Pipelines can be used to deliver liquid and gaseous energy products such as steam, hot water, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum liquids, and hydrogen. Steam can be transferred over distances of approximately one mile, using the steam pressure as the motive force for delivery. For other product pipelines, compressor stations or pump stations are required. Long pipelines typically require large transfer volumes to share the fixed costs to be economical. Short, hot water pipelines can be economical if there is adequate thermal insulation to reduce thermal heat loss from the pipe system. Small area, neighborhood, hot water delivery can be economic and can be viewed as an extension of the hydronic heat delivery systems used in homes today. Any hot water heat delivery systems that extend outside the heating envelope must be protected from freezing through the application of antifreeze fluids.
Piping systems range in size from small residential systems that distribute hot water in a residence(¾ inch to 1 inch piping), to neighborhood or district hot water systems (2 inch to 6 inch range), to large industrial facilities that can deliver steam, natural gas or crude oil). The largest pipeline in the state is the 42-inch Trans Alaska Pipeline System which delivers 800,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Prudhoe to Valdez.
Pipeline travels under the Colville River.