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Natural gas storage facilities are connected by huge interstate or intrastate transmission pipelines, which move high volumes of gas at very high pressures over great distances. These huge pipes deliver natural gas to smaller delivery points, also called “city gates,” which are managed by local distribution companies around the country. Local distribution companies then transport the natural gas to their respective cities and residential districts through an extensive network of small-diameter pipelines, which, according to the US Department of Transportation PHMSA, is over 2.6 million miles long.
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Industrial facilities, commercial establishments, and electric generation facilities typically get their natural gas supplies from interstate or intrastate pipelines, while local consumers usually get theirs from a local distribution company, which maintains the highest safety standards. They have sophisticated equipment built for pipeline leak detection, they provide natural gas safety training and education programs, and they employ highly trained technicians who are available around the clock in case of emergencies. In addition, local distribution companies also add mercaptan, a harmless chemical that smells like rotten egg, to natural gas to make natural gas leaks easy to detect because natural gas, on its own, is odorless and colorless.
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Natural gas is continuing to become a popular alternative energy source because it is safe, cheap, and easy to distribute. Dr. Ali Ghalambor and Boyun Guo’s book The Natural Gas Engineering Handbook expounds more on this topic, and is a great resource for petroleum engineers and engineering students alike.
Those interested in learning more about the natural gas industry can visit this Dr. Ali Ghalambor Facebook page.