Pipeline transport is one of the oldest and most commonly used means of transporting oil and its products. Oil is usually scattered across different regions of a country known as oil reserves.
To get the oil to refineries, oil companies employ the use of a network of pipes buried underneath the earth – oil pipelines.
This network of carefully constructed pipelines helps to transport oil and its products from oil reserves to refineries where they are refined and made fit for consumption and then transfers the refined oil to commercial companies for sale.
According to the World Factbook retrieved by the Central Intelligence Agency in September 2016, oil pipeline transportation occupies about 2,175,000 miles in 120 countries across the globe.
Of these countries, the United States holds a large chunk of the worlds pipeline network, accounting for 65% of the distance occupied by the world pipeline network. Following closely behind is Russia as well as Canada, which hold 8% and 3% of the world pipeline network respectively.
While rail transport and ship transport can also be used to transfer oil over a long distance, pipeline transport offers some advantages over these other means of transportation.
Here is a quick look at some of the benefits of oil pipeline transportation.
Pipelines Transport Large Volumes
Compared to other means of transporting oil such as ship transport and rail transport, oil pipelines are capable of transport million tons of oil at a time.
Instead of having few barrels of oil transported at a time, oil companies leverage the pipeline network to transport millions of barrels of oil from oil reserves to refineries and commercial companies. This makes it possible to have a large amount of oil in circulation, eliminating price inflation and scarcity of oil.
Pipeline Transport is Safer
Pipeline transport offers a safer means of transporting a large volume of oil. Oil pipelines are usually made of steel and buried safely underneath the earth.
Which makes it possible for oil companies to transfer million tons of oil and its product with little chances of causing harm to the environment and the people in the vicinity.
True, there are some ghastly pipeline explosions like the explosion of a gas line in Canada which killed 28 people and destroyed several apartments in 1965 but that doesn’t erase the fact that pipeline transport has the lowest probability of causing an explosion and wrecking havoc compared to transporting large volumes of oil through ship transport or railway transport.
Pipeline Construction Gives Rise to Job Opportunity
Pipeline construction in any state plays a number of beneficial roles to the citizens of such state and the overall growth of the country. For starters, pipeline construction is a huge project that requires tens to hundreds of workers for completion.
Thus, providing direct jobs for citizens of such county or state where the project is conducted. Pipeline construction also spurs tons of jobs indirectly. The oil companies will need workers to supply refined oil to commercial companies which, in turn, needs to employ manpower in the distribution and sale of the oil received.
Therefore, it is safe to conclude that pipeline construction projects supply hundreds of good-paying jobs both directly and indirectly to the citizens of the country which house the oil pipeline network.
Pipeline Transport Consumes Less Energy
Oil pipeline transport is the most energy-efficient mode of transporting oil over a long distance. Pipeline networks require a much lesser amount of energy to transport oil compared to the energy requirement of ship transport or rail transport.
With global warming increasing by the day and energy depletion skyrocketing by the minute, pipeline transport offers an efficient means of transporting oil, making it an Eco-friendly option – which by extension means the widely accepted means – of transporting oil and its products over a long distance.
It Provides Raw Materials for Manufacturing Other Goods
Besides using the oil supplied as gasoline or diesel, natural gas liquid delivered through oil pipelines are used as raw materials to manufacture lots of products that we use today. An example is the condensation of ethane to produce plastics which are further used in the production of plastic products.
It Bolsters the Economy of any Nation
Mining of oil wells which by extension involves the use of pipeline for transportation earns the government several hundreds of millions. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the oil pipeline network is that they help to transport oil and its products which greatly influence the economy of any nation where it is found.
The Oil and Gas industry of most countries accounts for over 50% of such countries GDP. In 2015 alone, Texas Oil and Gas industry paid a total of $13.8billion in taxes and royalties. This doesn’t include the taxes paid by commercial companies and workers who are employed to work directly on oil pipeline projects or indirectly on refined oil and its products.
Besides direct taxes that oil companies get to pay, oil workers and other companies which use petroleum products as raw materials also pay their taxes, thus, bolstering the economy of such a nation.
Pipelines Make Gasoline and Diesel Readily Available to Consumers
The importance of gasoline and diesel cannot be overemphasized. Besides cooking and other domestic activities, we rely on them to fuel our cars and trucks which help us to move from one place to another.
A shortage in the supply of gasoline or diesel will be a huge disaster for any country. Oil pipelines make it possible for oil companies to transport oil and its products from the reserves where they are mined or kept to market areas or commercial companies who make them readily available for use.
Pipeline Transport Produces Less Greenhouse Gas (GHG)
Unlike ship transport and rail transport that increases the amount of GHG in the atmosphere, oil pipeline transportation emits less noxious gases as they are usually buried beneath the earth. This makes it a better option when it comes to transporting large volumes of oil because it is not only the safest means of transportation but also the most energy-efficient and eco-friendly option among other modes of transporting oil and its products.