After refining, the products have to be moved to the customer who may be a motorist, a large chemical works or an airports fuelling deport. Large customers like air ports are supplied directly from the refinery by pipeline. A chemical works or a power station may be built next to the refinery.
Smaller customers like petrol station are supplied by road tanker from terminals which act as storage depots and distribution centers. The terminals are supplied by rail or pipeline if they are inland, or by coastal tanker if they are on the coast or a river estuary.
The pipelines feeding the terminals often carry more than one product in the same pipe. By controlling pressure correctly in the pipeline, the products hardly mix. Sophisticated computer systems are used to keep track of the products.
The oil and gas industry is increasingly sensitive to its responsibilities towards the environment. When an investment in a new installation is considered, a study is made to predict its impact on the environment. Environmental responsibility also makes good business sense. This minimizes damage to the landscape and wildlife and reduces the risk of accidents involving people. It is also very efficient and comparatively cheap. The above ground Trans-Alaska Pipeline is 1,300km long and 122 cm in diameter. It passes over three mountain ranges and across and at least 800 rivers and streams. Temperatures range from –57 °c to 32 °c. Some of the pipelines stand on insulated stilts to prevent the warmth of the oil melting the permafrost and causing the pipeline to sink. The stilts also allow animals to migrate without hindrance
As the petroleum industry expanded multinational companies were created to pull together the necessary investment to extract the oil. By the same token the oil producing companies banded together to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair a return on capital to those investing in the industry. The organization of the petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) a permanent, intergovernmental Organization, was created at the Bagdad Conference on September 1014,1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. The five Founding Members were later joined by eight other members: Qatar (1961);Indonesia (1962) Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962); United Arab Emirates (1967); Algeria (1969); Nigeria (1971); Ecuador (1973-1992)* and Gabon (1975-1994).
OPEC rose to international prominence during the 1970s, as its member countries took control of their domestic petroleum industries and acquired a major say in the pricing of crude oil on world markets. There were two oil pricing crises, triggered by the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution five years later, but fed by fundamental imbalances in the market; both resulted in oil prices rising steeply.
A fourth pricing crisis was averted at the beginning of the 1970s,on the outbreak of hostilities in the MiddleEast, when a sudden steep rise in prices on panic-stricken markets was moderated by output increases from OPEC members. Prices then remained relatively stable until 1998, when there was a collapse, in the wake of the economic downturn in South-East Asia. Collective action by OPEC and some leading non-OPEC producer's brought about a recovery. As the decade ended, there was a spate of mega members among the major international oil companies in an industry that was experiencing major technological advances.