The Alaska pipeline starts at the frozen edge of the Arctic ocean. It stretches southward across the largest and northernmost state in the United States, ending at a remote ice free seaport village nearly 800 miles from where it begins. It is massive in size and extremely complicated to operate. The steel pipe crosses windswept plains and endless miles of delicate tundra that tops the frozen ground. It weaves through crooked canyons, climbs sheer mountains, plunges over rocky crags, makes its way through thick forests, and passes over or under hundreds of rivers and streams. The pipe is 4 feet in diameter, and up to 2 million barrels (or 84 million gallons) of crude oil can be pumped through it daily. Resting on H shaped steel racks called"bents", long sections of the pipeline follow a zigzag course high above the frozen earth. Other long sections drop out of sight beneath spongy or rocky ground and return to the surface later on. The pattern of the pipeline's up and down route is determined by the often harsh demands of the Arctic and subarctic climate, the tortuous lay of the land, and the varied compositions of soil, rock, or permafrost(permanently frozen ground). A little more than half of the pipeline is elevated above the ground. The remainder is buried anywhere from 3 to 12 feet, depending largely upon the type of terrain and the properties of the soil. One of the largest in the world, the pipeline cost approximately ＄8 billion and is by far the biggest and most expensive construction project ever undertaken by private industry. In fact, no single business could raise that much money, so 8 major oil companies formed a consortium in order to share the costs. Each company controlled oil rights to particular shares of land in the oil fields and paid into the pipeline construction fund according to the size of its holdings. Today, despite enormous problems of climate, supply shortages, equipment breakdowns, labor disagreements, treacherous terrain, a certain amount of mismanagement, and even theft, the Alaska pipeline has been completed and is operating.
阿拉斯加输油管道以北冰洋的冻冰边缘为起点，向南延伸穿过美国的最 北又是最大的州，在离起点 800 英里以外的一个偏僻的不冻海港中止。 它跨幅巨大，而且 运作极端复杂。 这个钢质管道穿过强风不断的草原和无边无尽的覆盖于冻土之上的苔原。 它盘垣于弯曲的峡谷之间，攀上陡峭的山峰，从岩石遍布的峭壁俯冲下来，穿越浓密的森林， 从上或从下经过成百上千 条的河流与溪水。 管道的直径有四英尺，每天能运送高达 200 百万桶(合 8400 万加仑)的原油。 枕在 H 型的铁架上，管道长长的一部分在冰冻地面的上空 走着"之"字形。 其它部分消失在松软或坚硬的地面下然后又回到地面上。 管道这种或上或 下的路线决定于严酷的极带和副极带气候、复杂的地形和构造各异的土壤、岩石、永久冻土。 一大半管道悬在地面上空，其余部分则埋入 3 至 12 英尺的地下。 深浅大部分由地形状况和 土壤特征而定。 作为世上最大的管道之一，它花费了将近 80 亿美元，至今仍是私有产业进 行的最浩大最昂贵的建筑工程。 实际上，单个公司不可能拿出这么多的资金。 为了分担成 本，八大石油公司组成了一个大财团。 每个公司都控制着油田中一定土地上的开采权，并 由股份的比例把资金投入到管道建设中。 尽管有气候严寒、供应不足、设备损坏、劳工纠 纷、地形复杂等巨大困难，并有一些管理上的不善甚至被盗现象，阿拉斯加管道现已峻工并 正在运行。