We use cookies to imporve your experience. By using our site, you consent to our cookie policy Learn more
arrow arrow_up breadcrumb-chevron-right breadcrumb-home dropdown-arrow-down loader GALogoWUNEP GALogo2018 GALogo2019 menu read-more-plus rrss-email rrss-facebook rrss-flickr rrss-instagram rrss-linkedin rrss-twitter rrss-vimeo rrss-youtube rrss_google_plus rrss_skype rrss_web pdf search share Completed In Process Ideas In Develpment Toogle Toogle Thumbnail View List View play close filter-collapse filter edit media_photo_library media_video_library graphics pictures videos collections next

Poligone Tundra with car traces, Prudhoe Bay Oil Field, Alaska

Prudhoe Bay Oil Field is a large oil field on Alaska's North Slope. It is the largest oil field in both the United States and in North America, covering 86,418 ha and originally containing approximately 25 billion barrels (4.0-109 m3) of oil. The amount of recoverable oil in the field is more than double that of the next largest field in the United States, the East Texas oil field. The oil itself lies in porous rock formations anywhere from 1,700 to 7,000 m below the surface. It rises to the wellhead under its own geologic pressure, so no pumping is required. The mixture of oil, gas and water coming to the surface gets separated in special gathering centers. All of the water and some of the gas is re-injected back into the ground to enhance the formation pressure. A fraction of the natural gas is used to heat all the buildings in Prudhoe Bay. The rest, an enormous amount, must simply be burned off. On March 2, 2006, a a large oil spill was discovered in western Prudhoe Bay. Up to 1,010,000 liter were spilled, making it the largest oil spill on Alaska's north slope to date. The spill was attributed to a pipeline rupture. Other environmental impacts of this huge oil field include fragmentation and disruption of America's formerly largest tundra wilderness area.

Year: 2012

From album: Alaska Prudhoe Bay Oil Field and Arctic Tundra Wilderness

Photographer: Peter Prokosch

Tags: Polygon tundra

Photos included in same album

View all media

Related activities

View all activities