the United States, pipelines are the main means of transporting
petroleum products. In the early 1800s, hollow logs brought
natural gas from well sites to street lights and nearby buildings.
The first oil pipeline was built in 1865. By 1879, a 110-mile
pipeline traversed the Allegheny Mountains.
the United States has more than a million miles of oil and
natural gas pipelines. Ranging in diameter from two inches
to four feet, they bring crude oil and natural gas from production
fields to processing plants and refineries–and ultimately
to you. This extensive transportation infrastructure is largely
invisible, since most pipelines are buried underground. a
notable exception is the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline built
in the 1970s, portions of which were laid aboveground to avoid
damaging fragile permafrost.
Natural gas is shipped under pressure
to reduce its volume. The pressure lost to friction along
the way is restored by compressors at regular intervals along
the pipeline. When the line nears a population center, some
of the gas it carries is diverted through a "city gate."
From there, it is distributed through smaller lines called
"mains." The still smaller lines of local "services"
deliver the gas to homes, schools, churches, and businesses.