Underview of Pipelines
  How many pipelines are there?
  Crude Oil Pipelines
  Refined Products Pipelines
  Natural Gas Pipelines
  What do pipelines transport?
  Who operates the nation's pipelines?
  Who watches out for pipeline safety?
  How safe are pipelines?

Crude Oil Pipelines

Crude oil, also referred to as petroleum, is a resource that is drilled for throughout the world.

When refined and processed, crude oil provides the energy resources we have come to depend on in modern society. Crude oil provides the foundation for many products including plastics and petrochemicals in addition to the fuel for our cars and heating oil for our homes.

Each day, the United States uses billions of gallons of crude oil to support our daily lives. While many forms of transportation are used to move this product to marketplaces, pipelines remain the safest, most efficient and economical way to move this natural resource.

This is especially important because often times crude is produced in areas far away from major marketplaces where population and manufacturing centers are located. Pipelines permit the movement of large quantities of crude oil and product to these areas with little or no disruption to communities everywhere.

Many people are familiar with the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). It is the most photographed pipeline as it, unlike most pipelines, has significant portions of the system above ground. Crude oil is produced in Alaska, moves south on TAPS and then moves by tank ship to the West Coast. From the tank ship, the crude again moves by pipeline to refineries along the west coast of the U.S.

The network of crude oil pipelines in the U.S. is extensive. There are approximately 55,000 miles of crude oil trunk lines (usually 8 - 24 inches in diameter) in the U.S. that connect regional markets. The map below shows some of the major crude oil trunk lines in the U.S.

Source: Allegro Energy Group, 2001

The U.S. also has an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 miles of small gathering lines (usually 2 to 6 inches in diameter) located primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming with small systems in a number of other oil producing states. These small lines gather the oil from many wells, both onshore and offshore, and connect to larger trunk lines measuring from 8 to 24 inches in diameter.

Click here to learn more and view the complete report, How Pipelines Make the Oil Market Work, Allegro Energy Group, December 2001

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