Pipelines play a critical role in our day to day lives. They are around us, and they are used to bring water, oil and natural gas to our areas of residence. Pipelines are also used to take away waste products from our homes i.e. sewage and excess water.
But how do gases and fluids pass through the pipeline network? For gases and oil to pass, there must be an elaborate and extensive transportation system. Oil and gas require different approaches for effective transportation within a pipeline as explained below.
What is an oil pipeline?
Liquid petroleum pipelines or oil pipelines are an interconnection of cylinders that are made of metal or plastic and later used to flow liquids. When the liquid product begins its journey, it has significant force, but the product loses the momentum over time and distance. To overcome this, an oil pipeline has pumping stations strategically positioned throughout the length of the pipeline.
How does an oil pipeline work, and how can a pipeline transport gas?
The primary function of a pumping station is to adjust the pressure, pump the liquid along the line while monitoring the flow. Pumping stations increase the throughput of the pipeline and can help push the product through difficult sections i.e. a mountain range.
Gas can also be transported through a pipeline but with different mechanics as compared to an oil pipeline. A natural gas transportation system consists of complex pipeline networks. Instead of a pumping station, gas pipelines have compressor stations. These stations ensure that the gas remains pressurised along the pipeline to reach its destination.