How Complex is it to Operate an Oil Pipeline System?

I've had this question both from folks who are not in the industry as well as high level executives in oil and gas. "Isn't it just moving oil down a giant straw?", "how can that be complicated enough to require automation?". Well, if we combine transient hydraulics with elevation profiles, multiple receipt and delivery locations, different pump curves, different control valves, block valves, holding valves, different control schemes at each pump station - all of a sudden this gets quite complicated. Add in engineers asking questions and the phone ringing - it is quite complex to operate an oil pipeline!