Types of Pipelines used in the Oil and Gas Industry - Edgevarsity Blog Edgevarsity
Types of Pipelines used in the Oil and Gas Industry

Types of Pipelines used in the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry has several complex arrangements for its efficient functioning. Pipelines are crucial for the seamless flow of energy or similar substances, such as natural gas, biofuels, and liquid petroleum. 

The study of Pipelines is an integral part of the oil and gas courses for mechanical engineers.

While some pipelines are built above ground, most pipelines are buried underground. Because oil and gas pipelines are well concealed from the public, most individuals are unaware of the vast network of pipelines.

Classification of Pipelines

Many of us might think of pipelines as a transportation channel. But it is interesting to note the various other functionalities of pipelines. Let’s see.

Pipelines are usually divided into three major categories –

  1. Gathering
  2. Transportation
  3. Distribution

The three categories help in the seamless extraction of materials, their long-term transport, and final delivery. 

Pipelines classification forms a crucial part of online courses for piping engineering.

Gathering Pipelines

These types are short length pipelines with small diameters and have variable pressure holding capability.

As soon as natural resources are extracted, they are not in a state of immediate use. Crude oil, natural gas, need to undergo effective processing before being delivered. Gathering pipelines carry these resources from the point of extraction to the appropriate processing location.

As already said, Gathering pipelines are of smaller diameter and shorter length. Usually, the initial gathering pipelines are less than 1,000 feet in length. Gathering pipelines leads to the initial treatment facility. 

Transportation Pipelines

These pipelines have a longer length, larger diameter and can hold high pressure.

Transportation pipelines usually handle the “long hauls.” These pipelines might run between cities, but they can even stretch much farther. You will be amazed to know that transportation pipelines run between countries and even across continents.

Transportation pipelines are mostly made using giant pipes. The Pipeline Safety Trust defines the diameter of transportation pipelines as being between “6-48 inches.” In addition to dealing with large quantities of materials, these pipelines often work at high-pressure levels.

Here, safety is a significant concern. This is because of the pipelines’ size, length, and pressure. Even a tiny hole can lead to a massive spill. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that transport pipelines are built correctly. Poor construction can lead to disastrous results.

Distribution Pipelines

These are primarily medium length, smaller diameter pipelines and have small pressure holding capacity.

Once the oil and gas resources are done with all the necessary treatment and reach a point where they are ready to be distributed among the consumers, there comes one crucial pipeline system known as distribution pipelines.

 This pipeline system accomplishes delivering resources to their final industrial, commercial, and residential destinations. An easier way to identify these pipelines is that distribution pipelines are used to bring fresh water and natural gas to every home.

Majority of you might have heard about only transportation pipelines, but all the 3 types are equally important for any oil and gas training courses online.

Now that we know the type of pipelines, we must remember an important thing. When it comes to pipelines, there is no particular grade of superiority. Each type of pipeline has a part to play to keep the entire industry and the community functioning smoothly. Therefore, it is a must for oil and gas piping engineering aspirants to dig deep into every category of pipelines.


by Debashree P

Debashree is an Aeronautical engineer by education and a curious researcher by passion. She is passionate about engineering and technology. She is an avid technology writer who has a knack for developing content for websites, newsletters, blogs, articles, advertising and marketing materials based on the requirements. Technologies of her interest include Aviation, Oil & Gas and AI.