The trans-Alaska pipeline system (TAPS) was finished in 1977, taking 3 years to complete. TAPS cost nearly 8 billion dollars to complete and runs from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Valdez, AK.
The pipeline, as Alaskans call it, has a length of almost 800 miles and pumps 47,000 gallons of crude oil per month. The oil is heated to nearly 80 degrees (F) and travels at six miles per hour. The pipeline is elevated in some places to protect the permafrost, and has specially designed baffles that vent waste heat into the air instead of into the ground. Where permafrost is not an issue, the pipe is buried up to 16 feet deep.
Alaska is earthquake-prone, and the engineers of the pipeline accounted for that by laying the pipe in a zig-zag pattern and specially constructed spars that allow both lateral and vertical movement. The pipeline is constructed to withstand up to a 7.5 earthquake on the Richter Scale.
At any given time, TAPS contains almost 9 million barrels of oil. Of the 13 billion barrels (which is almost 550 billion gallons) of crude oil that have traveled that 48 inch pipe over 3 mountain ranges, 600 streams and rivers, 3 active geological fault lines and nine pumping stations, less than 200 barrels have been spilled.
TAPS is managed by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and was paid for by a consortium of oil companies, including BP, Exxon, Phillips, Unical and Mobil.

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