Stacked sections of pipeline ready for construction

Types of Pipelines

Learn more about the differences between liquids pipelines and natural gas pipelines.

Did you know?

If laid end-to-end, there are enough underground natural gas and liquids pipelines to circle the Earth around 20 times at the equator.


Canada’s Underground Pipeline Network

Gathering Lines
Feeder Lines
Transmission Pipelines
Distribution Pipelines
Types of Pipelines
These lines travel short distances gathering products from wells and move then to oil batteries or natural gas processing facilities. Feeder lines move products from batteries, processing facilities and storage tanks in the field to the long-distance haulers of the pipeline industry, the transmission pipelines. Transmission lines are the energy-highways, transporting oil and natural gas within a province and across provincial or international boundaries. Local distribution companies (LDCs) operate natural gas distribution lines.
Natural gas, crude oil and combinations of these products sometimes mixed with water; and natural gas liquids (NGLs) such as ethane, butane and propane. Crude oil, natural gas and NGLs. Natural gas transmission lines typically carry only natural gas and NGLs.Crude oil transmission lines carry different types of liquids including crude oil and refined petroleum products in batches.Petroleum product lines also move liquids such as refined petroleum products and NGLs. Natural gas is moved along distribution pipelines to homes, businesses and some industries.
From 101.6 mm to 304.8 mm outside diameter (4 in. to 12 in.).  Range in size from 101.6 mm to 1,212 mm (4 in to 48 in.) About half are 457.2 mm (18 in.) or larger, and about one third are 254 mm. (10 in.) or smaller Most range in size from 12.7 mm to 152.4 mm outside diameter (half an inch to 6 in.).
More than 250,000 kilometres of these lines are concentrated in the producing provinces of Western Canada, primarily in Alberta. There are more than 25,000 kilometres of feeder pipelines in the producing areas of Western Canada. There are approximately 119,000 kilometres of transmission lines in Canada. There are about 450,000 kilometres of these lines in Canada.

Types of pipelines infographic

Canada has a large network of pipelines – over 830,000 km – but they’re not the same. Different types of pipelines are used for oil and gas transportation, and each varies in its size and function. Open the infographic