The efficient and effective movement of natural gas from producing regions to consumption regions requires an extensive and elaborate transportation system. In many instances, natural gas produced from a particular well will have to travel a great distance to reach its point of use. The transportation system for natural gas consists of a complex network of pipelines, designed to quickly and efficiently transport natural gas from its origin, to areas of high natural gas demand. Transportation of natural gas is closely linked to its storage: should the natural gas being transported not be immediately required, it can be put into storage facilities for when it is needed.
There are three major types of pipelines along the transportation route: the gathering system, the interstate pipeline system, and the distribution system. The gathering system consists of low pressure, small diameter pipelines that transport raw natural gas from the wellhead to the processing plant. The United States has an extensive transportation and storage system in place, as we have been using natural gas as a heating and electrical source of energy for quite some time. The good news is that these same pipelines can be utilized to help the United States achieve transportation energy independence by transporting natural gas to be used as vehicular fuel as well.