Visualizing Future Pipeline Projects Around the World

Michelle Heath
Pipeline Projects Around the World

Global pipeline projects continue though opportunities for construction have been in flux with rising costs, market volatility, and ongoing regulatory concerns related to environmental issues.

The world has over 2 million miles of pipeline constructed by operators in 120 nations.  The United States hosts 65% of the total pipeline length in the world, Russia follows with 8% then Canada with 3% (WorldAtlas, 2017).

In 2020, there were 1,308 natural gas pipelines in the world and 491 crude oil pipelines.  Under construction were 87 natural gas and another 219 proposed versus 18 crude oil pipelines under construction and 53 proposed.

The United States has the greatest number of both oil and gas pipelines in the world.

The Oil and Gas Journal planned worldwide pipeline construction forecast dropped around 17% in 2021 in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the completion of multiple large projects in 2020.  Most of the shrinkage in planned construction was in the United State (U.S.).

The Asia-Pacific accounts for over 46% (19,122 miles) of the forecast construction of oil and gas trunk and transmission pipeline projects globally, almost 84% of which is in natural gas pipelines.  Canada is only expected to be responsible for 6% of the pipeline construction (1,124 miles of natural gas, 912 miles of crude oil, 339 miles of product).

Globally, operators plan to install 14,345 miles of pipe in 2021, with natural gas making up 93% of the total versus 78.5% in 2020.

The Canadian Energy Centre recently examined the trends in pipelines built in Canada versus the United States from 2014 to 2020.  Sadly, it outlines the stagnation that has occurred in Canadian pipeline development.

Compared to the U.S., Canada built two oil pipelines between 2014 and 2020 and no natural gas pipelines while the U.S. built 32 oil and 33 natural gas pipelines.    As well, where the U.S. increased its natural gas pipeline exports by almost 38 billion cubic metres over the period, Canada’s volumes decreased by about 1.8 billion cubic metres.

Though COVID-19 has affected worldwide demand for oil, gas and refined products, historical trends indicate post-recessions experienced not only a resumption but increased demand suggesting the need for ongoing pipeline development.  To remain competitive, producing countries like Canada will need to ensure they are part of this growth. 


CIS – Commonwealth of Independent States

EU – European Union

U.S. – United States