The process of oil extraction is long, complicated and often dangerous. But people don’t tend to know as much about the process of transporting oil to the end users of it. Here is a brief overview of how the process works.

Storage

Before shipment or transportation, oil is often stored in tanks before moving to other locations. There are lots of different types of tank which differ depending on the type of oil that’s being dealt with. For example, there are floating roof tanks, and they tend to be used for crude oil and gasoline. And bullet tanks are used for the storage of propane and propylene. Spherical tanks are used to store isobutane and ordinary butane; and finally, fixed roof tanks are used for kerosene and diesel.

Sea Transportation

There are two main ways in which ships are used to transport oil across the sea. First of all, they’re used to take oil from the source in places like the Middle East, South America, the North Sea and Africa to the places where the oil can be treated or refined. It can then be shipped again from the treatment plant or refinery to the end user where the oil will be used or sold on to the customer at gas station pumps. Single Point Moorings are often used in this process to load and unload the oil safely.

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Pipelines

Pipelines are the most common way to transport crude oil. They are used to transport the oil from the wellhead to a refinery or wherever it needs to get to on the next leg of its journey to the end user. Along the route, the pipeline might have a number of collection and delivery points. These can be used to change the pressure and keep the oil flowing through the pipes at a steady rate. These delivery points can also be used to remove the oil if it needs to be loaded onto tankers for delivery.

Distribution

Depending on the type of oil and what it’s going to be used for, it might be necessary for the oil to be treated or converted at a specialist facility before it reaches the end user. But once this is done, the oil can be transported to terminals. And from there it can be taken to gas stations and other places where fuel is sold and bought. Homes, planes, ships and cars all use different forms of fuel, so there are lots of different destinations.

The Risks

Moving oil around is not something that can be done without risks. There are many things that can go wrong if the correct safety checks and balances are not in place and carried out professionally. With regards to sea transportation, one of the biggest risks is the risk of an oil spill. Shipping tankers are subject to very strict guidelines to make sure that spills don’t occur, and that’s why they don’t happen often. But when they do happen, the results can be pretty disastrous, causing immense damage to the natural environment.