Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods or material through a pipe. Liquids and gases are transported in pipelines and any chemically stable substance can be sent through a pipeline. Pipelines exist for the transport of crude and refined petroleum, fuels – such as oil, natural gas and biofuels – and other fluids including sewage, slurry, and water. Pipelines are useful for transporting water for drinking or irrigation over long distances when it needs to move over hills, or where canals or channels are poor choices due to considerations of evaporation, pollution, or environmental impact.
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful products such as petroleum naphtha, gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas. Oil refineries are typically large, sprawling industrial complexes with extensive piping running throughout, carrying streams of fluids between large chemical processing units. In many ways, oil refineries use much of the technology of, and can be thought of, as types of chemical plants. The crude oil feed stock has typically been processed by an oil production plant. There is usually an oil depot (tank farm) at or near an oil refinery for the storage of incoming crude oil feedstock as well as bulk liquid products.
A wellhead is the component at the surface of an oil or gas well that provides the structural and pressure-containing interface for the drilling and production equipment. The primary purpose of a wellhead is to provide the suspension point and pressure seals for the casing strings that run from the bottom of the hole sections to the surface pressure control equipment. While drilling the oil well, surface pressure control is provided by a blowout preventer (BOP). If the pressure is not contained during drilling operations by the column of drilling fluid, casings, wellhead, and BOP, a well blowout could occur.
Petrochemicals, also called petroleum distillates, are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn or sugar cane. The two most common petrochemical classes are olefins (including ethylene and propylene) and aromatics (including benzene, toluene and xylene isomers). Oil refineries produce olefins and aromatics by fluid catalytic cracking of petroleum fractions. Chemical plants produce olefins by steam cracking of natural gas liquids like ethane and propane. Aromatics are produced by catalytic reforming of naphtha. Olefins and aromatics are the building-blocks for a wide range of materials such as solvents, detergents, and adhesives. Olefins are the basis for polymers and oligomers used in plastics, resins, fibers, elastomers, lubricants, and gels.
Oil and gas fields reside beneath many inland waters and offshore areas around the world, and in the oil and gas industry the term subsea relates to the exploration, drilling and development of oil and gas fields in these underwater locations. Under water oil fields and facilities are generically referred to using a subsea prefix, such as subsea well, subsea field, subsea project, and subsea developments. Subsea oil field developments are usually split into Shallow water and Deepwater categories to distinguish between the different facilities and approaches that are needed. The term shallow water or shelf is used for very shallow water depths where bottom-founded facilities like jackup drilling rigs and fixed offshore structures can be used, and where saturation diving is feasible. Deepwater is a term often used to refer to offshore projects located in water depths greater than around 600 feet, where floating drilling vessels and floating oil platforms are used, and remotely operated underwater vehicles are required as manned diving is not practical.
A power station, also referred to as a power plant or powerhouse and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation of electric power. Engineers and utility staff usually use the female gender when referring to a power station – its working parts are perhaps regarded as a form of beached, inland, ship, as they in the past would always have resembled a ship’s steam turbine propulsion equipment. Most power stations contain one or more generators, a rotating machine that converts mechanical power into electrical power. The relative motion between a magnetic field and a conductor creates an electrical current. The energy source harnessed to turn the generator varies widely. Most power stations in the world burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity. Others use nuclear power, but there is an increasing use of cleaner renewable sources such as solar, wind, wave and hydroelectric.
Offshore drilling is a mechanical process where a wellbore is drilled below the seabed. It is typically carried out in order to explore for and subsequently extract petroleum which lies in rock formations beneath the seabed. Most commonly, the term is used to describe drilling activities on the continental shelf, though the term can also be applied to drilling in lakes, inshore waters and inland seas. There are many different types of facilities from which offshore drilling operations take place. These include bottom founded drilling rigs (jackup barges and swamp barges), combined drilling and production facilities either bottom founded or floating platforms, and deepwater mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) including semi-submersibles and drillships. These are capable of operating in water depths up to 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). In shallower waters the mobile units are anchored to the seabed, however in deeper water (more than 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) the semisubmersibles or drillships are maintained at the required drilling location using dynamic positioning.
Manually operated valves require someone in attendance to adjust them using a direct or geared mechanism attached to the valve stem. Power-operated actuators, using gas pressure, hydraulic pressure or electricity, allow a valve to be adjusted remotely, or allow rapid operation of large valves. Power-operated valve actuators may be the final elements of an automatic control loop which automatically regulates some flow, level or other process. Actuators may be only to open and close the valve, or may allow intermediate positioning; some valve actuators include switches or other ways to remotely indicate the position of the valve. Used for the automation of industrial valves, actuators can be found in all kinds of process plants. They are used in waste water treatment plants, power plants, refineries, mining and nuclear processes, food factories, and pipelines. Valve actuators play a major part in automating process control.