How Do Natural Gas Delivery Systems Operate?

The basic principle behind the natural gas delivery system is the movement of gas from an area of higher pressure to an area of lower pressure. The pressure calculation in the pipeline is as pounds per square inch.

The distribution of gas in the pipeline is in a tree pattern, there is a well of natural gas from which it is further distributed into the gathering lines. The well here is the tree and the gathering lines as its branches.

Let us now understand the various components of the natural gas delivery system through the LESSO gas transmission and its operation.

Gathering System

A gathering system requires field compressors for the movement of the gas into the processing plant or the pipeline. The compressor operation is by an internal combustion turbine that generates the pressure that pushes the gas through the pipelines. The majority of the compressors used in the delivery system utilize some natural gas from the pipelines as fuel.

Some of the gathering systems of the natural gas do contain a processing facility that facilitates the removal of impurities which are CO2, water, or sulfur which can corrode the pipeline. Some of the impurities are inert gases that reduce the value of the energy for the gas. 

Transmission System

After the natural gas has entered the gathering system now it moves to the transmission system that has a composition of 272,000 miles steel piper of high strength. The transmission lines of natural gas have a resemblance similar to the interstate highway system of cars. The movement of the large quantity of natural gas is through miles and miles of distance from the production region to the local distributors is by the transmission system. The pressure range of the gas is 200-1500 pounds per square inch at every section of the pipeline. For safety purposes, the pipelines are in a way that they can handle high-pressure conditions that the system will ever actually reach practically. Most pipelines run parallel to the other one so that maximum capacity delivery is in the peak demand period.

Compressor Stations

Compressor stations are at a distance of 50-60 miles in every pipeline that boosts pressure lost due to friction during the movement of gas in the steel pipeline. Most of the compressor stations are in automation and can operate from the control room. The operators keep a check on compressor stations to ensure safety and maximize efficiency.


Linepack is the total gas in the pipeline that can adjust by increasing or decreasing the pressure on the pipeline in conditions of less demand. By adjusting the pressure conditions demand fulfilment is efficient. Pipelines use computer models to fulfil the natural gas demand of the customer. 

Gate Stations

During the movement of natural gas from the transmission pipeline to the local gas utilities, it has to pass through gate stations normally. Gate stations receive gas from different pipelines at different locations. The functions of gate stations are pressure reduction in the pipelines, addition of sour scent to indicate the leakage of gas, and the measurement of the rate of flow of the gas.

Distribution System

After the movement of natural gas from the gate station it flows to the distribution lines. The distribution system works under different pressure conditions, equipped with regulators to control fluctuating pressure. These regulators are remotely operated to improve the efficiency of the system. More close the gas gets to the customer the smaller is the pipe’s radius and pressure also lowers. The control room monitors the flow of gas and the pressure at different points of the system. The pressure throughout the system is in control by the regulators. 

Movement of Natural Gas to Home

The movement of natural gas to the home is by a service line from the distribution system. Natural gas utilities maintain the natural gas operation through the pipeline to the residents. The gas reaching the customer meter passes through one more regulator to keep pressure in check. When the gas flows to the burner the pressure at this point is more than the air pressure that ignites the gas stove and a blue flame is visible.

This was all about the operation of the natural gas delivery system.