jobs outlook, businesses, communities and residents. It has also played a vital role in America’s energy security.
As TAPS reaches its 40th anniversary, it remains a testament to the determined spirit and Alaska true grit that has written the state’s history and is fueling its future. TAPS and the pipeline people who are connected to it have countless stories to tell. As part of the 40th anniversary celebration, Alyeska is inviting media from around Alaska and beyond to tell stories about TAPS, its past, present and future, the people who helped build it and who maintain it today, and the communities, businesses and non-profit organizations that have flourished because of TAPS.