Prudhoe Bay

Prudhoe Bay

Prudhoe Bay, inlet of the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean, N Alaska, in the Alaska North Slope region, east of the Colville River delta. In 1968 one of the largest oil reserves in North America was discovered in Prudhoe Bay. The ensuing trans-Alaskan oil pipeline built there connects Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska. Despite the harsh climate, drilling activity and the oil industry have led to increasing development and settlement of the Prudhoe Bay area.

Prudhoe Bay is a census-designated place (CDP) located in North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2000 census, the population of the CDP was 5. According to the United States Census Bureau, it is one of only eight places in the United States with a population of five people. The others are Storrie, California; Bear Head Lake, Minnesota; Baker, Missouri; Gross, Nebraska; Odell, New Hampshire; Maza, North Dakota; and Somerset, Vermont.

Despite the low census, Prudhoe Bay is a busy place. Several thousand temporary workers support the Prudhoe Bay oil field. The airport, lodging, and general store are located at Deadhorse; the rigs and processing facilities are located on scattered gravel pads laid atop the tundra. Only during winter is the surface hard enough to support heavy equipment; new construction happens then.

A few tourists, arriving by bus after a two-day ride up the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, come to see the tundra, the Arctic Ocean, and the midnight sun, staying in lodgings assembled from modular buildings.

Prudhoe Bay was named in 1826 by British explorer Sir John Franklin after his classmate Captain Algernon Percy, Baron Prudhoe.


Prudhoe Bay is located at (70.325490, -148.711387).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 558.0 square miles (1,445.3 km²), of which, 416.3 square miles (1,078.1 km²) of it is land and 141.8 square miles (367.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 25.40% water.


As of the 2000 census, there was one household in the town, consisting of one married couple between 25 and 44 and two boys and one girl under 18; the median age of the family was 12 years. One person was White, one was Native American, and three were biracial. The income for this household was $90,957, or $19,880 per capita. There was 1 housing unit.

Prudhoe Bay oil field

Prudhoe Bay is adjacent to the largest oil field in the United States.


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