SUMMER FIELD WORK
The 2015 summer field work program for the Alaska LNG Project is currently underway. Over 250 specialists are putting their skills to work along the Alaska project route this summer. This highly
technical effort will study numerous aspects of the proposed project area to better define the design and footprint.
The field work stretches across the state and involves collecting information on soils, water, air, wildlife
and communities near the proposed areas of the Alaska LNG Project. This is the project’s third summer field work season.
The goal is to assess the proposed project area’s current environmental and socioeconomic state and to gather the scientific and engineering data needed to safely and economically transport, process and export the North Slope’s massive gas resources.
“We are coordinating pipeline, LNG, and marine teams in the field to make sure that we don’t overlap activities and to ensure operations are being done safely,” said Bryan Johnson, a construction manager working on the project.
Part of the summer field work program will continue to evaluate the proposed 800 miles of pipeline that runs from Prudhoe Bay to Nikiski. While a major focus of the field studies will take place south of Livengood, studies will be conducted in the Brooks Range as well as the surrounding foothills and flats.
Work along the proposed pipeline route includes the drilling of geotechnical boreholes, right-of-way surveys, slope stability assessments, terrain mapping, raptor surveys and cultural investigations. Surveys will also be conducted to investigate factors such as how equipment would be transported to the most remote sites.
A large part of the summer field work is taking place in sparsely populated areas, although the public may notice some increased activities depending on where they are along the potential pipeline route.
“There will be some helicopter observations along the pipeline. Helicopters will be landing at various locations investigating engineering considerations such as geo-hazards and slope stability,” said Johnson. “We are working to minimize disruption to nearby communities as much as we can.”
Onshore and offshore field work is also taking place in the Nikiski area in the vicinity of the proposed natural gas liquefaction facility and marine terminal.
In Cook Inlet, crews are collecting data on currents, waves, and sediment, along with obstacles and terrain on the seabed. The work in the Inlet will be the most visible since it will require the use of multiple vessels and a small jack-up rig barge. All marine activity will take into consideration fishing and other summer commercial and recreational activities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
An environmental engineer who will help oversee the summer activity, Claire Joseph, described how the geotechnical work will be executed using several vessels.
“The geotechnical cores will be drilled from a small jack-up barge, which will be towed to each location by a tug. When the jack-up barge is at the right location, four legs will be lowered to the seafloor and the platform will be raised above the water surface,” explains Joseph.
By the time the summer field season comes to a close, an estimated 200,000 hours will have been spent collecting data. The land studies are scheduled to wrap in October depending on weather. The marine field studies will start midsummer and last until mid- to late fall.