Unusual Facts
Here's just a few of the unusual facts I recall about Prudhoe Bay:

* Many Prudhoe Bay workers do not even live in Alaska. Some live as far away as Texas, and in fact one of my supervisors lived in Hawaii. They commute by air to and from Prudhoe Bay as often as once a week. (Needless to say, they have some serious frequent flyer miles.) 

* All of the heated buildings in Prudhoe Bay must be constructed on concrete stilts. This is to prevent thawing out the permafrost, which would turn it into a bog and bring down the building. 

* Because of the endless movement of heavy truck traffic, the gravel road system in Prudhoe is graded constantly...24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

* The sun does not set at all from mid-May through mid-July.

* The sun does not rise at all from mid-November through mid-January.

* The going rate for a North Slope drilling rig (in the late 1990's) was about $20,000/day.

* The Inupiaq Eskimos, indigenous people to the North Slope, use a base-20 numeral system, and have over 20 different words for 'snow' (depending on what kind of snow it is.) 

* Vehicles are left running from September through May, 24 hours a day (the only exception is when they come into the shop.) Otherwise, they just wouldn't start again. This obviously consumes a lot of fuel, but Prudhoe Bay diverts a small amount of its production to a small on-site refinery, where diesel fuel is made. Vehicles do not come to the refinery to fill up, rather a pair of fuel trucks goes around the field and delivers it to all the vehicles, just like home heating oil delivery. 

Base 20 numeric system traditionally used by the Inupiaq Eskimos.

* Wells can be drilled along a curve in addition to straight down. This means a well located on the beach might actually be accessing oil 3 or 4 miles out under the seabed.

* When the sea ice gets thick enough, ice roads are built to allow workers to drive tractor-trailer rigs on the surface of the ocean [ I've done it :-) ]

* If you need to throw any trash in the dumpster at the end of the day, you must first bump the dumpster with the front of your pickup truck. This ensures that you're inside the truck if there's a brown bear in the dumpster! (It happens more often than you'd think...)

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