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Natural Gas Infrastructure

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O and G iconThe U.S. has the most extensive natural gas production, gathering, processing, storage, and pipeline delivery system in the world, but many portions are old and at maximum capacity. The use of natural gas in the U.S. is increasing, both as a fuel and feedstock for industry and as a fuel for electric power generation. The U.S. natural gas pipeline network includes more than 210 individual pipeline systems that total more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipelines with plans in place to install many more miles of pipelines to increase takeaway capacity in regions of accelerated development. Increased takeaway capacity will further leverage access to the Nation’s abundant natural gas resources and relieve bottlenecks within the natural gas transportation system. Given the enormity of the natural gas transportation system, a leak or rupture anywhere in a pipeline system can cause a significant disruption in supply service and release methane into the atmosphere.

Safely quantifying leaks or ruptures, monitoring system operations, mitigating and repairing natural gas infrastructure, and developing or enhancing modular natural gas conversion technologies will reduce fugitive emissions to the atmosphere and risks of delivery disruptions throughout the U.S.

As natural gas becomes increasingly important in sustaining economic growth and the manufacturing industry, the investments being made by DOE and its research partners in our Nation’s natural gas infrastructure will serve to strengthen the integrity, resiliency, and operational reliability; improve transportation efficiency; and reduce midstream infrastructure emissions, all to improve the economics of natural gas delivery and maintain environmentally-sound infrastructure performance.

The Natural Gas Infrastructure Program is currently pursuing a balanced mix of laboratory and field-based research focused on emissions mitigation, emissions quantification, and modular natural gas conversion technologies that include:


  • Advancing pipeline inspection and repair technologies.
  • Improving compressor system operational performance, including zero emission compressors.
  • Developing the capability to integrate smart sensor systems with monitoring and risk assessment tools.
  • Advancing external leak detection and rate quantification technologies and methodologies.
  • Engaging in field efforts to characterize emissions from gathering system lines, orphaned gas wells, legacy gas pipelines, and pneumatic devices.
  • Developing advanced materials for improved pipeline resiliency.
  • Upcycling of natural gas that is typically flared into value added products.
  • Modular natural gas conversion systems that are capable of being deployed on the well pad scale.
  • Multi-functional catalyst development for natural gas conversion.

Find a full list of the current active projects in the Natural Gas Infrastructure Program here.

NETL implements this effort as part of DOE’s Oil & Gas Program.

Technology Area Contact:

William Fincham