Tuesday, February 14, 2017
More On Pipelines. Where Are They And What Do They Carry?
The map above shows major crude oil, refined products and
highly volatile liquids pipelines in the U.S.
Pipelines exist almost everywhere. Natural gas is delivered
directly to homes in relatively small diameter distribution
lines buried under the street and even your own yard. Larger
cross-country transmission pipelines delivering gasoline, home
heating oil, or moving crude oil or natural gas are actually
easier to find.
Nearly the entire mainline pipe is buried, but other pipeline
components such as pump stations are above ground. Some
lines are as short as a mile, while others may extend
1,000 miles or more.
Although a large number of pipeline systems cove
r distances similar to these, not all petroleum markets
are as distant from the point of supply as others. Some
pipelines start from ports, such as San Diego or San
Francisco and serve inland areas in California and the
southwestern U.S. region. Each region of the country
has some unique aspects. Very few pipelines actually
cross the highest parts of the Rocky Mountains since the
distances are long and the population centers small. But
smaller refineries and regional pipelines serve these areas
The United States has the largest network of energy
pipelines in the world, with more than 2.4 million miles of pipe.
The network of crude oil pipelines in the U.S. is extensive.
There are approximately 72,000 miles of crude oil lines
in the U.S. that connect regional markets.
Pipeline companies keep in touch with local emergency
responders along pipeline rights-of-way and work with,
and sometimes even train with fire departments or
hazardous materials units.
One useful source of pipeline location information is the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). The NPMS
shows pipelines at the county by county scale.
Government officials and emergency response officials
have access to information at a more detailed scale.