Nikiski Terminal Dock, Cook Inlet

Nikiski Terminal Dock, Cook Inlet

by | Jun 8, 2019

Nikiski Terminal Dock is on the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula, about 10 miles (16 km) north-northwest of Kenai, Alaska. This was the site of a Dena’ina village and boat landing first reported in 1912 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The area is traditionally in Kenaitze territory. The coast was homesteaded in the 1940s and grew with the discovery of oil on the Kenai Peninsula in 1957. By 1964, oil-related industries were located here and now is known primarily as a wharf and petroleum-handling facility.

The Cook Inlet basin in south-central Alaska is a massive intermontane half-graben about 200 miles (325 km) long and 60 miles (95 km) wide. The graben filled with sediment and the stratigraphic succession in the basin includes a cumulative total of more than 40,000 feet (12,195 m) of Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and up to 30,000 feet (9,150 m) of Tertiary sediments. The sedimentary rock was folded creating anticline traps with petroleum reservoirs. The basin contains roughly 20,000 cubic miles (84,000 cu km) of Tertiary sedimentary rocks estimated to have at least 1.5 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 5 trillion cubic feet (142 billion cu m) of natural gas. The Cook Inlet basin is the longest-producing oil and gas province in Alaska. The discovery well was drilled in 1957 in the Swanson River field.

The Nikiski Terminal Dock receives crude oil and ships refined petroleum products. Pipelines connect the wharf to storage tanks. In February 2006, the tanker Seabulk Pride was moored at Nikiski when a massive ice floe struck the tanker with an impact that parted the mooring lines. The tanker drifted northward with the tidal current and ran aground. There was no significant oil release and the tanker was refloated the next day. On January 9, 2007, Seabulk Pride again had trouble at the same dock under extremely icy conditions. Subsequent to these two incidents, a tug was assigned to assist all tanker vessels at the hazardous port, which has a high tidal range and fast currents in addition to being subject to unpredictable heavy icing conditions. Read more here and here. Explore more of Nikiski here:

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