The Difference Between Oil and Gas Pipelines

oil piplines

At first thought, the only difference between gas and oil pipelines seems to be the fuel that they transport, but there are actually a few important differences that most might not be familiar with.

Different Pump Mechanisms

Natural gas pipelines and crude oil pipelines have a different power source that pumps the fuel from the source to any other location. Below, you will see the difference between the two:

  • Crude oil pipeline: crude oil pipelines are powered by a centrifugal pump, which makes up the heart of the oil pipeline. It increases the oil pressure in the tank or from anywhere upstream to ensure that it arrives at the desired destination quickly.
  • Natural gas pipeline: In a natural gas pipeline, the pressure is achieved with a compressor. This increases the pressure of the gas to allow it to reach as far downstream as necessary.

Different Storage Capacities

While the capacity of the pipeline is fixed based on the size of the pipe which does not expand or contract, the compressibility of crude oil and natural gas is very different.

Crude oil, for instance, has very low compressibility, and the pipe stock does not change with the pressure. 

On the other hand, natural gas has much better compression performance and the pressure on the pipeline will be greater. For this reason, gas pipelines can provide a greater amount of storage.

Different Temperature Requirements Between Gas and Oil Pipes

The temperature of the pipeline can result in varying results when it comes to transportation. 

When it comes to crude oil, the temperature cannot fall below the pour point of about 27 degrees celsius to avoid clogging, since, in many pipeline locations, the soil temperature around the pipeline can drop to even 0 degrees celsius. For this reason, crude oil pipelines are heated.

The story is very different when it comes to natural gas pipelines. The lower the gas temperature, the more easily the fuel will flow through the pipeline.

Among these differences, you may be able to find more. This includes different pressure drop laws and different flow speed requirements. No matter whether you need gas or oil pipelines, Reddy Pipe has you covered!

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