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Overground pipeline
Flange connection of a pipeline, screwed, with electrical contact bracket (above)
District heating pipeline with a length of 31 km

A pipeline (from English : pipe = pipe , tube + line = line, line , connection) is a long-distance line for the pipeline transport of liquids (e.g. water or crude oil ) or gases (e.g. natural gas or carbon monoxide ), rarely also sludge (e.g. coal or iron ore mixed with water).

Pipelines are used for the transport of oil and gas over long distances, where they are more economical than tank trucks despite high construction costs . Some lines are even several thousand kilometers long, for example those from Siberia to Central Europe or from Alaska to the USA.

For example, a gas pipeline from Fahud to Suhar ( Oman ) with an (inner) diameter of 32 inches (81 cm) transports 22.8 million m³ of natural gas per day over a distance of 305 km. The 700 km long pipeline between Saih Nihayda and Salalah , also in Oman, transports 5 million m³ of gas per day with a diameter of 24 ″ (61 cm). The 28 ″ (71 cm) oil pipeline Wilhelmshaven - Wesseling has an annual capacity of 15.5 million tons. The transport capacity of gas pipelines is stated in m n ³ / h ( standard cubic meters per hour).

Engineering of pipelines

Considerations for building pipelines are not new. As early as the beginning of the 17th century, brine pipes were being built from the extraction to the boiling sites in the Austrian and Bavarian Alps . In 1665, the then polymath Athanasius Kircher proposed the construction of a lead pipeline between an oil well and an eternal flame .

At the head end of an oil pipeline there is usually a tank farm that acts as an intermediate buffer for the oil to be sent, as the outflow is rather slow: With oil, the transport speed is typically 3–5 km / h, i.e. about pedestrian speed. With the mentioned line lengths, this results in considerable transport times, which, however, do not have a negative impact compared to a (often preceding) sea transport.

The crude oil is set in motion by pressure centrifugal pumps , whereby in view of the pipe diameter, the distances and the viscosity of the medium, outputs of several 100 kW and several individual pumps connected in series are required.

Since there are different customers and different types of oil, the separation between these different batches must be ensured. In addition, there is now complex optimization software that tries to simultaneously arrange batches that are as similar as possible in direct succession and to satisfy the wishes of the various customers. If this is successful, you can save yourself additional measures such as separating pigs and simply accept the slight mixing of the batches around the transition point.

Remote-controlled sliders can be used to send the content in branches to specific consumers along the line. In general, this ongoing pipeline operation is completely remotely controlled and monitored by a remote control center .

Although the development of industrial pipelines began shortly after the first commercial oil well by Edwin Drake and was thus closely linked to the production of crude oil, the technology described above is now generally used for pipelines.

Gas pipelines basically have a similar technology, but instead of pumping stations they are referred to as compressor stations , because the high compressibility of gas with the application of pressure (to overcome the flow resistance) is always accompanied by a strong increase in density in the case of gas . Gas pipelines also have a storage function due to the possibility of varying the operating pressure over their volume.

The transport of liquid as well as gaseous fluids through pipes requires pump energy to counteract the energy-consuming flow resistance. Only in special applications does a medium flow solely driven by gravity, typical examples are: water from a spring on the mountain or from a reservoir at a high altitude, natural or town gas (lighter than air) also in pipes with very low relative outlet pressure in high houses or urban areas. If a specifically heavy medium is pumped over a mountain, more than the hydrostatic pressure corresponding to the height difference has to be applied, which however builds up again when flowing down the pipe. In order to protect deep-lying pipes behind them from overstressing, excessive pressure must be relieved by throttles or pressure regulators, if not - as in Austria around 2010 - gradient power plants are installed in pipelines.

The transport energy expenditure per distance increases with the throughput rate in a specific pipe and decreases with the pipe diameter (typically 20–120 cm) for a fixed throughput. A pipe with a larger diameter also needs a greater wall thickness for the same compressive strength and therefore has a quadratic higher material cost. Often two (or more) pipe strings of approximately the same diameter are laid, since in the event of damage that only affects one pipe locally, the other is still available for passage. While in the early days pipeline pumps (as well as oil pumps) were mainly driven by motors that took their fuel from the pipeline, now more low-maintenance electric drives are used.

A slow laminar flow requires particularly little drive power, but due to a parabolic speed profile causes more mixing of products sent one after the other than a turbulent transport with a more plateau-shaped speed distribution. Stronger eddies in the flow encourage the desired removal of dust and grains from the pipe; Deposits must be removed by pig or a high flow.


As offshore pipelines (before the coast ) are called lines largely underwater on the sea floor run. During construction, longer pieces of pipe are welded together on board a special ship to form a pipeline, from where it hangs in a wide arc down to the bottom of the sea. In order for it to sink better, it is partially weighted down with a layer of concrete that is reinforced with wire mesh. To relieve the bending stress, the anchored vehicle pulls on the pipeline with a tensioner - a tensioning and advancing device similar to two caterpillars. This tensioner clamps the pipeline and can move it axially under tensile load. With an intelligent control system, it also compensates for the axial vibrations that the sea could introduce into the pipeline.

If the pipeline in the horizontal is made able to lead them on rollers over an arcuate support structure, called Stinger , and calls it - according to the S-curve of the pipe - the "S method" ( English S-lay ). If the pipeline is built in an inclined position to a bending moment to avoid the ship, only a very short Stinger or no is necessary, and this is called the "J-method" ( English J-Lay ). Pipelayers, i.e. special work boats, such as the Castoro Sei (S-Lay), the Saipem 7000 or the DCV Balder (both J-Lay) are used for laying ; the largest pipelayer in the world is the Solitaire .

With the “Reel-Barge-Method” or “R-Method” ( English R-Lay ), longer pipe sections are delivered and unwound in a rolled up form . A feared event of damage during laying of a pipeline, the bending-Beul failure ( English buckling ), wherein in larger sea depths compresses the pipeline of the large hydrostatic pressure. At worst, it can also fill up with seawater and their effective weight multiply ( English wet buckling ).

Offshore pipelines not only bridge seas, such as the Transmed or GALSI , but they also connect offshore oil and gas fields with the mainland, such as the Ekofisk- Emden ( Europipe ) pipeline .

In 1944 British engineers built two submarine pipelines from Great Britain to northern France to transport fuel for the rapid advance of the Western Allies through France towards the front, as suitable ports for large tankers were not yet in Allied hands at that time (see Operation PLUTO ).

Pipelines ashore

Pipeline under construction
Pipeline construction near Skole / Ukraine
Natural gas pipeline Urengoy - Uzhgorod in Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (1983)
A welding crawler vehicle from the Streicher company. The welding power sources are located at the stern and are electrically connected to the welding tent via the boom

The construction of pipelines on land is also highly mechanized, with various special machines (similar to the one above) for digging the trench in which the pipeline is being laid, for laying and joining the pipeline strands. Before the lines are laid, pieces of around 500 m in length are welded together and the welds are tested.

A special feature arises when crossing roads or waterways. While a corresponding hole ( drilling pressure ) is drilled under the roadway on roads, culverts are used for watercourses that are not too wide .

Rivers and valleys, but also paths, especially in chemical plants, can also be crossed with pipe bridges . In some cases, such as the Graz gas pipe footbridge , a footbridge built for a town gas pipeline leads - over the Mur - also a footpath and cycle path.


Pipelines often work with such high pressures that the pipeline material (e.g. steel ) can reach its limits when exposed to additional loads. As a result, severe corrosion that may exist under certain circumstances can, in extreme cases, lead to failure of the line. Additional loads can represent punctual events such as pressure surges (and their reflections and overlapping with them). And last but not least, external events (dredging work above the pipeline without the construction team knowing of the danger; mining in the area) can mean risks, as the pipelines are typically buried at depths of 0.8 to 2 m. All of this must be taken into account on the one hand during planning and on the other hand in continuous operation.

The risk also depends on the material being transported. Combustible gases give a higher risk of explosion, but a lower risk in terms of environmental pollution; with crude oil it is exactly the opposite. Many accidents have occurred in countries such as Russia (gas and crude oil) and Nigeria (crude oil), in some cases with high casualties, great destruction and considerable environmental damage. In mid-2006 there were also accidents in Alaska in which the precautionary measures discussed below were apparently not carried out at all or inadequately.

In practice, there have also been various accidents with line bursts in Germany, but these have not yet led to any major losses or contamination. The weak points were, for example, welds on longitudinally welded pipes, but also on pipe bends . In pressure tests and pig investigations (see below), individual pipes have already been found that were so damaged or corroded that they could have failed a little later during operation.

In the planning, all operating cases with regard to maximum pressure including pressure surge loads must be taken into account. This leads in particular to the design of the wall thicknesses of the pipes used. At the beginning, directly behind the pressure generators (pumps or compressors) that push the transported goods through the line, the highest pressure typically occurs, so the greatest wall thickness is normally required here. The wall thickness can usually be reduced towards the end of the line, which is not least a cost factor. But here, too, the possible pressure surge load from closing slides or the like must be taken into account. This therefore requires additional reinforcements in the vicinity of such installations, at pumping stations, but also in more pronounced curves. In the case of pipelines with large differences in height (e.g. in the mountains), the wall thickness must also be increased accordingly.

Cleaning pig with a brush rim and plastic sleeves
Crack detection pig with an ultrasonic measuring head to be used

During operation, the condition of the line itself has to be continuously monitored on the one hand, i.e. above all corrosion in every form and on every individual element, and on the other hand the mentioned external risks:

  • Corrosion can be avoided by cleaning the line from corrosive residues, for which cleaning pigs are used.
  • Corrosion is most elegantly monitored with non-destructive material testing . To do this, use special wall thickness measuring pigs or z. In the case of stress corrosion cracking , for example, there are also crack detection pigs , the typical inspection intervals of which can range from one year (e.g. offshore lines with highly corrosive operating conditions) to several years (in the case of fewer fault indications).
  • A prevention against corrosion is z. B. by good coating (possibly different on the inside than outside) of the line and in operation z. B. achieved by cathodic corrosion protection , which in turn requires continuous monitoring. To do this, z. For example, the voltage level on the pipe at selected (and specially set up) measuring points along the line can be measured every year and the power supply adjusted if necessary. In the case of particularly corrosive products, it may also be necessary to provide such cathodic corrosion protection inside the pipe, which, however, is a problem when pigging.
  • At even longer intervals (several years), a pressure test can also be carried out, in which the line is emptied and then filled with water and brought to a pressure above the maximum operating pressure. In extreme cases, a pre-damaged pipe can burst and must then be replaced. Since damage cannot be completely ruled out with such a pressure test, the pressure test cannot be carried out with air (risk of explosive pipe dismantling with flying debris) or operating medium (risk of environmental damage).
  • In the operations center of a pipeline, the condition is continuously monitored, in particular to identify sudden pressure drops that indicate a leak. In addition, a quantity balancing is usually carried out, which compares the quantity fed in at the beginning with the quantity arriving at the end and triggers an alarm in the event of a deviation.
  • To protect against external damage lines are line-goers and / or z. B. weekly overflies of the route with airplanes or helicopters observed. From a bird's eye view, even small leaks can be seen through any slight discolouration of the ground, which would not be noticeable from the ground. You can also see the construction of construction sites and ask on site whether you are informed about the conditions there and whether a permit is available.
On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, a helicopter had an accident near Langenfeld in North Rhine-Westphalia after inspecting a construction site on a pipeline. The two inmates were uninjured.
  • Special precautions are to be taken in so-called subsidence areas . These are regions like the northern Ruhr area , where intensive, ground-level mining has taken place and now the ground gives way over a large area and slowly (but sometimes jerkily) and sinks. As a result, a pipeline lying in the ground is of course pulled along, it sags as a result and is actually too short. Any other type of ground movement can also result in a compression of the line. Some pipeline operators therefore employ their own surveyors to continuously monitor such critical areas. If a certain amount is exceeded, the line must be dug up and cut through and then an appropriate piece inserted or cut out.

The most serious pipeline accident in Germany to date occurred on an oil pipeline in Saxony-Anhalt in 1993. On August 26, 1993, a leak formed on the Spergau-Zeitz oil pipeline directly below the crossing of the A 9 autobahn 1 million liters of crude oil leaked and contaminated areas on both sides of the highway. The motorway was completely closed during the clean-up work.


Crude oil and product lines

Around 80% of all crude oil used in German oil refineries is transported through long-distance crude oil pipelines. In addition, long-distance lines are used to transport semi-finished and finished products ( product lines ) between the refinery centers. Different mineral oil products can also be sent one after the other through the same pipeline, with very little scrap due to mixing. The crude oil pipeline network in Germany has a total length of 2400 km.

Important pipelines for Germany:

Information sign for the Rotterdam-Rijn Pijpleiding (RRP) mineral oil pipeline in Korschenbroich

(*) Product line

Natural gas pipelines

Important natural gas pipelines in Germany:

Ethene pipeline system

An important pipeline project in Germany is the establishment of a network of product lines for ethene (outdated substance name: ethylene) from Rotterdam via Antwerp to the Cologne area and further into the Emscher-Lippe area. The state governments of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein supported an ethene pipeline from the Ruhr area to the German coast.

At the same time, the industrial sites of Brunsbüttel and Stade to the north and south of the Elbe are to be connected with a 54-kilometer chemical and gas pipeline. Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony want to use the pipeline to improve the supply of raw materials to chemical companies on the coast and thus improve sales opportunities for their products in Germany and Europe. The planned connection is also an element in the Chem Coast project of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI). In Stade there is a connection to an ethene pipeline to Böhlen in Saxony. In addition, another connection is planned from Stade via Wilhelmshaven via Marl to Gelsenkirchen , where there are large chemical factories.

The Münchsmünster – Gendorf ethylene pipeline was built in 1971 and 1972 and connects the Münchsmünster petrochemical plant near Ingolstadt with Gendorf in the Bavarian chemical triangle . It is currently being extended by the “ Ethylen-Pipeline Süd ” (EPS) from Münchsmünster to Ludwigshafen am Rhein.

Fuel supply to NATO facilities

The Central Europe Pipeline System (CEPS) is in place in Central Europe to supply fuel to NATO military installations . The 2,800 km long German part of this network is operated in peacetime by Fernleitungs-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (FBG) in Bad Godesberg . Is transported while refined fuel and no crude oil , mainly for civilian purposes, such as the Frankfurt Airport .

Carbon monoxide pipeline

Oxygen pipeline

Control station of the Ruhr oxygen pipeline in Bochum

Along the railway lines through the Ruhr area, there is an oxygen pipeline, among other things, to supply the various iron and steel works (see e.g. AOD process ) with oxygen. It can be recognized by the yellow marker posts with a blue sign.

Hydrogen pipelines

Rhine-Ruhr hydrogen pipeline

The 240 km long hydrogen-Rhine-Ruhr pipeline was put into operation as early as 1938; after the Second World War it was initially operated by the Hüls chemical works , which sold it to the British Oxygen Company (BOC) - now it is operated by Air Liquide operated.

Rodleben-Bitterfeld-Leuna-Zeitz hydrogen pipeline

In Saxony-Anhalt there is a 90 km long, well-developed hydrogen pipeline system operated by Linde-Gas AG in a region with strong industrial gas demand between Rodleben - Bitterfeld - Leuna - Zeitz .


Pipelines play an important role in Austria's energy industry - both for transporting natural gas and for transporting crude oil. Austria also serves as an important transit country. If one considers the pipeline transport of goods as a transport service, their share of the total transport volume (in tons × kilometers / year) of goods (otherwise by road, rail, water) is particularly high in a Europe-wide comparison.


Oil imports take place via the Transalpine Oil Pipeline (TAL), which has its exit in the port of Trieste and reaches Germany through Carinthia and Tyrol near Kufstein , where it still leads to Ingolstadt. Shortly after the Italian-Austrian border near Arnoldstein , the Adria-Wien Pipeline (AWP) branches off from it in Upper Carinthia Würmlach , near Kötschach-Mauthen , where there is also a tank farm , which leads to the world's largest inland refinery in Schwechat . This refinery is the only one in Austria, apart from small plants. The line is 420 km long and overcomes a height difference of 950 m by means of several pumping stations and tunnels . About Koralpe and change it pumps 7.5 million tons after Schwechat to OMV - refinery . The Adria-Wien pipeline was put into operation in 1970.

A connection line between Slovnaft near Bratislava and OMV in Schwechat has also been planned since 2003 . A length of about 60 km is planned. This should enable a connection to the Russian oil deposits. However, the construction has already been postponed several times due to environmental concerns, as this pipeline is supposed to lead over the large Schüttinsel and thus through the largest water reservoirs in Europe and an impairment of the water supply of Bratislava and a large area in southwestern Slovakia is feared. The most recently assumed completion of 2012 will not come about either.

The total length of the oil pipelines in operation in Austria is 663 kilometers.

Pipeline power plant

The world's first oil pipeline power plant was built in Austria in spring 2015. The Transalpine Ölleitung (TAL) uses the pressure build-up due to the topology of the Alpine pass on the Felbertauern – Mittersill incline in order to recover 11.5 GWh of electrical energy annually, 1/8 of the pumping effort of the entire oil pipeline in Austria.

The power plant has been in operation since autumn 2018, the plant was built in a tight tank and largely poured in to protect against natural hazards. The construction took three years and cost eleven million euros.

natural gas

Five major natural gas pipelines run through Austria :

  • Trans-Austria-Gasleitung (TAG): crosses Austria from Baumgarten an der March , which is located directly on the Slovakian border and represents a distribution point for the gas coming from Eastern Europe, in a south-west direction to the Italian border and provides a connection between Ukraine and Russia in the east to Trieste, southern Italy and Africa in the south.
  • West-Austria-Gasleitung (WAG): also starts at the Slovakian border near Baumgarten an der March, but runs through the Waldviertel and Mühlviertel towards the west, where it crosses Rainbach near Freistadt and crosses the border to Germany in Oberkappel .
  • Hungaria-Austria-Gasleitung (HAG): runs from Baumgarten via northern Burgenland to Hungary.
  • Southeast Line (SOL): Runs from Graz (from TAG) via Straß to Slovenia.
  • Penta-West (PW): runs from Oberkappel (connection to the WAG) through the Upper Austrian Innviertel to Burghausen in Bavaria.
  • Another pipeline connects the natural gas fields and storage facilities in Auersthal and Tallesbrunn and the Baumgarten transfer station by means of a route running south along the Danube via Tulln and Amstetten with Linz, where the pipeline joins the network of Upper Austria Ferngas .
  • Tyrol-Italy-Bavaria connection line (TIBAL): This line, which is currently being planned, is to be routed from Burghausen to Kufstein, from where the connection to the existing Tyrolean pipeline network is to be made, and further south through East Tyrol to Italy.

The hub for the most important natural gas pipelines in Austria is Baumgarten an der March in Lower Austria, where since 1959, when the Zwerndorf production site was opened, natural gas originating from the east (mainly Russia) for domestic consumption as well as to Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany, France and Hungary is branched off. The total length of the natural gas pipelines in Austria is 2,722 kilometers.

The Nabucco pipeline is currently in the development phase, which is to be built between 2010 and 2013 and will connect the Baumgarten compressor center near Vienna with gas sources from the Caspian region (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, etc.). This 3,200 km pipeline project is a priority infrastructure project of the European Union. The South Stream pipeline currently planned by Gazprom and Eni is being traded as an alternative to the Nabucco pipeline .

District heating

Construction of the district heating pipeline DN 400

The EVN heat built a 31-km district heating transport line from the power plant Dürnrohr to Sankt Pölten to supply the capital with heat. It is the longest district heating pipeline in Austria. The pipe has an inside diameter of 400 or 450 mm (DN 400 / DN 450) and PU foam insulation and thus an outside diameter of around 700 mm. Up to 40 MW of heat are transported via the line, which means that two thirds of the district heating in Sankt Pölten is supplied from the Dürnrohr power plant.


The Switzerland is connected via eleven interchanges with the European gas pipeline network. The backbone of the Swiss gas infrastructure is the north-south transit pipeline from Wallbach (Aargau) to the Griespass (Valais) , which went into operation in 1974 .

Since the closure of the transit line Oleodotto del Reno St. Margrethen - Splügenpass , Switzerland has been connected to the Western European oil pipeline system via three independent branch lines. All three lines are in private hands. In view of the stagnating domestic demand and the sufficient transport capacity of around eight million tons per year, there are no expansion plans for the Swiss oil pipelines.

The " Oléoduc du Rhône " connects the port of Genoa through the tunnel on the Great St. Bernard with the former Collombey refinery , which was closed in 2015 .

The " Oléoduc du Jura Neuchâtelois " connects the Cressier refinery to the southern European pipeline ( Marseille - Karlsruhe ).

"SAPPRO" (Societé du Pipeline à Produits Pétroliers sur Territoire Genevois) transports finished products from Marseille to Geneva .

Pipelines for sludge

Pipelines are also used to transport sludge. For this purpose, the substance actually to be transported is mixed with water, transported through the pipeline and the water separated again at the end of the transport. This mode of transport concerns materials that can be finely ground and mixed with water without dissolving, such as coal , iron ore , copper concentrate , zinc , phosphate and limestone .


Finely ground coal can be slurried with the same weight fraction of water and transported through a pipe. The coal must be dried again before it can be burned in the power plant. This mode of transport was promoted on a large scale in the USA for a long time , but is now more of a niche application. The high water consumption and the effort involved in drying the coal after transport are problematic.

The oldest coal pipeline was only in operation from 1957 to 1963. It connected the coal mine in Cadiz in the state of Ohio with the power station 173 km away in Eastlake on Lake Erie . The pipeline was shut down after a few years because rail transport was cheaper.

The pipeline between the Black Mesa coal mine in the state of Arizona and the Mohave coal-fired power plant in the state of Nevada , 439 km away, was in operation from 1970 to 2005. The pipeline had a diameter of 45 cm and belonged to the Southern Pacific railway company . 1.2 million cubic meters of groundwater were used annually to slurry the coal, which led to supply problems in the surrounding Hopi settlements . In 2006 the pipeline and the power station were shut down because the latter no longer met environmental regulations and the protests against water consumption and coal mining had become too great.

In the late 1970s, an entire network of pipelines was planned in the United States that would have taken over long-distance transportation of coal from the railroad. The projects were quickly abandoned because of the high water consumption and resistance of the railway companies to the pipelines.

Iron ore

The transport of iron ore in pipelines is easier than that of coal, because the ground raw ore has to be slurried for further processing by flotation and there is no additional drying of the transported goods at the destination.

The longest iron ore pipeline in Brazil is operated by the Samarco mining company . The ore mined in the Algeria mine near Mariana is slurried in the Germano processing plant for transport via the 396-kilometer pipeline. The end of the iron ore pipeline is at the pelletizing plant in the deep-water port of Ponta Ubu on the Atlantic Ocean . The pipeline has a diameter of 50 cm and annually transports 15 million tons of iron ore sludge, which moves at about 6 km / h in the line.

In Mexico , an iron ore pipeline is in operation between the Hercules opencast mine and the Monclova steelworks . The line with a diameter of 35 cm is 300 km long. The exhausted La Perla opencast mine was originally also connected to the pipeline, so that the pipeline used to measure 382 km.

Copper ore

Several longer pipelines for the transport of copper ore concentrate are in operation in South America . The pipelines run from the mines in the Andes to the ports on the Pacific Ocean . Four out of six pipelines have only one pumping station at the beginning of the route. These four have an average longitudinal gradient of 1.4 to 2.2% and, after steep downhill sections, require one to three throttle stations in order to reduce impermissibly high pressure via flow resistance and to avoid highly abrasive gravity flow via turbulence. The throttles are nozzles made of ceramic and have a service life of six months.

The plant of the mining company Antamina in Peru , built in 2001, transports different qualities of copper ore and zinc ore concentrate . Water is used to separate the different batches of material. The head end of the 302 km long line is at 4,200 meters above sea level, the terminal in Huarmey on the coast. The pump increases the pressure to 238 bar. The steel pipeline (API 5L Grade X65) is connected with flanges every 400 to 1200 meters in order to be able to insert an HDPE liner (feeding tube) inside as a wearing layer. A computer program helps to maintain good operating conditions. The parameters are the potential height of the flow, the sum of the geographic height, hydrostatic pressure / density of the sludge (typically 2 kg / liter) and the negligibly small contribution from the velocity-dependent dynamic pressure. The outer pipe diameters of this pipeline vary from 213 to 273 mm (thinner in the steeper areas), with flow speeds of 1.5 to 3.1 m / s. The local maximum gradient was limited to 15%.


In Morocco , after a four-year construction period, the world's longest phosphate pipeline went into operation in April 2014. It leads from the phosphate mines in the province of Khouribga to the chemical plants in the Mediterranean port of Jorf Lasfar , 187 km away , where the phosphate is processed into fertilizer and other products. The project was valued at $ 433 million and $ 472 million, respectively, and was built by Turkish company Tekfen . The line was protected from corrosion by an inner lining made of HDPE and with sacrificial anodes . The plants for conveying and processing the sludge are among the largest in the world. In 2018, an extension to a total of 235 km was put into operation. The main pipeline transports 4,400 tons of phosphate rock per hour, 38 megatons annually.


The cement industry operates some pipelines for the transportation of limestone. One of the oldest and longest installations is the 62 km pipeline from Kensworth to Rugby operated by Cemex . The pipeline was built in 1964 and enables the lime deposits in the Dunstable Downs to be extracted . The transports from the environmentally sensitive area in the Chiltern Hills can be carried out thanks to the pipeline without additional road traffic.

Pipelines for other liquids and gases

In principle, any liquid or gas that is chemically stable can be sent through pipelines.


Longer water pipes , for example, lead drinking water in Germany from Mangfalltal and Loisachtal to Munich or from the Harz to Bremen . As a tunnel through a low mountain range, the Alstollen for the long-distance water supply runs north from Lake Constance . Historically, the high spring water pipes to Vienna were built, in which there is pressure reduction by means of drinking water power plants.

In Saudi Arabia , long pipelines transport water from seawater desalination plants to major cities inland.


Historically, brine was piped from the brine source to the saltworks when, for example, there was not enough fuel on site. A famous example is the 17 km long brine pipeline from the fountains in Salins-les-Bains to the royal salt pans in Arc-et-Senans near the Chaux forest in France . The Hallstatt – Ebensee brine pipeline (Upper Austria) was built in wood from 1595 and is a technical monument.


In Bad Schwartau , a 1580 meter long “ moor pipeline ” has been in operation since 1984 to transport the moor required for mud baths between the moor extraction site and the spa center.

Exhaust gases

There are also pipelines for the exhaust gases from power plants or smelting works. They are occasionally built if they were built in a deep valley because the necessary cooling water is available there and you want to get by with a shorter chimney that is built on a mountain. Pipelines for flue gas, so-called flue gas lines, were built to feed the Halsbrücker Esse and a chimney in Zlatna .


Some breweries use pipelines to route beer from the production facility to the bottling plant. Beer pipelines will be laid on festival grounds in order to enable distribution to the individual tapping points via a single central delivery point.


The 34-kilometer-long brine pipeline from Hallstatt - Bad Ischl - Ebensee in the Austrian Salzkammergut , which has been in continuous operation since 1607, is considered the "oldest active industrial pipeline in the world".

The world's first long-haul oil pipeline, the Tidewater Pipeline , was commissioned on May 28, 1879 under the leadership of Byron Benson . The 175 kilometer long tidewater pipeline initially ran between Rixford and Williamsport (Pennsylvania) .

The background for the construction of the Tidewater Pipeline was that the railway companies associated with the oil magnate John D. Rockefeller charged a very high transport price for oil. Thanks to this pipeline, a significantly lower transport price for crude oil became possible. As a result, Benson and his allied independent partners were able to withstand economic pressures from the Standard Oil Company for a while .

Pipeline as a transport mode

Pipeline transport can be viewed as a special form of transport alongside ship, rail, road (typically trucks) and air. Pipelines can, however, also be seen as geographically very extensive distribution systems for energy and raw material suppliers and waste disposal companies.

Depending on the approach, energy consumption and emissions from pipelines are classified into different categories. The 2016 climate protection report of the Austrian Federal Environment Agency reports: "Stationary gas turbines for pipeline transport ... are assigned to the energy and industry sector (previously transport)".

In the oil industry, a distinction is made between the extraction of crude oil and natural gas (“upstream”) and the distribution of products (“downstream”).

For Germany's (inland) freight transport in 2010, the pipeline share is given as 2.2%; it is considered as transport volume in addition to truck, rail, sea and inland waterway and flight.

For within Austria and road + rail + ship + pipeline, the VCÖ specifies 6% pipeline share (in tonne-kilometers) for 1995 and 2002.

Delivery and delivery by seagoing ship and flight are apparently not considered for Germany and Austria.

See also


  • Wilhelm Kraß, A. Kittel, A. Uhde (Eds.): "Pipeline technology - mineral oil pipelines, TÜV manuals Volume 3". TÜV Rheinland Verlag, Cologne 1979, ISBN 3-921059-32-1 .
  • Alexander Deml: “Development and design of construction logistics in civil engineering. Shown using the example of pipeline construction ” . Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3896-2 .
  • E. Gödde, H. Schlechtriem: “Systems u. Components of solids pipelines ”, mining 9 / 85,10 / 85,11 / 85.
  • E. Gödde, H. Schlechtriem, f. Fried. Krupp GmbH, Krupp Industrie u. Steel construction; "Coal-methanol pipeline" BMFT system study TV 7996/4 u. TV 7997/5. March 1981.

Web links

Wiktionary: Pipeline  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Pipeline  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Helicopter crashes on meadow" , picture from February 4, 2014.
  2. Martin Möser: "Hydrogen embrittlement on a petroleum pipe" .
  3. Air Liquide website on hydrogen systems , accessed on June 20, 2010.
  4. Germany on the way to the hydrogen economy ( Memento from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ).
  5. Hydrogen via the pipeline from the industrial site Leuna ( Memento from January 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ).
  6. ^ "Hydrogen - The New Energy Carrier" ( Memento from September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, 24 pages). German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association V.
  7. ^ "Slovakia: Drinking water instead of oil." In: Die Presse , February 10, 2010, accessed on March 11, 2010.
  8. "Slovakia: Adding Fuel to the Election Campaign." In: Die Presse , February 26, 2010; Retrieved March 11, 2010.
  9. ^ "Oil pipeline as a power generator." Tiroler Tageszeitung Online / tt.com, November 22, 2014, accessed on March 12, 2020.
  10. First run-of-river power plant opened. salzburg.orf.at, September 21, 2018.
  11. “Kraftwerk am Felbertauern turns crude oil into electricity.” Tiroler Tageszeitung Online / tt.com, September 24, 2018, accessed on January 14, 2020.
  12. “Electricity from the oil pipeline - project uses incline in the Alps.” Handelsblatt , September 21, 2018, accessed on January 14, 2020.
  13. a b Andreas Oberhammer: "The longest district heating pipe in Austria - report on planning, construction and quality assurance"; Association of gas and heat supply companies; March 2010 ( Memento from April 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 15.4 MB); 68 p .; As of April 2, 2010.
  14. Page no longer available , search in web archives: International infrastructure networks of national importance .@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.uvek.admin.ch
  15. ^ "Coal-Slurry Pipe-Lines," Atwater Historical Society, accessed December 18, 2010.
  16. "Black Mesa Coal Mine and Pipeline" , The Center for Land Use Interpretation (English)
  17. Mohave Generating Station , sourcewatch.org, accessed on 14 December of 2010.
  18. ^ "Chemical & Engineering News", 1979: "Prospects Brighten for Coal Slurry Pipelines", doi : 10.1021 / cen-v057n021.p018 .
  19. Samarco Alegria Iron Ore Mine, Brazil , mining-technology.com (English).
  20. ^ "La Perla - Hercules Slurry Pipeline" ( Memento from September 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), Brass Engineering International.
  21. RH Derammelaere, G. Shou: "Antamina's Copper and Zinc Concentrate Pipeline Incorporates Advanced Technologies" (PDF; 825 kB; English) - table in the introduction.
  22. a b c OCP Morocco. Retrieved June 22, 2019 (American English).
  23. Julian Rusconi, Anis Lakhouaja, Mustafa Kopuz: The Design and Engineering of the 187 km Khouribga to Jorf Lasfar Phosphate Slurry Pipeline . In: Procedia Engineering . tape 138 , 2016, p. 142–150 , doi : 10.1016 / j.proeng.2016.02.072 ( elsevier.com ).
  24. ^ "Phosphates: Le détail du pipeline" , Maghress (French).
  25. a b admin: OCP Khouribga to Jorf Lasfar Phosphate Pipeline Project. In: Paterson & Cooke. May 8, 2018, Retrieved June 22, 2019 (American English).
  26. Omer Roucoux: Dunstable District Local History Society Newsletter 32 (PDF; 403 kB), August 2009.
  27. This is why beer flows under Bruges , Red Bulletin 03/2017
  28. Beer pipeline for the Hackerzelt , Oktoberfest live.
  29. "Wacken hard-drinking metal fans get a beer pipeline". Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 23, 2017, accessed on August 25, 2020 . .
  30. Environmental Protection Report 2016> 2.1. Sectoral analysis p. 37, Umweltbundesamt.at, 2016, accessed on July 31, 2017.
  31. > 2.1 Means of transport to be taken into account in the mode of transport selection model Development of a model for the calculation of modal shifts in freight transport for the derivation of consistent evaluation approaches for federal transport planning, p. 16 f., Bmvi.de, according to “Verkehr in numbers 2011/2012”, August 2016 , accessed July 31, 2017.
  32. ^ Freight traffic Dynamo Effect, radio broadcast, accessed on July 31, 2017.