Colonial In The News

Colonial Pipeline 101: Know Colonial

As a mission statement, We are the energy that moves America” is a 30,000-foot view of the service Colonial provides America. But how and where we operate is much more complex. You may know that Colonial Pipeline starts in Houston, Texas and ends in Linden, New Jersey, but understanding the nuances is important to understanding Colonial. 

Start with the basics: Colonial’s length, how and where product enters the line and how and where it comes off the pipeline. 

Colonial by the Numbers

  • Colonial consists of 5,500 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines. Two mainlines form the backbone of Colonial, with 65 stub lines extending from the mainlines to significantly broaden Colonial’s service area. 
  • The mainlines are Lines 1 and 2 Line 1 primarily transport about 1.5 million barrels a day, with Line 2 daily transporting about 1.0 million barrels of distillates – diesel fuel, jet fuel for commercial aviation, home heating oil and fuels for the U.S. military. 
  • These mainlines terminate in Greensboro, N.C., where product is placed in storage for either regional distribution in North Carolina or rescheduling to the Northeast via Lines 3 and 4. Line 3 goes all the way to the New York harbor while Line 4 terminates in central Maryland. 

To get the big picture, understand that Colonial’s 5,500 miles of pipe is part of 185,000 miles of U.S. pipeline infrastructure carrying liquid petroleum products. That makes Colonial about 3% of the pipe. Due to Colonial’s large diameter pipe, we transport between 15%-20% of U.S. pipeline shipments. On the East Coast, that number is closer to 40%. This makes Colonial the largest-volume refined liquid petroleum products pipeline operating in the world.

Injection Sites

Colonial transports more than 100 million gallons of product every day, transporting it from 30 refineries to markets across the Southeast and Eastern Seaboard. The 18 injection points for product are primarily located along the Gulf Coast. The largest inject stations are in Pasadena, Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas; Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Collins, Mississippi. 

When a gallon of gasoline is injected into Line 1 in Pasadena, it takes about 18 – 21 days traveling at a rate of four miles per hour to reach Linden, New Jersey. 

Colonial Critical to Several Key Markets

Colonial delivers to customers who ultimately supply consumers. Those deliveries routinely occur on a five-day schedule, so customers can plan their service and schedule their re-supply. Customers, and not Colonial, determine where their product is delivered. That’s why reliability joins safety, efficiency and compliance as one of the four pillars of Colonial’s operations.