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Oil Pipelines

Because many oil deposits are in remote areas of the world, it oftentimes doesn't make economical sense to transport the oil by tanker or truck.

In the North, for example, where the winter ice formation often shuts down shipping lanes, the transport of the oil by tanker simply wouldn't be possible on a year-round basis (Read about the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Alaska on a later page). This would mean that the oil production and drilling would have to be shut down for the winter months. From the financial standpoint of the oil company this wouldn't be a feasible choice due to all the costs put into oil exploration and production. Trucking the oil would also be close to impossible due to the changing and severe weather conditions in the winter months.

In many remote areas of the world, transporting the crude oil by train may not be possible if there are no rail lines set up.

One way that the oil companies can get their product to the oil refineries is to construct a long metal pipeline that can transport the crude oil produced at the well or platform rig to the refinery down the coast. These types of projects require a great deal of planning and cost to the oil company but the overall cost savings are worth the investment. Most of these oil pipelines are hundreds and even thousands of miles in length. They are sometimes buried underground or when the ground is too rocky the pipeline is above ground. Having the pipeline above ground also makes it much easier to repair any problems such as leaks or fractures that occur. Some of the jobs associated with constructing and maintaining an oil pipeline can include Right-of-way personnel who make sure that the lands required for the pipeline are available for lease or sale before the pipeline is even started. Structural engineers, welders, truck drivers and material handlers are also required to design, manufacture and lay the pipelines.

The construction of a pipeline can mean many pipelaying jobs and years of work for trained and experienced personnel as well as those workers who may not have as much experience but are trained at what they do. Oil pipelines allow the oil companies to get their crude oil to their refineries and save transport costs which in turn allows them to charge a better price and make more profit for their refined products to stay competitive in their prices.

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