How It Works:

Oil Tankers come in many shapes and sizes. There are six different types of tankers. Ultra Large Crude Carriers can carry 300,000 or more deadweight tons. Very large Crude carriers can carry between 200,000-300,000 dwt. Suezmax and Aframax mid- size tankers between 120,000 and 200,000 dwt. Panamax and Handysize are the smallest of the categories that can carry between 10,000 and 80,000 dwt. The first oil tankers were built in the 1870's and back then had a single hull that was divided into a series of tanks. Due to environmental concerns which started with the Oil Pollution Act, it is now mandatory that tankers have a double hull so that if the outer hull is damaged the product in the inner hull is secure. The 1990 Oil Pollution Act was put into place because of one of the worst tanker spills in history the Exxon Valdez tanker spill. The timetable for phasing out single hull tankers is now set at 2010. Oil Tankers carry about 2/3 of oil trade and in 2005 they carried 2.4 billion tons of oil.  Oil Pipelines are another key way to transport oil expediently throughout the country. The US has an estimated 30,000-40,000 miles of pipeline running throughout the country.  Pipelines are generally 2-6 inches in diameter but connect to bigger trunk lines which range from 8-24 inches generally located near the ocean or offshore. Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Wyoming are big oil producing states and have many pipelines running through them. The picture is a pumping station that is located along the pipeline that keeps the flow of crude oil moving. Pipelines are the safest most efficient way to transport oil. The first idea of oil pipelines was brought up by Dmitri Mendelev in 1863. Tanker trucks are also a very popular means of transportation of oil. The oil is generated from an oil field, then it is kept in storage for either emergencies or private distribution. Crude is transported by either tanker pipeline or train depending on distance, cost, and expediency. 75% of oil tankers are independently owned and operated. Then the oil is shipped to a refinery refined and processed. Then The oil is shipped out by truck to each individual destination either gas station, airport, etc.

Diagram of An Oil Pump Station for Pipelines
http://www.solcomhouse.com/images/Pump-Station-1-Diagram.gif

Tanker Diagram
http://www.circac.org/images/060124-Seabulk-Pride-PORT_000.jpg

Oil Spill
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Link to Additional Information

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSSP90261