Natural gas can travel through literally thousands of miles of pipeline in the journey from the well to your home. Compressors placed at key intervals - usually every 40 to 100 miles along the pipeline network - keep the natural gas moving evenly and reliably.
A so-called "reciprocating" compressor uses a piston to reduce the volume of its compression chamber, increasing the pressure of the gas inside. When the outlet valve opens, the pressurized gas rushes out into the next section of the pipeline. Most reciprocating compressors are powered by natural gas drawn directly from the line.
Natural gas pipelines also employ turbine compressors, which are similar in design to the jet engines found on commercial aircraft. And in a few limited circumstances, where strict air emission rules require, pipelines also use compressors powered by electric motors.»next