Everyone knows the location of their local gas station; your home may be warmed by heating oil or natural gas; and many homes use natural gas for cooking. But did you know that these products – gasoline, home heating oil, and natural gas – travel long distances from refineries and natural gas plants to communities all over the nation through underground pipelines?
These pipelines are the unsung heroes of many utilities – water, sewer, telephone lines, liquid petroleum pipelines and natural gas pipelines – tucked under our streets. They safely go through neighborhoods and communities, stretch across farms, forests, deserts, and everywhere in between. These same pipelines provide fuel to generate electricity and the building blocks for fertilizers to increase crop production. Pipelines also collect crude oil from many rural areas to deliver to refineries and chemical plants to create all the products that come from petroleum and petrochemicals manufacturing.
Pipelines are the energy lifelines of almost every activity of everyday life. Do you enjoy taking a vacation? Have you had to fly to another state for any reason? You drive to the airport in your car. The gasoline was delivered by pipeline. You fly in an airplane that is powered by jet fuel. Jet fuel travels by pipeline to every major airport. You buy family necessities at the local grocery store, which is stocked by trucks powered by diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is also moved to local supply points by pipelines. You turn on the heater on a cold night, and may be using natural gas, heating oil, or propane, all of which are delivered by pipeline.
A pipeline near you might supply a refinery or gasoline distribution terminal nearby. Even destinations far away can support your community and way of life because of the vast distribution network that gets you the energy you need.
Energy pipelines – oil, natural gas, gasoline, and many chemicals as well – are part of the subterranean world, along with water lines, sewer lines, storm sewers, telephone lines, television cables, and electric lines.
Natural resources, like crude oil and natural gases, are the raw material for energy that the world consumes. These are found in completely different locations than where they are eventually processed or refined into fuels for our lives. They are also in very different locations from where they are consumed. While many forms of transportation are used to move these products to marketplaces; pipelines remain the safest, most efficient and economical way to move these natural resources.
America depends on a network of more than 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, nearly 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines to safely and efficiently move energy and raw materials to fuel our nation's economic engine. This system of pipelines serves as a national network to move the energy resources we need from production areas or ports of entry throughout North America to consumers, airports, military bases, population centers and industry every day.