Natural Gas Infrastructure | National Fuel Gas Company

Natural Gas Infrastructure

Natural Gas Infrastructure

Natural gas improves our quality of life and provides great value to the nation by heating our homes, generating electricity and serving as an essential component of the manufacturing of everyday products, from plastics to fertilizer. Abundant, domestic natural gas helps generate new jobs, increase tax revenue and reduce the energy bills of Americans. Clean-burning and domestically produced, it drives down dependence on foreign energy, increases export opportunities and offers new energy solutions.

As natural gas production increases, so too does the need to construct new pipelines to transport that production to markets for end use. Through pipeline construction, the natural gas industry invests billions in local communities, counties and states, creates new tax revenues and jobs, and supports local businesses during construction, operation and maintenance activities.

Our engineers have extensive experience in pipeline engineering and construction. We bring the latest state-of-the-art knowledge and techniques to every project. Although pipelines are generally buried underground, they have associated above-ground facilities, such as valves, metering stations, interconnections, compressor stations and dehydration stations.

Nearly 100 percent of the natural gas that is being used every day by commercial and residential customers is produced from shale formations. The result of this abundant local supply, coupled with existing pipeline capacity, infrastructure and underground storage facilities, is lower utility bills for customers.

Pipelines 101

National Fuel’s natural gas pipeline and storage facilities in New York and Pennsylvania are used to transport and store natural gas for customers in all segments of the natural gas industry. Natural gas is delivered to customers through a safe underground pipeline system made up of high- and low-pressure pipelines. We make safety our top priority on each and every project to ensure secure and reliable energy delivery.

We own and safely operate nearly 2,800 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines and more than 190 compressor units at numerous stations in New York and Pennsylvania. Our pipeline systems serve as the vital link between natural gas supplies and natural gas consumers. They connect North America’s abundant natural gas reserves to downstream local utilities, other interstate pipelines, and power-generation facilities that fuel our homes, businesses and the economy.

Over the past several years, natural gas pipeline construction has become increasingly active due to the abundance of natural gas made available by the shale revolution. Construction of new pipelines is critical to transport this abundant gas supply to end users. During the pipeline construction process, crews work safely under the guidance of stringent federal and state regulators every step of the way until the project is complete. We inspect the pipeline and test it before it goes into service, in accordance with, and often exceeding, the highest federal safety codes and accepted engineering standards. After construction, the pipeline right-of-way is restored to its original condition or better and marked with signage to advise people that a pipeline is buried underground. We maintain and regularly inspect each pipeline after it is placed into service and throughout its lifetime to ensure safety and reliability.

Landowners have rights in the planning process prior to, during and after construction. Stakeholder input and potential environmental impacts each play a major role in the decision-making process when determining the proposed route of a new pipeline. While the right-of-way is maintained by the pipeline operating company after construction (clearing and mowing), the land is returned to the landowner for their use. In advance of maintenance or other pipeline activities, we provide notice and ongoing information to landowners.

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Underground Storage Facilities

Underground storage of natural gas is an integral component of our interstate pipeline systems. Storage fields are the warehouses that provide a ready supply of natural gas to serve the market during periods of high demand and can be used to balance the load requirements of gas users, including peak-demand requirements. Natural gas is injected into storage fields during the warmer months and withdrawn in the colder months.

What Is a Compressor Station?

Compressor stations are an important component of the natural gas transportation system. These stations compress or increase the pressure of natural gas as it travels through pipelines. Compressor stations are generally spaced at intervals of between 40 and 70 miles along the pipeline system in order to maintain or increase the pipeline system’s pressure, as gas inherently loses velocity as it travels long distances. It is compression that allows gas to continue flowing through the pipe and eventually to its final destination. Compressor stations also allow gas to be rerouted into storage fields during periods of low demand.

The compressor unit is the piece of equipment that actually compresses the gas. Some compressor stations may have multiple compressor units, depending on the needs of the pipeline.

National Fuel safely operates more than 190 compressor units at over 60 stations in New York and Pennsylvania. The Company’s engineers have extensive experience in pipeline engineering and construction and bring the latest state-of-the-art knowledge and techniques to every project. We’ve been operating compressor stations in Pennsylvania and New York since the 1940s.

Dehydration facilities are typically found at compressor stations. National Fuel currently operates 85 dehydration facilities throughout New York and Pennsylvania. During the natural gas transmission process, humidity (water vapor) commonly contained in produced gas, is removed through a dehydration process to make it pipeline quality. Dehydration facilities generally include contact towers and re-boilers. Facilities do not include bulk storage of liquids. As natural gas enters the dehydration system, triethylene glycol (TEG), a colorless and odorless liquid, serves as a liquid desiccant and absorbs water from the natural gas. The now dry natural gas is directed back to the pipeline for continued transport.

Our new compressor stations utilize world-leading gas-turbine products and technology, and our compressor facilities have an excellent compliance history with federal and state safety regulators. Modern compressor stations can be completely monitored and operated remotely. All of our locations are continuously monitored, and numerous locations are fully automated with start/stop capability from our centralized National Fuel Gas Control and Operations Center.

Noise abatement is one of National Fuel’s highest priorities because we recognize its potential impact on the quality of life of our neighbors and wildlife. Our compressor stations and other above-ground facilities are designed and engineered to reduce and eliminate detectable ground vibration and noise impacts via state-of-the-art noise-mitigation systems.

We are also committed to complying with all applicable air quality and emissions-related regulatory requirements governed by the Clean Air Act at our compressor stations and utilize air-dispersion modeling to demonstrate compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. In addition, in order to reduce potential air-quality impacts, National Fuel selects equipment that incorporates low-emission technology.

Our Compressor Stations:

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Meet or Beat All Federal Safety Codes for Design and Operation

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Are Monitored 24/7 by the Local National Fuel Gas Dispatch Center

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Receive Regular Maintenance/Inspections in Accordance with Industry Best Practices

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Use Local, On-Duty and On-Call Station Technicians

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Include State-of-the-Art Control Systems at Newer Stations that Offer:

  • Fire detection
  • Gas detection
  • Onsite automated fail-safe safety control systems
  • Intervention-free (off-site) shutdowns
  • Automatic emergency shutdown systems
Learn more about compressor stations.
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