Here's How Hydrocarbon Pipelines Work

Our lives are fueled by natural gas and petroleum products that travel to where we need them each day. A vast network of hydrocarbon pipelines that stretches over 2.6 million miles in the U.S. helps move trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of tons/miles of liquid petroleum products each year, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. You may never think about the pipelines, but they ensure our warmth, mobility, and productivity.

The Backbone of Energy Transportation

A network of production sites, distribution centers, and end-users exists throughout the country to keep natural gas and liquid petroleum products flowing to where they need to go. The pipelines are well-traveled and always busy, ensuring accessibility. This backbone is one of the nation’s most critical and valuable assets, but one that is usually invisible to us and flies under the radar. Installing a piping system such as this one has taken incredible effort and dedication.

Protecting Communities from Disaster

The transportation of natural gas and other liquid petroleum products comes with an inherent catastrophic risk. However, many safeguards are put in place to make sure that these substances flow safely. Incidents with hydrocarbon pipelines are extremely rare, due to routine and rigorous testing, advanced monitoring technology, and regular maintenance. Backups and re-routing also add to the reliability and safety of the network.

How Hydrocarbon Pipelines Work

So, how do the pipelines actually work? The keyword for the hydrocarbon pipeline process is pressure. It’s about applying the correct amount of pressure to keep the natural gas flowing through the pipelines. Throughout the connections, there are compressor stations that work together to vary the pressure so that these essential products flow to their intended destinations. Again, the monitoring and evaluation of this process is extensive. With natural gas, the process starts at wellheads, where the gas is extracted. The pressure in the pipelines is low, and the compressor stations ramp it up to push the gas on. Smaller pipelines branch off to areas that need natural gas, such as residential or commercial developments.

Many resources and workers are dedicated to making installing a piping system as seamless, safe, and reliable as possible. As an experienced distributor of flanges and fittings, Lynco Flange & Fitting is here to offer product knowledge to engineers to ensure they get the job done right. Contact us today to learn more!

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