Natural Gas Facts

Pipeline Fun Facts

  • If all the natural gas pipelines in the U.S.  were connected to each other they would stretch to and from the moon almost three times.
  • Pigs 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, developed in the 1960s, 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.
  • Pipelines are constructed using different material depending on their size, pressure requirements and use. Transmission 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. Prior to steel, cast iron was widely used for pipeline construction. For distribution pipelines, especially lines which operate at less than 100 pounds of pressure, plastic is used because of its resistance to corrosion, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Transmission pipelines are protected by an electrical shield called cathodic protection. Cathodic protection is achieved by applying a current to the pipeline at a high enough current that the structure is at one potential. This supplements other coating protections to ensure that corrosion is protected against!
  • 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 8 times!
  • When natural gas is first transported through transmission lines it can be passed through at pressures up to 1500 pounds per square inch (psi). By the time it reaches a household piping system, pressure has been reduced to under 0.25 psi – or less than the pressure created by a child blowing bubbles into milk through a straw.