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Abstract

Despite a considerable literature regarding other modes of transportation, little is written about oil pipelines. This is remarkable since oil pipelines move 17% of all intercity ton miles, but also understandable since they have a low public profile and with near total automation, have few employees. This article attempts to bridge the gap by comparing pipeline operations and those of the other modes, showing striking similarities along with a few significant differences. It also portrays pipeline markets and their changing trends. In recent years, they have served an industry that is experiencing rapidly shifting geographical markets, proliferation of new products, and outsourcing of transportation by shippers. The pipeline industry has responded to these challenges with increased competitive entry, numerous capital construction projects, and a high reliance on technology. These issues, along with the regulatory constraints and responses are portrayed.

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