How Does Crude Oil Flow Work?

For thousands of years, man has extracted crude oil from beneath the earth’s surface to be processed into fuel and other useful objects such as plastic, asphalt, solar panels, and nylon. Millions of barrels are extracted daily and transported using pipelines, trucks, ships, and trains. This blog looks into the processes involved in transporting crude oil in each of these mediums.

How is Oil Moved through Pipelines?

Pipelines are the primary means of transport for crude and processed oil. Pipelines may transport oil hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to its final destination. estimates the United States has around 218,970 miles of pipelines, with roughly 50 million barrels of crude oil moving through pipelines per day. Centrifugal pumps are usually placed every 20 to 100 miles to maintain pressure in the pipes. The centrifugal pumps are powered by electric motors, turbines, or diesel engines to prevent interruptions in flow.

How Do Ships Transport Oil?

Oil can also be transported by ship across the water. Nowadays, oil is transported aboard gigantic ships known as Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs), which are around 415 meters long. When fully laden, they can weigh up to half a million tons and transport over 2 million barrels of oil every trip. Oil transport by ship has made fuel delivery much cheaper, making it possible for gasoline and other fuels to be sold at much lower prices.

Transport of Oil by Trains

Trains have been transporting oil since the late 19th century. Ancient trains carried wooden tanker trucks of oil over long distances. Modern tanker trucks on trains were popular in the 1920s through 1950s to transport oil. Tankers, ships, and trucks soon eclipsed them from the 1960s onwards. However, oil transportation by train has recently regained popularity, with around 415 000 tank cars presently capable of transporting oil by train in North America.

Transport by Trucks

Truck transport is generally the final stage in delivering oil to the specific locations regular people will utilize it. Tank trucks transport processed oil in cylinder-shaped containers and are equipped with safety valves and baffles to prevent accidents. Trucks can transport between 10,000 and 45,000 liters of gasoline from refineries to gas station pumps.

Each of these mediums is important in preventing interruptions in flow and supply of fuel. While they all pose risks, it would be hard to sustain modern life without them. To learn more about our pipeline products, get in touch with us today here at Lynco Flange & Fitting.

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