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From Refinery To You
From Refinery To You



Within 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.

Today, the United States has more than a million miles of oil and  natural gas pipelines.Today, 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.