Do you know what the worlds longest gas pipeline and how long it is? According to Google, “The Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) is a 2,475km-long natural gas pipeline built to transport natural gas from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia and Sicily.” While it is true, that is the worlds longest pipeline built on land, there is also a pipeline nicknamed Giant Serpent that lies underwater and is the worlds largest underwater gas pipeline. The name Giant Serpent actually comes from Norse mythology and is located on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The pipeline is owned by ExxonMobil, Stat oil and Royal dutch shell. “The pipeline has a length of 1,166 km (745 miles) and delivers 26 billion cubic meters (900 billion cubic feet) of natural gas to the UK National Transmission System each year.”
As you can imagine building the Giant Serpent was not an easy job and thank goodness for todays technology as it would have been impossible. A underwater machine was use to survey the bottom and engineers were able to print out a map to use. One of the challenges when it came to building the immense pipeline is that the sea bed was not flat but instead hilly and there were areas where it would drop down 3-4 miles which made water pressure a significant factor when it came to designing and building the pipeline. Another machine was used to move the seabed and make it more flat so that pipe can be laid down without causing destruction. “With an understanding of the features and hazards, design engineers went to work on plans to allow a 44 inch pipe, with 1″ thick walls, to negotiate the terrain while minimizing impact on fisheries and ecosystems.” The pipeline was built using 100,000 pipe sections, each coated in asphalt to reduce corrosion and a stability coating of concrete.
The Giant Serpent took 3 years to build starting in 2003 and ending in 2006. Since then, Norway and the UK have benefited tremendously from the natural gas pipeline.