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Thread: western alaskan port

  1. #13
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Well, like the OP said, it would almost have to be a transshipment port. But then, might that require the the second vessel to also have some sort of ice class? Or would this port only be active during the (short) ice-free season?

    The other option, of course, would be land transport, but that would end up being costs on top of costs on top of more costs, as there currently exist no land transport links to anywhere in Western Alaska, never mind as far north as the Seward Peninsula. Unless you want to count dogsled trails, but somehow I think that may not quite be sufficient for the job. There have been various proposals over the years to build a higwhay from roughly Fairbanks to Nome, but none have ever gone past the planning stages.

    A link to the latest proposal and study that I could find.
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    tugsailor is offline Top Contributer
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Port Clarence: Of all the places mentioned in the report, Port Clarence has the only reasonably deep, large, and well protected natural harbor. It would require very little dredging or filling, There is plenty of sand, gravel, and stone available right there. Its also very well located just southeast of the Bering Strait. There is a 70 mile road from Teller to Nome.

    Point Hope: As a support base for offshore drilling, or as a deep water port, in the Chukchi Sea, Point Hope probably makes the most sense. Point Hope is within 200 miles of the offshore oil drilling leases in the Chukchi. Its naturally deep water right up to the spit and its well protected from the northwest, north, and east. There is plenty of usable land available on a flat topped and wide gravel spit. There is an area east of the village where it would be feasible to build a "small boat harbor" for boats up to 15' draft. Rock could be quarried and trucked or barged from the cliffs just a few miles to the east. A breakwater could be built for protection from winds in the southwest quadrant. The "City" of Point Hope has 700 people, but no facilities other than a good airport.

    Kotzebue: Kotzebue has a lot of potential as an offshore oil support base. Its well protected and has deep water right downtown. The only problem is the shallow (6 feet) entrance channel, but that could be solved with dredging. Several miles of the channel have around 20 to 30 feet of water. The shallow area is only about two or three miles long. Kotzebue has 3300 people, but not much infrastructure other than a good airport with jet service. Kotzebue is approximately 300 miles from the Chukchi Sea drilling leases.

    Cape Darby: Cape Darby is too far from shipping lanes and oil and mineral activity. Its too steep with no useable land. Golovin Bay has good natural protection, but is open to the south. It gets shallow toward the head of the bay where the useable land areas are located. A channel could be dredged to useable land or even into the village of Golovin,

    Nome: Nome is a totally exposed open roadstead, except for a small man made harbor. There is a good small boat harbor with 10' depth in the Snake River. The City Dock and the West Gold Dock between the jetties are fine for barges and small ships up to 20 foot draft, but the docks are quite small. It would be a huge project to extend the jetties far enough offshore to berth handy-size ships. Nome is a "city" of 5000 people but it has few facilities other than a hospital and a good airport with jet service.
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    obviously a well thought out reply with a great depth of knowledge shown but you didn't mention ice with any of the locations you listed. Since any western Alaska port would be expected to operate year round for future oil production support, which of those listed can be used the most during a winter? I would assume any place north of the Bering Strait would be near useless during the winter would mean only those south of it could be kept open for vessels. Remember that lots of the equipment going into installing production would be shipping in year round from the US and Asia and staged until the ice in the Chukchi Sea would break up for an intense period of work during summer months.

    Not only would ice conditions be important but likewise would be space to hold the vast quantities of equipment be needed. Of course, when the dollars make sense, so would a road connection to the interior be required, preferably to some junction on the Dalton Highway. With the many tens of billions of BOE we're talking about in the Arctic Offshore, the need to build the supporting infrastructure will be very real and take several decades to construct. Not only ports and roads, but a fleet of very specialized ships which I fear are now too far off in the future for me to be a part of before I retire.
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Here's a far fetched idea but if you throw out the need for road connections, why not use Saint Lawrence Island as the support base?
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Quote Originally Posted by c.captain View Post
    obviously a well thought out reply with a great depth of knowledge shown but you didn't mention ice with any of the locations you listed. Since any western Alaska port would be expected to operate year round for future oil production support, which of those listed can be used the most during a winter? I would assume any place north of the Bering Strait would be near useless during the winter would mean only those south of it could be kept open for vessels. Remember that lots of the equipment going into installing production would be shipping in year round from the US and Asia and staged until the ice in the Chukchi Sea would break up for an intense period of work during summer months.

    Not only would ice conditions be important but likewise would be space to hold the vast quantities of equipment be needed. Of course, when the dollars make sense, so would a road connection to the interior be required, preferably to some junction on the Dalton Highway. With the many tens of billions of BOE we're talking about in the Arctic Offshore, the need to build the supporting infrastructure will be very real and take several decades to construct. Not only ports and roads, but a fleet of very specialized ships which I fear are now too far off in the future for me to be a part of before I retire.


    Kotzebue is one of the first places to freeze because it is so protected (and possibly due to so many freshwater in-flows). The bouys come out about the last week of September and sufficient ice to end navigation can be expected by Mid-October. Kotzebue is also fairly well built out, and there may not be all that much available land near town.

    Eastern Norton Sound (including Cape Darby) freezes up early and thaws out late.

    I have not been to Point Hope except at mid-season with no ice in sight, but as I recall the Coast Pilot indicates that Point Hope is navigable from Mid-June until Mid-November. Obviously, this is because it is relatively open and exposed to wind and waves which break up the ice. Its also subject to a prevailing current that sets to the north. There is a lot of flat land available on the spit east of the village.

    I have not been to Port Clarence very early or late in the year, but would expect it to ice up and ice out at about the same time as Nome. There is a lot of anchorage area, and there appears to be a lot of vacant land available in Port Clarence.

    One year, we arrived around June 1st in Nome after spending about a week picking our way through the ice pack from Nunivak Island up. This year the ice came quite late in Nome --- I wasn't there, but I hear that the Ocean Mariner was one of the last boats out of Nome this year in late October or early November. Nome has very limited space at the port, but it has plenty of useable land on the local road system. The beach is sand, but there is a lot of nice clean medium sized gravel in several large open pits northwest of town. There is a big active face-cut stone quarry about 10 miles east of town at Cape Nome. Nome has certainly has vacant useable land and building materials.

    Saint Lawrence Island would be the last place to ice up and the first one to ice out. I recall mid-winter fishing about 200 miles southwest of Saint Lawrence on the edge of the ice pack near the Russian border. However, Saint Lawrence is literally in the middle of nowhere. It must be about 500 miles from the drilling sites in the Chukchi. Saint Lawrence is too far away to be a practical OSV support base during the drilling season. As far as storing oil field modules for early delivery to the Chukchi is concerned, would the extra distance to Adak or Dutch Harbor really matter? Or would the extra distance to Korea and China (where most of the stuff will probably be built anyway) be much of a problem?

    I have heard that the local Native Corp in Kotzebue wants to build an OSV support base on their land. If not right in town (which would require dredging the channel), then over near Baldwin.

    There are no road connections to any place in Western Alaska. That does not appear likely to change.

    All in all, I think Point Hope is probably the most practical place for a Chukchi Sea OSV support base.
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    here's the latest on this issue. Place your bets ...


    Corps of Engineers advances Arctic port study

    DAN JOLING, Associated Press : January 3, 2014

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to recommend a configuration of port facilities in western Alaska that could serve ships sailing to Arctic waters.

    The Corps in early March will announce which configuration of docks, harbors and other infrastructure could best serve vessels in northern U.S. waters. The choice could be Nome, nearby Port Clarence, or a combination of the Seward Peninsula locations.

    The Alaska office of the Corps, performing a feasibility study on behalf of the state of Alaska, has made its preferred choice from 19 iterations, said Lorraine Cordova, who heads the study.

    "The part of the process we're in right now is to get our U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters to agree to a tentatively selected plan," she said.

    Officials in Washington wanted a review of ship traffic into Nome before making a decision.

    "There are cruise ships, for crying out loud, going into Nome, and all of them are attempting to use the same barge dock," Cordova said. "So our traffic analysis is looking at those various user types, how long would they stay at the harbor in previous years, and what does that vessel traffic look like in the future."

    The lack of a deep-water harbor along Alaska's north and west coasts has been a point of concern as climate warming has made Arctic waters more accessible and nations have taken an interest in the region's resources.

    Royal Dutch Shell PLC in 2012 began exploratory drilling on offshore leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, hoping to tap reserves estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey at 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. An increasing number of tour boats are transiting the Bering Strait and state officials anticipate merchant ships one day using the Arctic Ocean for shipping.

    The nearest permanent Coast Guard facility is on Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska east of the Aleutian Islands.

    The three year deep-draft port study was launched last year, and the Seward Peninsula locations, though south of the Arctic Circle and the Bering Strait, ranked highest for a deep-water port. Conversations with the Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Coast Guard led the Corps to seek a harbor that could handle ice-hardened vessels in the 35-foot depth range.

    Nome has an airport that handles jets but an inner boat harbor just 10 feet deep and an outer harbor at 22.5 feet. Among the 19 possible plans, the Corps is considering docks of 200, 600 and 1,000 feet and dredging to 35 feet.

    About 70 miles to the northwest is Point Spencer, a former LORAN navigation station at the tip of a spit protecting the deep waters of Port Clarence, which has offered safe haven to mariners since commercial whaling days. A port at Point Spencer would require dredging to deep water, and depending on how it was used, possibly a longer airstrip, fuel loading and storage facilities, housing or a road.

    A combination of facilities between Nome and Port Clarence sites is a strong possibility, Cordova said.

    The Corps preliminary recommendation will be released the first week of March. After a public comment period, the study is due to be completed in December. It will be submitted to Congress, which could authorize funding for construction in a cost-share arrangement with the state, the city of Nome, another municipality or a private entity.

    The federal government in past Alaska harbor projects has picked up 65 percent of the cost.

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/art...dy-5112117.php
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  11. #19
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Pardon the horrible pun but things certainly appear to be "heating up" up north...



    to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt...LET'S MAKE THE DIRT FLY!


    Now where the HELL is my white Linen suit, my Panama hat and my cigar?


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    Last edited by c.captain; January 4th, 2014 at 07:55 AM.
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    He who has the landing crafts wins, lots of freight will come out of shallow draft ports would be my guess.
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Quote Originally Posted by rshrew View Post
    He who has the landing crafts wins, lots of freight will come out of shallow draft ports would be my guess.
    Let's build some...got a nice piece of dirt up in Everett to set op a yard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.captain

    Let's build some...got a nice piece of dirt up in Everett to set op a yard.
    Nichole's is building a 150' for bowhead here soon.
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    Default Re: western alaskan port

    Quote Originally Posted by rshrew View Post
    Nichole's is building a 150' for bowhead here soon.
    Sounds promising...is WTB going to expand into Western Alaska to compete with them and Brice? I always admired Brice's combination tug/barge landing craft they built in the GoM. Saw it in B'ham recently. Looks like a good way to operate a larger landing vessel with a small tug sized crew.
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    Quote Originally Posted by c.captain
    Sounds promising...is WTB going to expand into Western Alaska to compete with them and Brice? I always admired Brice's combination tug/barge landing craft they built in the GoM. Saw it in B'ham recently. Looks like a good way to operate a larger landing vessel with a small tug sized crew.
    Nope we will keep towing freight for Lynden which is now northland so we are good
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