Lynden Oilfield Services' fleet of three PistenBully snowcats have been hard at work in Prudhoe Bay this past winter. In an average week, the cats delivered essential supplies to a remote drilling site 145 miles southwest of Deadhorse and hauled a propane truck to refill two remote tanks used to power a weather station. Operators Tony Warner, Joel Martens, James McSharry and Hunter Keogh operate the machines in severe conditions to serve Lynden customers. They received instruction in freight operations and survival as part of their preparation to operate the machines in extreme weather. The PistenBullys give Lynden customers over-snow options to move their cargo including heavy equipment, containers and camps.
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Lynden Air Cargo delivered a mobile medical facility, called "Clinic in a Can," to Western Alaska this fall bringing much-needed medical services to the small community of Naknek. Pictured to the right, Clinic in a Can is the brainchild of a doctor who began repurposing 20-foot containers as emergency medical clinics for third-world countries. Ethan Bradford, Lynden Air Cargo's Vice President of Technical Operations, put the project together.
Alaska West Express transported the mobile clinic from Wichita, KS to Tacoma where it moved via ship to Anchorage. Lynden Air Cargo took the last leg to King Salmon's Camai Community Health Center. "Protecting workers, Alaskans and our communities during the fishing season and year-round continues to be an important challenge in our state's COVID response," explains Mary Swain, Executive Director of the Camai Health Center. "We received grant money to purchase the mobile clinic, and we can transport it to wherever it is needed most." The clinic has proven so effective, she has requested two more to serve the region. "This was a good One Lynden door-to-door move from Wichita to Naknek," says Matt Jolly, Vice President of Sales and Pricing for Alaska West Express.
In another recent project, the Lynden companies worked together to transport two oversized turbines, one from Houston, the second from Kenai, to Prudhoe Bay, AK. Lynden Logistics coordinated the transportation, which involved a charter flight on Lynden Air Cargo to Anchorage then truck delivery via Lynden Oilfield Services to two North Slope destinations.
Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.
Introducing Aaron Delahoussaye, Driver at Lynden Oilfield Services in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
Name: Aaron Delahoussaye
Company: Lynden Oilfield Services
On the job since: 1996
Superpower: Getting it done
Hometown: Palmer, AK
Favorite movie: Original Star Wars
Bucket list destination: Europe
For fun: Traveling with my wife
How did you start your career at Lynden?
I started my career at 22 as a warehouseman at Lynden Transport in Anchorage. I worked on the dock as I worked toward earning my Commercial Driver's License (CDL). I transferred to Prudhoe Bay in 2012 and was part of the transition to Lynden Oilfield Services (LOIL) in 2015. I am now a driver and haul everything from bulk chemicals to oversized freight on any given day.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is no typical day in Prudhoe Bay – every day is different. Everyone up here can pretty much do everything. That's what I like about it. You don't get stuck in the same routine. My co-workers have nicknamed me the horse as in "work horse."
I was part of the Doyon drill rig move of 'the beast' from Canada to Alaska and have hauled a lot of drill rig components over the years.
What has been most challenging in your career?
The most challenging is probably being away from home and family for two weeks or more at a time. You miss out on a few things along the way. Although we have a regular two-week-on, two-week-off schedule, I've been away as long as six weeks for special projects.
Weather is also a challenge. Winters bring visibility issues, freezing temps and wind that suddenly comes out of nowhere. We have our winter gear to protect against frostbite and below-freezing temperatures, but it can be tough at times. One specific story that comes to mind is when we first started running the PistenBullys. We had one operator at LOIL and the other was a contracted operator that helped us with our first three trips to Barrow, AK. The contractor left the Slope because we thought our season was over when we got a call for two more loads. I was very new to operating the machines, but I followed the other driver on a 530-mile roundtrip across the Arctic Slope from Deadhorse to Atqasuk to Barrow and back to Deadhorse. We were on the trail for four days and made record time without any issues.
What do you like best about your job?
I love the challenges. From the freight to the conditions to the time schedules, every day is different. I'm always learning. Up here you get to be the teacher and the student every single day.
The animals we see around Prudhoe Bay also make the job unique. Since we are up on the coast at the very top of Alaska, we have had polar bears, grizzly bears, caribou and other wildlife come into the yard looking for food. Swans and geese come up in the summer to have their babies on the lake, then migrate south for the winter.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I'm most proud of my longevity with the company. To be able to say you've spent almost your entire working career with one company says something about you and the company.
Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I've been married to my beautiful wife Tomara for 22 years. She works for Alaska Airlines as a Flight Attendant. We have two awesome kids, son Kaden and daughter Hannah. They are off to a great start with their careers. So we just became empty nesters and are still trying to figure out what to do with ourselves with no kids in the house. I guess we can do whatever we want!
What was your first job?
My first job was with my grandpa. He owned a log cabin business. We would fly out to these remote locations and build cabins for customers with the challenges of no electricity, getting the building materials to the job sites and dealing with wild animals from time to time.
What would surprise most people about you?
I don't know if this is surprising, but I'm now in my 40s, and I've never broken a bone.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
A. We moved from Alaska to Las Vegas three years ago to be closer to family. Lately I've been working on our backyard, landscaping and hanging out by the pool. We're looking to get an RV and travel around the states. When we still lived in Alaska, I spent time snowmachining, hunting, fishing and skiing at Alyeska.
Rig 26, Doyon Drilling's new extended reach drilling (ERD) rig, completed its 2,400-mile journey from Nisku, Alberta to Alaska's North Slope this past winter. Lynden Transport, Alaska West Express and Lynden Oilfield Services teamed up to haul the 10.5-million-pound rig in pieces from Canada to Deadhorse where it was put back together after more than 320 separate truckloads arrived. Nicknamed "the beast," it is the largest land-based rig in North America and the first ERD rig ever built and moved in North America.
"This was one of the most high-profile projects Lynden has ever done and certainly the largest project that I have been involved in," says Paul Friese, Lynden Transport Vice President of Alaska Sales. "We started talking about this move four years ago, started planning a year ago and began the work in June 2019. In just six months we hauled over 320 loads. Our past work moving Rig 142 for Doyon set a high standard and gave them confidence in the Lynden team to handle this larger project. Many say the future of Alaska rides on the success of this new rig and technology, so we were under intense pressure and scrutiny to make sure the loads were delivered intact and on time for the reassembly in Deadhorse."
Rig 26 will have the capability to directional drill over 35,000 ft. (about 6.3 miles) from a single drilling pad on the North Slope. Doyon Drilling has been working for more than three years to build a larger powerful drilling rig, with increased capabilities greater than any other mobile land-based drilling rig on the continent. The new rig's extended reach can access production zones that were previously inaccessible with current drilling technology and capability.
"We want to thank the Lynden team," says Mike Lasher, Project Manager for Doyon Drilling in Anchorage. "Edmonton's Rick Stark oversaw every shipment loaded in Nisku, and Dan Rychlik helped with pre-planning and shipping requirements. Natasha Earl, Deanna Benson and Darren Stansbury and the Fairbanks team managed loads based on our priorities to ensure we received the right loads in the right sequence."
Rick also served as the Lynden project manager for Rig 142 and was instrumental in providing loading knowledge and experience along with James Delowsky. Rick and James loaded and moved most loads and transported them to the yard for staging and Cratex wrapping.
Lynden's Prudhoe Bay crew received and coordinated loads in Deadhorse around the clock to get the rig pieces where they needed to go, and the Edmonton team stepped up their game for the project. "This move impacted everyone from the shop to operations to the front office," says Canadian Lynden Transport General Manager Dan Rychlik. "Employees like Kent Maltais worked weekends; others postponed vacations. We even had to pull people from Calgary to help cover at times. I am extremely proud of the team effort here."
Alaska West Express, led by Steve Willford, planned and supervised the most challenging loads. Alaska West Express drivers and employees handle oversize and overweight loads to and within Alaska for all Lynden companies, and they were essential in delivering the awkward heavy hauls. Roughly 75 percent of the loads hauled were for the rig's subbase which consists of 525 items weighing a total of 1.7 million pounds. The Excel spreadsheet the Lynden team used for the move is a color-coded map of detailed dimensions on handrails, columns, wheel assemblies, platforms and other parts. Mike and other members of Doyon's team were set up on EZ Commerce, Lynden's reporting and tracking system, to help manage the transportation phase of the project and keep track of Lynden loads between Canada and the North Slope.
According to Paul, the heaviest and most unusual loads were the draw works, mud pumps, main beams, and engines for the rig. "When you consider that we had to move more than 300 loads that distance in six months during the winter ice road months with DOT road work and pilot car driver shortages, it's pretty impressive," he says. "We did all this while maintaining our current customer base with no impact to them while we took on this huge project. That is a testament to our dedicated operations team, drivers and mangers. I don't think there is any other company in Alaska that could've pulled this off in such a short time frame. We truly have the best team in the industry and this project proves it."
Watch the video below for a bird's eye view of Rig 26.
Lynden Oilfield Services equipment crossed tundra-covered public lands in Alaska this winter and spring to deliver critical infrastructure across the North Slope that couldn't wait until this summer's barging season.
Methanol, cement mixer trucks, front-end loaders, sheet steel and fire trucks were included in the remote deliveries. Time was limited as the tundra is closed to travel once the snow depth deteriorates. In the photo below a fire truck destined for the Barrow Airport is towed by a PistenBully pulling a sleigh across the North Slope Borough's Community Winter Access Trail. Air freight and other alternatives were not an option for most of the cargo due to weight and dimensional challenges.
"This season was the busiest yet for snow road projects, which meant many challenges for our team. With the hard work and innovative thinking of our crew we were able to pull it all off," says John Jansen, General Manager of Lynden Oilfield Services. The team moved more than a million pounds of freight on the North Slope this season using the PistenBully snow cats. These deliveries allowed for more efficient and newer housing in the community of Atqasuk and helped the village of Utqiaġvik repair and replace fuel storage areas. Unlike conventional trucks that move freight on roads with existing right-of-way and permits, the PistenBully snow cats must travel across property owned by a variety of entities at an average speed of 9 mph.
"We have to ask permission and/or obtain permits from all of the land owners before we can begin the work," says Tyler Bones, Director of HSSE for Alaska West Express. "The Lynden Oilfield Services team did an amazing job this year moving the freight that ranged from housing modules to a fire truck. We had a professional group of employees that made the long hours and challenges look easy."
The moves involve cooperation between Lynden companies and Alaska partners like the Bureau of Land Management, North Slope Borough and Alaska Department of Natural Resources. In all, Alaska West Express and Lynden Oilfield Services worked with 10 different local, state, and federal agencies and three native corporations this season.
Lynden companies have provided support to Alaska oil and gas customers for decades. A new Lynden business, Lynden Oilfield Services, was created specifically to serve customers on the North Slope of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oilfields. A division of Alaska West Express, Lynden Oilfield Services provides support for oilfield exploration and production and transportation and logistics solutions to the companies working to redevelop Alaska’s existing oil and gas resources.
“Dependable transportation and logistics are critical to the growing activity on the North Slope,” says Scott Hicks, Alaska West Express President. “Through our family of companies Lynden Oilfield Services provide multi-modal air, sea and land opportunities and heavy-haul options for drilling contractors, chemical suppliers, camp support, construction and all types of activity on and off the road system throughout the North Slope and offshore Alaska.”
Based in Deadhorse, Lynden Oilfield Services offers in-field logistical services for Prudhoe Bay and all other North Slope oilfields. Its new 15-acre facility includes storage for supplies like pipe and bulk materials, a cross-dock operation and a full-service maintenance shop and mechanics. “We have intermodal capability and a 90,000-pound-capacity forklift with all attachments for containers, intermodal tanks and support flats,” Hicks explains. “We also offer trans-loading and offloading capabilities including ISO tanks and containers.” Same-day field hauling and intra-field hauling of water, fuel and bulk liquids to various work sites on the North Slope will also be a focus.