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Transportation and Storage

Once produced, oil must be collected and transported to a refining point

Golden Valley - near where I was born One of the most common sights in this area's oil fields are the storage tanks that dot our landscape.  Each producing well has its companion storage tank containing the production of several days pumping.  Typically, trucks visit these storage tanks on a regular basis and load oil from the storage tank into the truck.

The truck delivers the oil directly to a refinery or to a "battery".  A "battery" is located in the field and provides facilities to remove sand and water, and treat it in other ways to ready it for the refinery.  From a battery, oil usually moves by pipeline to the refinery or upgrader.

The production of the upgrader also moves on via pipeline; most entering the system of pipelines which supplies oil to Eastern Canadian and Mid-Western United States' markets.

This section contains information on field storage, batteries, pipelines and trucking- all with special reference to Heavy Oil.

To learn more about Batteries - click here

Pipelines are the major means of transporting crude oils

In some fields, "flowlines" carry crude oil to the battery for cleaning.  After cleaning and treating, oil moves by pipeline to the upgrader or refinery. Much of our heavy oil is below the minimum pipelining standard of 21.2° API.  Therefore, a diluent must be added.  The most common additive in this area is the liquid gas component of natural gas, called "condensate".  Condensate is easily removed at the refinery and is then recycled.

Shipping pumps establish the pressure (up to 1440 psi) to move the crude along.  Periodic boost pumps are placed along the pipeline's route to maintain this pressure. Pipelines are closely monitored and controlled by increasingly sophisticated electronic and computerized equipment. They move high volumes of crudes, safely and efficiently to often distant markets in Eastern Canada and the Mid-Western United States.

To learn more about Pipelines - click here

Trends over time in Heavy Oil Transportation and Storage - click here

Transporting oil in the field via pipelines is often called flowlining - for some of its challenges click here

For an article about Grant King - who spent 50 years in the oil business, the last 35 of those with Gibson Petroleum whose trucks, terminals and pipelines store and move millions of cubic meters of oil daily - click here

See also Hamish Garland's account of the set up of first batteries in Lloydminster area, as well as discussion of the "yo-yo" pipeline between Lloydminster and Hardisty.

See also Leo Cavanagh's account for a brief discussion of the "yo-yo" pipeline

For an explanation of Density and Viscosity - click here

To learn about some of the many environmental response techniques - click here


Crudey travelsI'm on the Road Again

Once I'm produced, I start travelling.

First, I have a rest in the field storage tank. 
Then I'm off by truck to the battery and then - whee! down the pipeline on my way to the refinery and upgrader