For nearly 50 years, NMS has actively supplied support services to remote areas within Alaska. We defined our remote services as “Camp Services” in recent years. The word “camp” conjures up a vision of tents and campfires. In reality, the camps we supply with support services are bustling high-tech communities with the exact needs of cities and towns in geographically more convenient areas. Our business is based on understanding and filling those needs.
What are “camp” services, and where do we supply them? Our first venture in remote work began on the North Slope at Prudhoe Bay, delivering food services to the pipeline workers building the Trans Alaska Pipeline. As the years passed, NMS added services to meet the needs of the expanding teams that support oil production on the North Slope. The addition of housekeeping, maintenance, billeting, commissaries, and laundry increased our service line. It helped establish NMS as an essential business supplying services to the North Slope. Our remote services now extend beyond Prudhoe Bay to include the Red Dog Mine and other remote work sites, including Alpine, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Badami, Bornite, Endicott, and Milne Point.
Creating an atmosphere of “home away from home” is an essential element in the success of remote site work locations. Teams become families, working together for the communal benefit of everyone, an insulated cocoon for completing work effectively and efficiently while staying safe and connected to a world often far from family and friends. NMS helps promote and support a comfortable lifestyle in each of the camps. We deliver services through superior customer service, special events, and excellent service delivery. NMS is an active participant in each remote client team, and our long-term client retention is proof of our success.
Employees working within an NMS Camp Services group work on rotational shifts, generally two or three weeks on, alternating with a corresponding number of weeks off, referred to as “R and R” (rest and relaxation). The days are long, with 12-hour workdays the norm. Most positions have a fellow employee working the alternating rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off called “alternates.” It’s a unique lifestyle that requires the right temperament and flexible attitude about work and personal life.
For Greater Prudhoe Bay (GPB) and the areas previously managed by BP, we deliver our services to Hilcorp and its employees. Our employees assigned to GPB provide food service, housekeeping, maintenance, laundry services, support commissaries, billeting, water and wastewater, and more. Our work encompasses several facilities, including the Prudhoe Bay Operations Camp (PBOC), Main Construction Camp (MCC), Base Operations Camp (BOC), Seawater Treatment Plant (STP), and Tarmac.
At the Conoco Phillips Alpine location, NMS provides food service, housekeeping, and janitorial services. The Alpine Field, located approximately 34 miles west of Kuparuk, is one of the largest conventional onshore oil fields developed in North America in the past 25 years. Alpine is a model for future oil developments as directional drilling, and other innovations minimize its environmental footprint. Alpine has no permanent road connecting it to other North Slope infrastructure; therefore, in the winter, an ice road is built connecting Kuparuk to Alpine to move supplies for the rest of the operating year. In any given winter season, more than 1,500 truckloads of modules, pipeline, and equipment are moved to Alpine over the ice road.
Spanning 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, NMS supports and provides food service, housekeeping, janitorial, water, and wastewater operations to pump stations along the pipeline, and facilities management to urban locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Valdez.
The pump stations are small, and the atmosphere resembles a close-knit family environment. The drive between pump stations can be several hours long, and line managers travel a great distance to ensure staff is supported and clients’ needs are met. The drive can be daunting, especially in winter conditions. It’s not unheard of for them to put several thousand miles on a vehicle in a single rotation. Our staff goes to great lengths to ensure Alyeska staff and contractors feel comfortable in their home away from home.
To the west, NMS supports Red Dog Mine’s main camp known as the PAC, the construction site, and the port site (located 57 miles from the main camp). The Mine, operated by Tech and owned by NANA, is located about 80 miles north of Kotzebue in the NANA region and is the world’s largest zinc mine. Here, NMS provides food service, housekeeping, and janitorial services to the mine employees.
The teams assigned to work remotely for the Camp Services group combined with the Security teams performing work in the same areas represent about 50% of NMS employees and supply the same percentage of the company revenue. Today, their work is as essential as when workers built the Trans Alaska Pipeline.