Pipelines are pipes, usually underground, that transport and distribute fluids. When discussing pipelines in an energy context, the fluids are usually either oil, oil products and natural gas. If hydrogen fuel gets extensively developed, pipelines will be needed to transport this secondary fuel. Outside of an energy context, pipelines transport other fluids like water.
Types of Pipelines
- Gathering Lines: These lines are 10-30 centimeters in diameter, and work to transport natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids short distances. They exist mainly to gather products from wells and move them for processing.
- Feeder Lines: Feeder lines move crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids from storage tanks and processing facilities to transmission pipelines.
- Transmission Pipelines: These can range from 10 centimeters in diameter to over a meter. They carry natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, and refined products (depending on whether they are liquids or natural gas pipelines). These transport petroleum products long distances, including over international boundaries.
- Distribution Pipelines: These range in diameter from 1-15 centimeters and are used to distribute natural gas to homes and businesses.