Author: Jimmy Thomson, Canadian Geographic
Publish Date: Oct 3, 2013 Last Update: Sep 20, 2018
Pipelines are divided according to their purpose: gathering lines transport oil from wells and mines to gathering facilities, then feeder lines bring oil from processing facilities to the long-distance pipelines called transmission lines.
Bitumen has a heavy consistency similar to cold molasses or peanut butter and does not flow in the same way as light crude oil. To be transported by pipeline, it must therefore be mixed with a natural gas condensate known as a diluent to form a liquid, called diluted bitumen or dilbit.
The transmission lines deliver the crude oil to its final destination at refineries, where it is processed. The oil travels through the pipelines at about four to eight kilometres per hour, pushed along by pumps.
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