The port was the only ice-free port in northern Russia so it was strategically important.
Valdez is the most northerly ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere.
It is one of the few ice-free ports in northernmost Europe, and the largest in Lithuania.
It is a usually ice-free port on the Baltic Sea.
Sixty miles beyond is Murmansk, Russia's ice-free port in the north.
Plans were quickly made to build a pipeline to bring the oil to an ice-free port so it culd be shipped south.
They also desired Norway for its ice-free ports.
Importantly, the annexation gave Lithuania control of a year-round ice-free Baltic port.
The ice-free port is a contributing factor.
The military was looking for an ice-free, year-round port, close to Anchorage but largely hidden from view.