Pipeline Transportation:Types, Advantages and Disadvantages of Pipeline Transport

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What is pipeline Transportation?

Pipeline transportation is one of themodes of transport that involves the use of hollow pipes in the transportation of water, crude oil, (petroleum), biofuels and gas. This mode of transportation is safer and cheaper than using tankers or trailers in the transportation of these liquids.

Pipelines where originally used only to carry water; they were very useful for transporting water for drinking or for irrigation over long distances when it needs to move over hills or where canals or channels where poorly developed due to considerations of evaporation, pollution, or environmental impact. However, their uses today are beyond just the transportation of water, pipelines are majorly used to transport a variety of commodities like oil, natural gas, milk, chemicals and heavier gas products like propane and butane and even some solids like coal (in a liquidified form known as Slurry). Of all the mentioned commodities, oil and natural gas are by far the most important, especially in North America where pipeline development is more advanced than in anywhere else.

There are 200,000km of oil trunk line exits and over 450,000km of natural gas lines both figures including great lengths of gathering and local-distribution pipes. The longest single pipeline, however, is in Russia where the Friendship Pipeline carries oil across 4828km from the Ural-Volga region to the satellite states of Eastern Europe.

Types of Pipelines Transportation

  1. Oil and gas pipelines
  2. Slurry pipelines
  3. Water and sewer pipelines
  4. Beer pipelines
  5. Hydrogen pipeline
  6. Pipelines for other liquids/solid particles using air

Oil and gas pipelines: basically, oil and natural gas are moved from the place of production to the refinery and then back to the market, all these movements are by the use of pipelines. However, oil and gas can also be transported using other means such as truck, train, or barge as they are efficient, but these involve high cost and risk. While gas collection and transmission lines are made of steel, most distribution lines (i.e. smaller lines connecting from the main or transmission lines to customers) built in the United States since 1980 use flexible plastic pipes, and they are easy to lay and do not corrode.

Slurry pipelines: Aslurry pipelineis a specially constructed pipeline for transporting of ores, such as coal, iron, or mining waste- calledtailings, over long distances. A mixture of the ore concentrate and water, calledslurry is pumped to its destination and the water is filtered out. Due to the abrasive properties ofslurry, the pipelines can be lined withhigh-density polyethylene (HDPE). Slurry pipelines are used as an alternative to railroad transportation when mines are located in remote and inaccessible areas. These types of pipelines offer an economic advantage over railroad transport and much less noise disturbance to the environment, particularly when mines are in extremely remote areas.

Water and sewer pipelines: water pipelines are long tubes constructed to transport drinking water from the treatment plants to consumers. The varieties of water pipelines include large diameter main pipes, which supply entire towns, smaller branch lines that supply a street or group of buildings, or small diameter pipes located within individual buildings.The pipes form an underground network of pipe beneath cities and streets. Water pipelines are usually laid a few feet (one meter or more) underground, depending on the frost line of the location and the need for protection against accidental damage by digging or construction activities. However, sewer pipelines pipeline on the other hand are underground pipelines that connects directly to the sewer; theseplay important roles in construction work, whether in homes, Schools, offices, hospitals or in any other public property.

Beer pipelines: these pipelines are built undergroundto move beerfrom its brewery in the city center to its bottling facility a few miles away, these has been made to replace the traditional method of transportingbeerby tankers. The world’s first longest beer pipeline was opened in the Belgian city of Bruges, The pipeline is 3,276 meters (2 miles) long, and runs 34 meters (111 feet) below the surface at its deepest point. It passes under the town’s historic canals and ramparts. Roughly 4,000 liters of beer which is enough to fill 12,000 bottles, flows through the pipeline in an hour. The beer pipeline is equipped with the latest technology to ensure the quality of the beer is maintained throughout its movements. It also has a cleaning and flushing system to keep the pipe clean.

Hydrogen pipelines– these pipelines are used to connect the point ofhydrogen productionor delivery of hydrogen with the point of demand.

Pipelines for other liquids/solid particles using air: there are other pipelines for transporting different commodities such milk, brine, liquid fertilizer, capsule, cement, barite, bentonite etc. to the storage tanks or to their various destination before moving to the market or demand location.