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Natural Gas Infrastructure


The 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. A leak or rupture anywhere in a pipeline system can cause a significant disruption in supply service and release methane into the atmosphere.

Safely monitoring and repairing this infrastructure, reducing fugitive emissions, and developing new systems for reducing the risks of delivery disruptions are important challenges facing the Nation.

DOE’s Natural Gas Infrastructure Program is focused on developing next-generation pipeline materials; improving the reliability of gathering, compression, and storage system components; creating sensor platforms capable of identifying and quantifying methane emissions, and advancing technologies for repairing pipeline damage without disruption of service.

Research Focus

The Natural Gas Infrastructure Program is currently pursuing a balanced mix of laboratory and field-based research focused on:

  • Advancing pipeline inspection and repair technologies,
  • Improving compressor system operational performance, including “Next Generation” 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, and
  • Developing advanced materials.

Program Benefits

As natural gas becomes increasingly important in sustaining economic growth and fueling our 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, resilience and operational reliability, improve the efficiency, and reduce pipeline emissions, all to improve the economics of natural gas delivery in the United States. 

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:

Jared Ciferno