Northern Pipeline is a limited liability company owned and operated jointly by Vineyard Oil & Gas and Royal Dutch Shell. In 1996 Northern Pipeline purchased approximately 300 miles of pipeline in Pennsylvania originally owned by The National Transit Company. The main objective of this purchase was to convert a dormant intrastate pipeline into a working natural gas gathering system that could gather equity production of the members and move it to market. As stages of our strategic upgrades and repairs were completed additional capacity allowed Vineyard the opportunity to locate third party producers (unrelated) and offer transportation and marketing of their production. This joint venture has been instrumental in getting local Pennsylvania production supplied by the hard work of local people in our communities to our market and beyond. This idea put into motion 15 years ago has met the goal of the members and has allowed Vineyard to help over 30 local producers and counting get their production to market.
Looking deeper then the success we enjoy today from Northern Pipeline, we are proud of the role that this pipeline and its path have played in the history of the American Oil Industry. The National Transit Company was born into the family of companies owned by the John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust. In its glory, Standard Oil was responsible for over 90% of US oil production prior to its forced break up in 1911 by the United States Supreme Court terminating one of the largest monopolies of its time. This Pipeline Company, founded in 1881 was the result of one of Mr. Rockefeller’s (highly contested) strategies to retain market share and devastate a transportation competitor. Prior to the 1880’s, Standard Oil enjoyed a fierce advantage over other oil companies in Pennsylvania. Their contracted transportation rates with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Erie Railroad were significantly lower then any other oil company could negotiate. Since rail was the only way to long haul oil no one could compete with Standard Oil. Until a small group of Pennsylvanians’ decided to change everything.
In 1878 The Tidewater Pipe Company was founded and started construction of the industry’s first long haul pipeline. This 6 inch wrought iron pipeline was constructed from Coryville, PA to Williamsport, PA covering 109 miles of the roughest terrain that the Allegheny Mountains could offer. On May 28, 1879 oil was pumped into the line for the first time at a rate of 250 barrels an hour. Travelling around half a mile an hour it took a week before oil reached Williamsport. Long Haul Pipeline transportation was successful and a pipeline construction boom immediately followed. Fair competition was born again.
History tells us that these two companies and others competed for years to lead the country in oil and natural gas transportation. For decades, title to these historic lines has been sectioned and ownership has changed countless times. Sections of Northern Pipeline right of ways can be traced back to both companies giving us ownership in some of the richest history that the American Oil Industry offers.