Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods or material through
a pipe. The latest data from 2014 gives a total of slightly less than
2,175,000 miles (3,500,000 km) of pipeline in 120 countries of
the world. The United States had 65%, Russia had 8%, and Canada had
3%, thus 75% of all pipeline were in these three countries.
Pipeline and Gas Journal's worldwide survey figures indicate that
118,623 miles (190,905 km) of pipelines are planned and under
construction. Of these, 88,976 miles (143,193 km) represent
projects in the planning and design phase; 29,647 miles
(47,712 km) reflect pipelines in various stages of construction.
Liquids and gases are transported in pipelines and any chemically
stable substance can be sent through a pipeline. Pipelines exist
for the transport of crude and refined petroleum, fuels – such as
oil, natural gas and biofuels – and other fluids including sewage,
slurry, water, and beer. Pipelines are useful for transporting water
for drinking or irrigation over long distances when it needs to move
over hills, or where canals or channels are poor choices due to
considerations of evaporation, pollution, or environmental impact.
Pneumatic tubes using compressed air can be used to transport solid
Oil pipelines are made from steel or plastic tubes which are usually
buried. The oil is moved through the pipelines by pump stations along
Natural gas (and similar gaseous fuels) are lightly
pressurised into liquids known as Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs). Natural
gas pipelines are constructed of carbon steel.
transport is the transportation of hydrogen through a pipe. District
heating or teleheating systems use a network of insulated pipes which
transport heated water, pressurized hot water, or sometimes steam to
Pipelines conveying flammable or explosive material, such as natural
gas or oil, pose special safety concerns and there have been various
accidents. Pipelines can be the target of theft, vandalism, sabotage,
or even terrorist attacks. In war, pipelines are often the target of
1 Oil and natural gas
1.1 Growth of market
1.2 Construction and operation
3 Alcohol fuels
4 Coal and ore
7 Other systems
7.1 District heating
8 Marine pipelines
10 Development and planning
12.2 Leak detection systems
16 Pipelines and geopolitics
17 Hazard identification
18.1 Spill frequency-volume
Benzene fate and transport
18.3 Previous dilbit spill remediation difficulties
19.2 As targets
20 See also
22 External links
Oil and natural gas
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2014)
(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
List of oil pipelines
List of oil pipelines and List of natural gas pipelines
A "Pig" launcher/receiver, on the natural gas pipeline in Switzerland
It is uncertain when the first crude oil pipeline was built. Credit
for the development of pipeline transport is disputed,[citation
needed] with competing claims for
Vladimir Shukhov and the Branobel
company in the late 19th century, and the Oil
which first constructed a 2-inch (51 mm) wrought iron pipeline
over a 6-mile (9.7 km) track from an oil field in Pennsylvania to
a railroad station in Oil Creek, in the 1860s. Pipelines are generally
the most economical way to transport large quantities of oil, refined
oil products or natural gas over land.
Natural gas (and similar gaseous fuels) are lightly pressurized into
liquids knows as Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs). Small NGL processing
facilities can be located in oil fields so the butane and propane
liquid under light pressure of 125 pounds per square inch
(860 kPa), can be shipped by rail, truck or pipeline.
be used as a fuel in oil fields to heat various facilities used by the
oil drillers or equipment and trucks used in the oil patch. EG:
Propane will convert from a gas to a liquid under light pressure, 100
psi, give or take depending on temperature, and is pumped into cars
and trucks at less than 125 psi (860 kPa) at retail
stations. Pipelines and rail cars use about double that pressure to
pump at 250 psi (1,700 kPa).
The distance to ship propane to markets is much shorter, as thousands
of natural-gas processing plants are located in or near oil fields.
Many Bakken Basin oil companies in North Dakota, Montana,
Saskatchewan gas fields separate the NGLs in the field, allowing the
drillers to sell propane directly to small wholesalers, eliminating
the large refinery control of product and prices for propane or
The most recent major pipeline to start operating in North America, is
a TransCanada natural gas line going north across the Niagara region
bridges with Marcellus shale gas from Pennsylvania and others tied in
methane or natural gas sources, into the Canadian province of Ontario
as of the fall of 2012, supplying 16 percent of all the natural gas
used in Ontario.
Major Russian gas pipelines to Europe in 2009
This new US supplied natural gas displaces the natural gas formerly
shipped to Ontario from western Canada in Alberta and Manitoba, thus
dropping the government regulated pipeline shipping charges because of
the significantly shorter distance from gas source to consumer.
Compared to shipping by railroad, pipelines have lower cost per unit
and higher capacity. Pipelines are preferable to transportation by
truck for a number of reasons. Employment on completed pipelines
represents only "1% of that of the trucking industry."
To avoid delays and US government regulation, many small, medium and
large oil producers in North Dakota have decided to run an oil
pipeline north to Canada to meet up with a Canadian oil pipeline
shipping oil from west to east. This allows the Bakken Basin and Three
Forks oil producers to get higher negotiated prices for their oil
because they will not be restricted to just one wholesale market in
the US. The distance from the biggest oil patch in North Dakota, in
Williston, North Dakota, is only about 85 miles or 137 kilometers to
the Canada–US border and Manitoba. Mutual funds and joint ventures
are big investors in new oil and gas pipelines. In the fall of 2012,
the US began exporting propane to Europe, known as LPG, as wholesale
prices there are much higher than in North America. Additionally, a
pipeline is currently being constructed from North Dakota to Illinois,
commonly known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.
As more North American pipelines are built, even more exports of LNG,
propane, butane, and other natural gas products occur on all three US
coasts. To give insight, North Dakota Bakken region's oil production
has grown by 600% from 2007 to 2015. North Dakota oil companies are
shipping huge amounts of oil by tanker rail car as they can direct the
oil to the market that gives the best price, and rail cars can be used
to avoid a congested oil pipeline to get the oil to a different
pipeline in order to get the oil to market faster or to a different
less busy oil refinery. However, pipelines provide a cheaper means to
transport by volume.
Enbridge in Canada is applying to reverse an oil pipeline going from
east-to-west (Line 9) and expanding it and using it to ship western
Canadian bitumen oil eastward. From a presently rated 250,000
barrels equivalent per day pipeline, it will be expanded to between
one million to 1.3 million barrels per day. It will bring western oil
to refineries in Ontario, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quebec and New
York by early 2014. New Brunswick will also refine some of this
western Canadian crude and export some crude and refined oil to Europe
from its deep water oil ULCC loading port.
Although pipelines can be built under the sea, that process is
economically and technically demanding, so the majority of oil at sea
is transported by tanker ships. Similarly, it is often more
economically feasible to transport natural gas in the form of LNG,
however the break-even point between LNG and pipelines would depend on
the volume of natural gas and the distance it travels.
Sandpiper pipeline is proposed to transfer valuable oil
from Western North Dakota through northwestern Minnesota. The pipeline
will be 24-30 inches in diameter. It will carry over 300,000 barrels
of oil a day with a volatility of 32.
Growth of market
Gas pipe in the dry region of Antofagasta, Chile.
The market size for oil and gas pipeline construction experienced
tremendous growth prior to the economic downturn in 2008. After
faltering in 2009, demand for pipeline expansion and updating
increased the following year as energy production grew. By 2012,
almost 32,000 miles of North American pipeline were being planned or
under construction.. When pipelines are constrained, additional
pipeline product transportation options may include the use of drag
reducing agents, or by transporting product via truck or rail.
Construction and operation
Oil pipelines are made from steel or plastic tubes with inner diameter
typically from 4 to 48 inches (100 to 1,220 mm). Most pipelines
are typically buried at a depth of about 3 to 6 feet (0.91 to
1.83 m). To protect pipes from impact, abrasion, and corrosion, a
variety of methods are used. These can include wood lagging (wood
slats), concrete coating, rockshield, high-density polyethylene,
imported sand padding, and padding machines.
Crude oil contains varying amounts of paraffin wax and in colder
climates wax buildup may occur within a pipeline. Often these
pipelines are inspected and cleaned using pigging, the practice of
using devices known as "pigs" to perform various maintenance
operations on a pipeline. The devices are also known as "scrapers" or
"Go-devils". "Smart pigs" (also known as "intelligent" or
"intelligence" pigs) are used to detect anomalies in the pipe such as
dents, metal loss caused by corrosion, cracking or other mechanical
damage. These devices are launched from pig-launcher stations and
travel through the pipeline to be received at any other station
down-stream, either cleaning wax deposits and material that may have
accumulated inside the line or inspecting and recording the condition
of the line.
For natural gas, pipelines are constructed of carbon steel and vary in
size from 2 to 60 inches (51 to 1,524 mm) in diameter, depending
on the type of pipeline. The gas is pressurized by compressor stations
and is odorless unless mixed with a mercaptan odorant where required
by a regulating authority.
The world's longest ammonia pipeline from Russia to Ukraine
Highly toxic ammonia is theoretically the most dangerous substance to
be transported through long-distance pipelines.
However, incidents on ammonia-transporting lines are uncommon –
unlike on industrial ammonia-processing equipment. A
major ammonia pipeline is the Ukrainian Transammiak line connecting
TogliattiAzot facility in Russia to the exporting Black Sea-port
See also: Biobutanol
Pipelines have been used for transportation of ethanol in Brazil, and
there are several ethanol pipeline projects in Brazil and the United
States. The main problems related to the transport of ethanol by
pipeline are its corrosive nature and tendency to absorb water and
impurities in pipelines, which are not problems with oil and natural
gas. Insufficient volumes and cost-effectiveness are other
considerations limiting construction of ethanol pipelines.
Coal and ore
Slurry pipelines are sometimes used to transport coal or ore from
mines. The material to be transported is closely mixed with water
before being introduced to the pipeline; at the far end, the material
must be dried. One example is a 525-kilometre (326 mi) slurry
pipeline which is planned to transport iron ore from the Minas-Rio
mine (producing 26.5 million tonnes per year) to the Port of Açu in
Brazil. An existing example is the 85-kilometre (53 mi)
Slurry pipeline in Tasmania, Australia, possibly the
world's first when it was built in 1967. It includes a 366-metre
(1,201 ft) bridge span at 167 metres (548 ft) above the
Hydrogen pipeline transport
Hydrogen pipeline transport is a transportation of hydrogen through a
pipe as part of the hydrogen infrastructure.
transport is used to connect the point of hydrogen production or
delivery of hydrogen with the point of demand, with transport costs
similar to CNG, the technology is proven. Most hydrogen is
produced at the place of demand with every 50 to 100 miles
(160 km) an industrial production facility. The 1938
Rhine-Ruhr 240-kilometre (150 mi) hydrogen pipeline is still in
operation. As of 2004[update], there are 900 miles (1,400 km)
of low pressure hydrogen pipelines in the US and 930 miles
(1,500 km) in Europe.
Main article: Aqueduct (watercourse)
Los Angeles Aqueduct
Los Angeles Aqueduct in Antelope Valley.
Two millennia ago, the ancient Romans made use of large aqueducts to
transport water from higher elevations by building the aqueducts in
graduated segments that allowed gravity to push the water along until
it reached its destination. Hundreds of these were built throughout
Europe and elsewhere, and along with flour mills were considered the
lifeline of the Roman Empire. The ancient Chinese also made use of
channels and pipe systems for public works. The famous Han Dynasty
Zhang Rang (d. 189 AD) once ordered the engineer Bi
Lan to construct a series of square-pallet chain pumps outside the
capital city of Luoyang. These chain pumps serviced the imperial
palaces and living quarters of the capital city as the water lifted by
the chain pumps was brought in by a stoneware pipe system.
Pipelines are useful for transporting water for drinking or irrigation
over long distances when it needs to move over hills, or where canals
or channels are poor choices due to considerations of evaporation,
pollution, or environmental impact.
The 530 km (330 mi) Goldfields
Water Supply Scheme in
Western Australia using 750 mm (30 inch) pipe and completed
in 1903 was the largest water supply scheme of its time.
Examples of significant water pipelines in
South Australia are the
Morgan-Whyalla pipelne (completed 1944) and Mannum–Adelaide
(completed 1955) pipelines, both part of the larger Snowy Mountains
There are two
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California aqueducts, the Owens Valley
aqueduct (completed 1913) and the Second Los Angeles Aqueduct
(completed 1970) which also include extensive use of pipelines.
Great Manmade River
Great Manmade River of Libya supplies 3,680,000 cubic metres
(4,810,000 cu yd) of water each day to Tripoli, Benghazi,
Sirte, and several other cities in Libya. The pipeline is over 2,800
kilometres (1,700 mi) long, and is connected to wells tapping an
aquifer over 500 metres (1,600 ft) underground.
District heating pipeline in Austria with a length of 31 km 
Main article: District heating
District heating or teleheating systems consist of a network of
insulated feed and return pipes which transport heated water,
pressurized hot water, or sometimes steam to the customer. While steam
is hottest and may be used in industrial processes due to its higher
temperature, it is less efficient to produce and transport due to
greater heat losses. Heat transfer oils are generally not used for
economic and ecological reasons. The typical annual loss of thermal
energy through distribution is around 10%, as seen in Norway's
district heating network.
District heating pipelines are normally installed underground, with
some exceptions. Within the system, heat storage may be installed to
even out peak load demands. Heat is transferred into the central
heating of the dwellings through heat exchangers at heat substations,
without mixing of the fluids in either system.
Thor Pipeline in Randers, Denmark
Bars in the Veltins-Arena, a major football ground in Gelsenkirchen,
Germany, are interconnected by a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) long beer
Randers city in Denmark, the so-called Thor
was operated. Originally, copper pipes ran directly from the brewery,
but when the brewery moved out of the city in the 1990s, Thor Beer
replaced it with a giant tank.
A three-kilometer beer pipeline was completed in Bruges, Belgium in
September 2016 to reduce truck traffic on the city streets.
The village of
Hallstatt in Austria, which is known for its long
history of salt mining, claims to contain "the oldest industrial
pipeline in the world", dating back to 1595. It was constructed
from 13,000 hollowed-out tree trunks to transport brine 40 kilometres
(25 mi) from
Hallstatt to Ebensee.
Between 1978 and 1994, a 15 km milk pipeline ran between the
Dutch island of
Holwerd on the mainland, of which
8 km beneath the Wadden Sea. Every day, 30.000 litres of milk
produced on the island were transported to be processed on the
mainland. In 1994, the milk transport was abandoned.
Main article: Submarine pipeline
In places, a pipeline may have to cross water expanses, such as small
seas, straits and rivers. In many instances, they lie entirely on
the seabed. These pipelines are referred to as "marine" pipelines
(also, "submarine" or "offshore" pipelines). They are used primarily
to carry oil or gas, but transportation of water is also
important. In offshore projects, a distinction is made between a
"flowline" and a pipeline. The former is an intrafield
pipeline, in the sense that it is used to connect subsea wellheads,
manifolds and the platform within a particular development field. The
latter, sometimes referred to as an "export pipeline", is used to
bring the resource to shore. The construction and maintenance of
marine pipelines imply logistical challenges that are different from
those onland, mainly because of wave and current dynamics, along with
In general, pipelines can be classified in three categories depending
Group of smaller interconnected pipelines forming complex networks
with the purpose of bringing crude oil or natural gas from several
nearby wells to a treatment plant or processing facility. In this
group, pipelines are usually short- a couple hundred metres- and with
small diameters. Sub-sea pipelines for collecting product from deep
water production platforms are also considered gathering systems.
Mainly long pipes with large diameters, moving products (oil, gas,
refined products) between cities, countries and even continents. These
transportation networks include several compressor stations in gas
lines or pump stations for crude and multi-products pipelines.
Composed of several interconnected pipelines with small diameters,
used to take the products to the final consumer. Feeder lines to
distribute gas to homes and businesses downstream. Pipelines at
terminals for distributing products to tanks and storage facilities
are included in this groups.
Development and planning
When a pipeline is built, the construction project not only covers the
civil engineering work to lay the pipeline and build the
pump/compressor stations, it also has to cover all the work related to
the installation of the field devices that will support remote
The pipeline is routed along what is known as a "right of way".
Pipelines are generally developed and built using the following
Open season to determine market interest: Potential customers are
given the chance to sign up for part of the new pipeline's capacity
Route (right of way) selection
Pipeline design: The pipeline project may take a number of forms,
including the construction of a new pipeline, conversion of existing
pipeline from one fuel type to another, or improvements to facilities
on a current pipeline route.
Obtaining approval: Once the design is finalized and the first
pipeline customers have purchased their share of capacity, the project
must be approved by the relevant regulatory agencies.
Surveying the route
Clearing the route
Trenching – Main Route and Crossings (roads, rail, other pipes,
Installing the pipe
Installing valves, intersections, etc.
Covering the pipe and trench
Testing: Once construction is completed, the new pipeline is subjected
to tests to ensure its structural integrity. These may include
hydrostatic testing and line packing.
Russia has "Pipeline Troops" as part of the Rear Services, who are
trained to build and repair pipelines. Russia is the only country to
have Pipeline Troops.
Field devices are instrumentation, data gathering units and
communication systems. The field instrumentation includes flow,
pressure, and temperature gauges/transmitters, and other devices to
measure the relevant data required. These instruments are installed
along the pipeline on some specific locations, such as injection or
delivery stations, pump stations (liquid pipelines) or compressor
stations (gas pipelines), and block valve stations.
The information measured by these field instruments is then gathered
in local remote terminal units (RTU) that transfer the field data to a
central location in real time using communication systems, such as
satellite channels, microwave links, or cellular phone connections.
Pipelines are controlled and operated remotely, from what is usually
known as the "Main Control Room". In this center, all the data related
to field measurement is consolidated in one central database. The data
is received from multiple RTUs along the pipeline. It is common to
find RTUs installed at every station along the pipeline.
SCADA System for pipelines.
SCADA system at the Main Control Room receives all the field data
and presents it to the pipeline operator through a set of screens or
Human Machine Interface, showing the operational conditions of the
pipeline. The operator can monitor the hydraulic conditions of the
line, as well as send operational commands (open/close valves, turn
on/off compressors or pumps, change setpoints, etc.) through the SCADA
system to the field.
To optimize and secure the operation of these assets, some pipeline
companies are using what is called "Advanced Pipeline Applications",
which are software tools installed on top of the
SCADA system, that
provide extended functionality to perform leak detection, leak
location, batch tracking (liquid lines), pig tracking, composition
tracking, predictive modeling, look ahead modeling, and operator
The Trans Alaska Pipeline crossing under the
Tanana River and over
ridge of the Alaska Range
Pipeline networks are composed of several pieces of equipment that
operate together to move products from location to location. The main
elements of a pipeline system are:
Initial injection station
Known also as "supply" or "inlet" station, is the beginning of the
system, where the product is injected into the line. Storage
facilities, pumps or compressors are usually located at these
Pumps for liquid pipelines and compressors for gas pipelines, are
located along the line to move the product through the pipeline. The
location of these stations is defined by the topography of the
terrain, the type of product being transported, or operational
conditions of the network.
Partial delivery station
Known also as "intermediate stations", these facilities allow the
pipeline operator to deliver part of the product being transported.
Block valve station
These are the first line of protection for pipelines. With these
valves the operator can isolate any segment of the line for
maintenance work or isolate a rupture or leak. Block valve stations
are usually located every 20 to 30 miles (48 km), depending on
the type of pipeline. Even though it is not a design rule, it is a
very usual practice in liquid pipelines. The location of these
stations depends exclusively on the nature of the product being
transported, the trajectory of the pipeline and/or the operational
conditions of the line.
This is a special type of valve station, where the operator can
release some of the pressure from the line. Regulators are usually
located at the downhill side of a peak.
Final delivery station
Known also as "outlet" stations or terminals, this is where the
product will be distributed to the consumer. It could be a tank
terminal for liquid pipelines or a connection to a distribution
network for gas pipelines.
Leak detection systems
Since oil and gas pipelines are an important asset of the economic
development of almost any country, it has been required either by
government regulations or internal policies to ensure the safety of
the assets, and the population and environment where these pipelines
Pipeline companies face government regulation, environmental
constraints and social situations. Government regulations may define
minimum staff to run the operation, operator training requirements,
pipeline facilities, technology and applications required to ensure
operational safety. For example, in the State of Washington it is
mandatory for pipeline operators to be able to detect and locate leaks
of 8 percent of maximum flow within fifteen minutes or less. Social
factors also affect the operation of pipelines. Product theft is
sometimes also a problem for pipeline companies. In this case, the
detection levels should be under two percent of maximum flow, with a
high expectation for location accuracy.
Various technologies and strategies have been implemented for
monitoring pipelines, from physically walking the lines to satellite
surveillance. The most common technology to protect pipelines from
occasional leaks is Computational Pipeline Monitoring or CPM. CPM
takes information from the field related to pressures, flows, and
temperatures to estimate the hydraulic behavior of the product being
transported. Once the estimation is completed, the results are
compared to other field references to detect the presence of an
anomaly or unexpected situation, which may be related to a leak.
American Petroleum Institute
American Petroleum Institute has published several articles
related to the performance of CPM in liquids pipelines. The API
RAM 1130 – Computational pipeline monitoring for liquids pipelines
API 1149 – Pipeline variable uncertainties & their effects on
Where a pipeline containing passes under a road or railway, it is
usually enclosed in a protective casing. This casing is vented to the
atmosphere to prevent the build-up of flammable gases or corrosive
substances, and to allow the air inside the casing to be sampled to
detect leaks. The casing vent, a pipe protruding from the ground,
often doubles as a warning marker called a casing vent marker.
Pipelines are generally laid underground because temperature is less
variable. Because pipelines are usually metal, this helps to reduce
the expansion and shrinkage that can occur with weather changes.
However, in some cases it is necessary to cross a valley or a river on
a pipeline bridge. Pipelines for centralized heating systems are often
laid on the ground or overhead. Pipelines for petroleum running
through permafrost areas as Trans-Alaska-Pipeline are often run
overhead in order to avoid melting the frozen ground by hot petroleum
which would result in sinking the pipeline in the ground.
Maintenance of pipelines includes checking cathodic protection levels
for the proper range, surveillance for construction, erosion, or leaks
by foot, land vehicle, boat, or air, and running cleaning pigs, when
there is anything carried in the pipeline that is corrosive.
US pipeline maintenance rules are covered in Code of Federal
Regulations(CFR) sections, 49 CFR 192 for natural gas pipelines, and
49 CFR 195 for petroleum liquid pipelines.
An underground petroleum pipeline running through a park
In the US, onshore and offshore pipelines used to transport oil and
gas are regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA). Certain offshore pipelines used to produce oil
and gas are regulated by the
Minerals Management Service
Minerals Management Service (MMS). In
Canada, pipelines are regulated by either the provincial regulators
or, if they cross provincial boundaries or the Canada–US border, by
National Energy Board (NEB). Government regulations in Canada and
the United States require that buried fuel pipelines must be protected
from corrosion. Often, the most economical method of corrosion control
is by use of pipeline coating in conjunction with cathodic protection
and technology to monitor the pipeline. Above ground, cathodic
protection is not an option. The coating is the only external
Pipelines and geopolitics
Pipelines for major energy resources (petroleum and natural gas) are
not merely an element of trade. They connect to issues of geopolitics
and international security as well, and the construction, placement,
and control of oil and gas pipelines often figure prominently in state
interests and actions. A notable example of pipeline politics occurred
at the beginning of the year 2009, wherein a dispute between Russia
Ukraine ostensibly over pricing led to a major political crisis.
Russian state-owned gas company
Gazprom cut off natural gas supplies
Ukraine after talks between it and the Ukrainian government fell
through. In addition to cutting off supplies to Ukraine, Russian gas
flowing through Ukraine—which included nearly all supplies to
Southeastern Europe and some supplies to Central and Western
Europe—was cut off, creating a major crisis in several countries
heavily dependent on Russian gas as fuel. Russia was accused of using
the dispute as leverage in its attempt to keep other powers, and
particularly the European Union, from interfering in its "near
Oil and gas pipelines also figure prominently in the politics of
Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Because the solvent fraction of dilbit typically comprises volatile
aromatics like naptha and benzene, reasonably rapid carrier
vaporization can be expected to follow an above-ground
spill—ostensibly enabling timely intervention by leaving only a
viscous residue that is slow to migrate. Effective protocols to
minimize exposure to petrochemical vapours are well-established, and
oil spilled from the pipeline would be unlikely to reach the aquifer
unless incomplete remediation were followed by the introduction of
another carrier (e.g. a series of torrential downpours).
The introduction of benzene and other volatile organic compounds
(collectively BTEX) to the subterranean environment compounds the
threat posed by a pipeline leak. Particularly if followed by rain, a
pipeline breach would result in
BTEX dissolution and equilibration of
benzene in water, followed by percolation of the admixture into the
Benzene can cause many health problems and is carcinogenic
Maximum Contaminant Level
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set at 5 μg/L for potable
water. Although it is not well studied, single benzene exposure
events have been linked to acute carcinogenesis. Additionally, the
exposure of livestock, mainly cattle, to benzene has been shown to
cause many health issues, such as neurotoxicity, fetal damage and
The entire surface of an above-ground pipeline can be directly
examined for material breach. Pooled petroleum is unambiguous, readily
spotted, and indicates the location of required repairs. Because the
effectiveness of remote inspection is limited by the cost of
monitoring equipment, gaps between sensors, and data that requires
interpretation, small leaks in buried pipe can sometimes go undetected
Pipeline developers do not always prioritize effective surveillance
against leaks. Buried pipes draw fewer complaints. They are insulated
from extremes in ambient temperature, they are shielded from
ultraviolet rays, and they are less exposed to photodegradation.
Buried pipes are isolated from airborne debris, electrical storms,
tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, and acid rain. They are protected from
nesting birds, rutting mammals, and stray buckshot. Buried pipe is
less vulnerable to accident damage (e.g. automobile collisions) and
less accessible to vandals, saboteurs, and terrorists.
Previous work has shown that a 'worst-case exposure scenario' can
be limited to a specific set of conditions. Based on the advanced
detection methods and pipeline shut-off SOP developed by TransCanada,
the risk of a substantive or large release over a short period of time
contaminating groundwater with benzene is unlikely. Detection,
shutoff, and remediation procedures would limit the dissolution and
transport of benzene. Therefore, the exposure of benzene would be
limited to leaks that are below the limit of detection and go
unnoticed for extended periods of time. Leak detection is
monitored through a
SCADA system that assesses pressure and volume
flow every 5 seconds. A pinhole leak that releases small quantities
that cannot be detected by the
SCADA system (<1.5% flow) could
accumulate into a substantive spill. Detection of pinhole leaks
would come from a visual or olfactory inspection, aerial surveying, or
mass-balance inconsistencies. It is assumed that pinhole leaks are
discovered within the 14-day inspection interval, however snow cover
and location (e.g. remote, deep) could delay detection. Benzene
typically makes up 0.1 – 1.0% of oil and will have varying degrees
of volatility and dissolution based on environmental factors.
Even with pipeline leak volumes within
SCADA detection limits,
sometimes pipeline leaks are misinterpreted by pipeline operators to
be pump malfunctions, or other problems. The
Enbridge Line 6B crude
oil pipeline failure in
Marshall, Michigan on July 25, 2010 was
thought by operators in Edmonton to be from column separation of the
dilbit in that pipeline. The leak in wetlands along the Kalamazoo
River was only confirmed 17 hours after it happened by a local gas
company employee in Michigan.
Although the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
(PHMSA) has standard baseline incident frequencies to estimate the
number of spills, TransCanada altered these assumptions based on
improved pipeline design, operation, and safety. Whether these
adjustments are justified is debatable as these assumptions resulted
in a nearly 10-fold decrease in spill estimates. Given that the
pipeline crosses 247 miles of the Ogallala Aquifer, or 14.5% of
the entire pipeline length, and the 50-year life of the entire
pipeline is expected to have between 11 – 91 spills,
approximately 1.6 – 13.2 spills can be expected to occur over the
aquifer. An estimate of 13.2 spills over the aquifer, each lasting 14
days, results in 184 days of potential exposure over the 50 year
lifetime of the pipeline. In the reduced-scope worst-case exposure
scenario, the volume of a pinhole leak at 1.5% of max flow-rate for 14
days has been estimated at 189,000 barrels or 7.9 million gallons of
oil. According to PHMSA's incident database, only 0.5% of all
spills in the last 10 years were >10,000 barrels.
Benzene fate and transport
Scenario for benzene leaching to groundwater
Benzene is considered a light aromatic hydrocarbon with high
solubility and high volatility.[clarification needed] It is unclear
how temperature and depth would impact the volatility of benzene, so
assumptions have been made that benzene in oil (1% weight by volume)
would not volatilize before equilibrating with water. Using the
octanol-water partition coefficient and a 100-year precipitation event
for the area, a worst-case estimate of 75 mg/L of benzene is
anticipated to flow toward the aquifer. The actual movement of the
plume through groundwater systems is not well described, although one
estimate is that up to 4.9 billion gallons of water in the Ogallala
Aquifer could become contaminated with benzene at concentrations above
the MCL. The Final Environmental Impact Statement from the State
Department does not include a quantitative analysis because it assumed
that most benzene will volatilize.
Previous dilbit spill remediation difficulties
One of the major concerns about dilbit is the difficulty in cleaning
it up. Enbridge's Line 6B, a 30-inch crude oil pipeline, ruptured
Marshall, Michigan on July 25, 2010, mentioned above, spilled at
least 843,000 gallons of dilbit. After detection of the leak,
booms and vacuum trucks were deployed. Heavy rains caused the river to
overtop existing dams, and carried dilbit 30 miles downstream before
the spill was contained. Remediation work collected over 1.1 million
gallons of oil and almost 200,000 cubic yards of oil-contaminated
sediment and debris from the Kalamazoo River system. However, oil was
still being found in affected waters in October 2012.
For a more comprehensive list, see List of pipeline accidents.
Pipelines conveying flammable or explosive material, such as natural
gas or oil, pose special safety concerns.
1965 – A 32-inch gas transmission pipeline, north of Natchitoches,
Louisiana, belonging to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline exploded and burned
from stress corrosion cracking failure on March 4, killing 17 people.
At least 9 others were injured, and 7 homes 450 feet from the rupture
were destroyed. This accident, and others of the era, led
then-President Lyndon B. Johnson to call for the formation of a
national pipeline safety agency in 1967. The same pipeline had also
had an explosion on May 9, 1955, just 930 feet (280 m) from the 1965
June 16, 1976 – A gasoline pipeline was ruptured by a road
construction crew in Los Angeles, California.
Gasoline sprayed across
the area, and soon ignited, killing 9, and injuring at least 14
others. Confusion over the depth of the pipeline in the construction
area seemed to be a factor in the accident.
June 4, 1989 – The
Ufa train disaster: Sparks from two passing
trains detonated gas leaking from a LPG pipeline near Ufa, Russia. At
least 575 people were reported killed.
October 17, 1998 – 1998 Jesse pipeline explosion: A petroleum
pipeline exploded at Jesse on the Niger Delta in Nigeria, killing
about 1,200 villagers, some of whom were scavenging gasoline.
June 10, 1999 – A pipeline rupture in a
Bellingham, Washington park
led to the release of 277,200 gallons of gasoline. The gasoline was
ignited, causing an explosion that killed two children and one adult.
Misoperation of the pipeline and a previously damaged section of the
pipe that was not detected before were identified as causing the
August 19, 2000 – A natural gas pipeline rupture and fire near
Carlsbad, New Mexico; this explosion and fire killed 12 members of an
extended family. The cause was due to severe internal corrosion of the
July 30, 2004 – A major natural gas pipeline exploded in
Ghislenghien, Belgium near
Ath (thirty kilometres southwest of
Brussels), killing at least 24 people and leaving 132 wounded, some
May 12, 2006 – An oil pipeline ruptured outside Lagos, Nigeria. Up
to 200 people may have been killed. See
Nigeria oil blast.
November 1, 2007 – A propane pipeline exploded near Carmichael,
Mississippi, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Meridian,
Mississippi. Two people were killed instantly and an additional four
were injured. Several homes were destroyed and sixty families were
displaced. The pipeline is owned by Enterprise Products Partners LP,
and runs from Mont Belvieu, Texas, to Apex, North Carolina. Inability
to find flaws in pre-1971 ERW seam welded pipe flaws was a
contributing factor to the accident.
September 9, 2010 – 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion: A 30-inch
diameter high pressure natural gas pipeline owned by Pacific Gas &
Electric exploded in the Crestmoor residential neighborhood 2 mi
(3.2 km) west of San Francisco International Airport, killing 8,
injuring 58, and destroying 38 homes. Poor quality control of the pipe
used & of the construction were cited as factors in the
June 27, 2014 – An explosion occurred after a natural gas pipe line
ruptured in Nagaram village, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh,
India causing 16 deaths and destroying "scores of homes".
July 31, 2014 – On the night of July 31, a series of explosions
originating in underground gas pipelines occurred in the city of
Kaohsiung. Leaking gas filled the sewers along several major
thoroughfares and the resulting explosions turned several kilometers
of road surface into deep trenches, sending vehicles and debris high
into the air and igniting fires over a large area. At least 32 people
were killed and 321 injured.
Pipelines can be the target of vandalism, sabotage, or even terrorist
attacks. In war, pipelines are often the target of military attacks,
as destruction of pipelines can seriously disrupt enemy logistics.
Lists of pipelines
Black powder in gas pipelines
Central gas system
Geomagnetically induced current
Geomagnetically induced current (GIC)
Hydraulically activated pipeline pigging
Hydrogen pipeline transport
List of countries by total length of pipelines
List of natural gas pipelines
List of pipeline accidents
Natural gas pipeline system in the United States
Gas networks simulation
Pneumatic tube, a method for sending documents and other solid
materials in capsules through a tube
Reinforced thermoplastic pipe
Ukraine gas disputes
Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act
^ a b "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency".
www.cia.gov. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
^ "Pipeline transport". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
^ Waldman, Jonathan (6 July 2017). "How the Oil Pipeline Began".
Nautilus (science magazine). Retrieved 6 July 2017.
^ "Oil Pipeline Logistics" (PDF). Cepac.cheme.cmu.edu. Retrieved
^ Drilling Productivity Report (PDF) (Report). U.S. Energy Information
Administration. November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:58 PM EST (2014-01-17). "Line 9:
Journey along the pipeline Toronto Star". Thestar.com. Retrieved
2015-01-28. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Ulvestad, Marte; Overland, Indra (2012). "
Natural gas and CO2 price
variation: Impact on the relative cost-efficiency of LNG and
pipelines". "International Journal of Environmental Studies". 69 (3):
Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline". Honorearth.org. Retrieved
^ "Oil & Gas Pipeline Construction in the U.S.: Market Research
Report," November 2012, IBISWorld.
^ "2012 Worldwide Pipeline Construction Report," Pipeline and Gas
Journal 239 (1). January 2012.
^ Mohitpour, Mo (2003). Pipeline Design and Construction: A Practical
Approach. ASME Press. ISBN 978-0791802021.
^ go-devil – definition of go-devil by the Free Online Dictionary,
Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
^ a b James MacPherson (2007-11-18). "Ethanol makers consider
coast-to-coast pipeline". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
^ a b John Whims (August 2002). "Pipeline Considerations for Ethanol"
(PDF). Kansas State University. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
^ "Ethanol pipeline places the cart before the horse". The Daily
Iowan. 2008-08-24. Archived from the original on 2008-10-06. Retrieved
^ "Project Profiles, Minas-Rio". 2010-12-12. Retrieved
^ "The Savage River
Slurry Pipeline – The Australian Pipeliner".
January 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved
^ "Savage River Pipeline Bridge – Highestbridges.com". 2009-12-17.
Hydrogen Transmission Pipelines" (PDF).
Leightyfoundation.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-10.
Hydrogen Pipeline Working Group Workshop" (PDF).
Eere.energy.gov. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03.
^  Archived June 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "The Technological Steps of
Hydrogen Introduction" (PDF).
Storhy.net. p. 24. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
^ a b Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China:
Volume 4, Part 2. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd. p. 33.
^ Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 345–46.
^ Mephan Ferguson Australian Dictionary of Biography(online version)
^ The Forrest family Dynasties, ABC. Retrieved 17 September 2006.
Adelaide Celebrations". SA Water. Retrieved
^ "GMR (Great Man-Made River)
Water Supply Project, Libya".
water-technology.net. Retrieved Apr 15, 2012.
^ Andreas Oberhammer; The longest heat transfer pipeline in Austria
Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. Paper in German. Retrieved
Water Resources and Energy Directorate" (PDF). Archived
from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
Beer Pipeline Becomes Reality". September 15, 2016.
^ Billie Ann Lopez. "Hallstatt's White Gold – Salt". Archived from
the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-05-15.
^ See the article
Hallstatt for details and references.
^ Amelandse melk niet meer door Waddenzeepijp, Reformatorisch Dagblad
20 January 1994.
^ a b c Palmer & King, pp. 2–3
^ a b Dean, p. 338
^ Bai & Bai, p. 22
^ "Natural Gas Pipeline Development and Expansion," U.S. Energy
Information Administration, Retrieved December 12, 2012.
^ "Russlands Militär übt für möglichen US-Angriff auf Iran" (in
German). Ria Novosti. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January
^ Pipeline Safety, CONSOL Energy, accessed 2015-05-13
^ Saxon, Carina (2016). Oil and Gas Pipelines. Gale.
pp. 636–639. ISBN 9781410317513.
^ EPA. "Basic Information about
Benzene in Drinking Water".
^ Calabrese, EJ; Blain, RB (1999). "The single exposure carcinogen
database: assessing the circumstances under which a single exposure to
a carcinogen can cause cancer". Toxicological Sciences. 50 (2):
^ Pattanayek, M. & DeShields, B. "Characterizing Risks to
Petroleum Hydrocarbons" (PDF). Blasland, Bouck, and
Lee, Inc. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
^ a b c d e f g h Stansbury, John. "Analysis of Frequency, Magnitude
and Consequence of Worst-Case Spills From the Proposed Keystone XL
Pipeline" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-17.
^ a b c d e US State Dept. "Potential Releases From Project
Construction and Operation and Environmental Consequence Analysis"
(PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2011.
^ US State Dept. "Environmental Analysis:
Water Resources" (PDF).
Retrieved 2 November 2011.
^ PHMSA. "Incident Statistics". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
^ "Kalamazoo River Spill Yields Record Fine", Living on Earth, July 6,
2012. Lisa Song, a reporter for Inside Climate News, interviewed by
Bruce Gellerman. Retrieved 2013-01-01.
^  Archived September 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
^ "More Work Needed to Clean up
Enbridge Oil Spill in Kalamazoo
River", US EPA, October 3, 2012.
^ "Natchitoches, LA Gas Pipeline Explosion, Mar 1965". Retrieved 30
^ "Google News Archive Search". The Press-Courier. Retrieved 30
^ Webster B. Todd, Jr. (31 January 1977). "Safety Recommendations
P-76-87 through 90" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to Mr. C. D. Mims.
Washington DC: National Transportation Safety Board. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ Pipeline Accident Report: Pipeline Rupture and Subsequent Fire in
Bellingham, Washington, June 10, 1999 (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC:
National Transportation Safety Board. 2002. Archived from the original
(PDF) on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ Pipeline Accident Report: Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture and Fire Near
Carlsbad, New Mexico, August 19, 2000 (PDF) (Report). Washington,
D.C.: National Transportation Safety Board. 2003. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ "Clarke County Explosion Kills Two, Destroys Homes". Retrieved 30
^ Pipeline Accident Report: Rupture of Hazardous Liquid Pipeline With
Release and Ignition of Propane, Carmichael, Mississippi, November 1,
2007 (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: National Transportation Safety
Board. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2013.
Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ Pipeline Accident Report: Pacific Gas and Electric Company Natural
Gas Transmission Pipeline Rupture and Fire, San Bruno, California,
September 9, 2010 (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: National
Transportation Safety Board. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on
11 June 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
^ "Breaking News, India, World, Bollywood, Sports, Business,
Technology". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
^ "Taiwan explosions probe focuses on petrochem firm". Yahoo News. 2
August 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
[Casualties climb to 28 people in
Kaohsiung gas explosion, 286
SET News (in Chinese). 2014. Retrieved 30 September
Tubb, Rita. "2012 Worldwide Pipeline Construction" (PDF).
www.api.org/. Oildom Publishing Company of Texas. Archived from the
original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pipeline transport.
Pipeline news and industry magazine[permanent dead link]
Pipeline Politics in Asia: The Intersection of Demand, Energy Markets,
and Supply Routes, by Mikkal E. Herberg et al. (National Bureau of
Asian Research, 2010)
The Dolphin Project: The Development of a Gulf Gas Initiative, by
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies Jan 2008 Working
Paper NG #22
UK - Linewatch - a joint awareness initiative between 14 oil and gas
"Submarine Gas Pipe Line Taps Undersea Wealth" November 1951 article
about first undersea gas pipeline constructed in the US and the
"The Marvels Of Underground Oil Railroads" Popular Science April 1937
Construction and delivery of compressor stations for a gas pipeline in
the Soviet Union by AEG (company video from the 1970s with subtitles)
Gas Pipeline Safety: Guidance and More Information Needed before Using
Risk-Based Reassessment Intervals: Report to Congressional Committees
Government Accountability Office
OPEC Reference Basket
West Texas Intermediate
Western Canadian Select
Price (of gasoline and diesel)
Integrated asset modelling
Seismic to simulation
Reflection seismology (Seismic inversion)
Completion (Squeeze job)
Directional drilling (Geosteering)
Drilling fluid (invasion)
Drill stem test
Petroleum fiscal regime
Production sharing agreements
Submersible pump (ESP)
Enhanced oil recovery
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
1967 Oil Embargo
1973 oil crisis
1979 energy crisis
1980s oil glut
1990 oil price shock
2000s energy crisis
2010s oil glut
History of the petroleum industry
Oil market timelines
List of natural gas fields
List of oil fields
East Midlands Oil Province
Gulf of Mexico
Prudhoe Bay Oil Field
Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin
Oil shale gas
Companies and organisations
Royal Dutch Shell
Iraq National Oil Company
Indian Oil Corporation
PKN Orlen (Poland)
Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia)
Compañía Española de Petróleos
Port Harcourt Refining Company
Amec Foster Wheeler
Chicago Bridge & Iron Company
China Oilfield Services
GE Oil & Gas
National Oilwell Varco
International Association of Oil & Gas Producers
International Energy Agency