What are the different types of pipelines?

The information on AboutPipelines.com focuses on transmission pipelines, which are owned and operated by members of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).

From the time oil and gas leave the ground, until they reach the final market destination, they are transported through several different types of pipelines:

Gathering pipelines move oil and gas from the wells in the ground to processing facilities. They can range from about the size of an empty paper towel roll (101 mm) to the size of a large pizza (304 mm).

Feeder pipelines move the product from processing facilities and storage tanks to the long-distance haulers of the system: transmission pipelines. They can range from about the size of a bagel (152 mm) to the size of a large pizza (304 mm).

Transmission pipelines are operated by CEPA members and transport 97 per cent of Canada’s crude oil and natural gas from producing regions to markets throughout Canada, the United States and for export around the world. They can range from about the size of an empty paper towel roll (101 mm) to about the size of a large bale of hay (1,212 mm), with the majority being between 254 mm and 457 mm.

Distribution pipelines are used by local distribution companies to deliver natural gas directly to homes and businesses. They can range from smaller than the size of a dime (12.7 mm) to 152.4 mm, which is about the diameter of a pop bottle.

feeder pipelines leading to large transmission pipelines

Once the product is processed, it’s moved through feeder pipelines to be distributed to large transmission pipelines. Photo courtesy of Pembina Pipelines.

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