Valdez Marine Terminal is located on the southern shore of Port Valdez, a fjord in northeastern Prince William Sound that is about 13 miles (21 km) long and trends west-east from Valdez Narrows at the head of Valdez Arm to the mouth of the Lowe River, about 124 miles (200 km) east of Anchorage and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) south of the community of Valdez, Alaska. The fjord was named on June 16, 1790, by Salvador Fidalgo for the celebrated Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdes y Basan. The name was adopted by Captain George Vancouver and thereafter came into local use. The modern marine terminal was constructed at Swanport that was named in 1898 by Captain Edwin F. Glenn. Swanport was a historical anchorage at Fort Liscum, a U.S. Army post that operated from 1900 to 1922.
The facility is the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System that starts on Alaska North Slope in Prudhoe Bay on the Beaufort Sea. The oil transportation system is one of the world’s largest and includes the crude-oil pipeline, 11 pump stations, feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. The main pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and is 800 miles (1,287 km) long with a diameter of 48 inches (1.22 m). The pipeline was built between 1975 and 1977, following the 1973 oil crisis that caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States and made the exploration of the Prudhoe Bay oil field economically feasible.
The marine terminal was designed for storing and loading crude oil onto tanker ships. There are 14 storage tanks in service, facilities to measure the incoming oil, two functional loading berths, a power generator, and a ballast water treatment facility. Tanker ships are owned by companies who contract with the oil producers to transport the crude oil, and about 20 tanker ships a month load and transit from the terminal to refineries in Washington and California. The entire berthing, deballasting, and loading process takes about a day to complete, and the largest tankers carry up to 2 million barrels of oil. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Valdez Marine Terminal here: