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    Crude oil: Transporting above and below ground


    Author: Jimmy Thomson, Canadian Geographic

    Publish Date: Oct 10, 2013   Last Update: Sep 20, 2018


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    Oil is primarily transported by pipeline, although it is also moved by rail.

    Pipelines are divided according to their purpose: gathering lines transport oil from wells to gathering facilities, then feeder lines bring oil to processing facilities and to the long-distance pipelines called transmission lines.

    The transmission lines deliver crude oil to its final destination at refineries, where it is processed into usable products. Oil travels through the pipelines at about four to eight kilometres per hour, pushed along by pumps.

    Pipelines are often to the forefront of the Canadian energy debate. Proponents say pipelines are needed to continue expansion of the oilsands and are essential projects for Canada’s economy. But others oppose pipelines because of concerns about the potential for spills, disturbance of natural habitats and increased reliance on emissions-heavy extraction and upgrading.

    In 2015, approximately 6% of Saskatchewan’s crude oil production was delivered to markets by rail. Quebec received approximately 220 Mb/d of crude oil via tankers arriving at Montreal and Lévis.


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