While promoting radon testing in Copper River Valley and Prince William Sound this week a couple of items came up about the energy terminal in Valdez. There was talk of dismay over somewhat recent Alaskan politics that had failed to bring a natural gas line terminal to Valdez. With Pt. McKenzie outside of Wasilla being the major competitor to support a loading terminal for exporting natural gas out of the state, it was seen as a loss for Copper River, Valdez and even Fairbanks (in terms of cheap energy available).
In reference to the existing petroleum terminal in Valdez, there was a recent article from Alaska Public news highlighting the incessant cyber attacks that are made on that operation. With no major incident yet, over 22 million intrusion events happen daily which the Alyeska terminal’s information technology people have to deal with. While all are not nefarious and are as simple as phishing scams by email to get information from employees, others that are detected are from hackers to infiltrate the system. Though in the past it has been human attacks on the physical pipeline and natural disasters disrupting operations that have been the primary concerns, cyberattacks is now right up there as a danger to disrupt flow of the oil or cause an environmental disaster (accompanied by loss of life).
The other news down at the terminal is that things are abuzz with changes in personnel and freshly built ships and equipment coming in as Crowley no longer will be the escort company overseeing transportation of the oil by sea once it exits the pipeline. Rather that mantle has been handed over to Edison Chouest Offshore which is committed to building nine new tugs and three oil spill response vessels. Crowley had held the contract since immediately after Valdez oil spill almost 3 decades ago when federal legislation was written to require oil tankers to have tug escorts. With changes afoot, Prince William Sound continues to be a major player, and prove itself as an innovator, when it comes to Alaskan Energy exports.