Colville Barge Delivers 3.5 Million Gallons of Fuel to Prudhoe Bay
Cutting edge delivery almost twice the size of last year’s milestone
The Colville team waits for the first lightering barge to arrive at West Dock.
PRUDHOE BAY— Colville, an Alaska-based company providing logistics and fuel transport services for the North Slope oil fields,has made a cutting edge barge delivery of 3.5 million gallons of diesel fuel ahead of another busy season in the oil fields. Crews this week are offloading the fuel into storage tanks at Colville’s Deadhorse tank farm, completing what is believed to be the largest-ever delivery of fuel to Prudhoe Bay by barge. The tanker arrived at Deadhorse on Friday, September 13. The offloading operation will continue through this week.
This barge delivery follows a similar operation last summer that successfully delivered 2 million gallons of diesel. Fuel for North Slope oil field operations is typically delivered over land by trucks pulling fifty-nine-foot tankers for than 850 miles from a refinery in Valdez and up the Dalton Highway to the North Slope. Colville makes 2,000 such trips each year, each hauling nearly 10,000 gallons of diesel. This year’s barge delivery is equivalent to 350 deliveries by truck, significantly reducing congestion on the Dalton Highway and wear and tear to the fleet.
Large fuel deliveries by barge are being prompted by increased demand because of increased activity in the North Slope oil fields. “This operation is a reflection of broader communication with our oil field customers, allowing them to proactively develop their exploration and operational plans. We listened to our customers and responded,” said Dave Pfewifer, Colville President & Chief Executive Officer.
The Colville fleet begins to arrive for the 2019 barging operation while the lightering barge loads the fuel tanker at West Dock.
Improving ice conditions off the northern coast of Alaska and the existence of Colville’s 5 million gallon storage facility at Deadhorse made the trip by barge possible. Without the tank farm built four years ago, there would have been nowhere to store the amount of fuel delivered by barge.
In addition to the barge and crew, the operation involves three vessels and more than twenty pieces of equipment, along with a crew of forty Colville employees. “In our commitment to continuous improvement, we learned from last year’s operation and made modifications to improve our process this year,” said Pfeifer. “We self-fabricated loading arms to use at the port that reduced loading time and reduced risk of injury to our employees. It is a coordinated effort – employees from all over the state were willing to come up and spend a week because they see the importance of it.”
Colville will continue to consider additional barge deliveries of fuel in the future, however, they will not replace the trucking operation.
Colville’s large fleet of rolling stock and trained, professional crew work to achieve a record barge haul of 3.5 million gallons.
The Colville crew works to offload into the Colville tank farm so the truck can return to West Dock for another load.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.