When people think of pipelines, they generally think of the oil and gas industry. However, there are other types of pipelines that pipeline construction companies build and maintain. Below, you’ll see the different types of pipeline construction that are most common in the United States and some of the differences that distinguish one from another.
Natural gas pipeline construction is in high demand, as this energy source and supply chain is growing at record speed here in the United States. Approximately a quarter of the energy used in the United States comes from natural gas. Scientists estimate that nearly 70 million residential customers and five million commercial enterprises use natural gas. Additionally, 33 states have produced natural gas at one point, or are doing so currently.
To deliver natural gas to homes and businesses, companies must rely on natural gas pipeline construction. There are three main categories of pipelines; gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines.
Gathering pipelines are located at the beginning of the pipeline infrastructure. These pipes gather raw natural gas from the production wells and transport it to the processing plants. Gathering lines are generally of a smaller diameter than transmission lines and operate at lower pressures and flow rates.
Once at a processing plant, the product is refined and converted into usable fuel. After the gas has been processed, it travels through a transmission pipeline system until it arrives at one of the thousands of distribution centers located around the United States. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission pipelines throughout the country. The gas in these pipes is “pipeline quality” natural gas, generally 95-98 percent methane.
Once the product arrives at the distribution center, it is then sent through distribution pipelines, to be delivered to homes and businesses. There are main distribution lines and service distribution lines. These exist practically everywhere in the United States. Engineers estimate that there are more than two million miles of distribution lines in the US.
In addition to natural gas, companies may also have to transport liquid energy, typically in the form of crude oil. In the United States, crude oil is most often collected from states such as Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. There are also crude oil pipelines located in coastal waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Over the past few years, the United States has gone through an energy renaissance. The United States currently consumes millions of gallons of crude oil daily, fulfilling the needs of both homes and businesses. In the future, companies will need to continue with their crude oil pipeline projects to keep up with the product demand. Pipelines are the safest method to move crude oil from wells to storage hubs and refineries.
Except for pump stations and valves, crude oil lines exist almost entirely underground. For this reason, pipelines are an excellent choice for the oil and gas industry because they do not disrupt surrounding communities.
The population of the United States is growing tremendously. With that comes the responsibility to deliver safe, clean water for drinking and domestic use. Many areas of the United States are facing challenges with water delivery due to factors such as over-drawn rivers, damaged aquatic ecosystems, and extended droughts.
Water management companies in the United States continually work to come up with innovative solutions for water pipeline construction. Numerous factors go into planning a water pipeline, including routing, hydraulics, construction techniques, crossings, permitting, and the impact on the local environment, among others.
Constructing a water pipeline is different than building an oil or gas line. While the oil and gas industry uses steel, water pipelines are frequently ductile iron. This material is much hardier than previously used materials, such as concrete, and is made mostly from recycled iron. To prevent corrosion, the pipes are internally coated with a cement-based mortar.
The problems facing sewage line construction are similar to the ones facing water pipeline construction. Every member of our population disposes of waste. The growing population will continue to create demand for moving waste to sewage treatment plants.
Sewage line construction is heavily dependent on the nature of the project and the type of soil in the area. That’s because sewage lines tend to be one of the deepest utility pipelines. The upcoming problems stem from the fact that smaller, local sewage lines that exist underground in cities and municipalities connect to more massive lines. If the larger sewer lines, or the processing plants to which they deliver, cannot handle the volume, there will be significant problems in store.
Due to the acidity of sewage, ductile pipes designed for sewage lines frequently have a special internal lining that is more resistant to acid corrosion.
Not all pipeline construction services are created equal. Getting a suitable pipeline contractor is essential. Hanging H has a strong track record of success and years of experience. We invite you to check out our pipeline construction services page and see all the types of pipeline construction services that we offer.