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Sea transport of PE pipes of huge lengths and diameters


It was 1990 and in June Uponor, which had bought Resiplast, invited to some technicians to visit its Company situated in Stathelle in the south of Norway which manufactures pipes in huge length and diameters, that exit directly to the fjord that were next to them and where they were “stored” for their following transport towed by a ship to other countries like UK, Ukraine or Brazil.


At present this Company belongs to Pipelife Norge AS and manufactures by continuous extrusion, PE pipes of compacted wall (EN 12201) up to 2500 mm of external diameter and lengths from 500 to 600 m. the pipes of huge length are ideal for sea applications taking the advantage the possibility of the sea transport from the factory up to the place of installation.

The history tells us that the production of PE pipes started in Scandinavia in 1960 and that at that time there weren’t very developed join systems like the butt welding, so they started fabricating the longest possible PE pipes.

113bAn example: Underwater pipeline of Montpellier (French)

The underwater pipeline of Montpellier is the longest marine collector of Europe, with almost 11.000 m length. Especial emphasis was put on that there weren’t metal pieces in the pipes, so to join together the sections of the pipe it was used sockets reinforced with fibreglass (GRP).

Specification of the pipe: External diameter 1600 x 61.2 mm SDR26 PE100 PN6.3 bar, total length: 10,825 m.


The pipe was transported with a tugboat in 20 sections, (5 of 515 m + 15 of 550 m), in 4 delivers performed between March and August in 2003. The supply also included especial fittings like PE flange adaptors for the GRP sockets and the vertical diffuser adaptor. Pipelife also performed all the welding works of the flange adaptors to the sections of the pipe, as well as the diffuser adaptor.

The installation of the pipe system was performed during the summer and autumn in 2003. It was used continual concrete weight collars, to provide both the ballast like the mechanical protection necessary for the pipe. Besides, it was placed concrete layers over the pipe system installed for its ballasted. The maximum depth of the pipe in the end of the diffuser is of some 35 m.


Advantages of the supply in long sections

• It is not necessary to weld, or at least it needs a few welding works.
• The supply of the pipes of 500 – 550 m length implies the existence of very few joins.
• Low costs of transportation. The tugboat can transport several thousands of metres of pipes of huge size in a travel.
• Important time saving and costs for the builder of marine installations, as generally it will not be needed a place destined for works on ground, or areas for the storage on ground.
• Low costs of installation as the time of installation is short and it doesn’t need heavy installation equipment.
• Less risk of damages during the handling and transportation.


– Experiencias por el empleo del sistema de tramos largos de tubería compacta de PE para instalaciones marinas.
Salvador Llobet – Departamento comercial Pipelife Norge AS. Ávila 2013

– Catálogo “Sistemas de tuberías de PE”.

Relation of articles about underwater pipelines

→ Introduction to the underwater pipelines with polyethylene (PE) pipes

→ Construction of underwater pipelines with polyethylene (PE) pipes

→ Tow and flood of an underwater pipeline of PE pipes

→ Diffusers and other elements of the PE underwater pipeline

→ Non-exhaustive of the underwater pipelines installed in Iberia

→ Sea transport of the PE pipes of huge length and diameters

>>> In 1960, Resiplast also manufactured pipes of huge length but in smaller diameters. It seems that the pipes exited directly to a channel that was next to the factory of Cornellá and that was communicated with the Llobregat River. They were taking to the estuary by floating them where a cargo ship towed them up to the Balearic Islands. So they first underwater pipelines started in our country whose aim was to have clean beaches because the great industry of the tourism started. I have seen in a newspaper of that times in which these pipes of huge length placed on the beach were called “the summer snake”. Certainly the grinder and secatric pumps to move the wastewaters were of French Company called MENGIN. Leave a comment.


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