As a result, transportation and storage represent a labyrinth of sophisticated processes that include rigorous inspections, stringent standards of compliance, regulations generated from industry initiatives and government mandates for the design, construction and maintenance of tanker fleets and pipelines, and the selection of qualified crew and personnel. Moreover, safety, efficiency, tanker hull strength and pipeline integrity are critical concerns, particularly as they relate to environmental issues such as fires, oil spills, and oil leaks. According to Hoovers Oil and Gas Transportation and Storage overview, some of the major players involved in oil and gas transportation and storage are OAO Tatneft, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, and BP.4 These are the same companies that are also involved in the refining, marketing and distribution of oil and gas.
Tankers travel interregional water routes. Tankers are primarily the major haulers of oil that is imported into the United States. The U.S. Coast Guard defines a tank vessel as one that is constructed or adapted to carry oil or hazardous material in bulk as cargo or cargo residue. The earliest construction of tank vessels used single hulls.
There are various types of tankers: oil tanker, parcel tanker (chemical vessels), combination carrier (designed to carry oil or solid cargoes in bulk), and barges. In addition, there are international bulk chemical codes governing the safe transport of chemical cargoes providing various levels of protection against the uncontrolled release of substances that pose the greatest environmental risk.
Tank vessels are classified by the trade in which they routinely operate over a period of time. The three most common categories are crude oil carriers, product carriers: which can carry clean (e.g., gasoline, jet fuel) and dirty (e.g. black oils): and parcel carriers (chemicals). Tankers tend to remain in one trade but market conditions can dictate a change, even though the process to change a vessel's trade involves extensive work.
Crude carriers are classed as either VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) or ULCCs (Ultra Large Crude Carriers) and are designed to transport vast quantities of crude oil over many long and heavily traveled sea routes. The appropriate economies of scale depend on the area from which the oil is being shipped. In addition, "lightering," offloading or transferring oil from large tankers to smaller ones, a process which can move 1,000 barrels per hour: is used so that the smaller vessels can enter smaller ports that the larger vessels cannot.
Historically, most of the nation's tanker fleets were built as single-hull vessels, i.e., a single layer of steel made up the hull. As ships and barges are a major link in the country's oil transportation network, both for transporting crude oil to U.S. refineries and for transporting refined oil products to market, the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 made extensive changes designed to make these shipments environmentally safer. One change requires the phasing out of all shipment of oil cargoes in single-hull vessels in U.S. waters from 1995 to January 1, 2015, with the oldest and largest vessels phased out first. After January 1, 2015, only double hull vessels may be used. There are also European standards in this area with the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the European Council/Commission on Legislative Documents amending Regulation EC No. 417/2002 on the accelerated phasing-in of double-hull or equivalent design requirements for single-hull oil tankers.
One of the major concerns in the safe transport of bulk liquid cargos by tank vessel is the stress on the hull. Bending in the form of sagging (concentration of weight in the mid section of the vessel causing the deck to be subjected to compression forces while at the same time the keel is under tension), hogging (concentration of weight at both ends of the vessel causing the deck to experience tensile forces while the keel is under compression), and shear force, which occurs when two forces act in opposite directions parallel to each other, such as at a bulkhead between an empty ballast tank and a full cargo tank. The weight or gravitational and buoyant action experienced on either side of the bulkhead causes the shear force phenomenon.
The development of the super tanker came about due to an array of factors
including Middle East hostilities that led to the closure of the Suez Canal,
nationalization of oil fields in the Middle East, and strong competition among
international ship owners. VLCCs and ULCCs cover the most solitary trade routes,
typically loading at offshore platforms or single-point moorings and discharging
at designated lightering zones off the coast.5 As
the demand is increasing for more crude oil and as more oil reserves are being
discovered and developed in other areas such as the Caspian Basin, Latin America
and the Middle East, the need for more tankers has grown.
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Pipelines play a very critical role in the transportation process because most of the oil moves through pipelines for at least part of the route. After the crude oil is separated from natural gas, pipelines transport the oil to another carrier or directly to a refinery. Petroleum products then travel from the refinery to market by tanker, truck, railroad tank car, or pipeline. Pipelines are also integral for landlocked crudes and also complement tankers at certain key locations by relieving bottlenecks or providing shortcuts. The only interregional trade that currently relies solely upon oil pipelines is between Russia and Europe.6
Subsea pipeline engineers often say "Nothing happens until we get our lines in place." Indeed, it is pivotal that oil and gas are transported from the reservoir to a refinery through a process that involves the fluids flowing from the wellhead through a jumper to a manifold. From the manifold, the admixes fluids move through a flowline which could be up to 70 miles or longer for gas and 10-20 miles for oil, to a production riser. That line moves the fluids to a production platform where processing takes place. Outbound from the platform the fluids move through an export riser to a subsea pipeline and on to shore.7
Pipelines can range up to 36 inches (92cm) in diameter and even larger, with some of the largest pipelines carrying more than one million barrels of oil daily. Pipelines cross all kinds of territories and in all parts of the world. They are connected using an electric arc-welding process developed about 1928. They are built to withstand large amounts of pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch and heavy duty machines are responsible for fitting them within the contours necessary for their laying in all types of terrain. Strategic planning involves determining the shortest and most economical routes where they are built, the number of pumping stations and natural gas compression stations along the line, and terminal storage facilities so that oil from almost any field can be shipped to any refinery on demand. Care is also taken in the monitoring and construction for pipelines in consideration of environmental and safety issues. For example, one concern is to avoid the potential for fires and explosions in the offloading of crude oil by pipes onto tankers for transport to a refinery.
As a result, standards exist for pipelines in the area of safety in the design and construction of pipelines. In an article in the September 12, 2005, issue of Oil and Gas Journal entitled, "The Rising Pressure for Pipeline Integrity," pipeline integrity is defined as a sub-industry of regulatory controls that must govern the world's pipeline infrastructure. Standards such as the "International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15649: 2001 Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries: Piping," is an international standard that specifies the requirements for design and construction of piping for the petroleum and natural gas industries, and the American Petroleum Institute RP2200 : Repairing crude oil, liquefied petroleum and product pipelines R(1999) reflect industry initiatives in response to the needs in this area.
The American Petroleum Institute issues pipeline guidance to U.S. pipeline operators to improve public awareness of pipelines. The purpose of the guidelines known as Recommended Practice 1162 or Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators is to reduce accidents, often attributable to digging by homeowners, contractors and farmers. Pipeline companies conduct public awareness programs but the federal Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 established new standards. RP1162 is designed to help companies meet these new standards. In preparing RP1162, the American Petroleum Institute collaborated with federal and state regulators, natural gas and liquid transmission companies, and local distribution companies.8 The U.S. Census Bureau assigns the following NAICS codes to the Pipeline Transportation industry:
Internationally, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline on the coast of the Caspian Sea, is the first pipeline from this area whose flow of oil initially took place on Wednesday, May 25, 2005. It was a $3.2 billion infrastructure controversial project that sparked debate for 50 years. This new United States backed pipeline is seen as a key to reducing the West's reliance on Middle East oil. The Caspian fields are estimated to hold the world's third-largest reserves.9 Russia begin construction on the first leg of its planned 4,130-km crude oil pipeline from Taishet in eastern Siberia to the Sea of Japan. It will cross seven areas of the Russian Federation. Indonesia also plans to build a 1,200km pipeline from the natural gas fields in East Kalimantan to Java at a cost estimated to be $1.2 billion.10
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Barges are another method of bulk liquid transportation. Barges, which can carry on average about 15,000 barrels of oil, are primarily used on rivers and canals. The domestic tank barge industry is composed of approximately 4,000 barges and they account for the transport of millions of tons of cargo annually. Within the U.S., they operate via rivers, lakes, bays and sounds and they run offshore in the coast wise trade.
Internationally, barges are involved in various activities in other parts of the world. For example, two barges were designed for grounding and floating operations in the Caspian Sea. In addition, the barges Nur and Shapagat were built to accommodate 120 personal in a total living space that incorporates galley, mess, temporary refuge and muster stations, and are self-supporting being outfitted with anchoring, mooring, towing and bottom jetting systems. Having been certified by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and London's Lloyd's Register, they are designed for the harsh offshore environments common off Kazakhstan.11
Many petroleum products travel from refineries to markets by tank truck or railroad tank car. Tank trucks deliver gasoline to service stations and heating oil to houses. These trucks can carry up to 300 barrels of fuel. Railroad tank cars can range in capacity from about 100 to more than 1,500 barrels of oil. In addition, there are many different transportation components that are responsible for transporting oil products. For example, these include pipelines, producers, refiners, terminal operators, independent marketers or common carriers who may have no connection with the oil industry except that they ship the oil product from one location to another.
The petroleum industry, both offshore and landside, has proved to be
a stimulant to the towing industry. The increasing demand for oil over the
past twenty years that has led to deeper drilling, larger structures located
further offshore and the development of "jack-up" and semi-submersible
drill rigs with greater capabilities as well as support equipment capable of
supplying and sustaining services to the industry has justified the building
of larger and more powerful tugs and larger barges. The added requirements
of the offshore oil industry, particularly the vessels providing services to
this industry, have necessitated the use of tug/supply and tug/supply/anchor-handling
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Industry specialists indicate there are 7-8 billion barrels of oil tied up worldwide in industry and government stocks (inventories) at any given time and that only around 10 percent of this vast stock pile is typically available to the industry to use when needed.12 Stocks are needed to keep the global supply system operating and therefore are key to the right products being delivered to the right location at the right time. EIA further says that it is hard for the industry to follow global stocks closely because the data have significant gaps. The United States is the only country to publish comprehensive weekly stock data. In addition, the U.S. has the largest commercial stocks roughly about one billion barrels.
Another interesting fact is that most of the world's storage capacity is owned by the companies that produce, refine, or market the oil and they are predominantly located at the world's main trading hubs, such as New York Harbor, the Caribbean, Rotterdam and Singapore. The whole system is highly dependent on the level of independent storage of stocks which are seasonal and strategic in nature. There are costs associated with stock inventories and the costs depend on the type of oil being stored, how much storage is available, whether the storage is owned or has to be rented, the price of the oil, and the cost of borrowing money. Every gas station, terminal, refinery, etc., most have some oil in inventory. As a result, mergers and acquisitions in the oil industry have led to consolidation which affects the minimum amount of oil that is needed to keep the system operating.
It is easy to see then, that stock inventories have a direct relationship to prices in the market. Terms such as discretionary stocks are linked to prices. A sign of oversupply in the market is called contango and the opposite is backwardation. However, the majority of the world's stocks are necessary and are called non-discretionary due to the fact that they exist because of the global oil supply system which cannot operate without them. "By the end of 1997, stocks held worldwide by governments and by significant industry players, such as producers, refiners and terminallers, totaled around 6 billion barrels, the equivalent of 90 days of consumption, were worth approximately $100 billion dollars."13
Emergency crude oil is stored in the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve
(SPR)--the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil. Federally-owned oil
stocks are stored in huge underground salt caverns along the coastline of the
Gulf of Mexico. Decisions to withdraw crude from the SPR are made by the President
under the authorities of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. It is formidable
in size (more than 600 million barrels), and its recognized need dates back
to 1944 when Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes advocated the stockpiling
of emergency crude oil. The 1973-74 oil embargo exacerbated the need for a
strategic oil reserve. Today, the SPR is the largest emergency oil stockpile
in the world.14
Until the recent damage to the Gulf Coast refining region by Hurricane Katrina, the SPR had only been used once during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. A Washington Post article "Oil Prices Spike As Storm Nears," September 20, 2005, says that the Energy Department would lend more oil from the SPR, with the plan of releasing 600,000 barrels to Total Petrochemicals USA Inc., bringing the amount lent from the reserve since Katrina to 13.2 million barrels. There is also the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve supply for emergency fuel oil for homes and businesses sin the northeast United States, established in 2000 and the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves headquartered in Washington, D.C
The complexity of the natural gas delivery network involves gas gathered at a central location, processed to meet pipeline specifications, transported through thousands of miles of interstate pipelines, and stored in the ground for when it is delivered to the consumer. Some natural gas is stored underground for use during excessive demands such as during extreme winter weather
While natural gas as a primary fuel is expected to grow at 3 percent per year during the next two decades, LNG is expected to grow at double that rate for the same time period. As a result, additional facilities for the production and transportation of LNG will be needed for the foreseeable future as well as new technologies to emerge to address safety, cost and reliability issues. Worldwide demand for liquid natural gas (LNG) is growing. The U.S. currently gets a majority of its LNG via ocean tanker from Trinidad and Tobago, Qatar, and Algeria and also receives shipments from Nigeria, Oman, Australia, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates.15 In addition, Taiwan needs more LNG overseas imports, Asia's regional demand for LNG is expected to rise dramatically after India and China, and more countries are seeking LNG for power generation and petrochemical production.16
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Bulk Transporter. Overland Park, KS: Primedia Business Magazines and Media. Monthly.
LC Call Number: TN860 .P56
LC Catalog Record: 2005212226
Publisher's description: A monthly magazine devoted to the special
information needs of bulk logistics and transportation managers
Fundamentals of gas shipping. London : Petroleum Economist, 
LC Call Number: TP243 .F86
LC Catalog Record: 2006204241
Gas Storage. Richardson, TX: Society of Petroleum Engineers, c1999. 181 p.
LC Call Number: TP756 .G37
LC Catalog Record: 00699636
Contains selected articles that discuss all aspects of gas storage including operation of, types of reservoirs, how to build and design reservoirs and well completions, the benefits of storage reservoirs. Has an annotated bibliography for further research.
Hartmann, John P. Technology of Underground Liquid Storage Tank Systems. New York: Wiley, c1997. 292 p.
LC Call Number: TP692.5 .H265
LC Catalog Record: 96049565
Covers information necessary for proper design and construction of underground tank systems from the perspective of the system designer.
LP-Gas Code Handbook, 6th ed. National Fire Protection Association, c2001. 475 p.
LC Call Number: TP761.L5 L564
LC Catalog Record: 2007206178
Provides guidance, recommendations and common practices for the use of LP-Gas as a fuel including vehicular transportation of LP-Gas.
Myers, Philip E. Aboveground Storage Tanks. New York McGraw-Hill, c1997. 690 p.
LC Call Number: TP692.5 .M94
LC Catalog Record: 96051117
Table of Contents
A reference source devoted exclusively to aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), this book helps owners and regulators understand the design, operation, and maintenance of ASTs in the face of new industry regulations and meet the rigorous compliance requirements. Excerpt from the Publisher's Description.
Petroleum Terminal Encyclopedia. Houston, TX : Stalsby/Wilson Press, c1988-
LC Call Number: HE199.5.P4 S73
LC Catalog Record: 89646513
A trade publication for the petroleum terminaling and storage industry for over 1,500 bulk liquid storage facilities throughout North America. Information on available storage for crude oil, refined products, ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas liquids, jet fuel and petrochemicals. Includes mailing addresses and physical addresses of terminal facilities, email addresses, direct phone and fax numbers and job titles. Also known as OPIS/Stalsby Petroleum Terminal Encyclopedia.
Wood, Donald F. Gas and Oil Trucks. Motorbooks International, c1997. 224 p.
LC Call Number: TL230.5.T28 W66
LC Catalog Record: 96039708
A history in pictures and captions of the development of the tank truck, its equipment and features.
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Looney, Robert E. Handbook of Oil Politics. 1st ed. London ; New York : Routledge, 2012.
LC Call Number: HD9560.6 .H27 2012
LC Catalog Record: 2011014011
Table of Contents [PDF format: 64 KB/4 p.]
Collection of essays from experts covering: the political dimensions around the supply of oil; political responses to oil-related developments; oil and political power in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and South-East Asia; case studies on specific countries - Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Brazil; and a look at the future problems and issues.
Huber, Mark. Tanker Operation: A Handbook for the Person-in-Charge (PIC.). 5th edition. Centreville, MD: Cornell Maritime Press, c2010.
LC Call Number: VM455 .H83 2010
LC Catalog Record: 2010929394
Maritime industry : as U.S. single-hull oil vessels are eliminated, few double-hull vessels may replace them : report to congressional requesters . Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, 
http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/11000/11300/11351/d0080.pdf [PDF: 331 KB / 31 p.]
LC Call Number: VM455 .U48 2000
LC Catalog Record: 00326134
Examines issues related to the process of phasing out single-hull
oil vessels and replacing them with double-hull vessels as mandated by the
Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Among the issues considered are how the Coast Guard
implemented the Act's phase out requirements, the extent to which owners received
extensions or waivers, the extent to which owners replaced or converted their
single-hull vessels, and the implications for future shipping capacity.
Parra, Francisco. Oil Politics, A Modern History of Petroleum. I.B. Taurus. London, c2004. 364 p.
LC Call Number: HD9560.6 .P37
LC Catalog Record: 2004271160
Publisher-supplied Biographical Information
Table of Contents
Statistics on the number of tankers, barges and tank vessel capacity are available from the Shipbuilders Council of America web page.
"Speed Power Performance of 95,000DWT Arct Tanker Design," H.S. Kim, et.al. Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering. Volume 127, Number 2, 2005, pp. 135-40.
LC Call Number: TC1665 .T73
LC Catalog Record: 87644221
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Kennedy, John L. Oil and Gas Pipeline Fundamentals. 2nd ed. Tulsa, OK: PennWell Books, 1993. 366 p.
LC Call Number: TN879.5.K35
LC Catalog Record: 92041879
Gives history of pipelines, supplies and markets, key industry statistics and more.
Leffler, William L. "Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers," Chapter 8 of Deepwater Petroleum Exploration & Production, a Nontechnical Guide. Tulsa, OK : PennWell Corporation, c2003.
LC Call Number: TN871.3.L5 2003
LC Catalog Record: 2003008348
Mohitpour, Mo. Energy supply and pipeline transportation : challenges and opportunities : an overview of energy supply security and pipeline. New York : ASME Press, c2008.
LC Call Number: HD9580.A2 M64 2008
LC Catalog Record: 2008000452
Table of Contents
This title looks at the economic and global issues pertaining to delivery of energy resources, particularly fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.
Mohitpour, Mo. Pipeline Operation & Maintenance: A Practical Approach. ASME Press, c2005. 653 p.
LC Call Number: TN879.58. M64
LC Catalog Record: 2004021626
This publication addresses the day-to-day concerns of the operators and maintainers of the vast network of pipelines and associated equipment and facilities that deliver hydrocarbons and other products on a 24-7 basis. From Publisher's description.
Ratliff, William. Essays in Public Policy. Russia's Oil in America's Future, Policy, Pipelines and Prospects. Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University, c2003. 29 p.
LC Call Number: H96.E85. No. 111
LC Catalog Record: 2003019808
Written in advance of a September 2003 summit meeting between U. S President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, this publication examines the objectives and challenges of United States Russian relations under Bush and Putin, focusing in particular on Russia's current oil industry, its prospects, and its importance to the United States.
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About U.S. Natural Gas Pipelines - Transporting Natural Gas (EIA)
EIA report based on data through 2007/2008 (with selected updates) on the over 210 natural gas pipelines in the lower 48 states. Includes intrastate, interstate, network design, Pipeline Capacity and Usage, Underground Natural Gas Storage, transportation, Processing, and Gathering, U.S./Canada/Mexico Import & Export Locations, etc. Also includes regional and geographic coverage of some companies.
The Basics of Underground Natural Gas Storage (2004) (EIA)
This is a primer from the EIA on natural gas storage.
FERC - Natural Gas Storage
Includes information on storage projects, pending projects, Jurisdictional Storage Fields, as well as general regulations and background.
Historical Reserves Statistics.
These are selected historical data presented at the State and National level. All historical statistics included have previously been published in the annual reports of 1977 through 2002 of the EIA publication U.S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves, DOE EIA-0216, LC Catalog Number: 82640999. From Publisher's description.
U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration.
Site includes numerous energy statistics, including the following:
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Additional works on oil and gas transportation and storage in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in accessing the catalog. Please see the individual sections of this guide for catalog searches relating to those topics. For assistance in locating the many other subject headings which relate to this subject, please consult a reference librarian.
1. American Petroleum Institute.
2. Energy Information Administration.
3. U. S. Congress. Senate. Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Committee. Written Statement of the American Petroleum Institute Before
the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. 108 Cong. 1st session.
January 9, 2003. 7 p.
http://commerce.senate.gov/pdf/frick010903.pdf [PDF: 124 KB]
4. Hoovers Oil and Gas Transportation and Storage. Hoovers Relationship Manager database. http://eresources.loc.gov/record=e1000891~S9 (Retrieved December 12, 2012.)
5. Huber, Mark. Tanker Operations, a Handbook for the Person-in-Charge (PIC), 4th edition. Centreville, MD: Cornell Maritime Press, c2001, p. 23.
6. U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Stocks.
7. Leffler, William L., "Pipelines, Flowlines, and Risers," Chapter 10 in Deepwater Petroleum Exploration & Production, by William L. Leffler, Richard Pattarozzi, Gordon Sterling. Tulsa, Okla.: PennWell, c2003.
8. American Petroleum Institute.
9. Washington Post, May 26, 2005, p. 6.
10. Oil and Gas Journal, September 5, 2005, Volume 103 Issue 33, p. 10.
11. Darius Snieckus. "The Third 'i' On Living Space," from Offshore Engineer, reprinted on the OilOnline web site. August 1, 2004.
12. U.S. Dept. of Energy. Energy Information Administration. Stocks.
13. James H. Gary and Glenn E. Handwerk. Petroleum Refining: Technology and Economics. 4th ed. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., p. 4.
14. U.S. Department of Energy. Office of Fossil Energy.
15. U. S. Dept. of Energy. Natural Gas Fundamentals from Resource To Market, June 2003. DOE/FE-0457
16. Oil and Gas Journal, August 15, 2005, Volume 103 Issue 31, p. 26.
Last Updated: 07/23/2013
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