A Local Perspective / Russian Fuel Tanker Arrives in Nome

I present a conversation regarding this news story from a fellow trend researcher who hails from Nome.  [With her permission under anonymity as ‘trend researcher’ or TR.]

One thing about the peak oil research I do, is that it has brought me to the most interesting, local perspectives on all things energy related, in a myriad of different places that I’ve never visited.  The connections through internet technology are vast, marvelous and mind-broadening.  In that spirit, I share this conversation – with some incredible photos from the article. [click to full view] ~ GP

Skier crosses the frozen Bering Sea ice to the Russian tanker Renda on Sunday.
Photo by David Dodman, KNOM Radio Mission Da

TR : The Russian fuel tanker arrived at my hometown to save them (temporarily) from $12 a gallon gas and heating fuel.  My brother was hired at 100 bucks an hour to lay an ice road with his cat for two fuel hoses, stretched 700 yards long connecting the tanker to the town tanks (after the shore-ice fasts around the vessel so there won’t be a spill).

They generally get fuel by barge in fall from Washington State refineries (after the crude is shipped from Alaska to Washington!); however, this year the barges could not make it due to the “Epic Alaska Typhoon” that was supposed to kill everyone but did not.  Then the barge could not get in due to an extremely early pack ice descent from the north, part of the global weirding.

Where do they usually get their fuel from?  In the paper, it stated they loaded up in South Korea and stopped in Dutch harbor for gasoline.

TR:  Russia is the only country with a cargo ship capable of moving behind an ice-breaker ship through pack ice a foot thick.  Meanwhile, believe you me, Big Oil is watching closely since the success of the trip adds fuel to their fire as they plan to drill near Nome through the pack-ice and then get the oil to the refineries…

The Renda off the coast of Nome on Monday, January 16.  Photo by Sue Greenly
Why the near mile long hose?

TR:  The ship can’t get any closer to land, very shallow there; Outer Continental Shelf.  The alternative was to fly fuel in by plane, all million gallons of it, planeload after planeload and send prices to levels most would be unable to afford.  All this to help a mere 3,000 people make it through a cold ass winter.

We’re glad to hear your hometown will have the fuel they need this winter and hope your brother makes a nice chunk of change.

TR:  He is a hero and that makes him even happier.
The Healy breaks ice near the Nome on Jan. 14. The Healy is assisting the tanker Renda as it moves into final position for offloading nearly 1.3 million gallons of fuel for the city.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow
Read more about this 11 day journey and view more amazing photographs at Alaska Dispatch