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Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics



A comparison of share of petroleum products carried by various modes of transportation

in India in 2003-04 is shown below:
Movement of Petroleum
Products in India
11% 4%


Road Rail Pipelines Coastal


A Cross country pipeline is generally laid across cross country locations in addition to
Pipeline Operator’s own premises, mostly passing thru agricultural and waste lands and
crossing various roads, railways, canals, rivers and other utility lines enroute. The
pipeline stations like pumping stations etc. will be developed in the lands under the
Pipeline Owner’s possession for respective purposes.

Cross country pipelines are generally laid underground maintaining a minimum top cover
of 1 metre duly following relevant statutory and technical specifications. A corridor of
appropriate width, say 18 metres is required for pipeline laying activity all along the
pipeline route for movement of construction equipments deployed during construction.
This corridor is acquired under Petroleum & Mineral Pipeline (Acquisition of Right of
User in Lands) Act, 1962 and its amendments. As per the act, after due publication of
gazette notifications (called 3(1), 5(1), 6(1) notifications) under the above act thru
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, the pipeline owner acquires Right of Use (ROU)
for laying and maintenance of the pipeline along the desired corridor. The land owners
are allowed right to use the same after completion of pipeline laying for the original
usage, mostly for agriculture purpose, with out carrying out any permanent construction.

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

Sub sea / under water pipelines require specific approvals from concerned authorities.

Suitable OFC communication cables are also laid along with pipeline for data and
communication needs of pipeline operations.


Crude Oil, Refined Petroleum Products (HSD, SKO, MS, ATF, Naphtha, Black Oil, FO,
LDO), Petrochemical Products, Chemicals, LPG, Natural Gas, Any other Gas.


The advantages of the pipelines over the other modes of transport for supply of petroleum
products are listed below:
• It is a safe and reliable mode of transport system.
• It is an economical and dependable mode of transport system particularly to the
sensitive and strategic areas.
• It provides a long term infrastructural option.
• The difficulties in handling large volume of products by rail from one loading point is
• Minimum transit loss. The transit losses in rail/road transportation is as high as 0.3 to
0.5% of throughput, while in case of pipeline, it ranges from 0.05 to 0.10% of the
throughput which gives added advantage to pipelines.
• In pipeline containers remain static whereas the cargo is moved. In case of other
modes the container moves along with the products and returns empty carrying the
dead load.
• Pipeline reduces congestion in some heavy trafficked routes.
• The pipeline is hardly effected by natural calamities like flood, earthquake etc.
• Land cost is minimum because once pipeline is buried the land can be restored back
for use.
• The energy consumed per unit distance per unit weight of products moved by
pipelines is comparatively much less than railways.
• The environmental impact on the pipeline is limited mainly to the period of laying the
line and operation. During operation there may be deterioration in the air quality
owing to running of the pumps and emissions of hydrocarbon which occur during
storage and despatch activities but of little effect on the environment. Therefore the
environmental impact on the pipelines is relatively insignificant as compared to other
modes of transportation system.

In case of transportation through pipeline, the investment is huge. As a rule of thumb,

investment of one crore of rupees is required, for one kilometer of 12- 14” dia pipeline

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

along with it’s related station facilities. However the operating costs are relatively low
due to low friction and energy requirement in pipeline transportation. When large
volumes are required to be moved into the hinterlands over a long distance, the
investment becomes viable. The pay back period normally ranges over 5 years.


Conventionally, pipelines are designed for continuous operation for a period of 35 years.
These lines are however adequately protected against internal / external corrosion and can
be maintained in excellent condition. There are pipelines which are under operation even
beyond such periods such as Haldia - Barauni, Gauhati - Barauni Pipeline etc.


(Source: Office of Pipeline Safety, USA)

Combined data for hazardous liquid, natural gas transmission, and natural gas distribution
pipelines in USA for the year 2002-2003 indicates that “outside force” damage
contributes to a larger number of pipeline accidents and incidents than any other category
of accident causes. Outside force damage can be caused by earth movement, lightning,
heavy rains and flooding, extreme temperatures, high winds, excavation by an operator or
third party, fire or explosion external to the pipeline, vehicle strikes, rupture of previously
damaged pipe and vandalism. The data shows that the largest portion of outside force
damage results due to excavation. The range of excavation damage runs from damage to
the external coating of the pipe, which can lead to accelerated corrosion and the potential
for future failure to cutting directly into the line and causing leaks, or, in some cases,
catastrophic failure.
When only hazardous liquid pipelines are considered, corrosion contributes to a higher
number of accidents than other categories. Given below in the table are some recent
statistics showing the causes of pipeline accidents for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines
for the period Jan’02 to Dec’03.

Number % of % of
Product Property
Reported Cause of Total Total Fatalities Injuries
Loss(KL) Damages ($)
Accidents Accidents Damages
Excavation 41 15.0 5600 9,207,822 12.2 0 0
Natural Forces 13 4.7 802 2,646,447 3.5 0 0
Other Outside Force 12 4.4 488 2,062,535 2.7 0 0
Materials or Weld
45 16.4 6669 30,760,495 40.6 0 0
Equipment Failure 42 15.3 909 2,761,068 3.6 0 0
Corrosion 72 26.3 9088 18,734,697 24.8 0 0
Operations 13 4.7 1302 602,408 0.8 0 4
Other 36 13.1 3150 8,918,974 11.8 1 1
Total 274 28007 75,694,446 1 5

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics


(Source: Office of Pipeline Safety, USA)

Pipelines operate more safely than any other modes of oil transportation. The table given
below shows Accident Rates of Petroleum Transportation Methods i.e. the likelihood of
occurrence of a particular type of accident for a mode of transportation compared to an
oil pipeline. These figures include only accidents involving petroleum shipments, not all
accidents for a given transportation mode. Accident Rates of Petroleum Transportation
Methods Values less/more than 1.0 indicate risk of accident is lower/greater than pipeline

It can be seen that truck accidents result in deaths at least 87 times more often than
pipeline accidents. Likewise, truck accidents result in fires and/or explosions about 35
times more frequently per barrel of oil transported per mile.

Mode of
Death Fire/Explosion Injury
Truck 87.3 34.7 2.3
Rail 2.7 8.6 0.1
Barge 0.2 4.0 3.6
Tank Ship 4.0 1.2 3.1
*Comparisons based on calculated rates per ton-mile. (Source: Allegro Energy Group)

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics


In India, the first crude oil pipeline was built between Nahorkatiya (Assam) to Barauni in
1960s and the first product pipeline between Guwahati – Siliguri in 1964. The success of
these pipelines led to implementation of lot more pipelines in the country. Currently there
is a network of 3 nos crude oil pipelines of total capacity of 34 MMTPA traversing
through 4000 Kms and a network of 17 petroleum product lines of total capacity of 62
MMTPA traversing through 6600 Kms. There are also 2 nos. LPG pipelines owned by
Gas Authority of India Ltd. with a total capacity of 3.8 MMTPA.

Details of existing Petroleum Product Pipelines and Crude Pipelines in India are given
Petroleum Product Pipeline Length (Kms)
Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)
1. Guwahati – Siliguri 435 0.818
2. Koyali – Ahmedabad 116 1.100
3. Barauni-Kanpur 676 3.500
• Kanpur – Lucknow (Br. Line) 69 1.700
4. Haldia – Barauni 525 1.250
5. Haldia Mourigram Rajbandh 269 1.350
6. Mathura Jalandhar 526 3.700
Mathura – Delhi 147 3.700
Delhi – Ambala 214 2.200
Ambala – Jalandhar 165 1.350
Sonepat – Meerut (Branch Line) 70 0.600
7. Kandla Bhatinda 1443 8.800
Kandla – Panipat 1113 8.800
Panipat – Bhatinda 218 1.500
Kot – Salawas 112 0.750
8. Digboi Tinsukia
Black Oil 36 0.200
White Oil 39 0.530
9. Koyali – Viramgam – Sidhpur 249 4.100
10. Koyali – Navgam 78 1.800
11. Mathura – Tundla Pipeline 56 1.200
Subtotal 4591 28.350
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)
1. Mumbai – Pune 161 3.670

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

Petroleum Product Pipeline Length (Kms)
2. Vizag- Vijayawada - Secunderabad 572 5.380
Subtotal 733 9.050
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)
1. Mumbai – Manmad – Indore 552 4.330
Petronet India Limited (PIL)
1. Vadinar – Kandla (VKPL) 100 11.500
2. Kochi – Karur 293 3.300
3. Mangalore – Bangalore 364 5.600
Subtotal 757 20.400
Total 6633 62.130


Pipeline Length (Kms)
Duliyajan Barauni Pipeline (OIL) 1157 5.5
Salaya – Mathura - Panipat (IOCL) 1870 21.0
Haldia - Barauni (IOCL) 943 7.5
Total 3970 34.0



There are essentially three major types of pipeline systems:

Gathering pipeline systems

Crude Oil pipeline systems
Refined Products pipeline systems.

Gathering pipeline systems gather crude oil from production wells.

Crude oil pipeline systems transport crude oil from the gathering systems to refineries.
Crude oil systems can be tens to hundreds of miles in length and cross state and
continental borders.

Refined products pipeline systems transport refined products such as HSD, SKO, MS,
LPG etc. and petrochemicals from refineries to the end user or to storage and distribution

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

terminals. Refined products pipelines can extend tens to thousands of miles and cross
state and continental borders.

The pipe used in oil pipeline systems can range in size from 2 inches to 42 inches in
diameter. Oil pipeline systems are owned and operated by many different companies.

Given below is a typical schematic illustrating a pipeline system from the wellhead to the
end consumer.

Crude oil gathering Wholesale &

lines Retail Sales
Manufacturers Product
Crude oil from deliveries
Chemicals &
wells on land

Pump Refined products

Station Pump
transmission line
Crude oil Station
storage &
tanks Refinery &
Chemical Plant Bulk storage facility
(tank farm)
distribution terminal
Crude oil
transmission lines

Bulk product
Crude oil from storage
offshore drilling facility
platforms (tank farm)

Storage facility
Crude oil offloaded (tank farm) for direct
from overseas served user such as
tankers airports

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics


Any pipeline system will typically consist of following components:
Main pumping station attached to a storage terminal (dispatch terminal)
o Storage Tanks
o Booster / Mainline Pumps
o Pressure Control & Metering
o PIG launcher
o Corrosion Inhibitor Injection
o Fire Fighting, Electrical & Instrumentation

Despatch terminal – Storage Facilities

Despatch Terminal – Piping Manifold

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

Despatch Terminals – Booster Pumps

Despatch Terminal – Mainline Pumps

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

Main Pipeline
o Line Pipe & Bends
o Pipeline coating
o Insulation Joint
o Cathodic Protection
o Sectionalizing Valves & Appurtenances
Intermediate pumping stations
o Pigging Facilities
o Pumping Facilities
o Sectionalizing valves & appurtenances

Intermediate Pumping facilities

Intermediate Pigging Faclities

Cross Country Petroleum Pipelines Pipeline Basics

Intermediate tapoff stations

o Pigging facilities
o Pressure Control & Metering
o Storage Tanks
o Corrosion monitoring
o Fire Fighting, Electrical & Instrumentation
End receipt station / terminal
o PIG receiver
o Pressure Control & Metering
o Storage Tanks
o Corrosion monitoring
o Fire Fighting, Electrical & Instrumentation
Telecom & SCADA


Pumps (Compressors for gas)
Valves (Ball Valves, Gate Valves, Plug Valves, Hammer Blind Valves etc.)
Pressure / Flow Control Valves
Density Meter
Flow Meter
PIG launcher / Receivers & PIG signalers
SCADA & telecom
Leak Detection System
Electrical & Instrumentation