BP/COP Alaska pipeline group gets to work

Denali pipeline workers will call the tiny town of Tok home this summer.

Denali, the joint venture between BP and ConocoPhillips to build a natural gas pipeline off Alaska’s North Slope, is pushing forward with its plans, despite Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement of a rival bid by TransCanada:

Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline has opened the doors to its first field office located in Tok, Alaska, and has launched summer fieldwork activities. The partners expect to spend approximately $40 million on 2008 fieldwork. The results of the summer fieldwork will support permit applications and a high-quality cost estimate for the immense project. Getting to the fieldwork phase now is critical to meeting the target of a successful open season in 2010.
“This is yet another positive step for us as we move Denali – The Alaska Gas Pipeline forward,” said Denali President Bud Fackrell. “We anticipate about 60 people will be at work in the area this summer. The Tok field office will be a hub for much of our work this summer.”

Tok is a town of about 1,500 in Southeast Alaska started as a basecamp for work building and maintaining the Alaska Highway in the 1940s. So much money was spent in the camp’s construction and maintenance early on that it earned the name “Million Dollar Camp.” Of course that’s nothing compared to the estimated $30 billion to $40 billion price tag for the proposed natural gas pipeline.
The workers this summer will do “cultural resource identification” (i.e. making sure they aren’t planning to go through any old graveyards), hydrology studies, soil and air monitoring, aerial photography and mapping.