Crude oil pipelines are the foundation of our liquid energy supply. Crude oil is collected by pipelines from inland production areas like Texas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana, Alaska, and western Canada. Pipelines also move crude oil produced far offshore in coastal waters.
Crude also arrives in the U.S. from Mexico, Africa and the Middle East, and South America by marine tankers, often moving for the final leg of that trip from a U.S. port to a refinery by pipeline.
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 also provides the foundation for many products including plastics and petrochemicals in addition to the fuel for our cars, diesel fuel for trucks, and heating oil for our homes.
Each day, the United States uses millions of gallons of crude oil to support our daily lives. While many forms of transportation are used to move this product to storage hubs and refineries, pipelines remain the safest, most efficient and economical way to move this natural resource.
This is especially important because frequently crude oil 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.
Most crude oil pipelines are underground, except for pump stations and valves. Many people are familiar with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). It is the most photographed pipeline because significant portions of the system are above ground, which is unlike most pipelines. 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.
There are many places on the internet where you can learn more about the
petroleum industry and crude oil, such as the American Petroleum
Institute at www.api.org.