June 27, 2017

Pipelines: Efficient, safe and reliable

Whether used to heat homes, fuel transportation or make products we use every day, we need energy. Powering business and driving an unparalleled transportation system, energy literally fuels our way of life. And when energy can’t be produced in areas where it’s needed, pipelines are one of the most efficient ways of getting it there.

For example, just one of our 18-inch pipelines can transport nearly 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It would take a total of 750 tanker trucks, loading up and moving out every two minutes for an entire day, to match that—snarling traffic and causing the road wear equivalent of 7.2 million cars* in the process. And that’s just for one day!

America’s pipeline systems, however, can move steady, non-stop streams of energy products across the country almost entirely underground. That means easier drives, better roads and a smarter use of infrastructure. Here’s how these pipeline systems typically work:

  • Smaller gathering pipelines capture the crude oil or natural gas product near the production area and transport it to a connection with larger transmission pipelines
  • These transmission pipelines move the products to facilities—sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles away—where the natural gas is processed and crude oil is refined into products we use every day, like gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and asphalt
  • Distribution pipelines carry processed natural gas to manufacturing, commercial and residential customers to produce electricity, provide heat and help maintain comfort in our lives

But it's not just about efficiency. Most importantly, studies like the one conducted by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies show pipelines to be the safest way to move energy products. Federal and state governments heavily regulate pipelines, holding them to high safety standards that pipeline companies must constantly prove they meet in order to remain in operation. Our commitment to safety is just one reason Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC invests heavily in the latest pipeline technology, including:

  • Internal pipeline corrosion, cathodic protection and chemical inhibitors
  • High-tech control and monitoring tools that yield continuous data on products, pressures, flow rates and emergency information
  • In-line devices (commonly called smart tools or PIGs) to inspect pipeline integrity

With efficiency and safety at the forefront, we can rely on pipelines to deliver energy where we need it, when we need it and in a way that will protect us and our communities.

For more information about pipelines, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at phmsa.dot.gov.


*A study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office concluded that a single tractor trailer causes the road wear equivalent of 9,600 cars.