Our History

Colonial Through The Years

Our history goes back nearly 60 years, but our focus has always been on safely operating our system today and how to meet the energy transportation needs of the future.

Even back in 1962 we had big plans and great expectations, breaking ground on what would be the largest-diameter products pipeline system in existence. We filled the first 1,000-mile section of the pipeline within a year. Construction was complete just a year after that, with the entire Colonial system operational from Houston to Linden, New Jersey.

Innovation has powered us since the early days. Colonial was the first in our industry to generate schedules from digital computers, starting as early as 1962. Ever since, technology has made us safer, smarter, and more efficient. From moving 240,000 barrels per day in 1963 to more than 2.5 million barrels per day today, we’ve continued to grow, expand, and diversify our business. And we’ve done it by putting safety first and never forgetting our commitment to the environment. Check out the timeline below to see our major milestones!


New Era


Colonial Pipeline Commits to Excellence” in everything we do across the entire organization.

New Ventures


(October) Colonial launches its first annual Colonial Cares” day that gives employees the opportunity to partner and support environmental organizations across the pipeline system by engaging in river clean-up activities and state park restoration projects.


(June) Colonial announces the purchase of Shell Pipeline Company LP’s interest in the Port Arthur Products Station and Shell Ex Facility, known as PAPS. The terminal adds 3.2 million barrels of tankage to Colonial’s system, and offers the potential to provide new services for refiners and shippers within the dynamic Texas Refining Complex.


(April) Shell Pipeline Company LP teams with Colonial on a new, 75-mile, 24-inch refined products pipeline from Garyville to East Feliciana Parish in Louisiana. Bengal Pipeline is expected to begin operating in mid-May and will fulfill distribution to consumers in the Southeastern, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states.



(April) Colonial sweeps year 2000 environmental and safety awards at the America Petroleum Institute’s annual Pipeline Conference in San Antonio. Among Colonial’s honors is the first-ever-presented Distinguished Environmental and Safety Award.


(July 27) Colonial announces the Alliance Pipeline purchase of a 147-mile line from a refinery in New Orleans to a 2.2 million barrel tank farm in Collins, MS. The purchase includes a ten-year throughput agreement.


Colonial replaces Pipeline Instruction and Proficiency Examination (PIPE) with a state-of-the-art, computer-based training program for operators and environmental technicians.


(August) Colonial launches the sophisticated elastic-wave pig” to detect microscopic cracks in pipe wall.

Maintaining the Flow


(March) Colonial celebrates its 25th anniversary, having grown from serving its non owner companies to serving 79 shippers and 67 suppliers and consignees.

Looping the Line


(Fall) Three-year, $670 million expansion program nears completion. Colonial now has 83 percent more pipeline than originally constructed. 


(January 29) Board approves laying 36-inch pipe parallel to the mainline from Baton Rouge, LA, to Atlanta Junction and adding six stations. This marks the beginning of a project to loop the mainline in five stages, over the course of nine years.

Filling the Line


(December1) Linden Junction Tank Farm and Delivery Facility, the northern terminus of the mainline, is activated and mainline construction is complete. (December 18) The Colonial system is operational from Houston to Linden.


The first 1,000-mile section of the pipeline is ready to be filled. The first product reaches Greensboro on November 30 at the end of the 36” portion of the line. Product is moving at the rate of 240,000 barrels a day.

Preparation and Construction


(October) Georgia Tech Research Institute designs a computational process that duplicates manual scheduling, making Colonial the first pipeline to generate schedules from digital computers from its start-up.

Colonial’s Evolution


(June 20) U.S. Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges is the featured speaker at Colonial’s groundbreaking at Powder Springs, GA. Construction of the largest-diameter products pipeline system in existence will require more than 50 contractors working for 2.5 years. The pipeline will consume 650,000 tons of steel and require that 16.7 million cubic yards of dirt be trenched to bury the line. The cost of initial construction is $370 million.


Nine major oil companies come together to create a Gulf Coast to East Coast pipeline company. The company was originally named Suwannee Pipeline Company.