Pipelines are metal or plastic tubes of varying sizes used to transport crude oil, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids from production areas to refineries and other processing facilities all around the world. Pipelines transport billions of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products each year. These liquids are moved through pipelines by pumping stations placed intermittently along the line. 

There are two main types of energy pipelines: liquid petroleum pipelines and natural gas pipelines. Liquid petroleum pipelines carry materials like crude oil and refined petroleum products. Natural gas pipelines carry natural gas, usually to homes and businesses. In the United States alone, there are roughly 200,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines and 2.5 million miles of natural gas pipelines crisscrossing the nation. 

If oil and gas is the lifeblood of our mobile world, then pipelines are the arteries and veins. While these assets are necessary for the continued expansion of the global oil and gas network, they do pose significant challenges. Pipelines can be hundreds, if not thousands of miles long, and not only travel under oceans, rivers, lakes, and mountains, but directly under populated towns and cities. This makes proper pipeline integrity management imperative. Pipeline construction, maintenance, inspection, and cleaning must all be performed using best practices and advanced technologies to ensure they continue to operate safely and reliably.  Advanced pigging and in-line inspection techniques should be utilized. Cathodic protection and coatings are also important for protecting pipelines from corrosion and other forms of degradation.


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