Frequently Asked Questions

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    98 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. comes from North America
    INGAA members operate over 202,000 miles of natural gas pipelines. That’s enough to wrap around the earth more than eight times!
    If all the 2.2 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the U.S. were connected to each other they would stretch to and from the moon almost nine times.

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    Pipeline leaks are rare, but being able to recognize and respond to a suspected leak or rupture is an important part of living and working safely around underground pipelines. Signs of a natural gas pipeline RUPTURE:

    • Loud roaring or explosive sound; OR
    • Very large flames and loud roaring noise

    Signs of a natural gas pipeline LEAK:

    • Rotten egg odor
    • Dead vegetation over or near the pipeline

    For more information, please visit INGAA’s Safety page.

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    Pigs are used to inspect pipelines. No, not the farm animals, but robotic devices called pigs because of the squealing sound they make when they travel through the pipelines. “Smart” pigs are used to evaluate the inside of the pipeline and ensure that they are safe. Pigs can ensure proper pipe structure, detect signs of corrosion or leaks and also can be used to clean the lines. Smart pigs are just one of the many ways that the pipeline industry ensures safety. Pipeline operators also conduct routine aerial and walking inspections of the pipeline and they monitor the pipeline’s pressure 24/7.
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    Yes. Pipelines are the safest, most reliable and efficient manner of transporting energy products.

    The Department of Transportation, or DOT, oversees interstate natural gas pipelines, and they often note that pipelines are the safest form of energy transportation. Statistics gathered by the National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency, indicate that pipelines make up less than one one-hundredth of one percent (.01%) of all transportation accidents in the United States. There are approximately 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines throughout the United States that deliver safe, reliable natural gas to American families and businesses.

    Pipelines exist almost everywhere throughout the United States -generally buried underground – transporting the energy that you depend on every day to heat your home, generate electricity, cook your food and so much more. Pipelines are a vital and efficient part of the United States’ energy infrastructure.
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    As with any surface, the inner walls of our pipelines are not perfectly smooth which leads to some friction when a product like natural gas flows through them. Even a small amount of friction will cause some pressure loss after the natural gas has passed through the pipeline for many miles.

    A pipeline company must install compressors along the pipeline to re-pressure the natural gas so it may continue to flow. Compressor stations are typically installed at intervals of 30 to 70 miles (approximately 48 to 112 kms) along the pipeline.
  • Q
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    Pipelines are constructed using different material depending on their size, pressure requirements and use.
    Transmission and gathering pipes, the pipes used to transport gas from supply areas to distribution centers, are made of 0.25-inch to 0.5-inch thick steel and have a special coating to protect against corrosion.
    For distribution pipelines, used by your local gas company to deliver to your home, plastic often is used because it is resistant to corrosion, flexible, and cost-effective especially lines which operate at less than 100 pounds of pressure.
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    When natural gas is first transported through transmission lines it can be passed through at varying pressures depending on the individual pipeline and location. By the time it reaches a household piping system at your local gas company, pressure has been reduced to less than the pressure created by a child blowing bubbles into milk through a straw.

    A pipeline company must install compressors along the pipeline to re-pressure the natural gas so it may continue to flow to the end user. Compressor stations are typically installed at intervals of 30 to 70 miles (approximately 48 to 112 kilometers) along the pipeline.

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    Some natural gas pipelines are as small as one inch in diameter, while other pipelines are as large as 48 inches in diameter. Generally smaller pipe is used for distribution (which deliver gas to homes and businesses) or gathering pipelines (which move production to processing plants or larger pipelines). INGAA represents the operators of transmission pipelines, larger lines that tend to operate under higher pressure, and that serve as the “highways” of the pipeline network.
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    The top of a natural gas transmission pipeline generally is at least 30 inches (2.5 feet) below the ground's surface when installed, but that can vary depending on the size of the line, soil type and the terrain.
  • Q
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    The following are a few of the agencies that regulate natural gas pipelines:
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    Natural gas pipeline easements have had little or no effect on property values historically.

     

    Integra Realty Resources, a leading provider of real estate valuation and counseling services, conducted a rigorous study of properties in four separate areas of the country in 2015. The report, Pipeline Impact to Property Value and Property Insurability, prepared on behalf of the INGAA Foundation, shows that the presence of pipelines does not affect the value of a property, its insurability, its desirability or the ability to obtain a mortgage. 

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    After construction, the temporary right of way is restored to make sure that the foliage and grassland is returned as closely as possible to its original condition. Agricultural lands will be properly restored using approved mitigation techniques designed to ensure full productive reuse of the agricultural lands. Land representatives will meet with all directly affected landowners to assess any particular issues or concerns that the landowner may have, such as impact to landscaping or structures such as fences, sheds or playground equipment.
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    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is charged by Congress with evaluating whether interstate natural gas pipeline projects proposed by private companies should be approved. The federal government does not propose, construct, operate, or own such projects. The commission’s determination whether to approve such a project may affect you if your land is where a natural gas pipeline, other facilities, or underground storage fields might be located. FERC has issued a handy guide, An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?, for your information.
     
    This guide covers:
    • How the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's procedures work;
    • What rights landowners have;
    • How the location of a pipeline or other facilities is decided;
    • What safety and environmental issues might be involved.
     
    INGAA’s members live and work in these communities where projects are built and have committed to having a long-term relationship as your neighbor. INGAA members affirmed its commitments to landowners in a document called ‘America’s Natural Gas Transporters’ Commitment to Landowners.'
  • Q
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    You can find out if there is a pipeline near you by checking the National Pipeline Mapping System Public Map Viewer at www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov
    Also, look for pipeline markers. These are signs, located at regular intervals, that include information about the product transported and the transmission pipeline operator.
    If you have a pipeline on your property, you will get regular mailings from the pipeline owner. Be sure to read any mailings you receive from pipeline companies!
  • Q
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    Unlike sites that separate all member content into a single section, the INGAA website has been designed to display members-only content in context  (right along side reports and news items open to the public).  You no longer need to login to separate areas of the site to access committee or other private information.  Simply login, and the password-protected information you have permission to see will appear throughout the site.  Similarly, those without permission will simply not see the information.

    For example, when you first look at the News section, you will see a limited number of stories and announcements.  But once you have logged in, the list becomes much more extensive.  Look for the blue "M" icon, which indicates that an item is not available to the public.

  • Q
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    Yes. Any land disturbance for pipeline construction is temporary. Pipeline construction crews work to restore the land to its previous state. With the exception of pipeline safety markers located at each crossing of a public road and railroad and anywhere else necessary to identify the location of a pipeline, underground gas pipelines are largely invisible as they transport energy.

    After a line is built, you can carry on normal farming operations, including crop growing and grazing. And because pipelines have at least 36 inches of soil cover, there should be no obstacles to normal irrigation or cultivation. You cannot plant trees on pipeline rights-of-way, nor can you build homes or business facilities. These restrictions are in place for safety and for pipeline maintenance purposes. They also may affect the value of the land, which will be reflected in the compensation that the landowner receives from the pipeline company.

    After construction of the pipeline, the company will periodically inspect the site to ensure it is being properly maintained. Inspections are done from airplanes as well as on foot. It is the responsibility of the pipeline company to maintain the site, through such activities as mowing fields and clearing trees. These maintenance activities help the company properly inspect the site.

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    As the cleanest of all fossil fuels, natural gas is quickly becoming the fuel of choice for the future. It also is safe, inexpensive and easily available in many places around the United States. These qualities are helping to boost consumer demand, which at more than 22 trillion cubic feet per year is an all-time high.

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that demand for natural gas will reach 30 Tcf by 2012. This means that the natural gas pipeline industry must respond with more facilities to supply the additional demand for natural gas.

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    Think of a natural gas pipeline as an energy highway. American pipelines transport natural gas from nearly 275,000 gas wells in various production areas of the country over hundreds or thousands of miles to customers in cities, towns and industrial facilities.

    The gas is compressed when it comes out of the wells, and this compression helps it move at about 15 miles per hour through the pipes. Though the friction of the gas against the pipes slows it down at some points along the way, the pipelines operate compressor stations at points about 75 miles apart along the route to compress the natural gas and then push it along. The natural gas in a pipeline is roughly the same temperature as the earth around the pipeline, though the periodic compression can increase the temperature for a short distance.

    The gas moves relatively quietly on its journey through the pipeline system. The only noise comes at the compressor stations, whose motors generate the equivalent noise of a plane engine. To minimize noise, compressor stations, which are about the size of a barn, are insulated and operate under federal regulations and specifications. Natural gas is delivered to local gas distribution companies (LDCs), which in turn distribute the gas to homes, businesses and factories. Pipelines also deliver gas to end-users, such as electric generators.

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    The INGAA Foundation was established in 1990 to "facilitate the construction and operation of interstate and interprovincial natural gas pipelines so as to advance the use of natural gas for the benefit of the consuming public and the natural gas industry." Foundation membership is made up of pipelines as well as suppliers of goods and services to the pipeline industry. The primary activity of the Foundation is the sponsorship of studies aimed at unlocking the potential of natural gas as North America's premium domestic fuel.

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    The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) is a trade organization that advocates regulatory and legislative positions of importance to the natural gas pipeline industry in North America.

    INGAA is comprised of 25 members, representing the vast majority of the interstate natural gas transmission pipeline companies in the U.S. and comparable companies in Canada. INGAA’s members operate approximately 200,000 miles of pipelines, and serve as an indispensable link between natural gas producers and consumers.

    The interstate natural gas pipeline industry has two principal federal regulators: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is responsible for the economic regulation of pipelines, while the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Pipeline Safety oversees the industry's safety efforts.