ARCO Alaska, Inc.
North Slope, AK, U.S.

Gas Handling Expansion

Fluor was contracted by ARCO Alaska, Inc. to undertake a gas handling expansion operation. The operation, given the name GHX-2, was a multi-part endeavor in which specially built modules were first assembled, then shipped and brought on site. The modules were designed to facilitate the separation of gas from crude oil.

Fluor built and shipped 26 modules, totaling 36,712 tons, in two sealifts from New Iberia, Louisiana to Prudhoe Bay on the northern coast of Alaska. The modules' journey then continued on land to flow stations and gathering centers on the North Slope of Alaska.

ARCO's own management named GHX-2 "The Project of the Century."


Client's Challenge

In order to accomplish this task, Fluor first had to build the 26 modules in New Iberia, Louisiana, and then ship them 7,970 miles via barge to Alaska via the Panama Canal. Among the largest equipment modules ever constructed when built, they were as tall as eight stories high; the heaviest of them (a tandem compressor and utility module) weighed 5,568 tons. The modules needed to be designed not only to handle the chemically and environmentally sensitive separation process, but also to travel through the Panama Canal, which provides width clearance of 108 feet at the locks and height clearance of 201 feet at Freedom Bridge.

There was only an eight-week window each year that such transport would be successful, due to ice-locked conditions that predominate in the Beaufort Sea, which feeds into Prudhoe Bay. Eight weeks were exactly how long it would take to make the journey; so the operation needed to be both precisely timed as well as delicately handled.

Fluor's Solution

The first phase of the operation involved module construction in Louisiana.

A 48-acre site was developed on a sugar cane field, which included a 29-acre assembly yard. A total of 3,117 piles and 4,420 cubic yards of concrete were used to construct the site foundations. Site work was completed three months ahead of schedule.

Designed as a two-year process, module construction took place in two phases, the first in May of 1993, the second the following year.

These modules were among the largest of their kind ever constructed. No slippage in the construction process was allowable with the short transportation window available each year. The project employed 1,800 people, the majority being craft personnel in New Iberia. Fluor furnished all labor, materials, tools, equipment, and supervision.

The tight schedule was realized with 4 million safe work hours recorded, as safety was another core element of the planning process.

All deadlines were met in the construction phase, thus allowing the project to be executed as planned.


Fluor's GHX-2 project won several awards when completed, including the Project of the Year Award given by the Project Management Institute's Alaska Chapter, and the Construction Award of Excellence for 1993 by the Louisiana Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors [ABC].

ARCO's own management named GHX-2 "The Project of the Century."

The Arco GHX-2 project also received Fluor's Hugh Coble Project Excellence Award in 1994. The award is given based on outstanding performance in several areas; including safety, value creation, and Client and community relations.