Barge delivers historic fuel shipment to Alaska's North Slope

Photo Provided by Colville

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — In a big move for business on the North Slope, an Alaska based company says it made history with a recent shipment.

Colville Inc. says for the first time, a bulk fuel delivery was made to Prudhoe Bay by barge.

The single trip carried 2 million gallons of fuel.

"Fuel for North Slope oil field operations is typically delivered over land by trucks pulling 53-foot tankers from a refinery in Valdez to Deadhorse," a release sent by Colville said. "Colville makes 2,000 such trips each year, each hauling nearly 10,000 gallons of diesel."

The fuel took 70 hours to unload before it was moved to a tank farm in Deadhorse.

"It's an augmentation of our transportation to supply the industry with fuel," said Colville President & CEO Dave Pfeifer.

The company says changing ice conditions in the area are in large part what made the operation possible.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says it doesn't have any concerns about the marine method in this case.

"We regulate oil barges that operate in Alaskan waters but we don't regulate fuel delivered by trucks unless there's a spill from the vehicle," said Sarah Moore, DEC Preparedness and Response Section Manager.

Moore said the requirements for regulated facilities include contingency plans that outline discharge prevention measures, what response equipment and personnel companies have in place to respond to a possible spill.

"I think there's a lot of value having fuel transferred this way with these contingency plans, with prevention standards, response standard," Moore said. "We see around the state that regulated facilities have fewer spills than unregulated facilities."

Editor's note: a previous version of this story contained an error regarding the volume of fuel delivered by barge.

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