40 below

My shift started out at 48 below, and now it’s about 44 below here about 40 miles west of Umiat, near Wolf Creek. As long as I’m working away shoveling snow, my face seems to stay warm for quite awhile. However, when I was chipping up some ice and not working as hard, I could feel my face start to freeze, so would get into the warm truck before I did damage. Which, incidently, is what we’re supposed to do. Nobody wants anyone to get hurt working up here in the oil field.

A rig hand showed us some snippets of a documentary he’s got done and which I expect will soon be out and seen on places perhaps like the Discovery Channel or PBS. From what I saw of it, it was great. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone actually get to a rig and show the care that companies have to take, by law, of the environment so that when they pull up this rig and take it back down the ice road, no one will be able to tell we’ve been here when the snow thaws.

I think the series will definitely be a hit, although I suspect that some environmental groups whose membership has never been up to a rig will find things to attack in his video. I sure wish some of the groups would come up here and see for themselves, and I’m sure they would come away with a better understanding and appreciation for Alaska’s north slope oilfield, as I surely have since working up here.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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