OIL: Alaska's Line Starts Piping

Priced at $9 billion, the Alaska oil pipeline is the most expensive privately financed construction project in history. In keeping with its grandeur and technical sophistication, it has produced unprecedented engineering, financial, environmental and legal headaches. Not all have been alleviated; surprisingly, in view of the U.S. energy pinch, the pipeline's operators are most uncertain where they can market all the oil that the line will transport (there has even been talk of shipping some to Japan). Nonetheless, this week—nearly a decade after the project's conception and more than three years after construction started—the Alaska pipeline begins carrying its...

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