As product flows in the pipeline, conditions such as elevation change, fluid friction and the delivery point change the pressure along the pipe. At the pipeline’s origin and intermediate locations, pumps increase the pressure in order to achieve the design flow rate. The pressure along the pipeline between stations drops progressively from the discharge point of one station to the suction of the next station due to the friction of the product flowing in the line.
Pumps are driven by electric motors and located at stations with variable spacing along the route depending on terrain and pipeline diameter. In addition to the Control Centre operators who monitor conditions at stations and terminals for safe operation, station equipment is equipped with instrumentation and controls to prevent damage or incorrect operation within protective limits. For example tank valves are configured to close automatically to prevent the overflow of a tank and pumps are configured to shut down if discharge pressures get too high. Local operators and maintenance personnel inspect stations and terminals regularly and perform outside operations and functions to ensure the reliability and the safety of facilities.
In addition to this, all Trans Mountain pump stations and terminals have automated leak detection and containment systems that are monitored continuously in the Control Centre. In the event of a facility leak, automatic emergency shut down protection will immediately isolate the facility and trigger a call out of local personnel to investigate further.
Breakout facilities or terminals contain large tanks that temporarily store both crude oil and refined products before being sent to their delivery destination.