Along with the growth of population and social and economic development comes the need for basic infrastructure to accommodate it, especially the need for infrastructure for fresh water, one of the basic necessities for humans. Koh Samui in Surat Thani is one of the areas affected by such a plight where the increase in population and tourists stands in stark contrast to the production of water. The study found that the fresh water supply on the island is insufficient for the production of tap water in summer, while fresh water production from sea water would cause environmental impacts and entail high costs as this method requires a massive amount of electricity. The scenario presents a challenge that the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA), the responsible organization, needs to tackle and resolve promptly and has led to cooperation in a submarine pipeline construction project between Phun Phin District and Koh Samui, Surat Thani. The proposed pipeline will stretch over 120 kilometers, divided into a 100-kilometer on-land pipeline from Phun Phin to the shore of Khanom District, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and a 20-kilometer underwater pipeline from the shoreline to Samui.
The project is Thailand’s first submarine pipeline installation that involves large pipes — 800-millimeter PN 10 HDPE pipe — which will be 20 kilometers in length and laid on the sea bed. As such, PWA has attached great significance to the process of selecting experts to design and oversee the construction and chosen Wiik & Hoeglund Plc., an experienced expert on underwater pipeline construction, which ultimately led to cooperation with SCG Chemicals as the manufacturer and developer of the innovative EL-LeneTM H112PC black polyethylene compound. This plastic is used in the production of PE112 pipes, which, because they are recognized for its world-class standard and superiority to PE100 pipes, have been employed in this project. Mr. Somchai Montburinont, Deputy Governor (Technical Affairs) of the Provincial Waterworks Authority, told us about this collaboration as follows.
“There are two major factors in this project, namely the material of the pipes and the construction method. High quality pipes require high quality-grade plastic pellets and good control on the manufacturing process standards. Wiik & Hoeglund Plc., a PWA-registered pipe and instrument manufacturer, is recognized for its manufacturing standards and has already been procuring its raw materials from SCG Chemicals. For this project, SCG Chemicals has developed a new type of plastic pallets whose quality exceeds the specifications indicated in the Thai Industrial Standards (TIS). Therefore, a pipe of the same size and dimension as specified in the TIS but produced with PE 112 plastic pellets will exhibit greater durability compared to a PE 100 counterpart and be able to stand higher internal and external water pressure. Our inspection has revealed that this new product has been tested and ISO-certified as well as exhibits superior properties and quality compared to the specifications defined in TIS. In addition, at the same thickness as the regular pipe, the project cost using new material is indifferent, therefore, it has been chosen.”
“In addition to the material of the pipes, the success of the project is also hinged upon the quality of the contractor’s work. As the pipe manufacturer and welder in the project, Wiik & Hoeglund Plc. brings prior experience in submarine pipeline installation to the table. On the other hand, SCG Chemicals is a national-level company that has won numerous accolades that bear testament to the quality and reliability of its production and products. In addition, SCG Chemicals team hasalso been in touch with PWA to share technical knowledge and guarantee the quality of PE 112, boosting our confidence in the product quality. As for PWA, we closely oversee every process involved. For instance, we have sent our officers to monitor and supervise the production at the plant of Wiik & Hoeglund Plc., where they have to present a certificate showing that the plastic pellets have been procured from SCG Chemicals and have the specified properties.”
Prior to the cooperation on this project, the Provincial Waterworks Authority and SCG Chemicals have collaborated extensively and continuously, especially on projects that expand existing knowledge to develop Thailand’s pipeline standards to reduce and solve leakage and breakage in pipelines, resulting in standards that have been recognized and adopted in PWA’s various projects, including the current one. For this endeavor, SCG Chemicals has contributed by sharing information and knowledge with Wiik and Hoeglund Plc. regarding the welding temperatures and flexibility of PE112 pipes. At the same time, it has learned more about various factors involved in the installation of submarine pipelines, which can, in turn, be used further to inform the production of plastic pellets to accommodate consumers’ needs.
Therefore, this cooperation has benefited every party involved, including water users, as stated by Mr. Wiboon Sangwithayanon, CEO of Wiik & Hoeglund Plc.
“Collaboration with partners, from manufacturers and installers to users, is extremely beneficial as it obviates the need to resort to low-cost products to satisfy the specifications and subsequent marketing, which can negatively affect several parties involved. Cooperation, at the very least, helps encourage product development. For instance, I believe this project will prompt not only SCG Chemicals but also other plastic pellet producers to engage in self-inspection and feel the need to improve themselves.”
“As for PE112, the company has used this plastic previously and can manufacture quality pipes with it, using the existing production process and standard conditions of the plant, with additional information support from SCG Chemicals. For this project, the company is confident in using PE112 in the manufacturing of the pipe. Pipes that have the specifications of PE100 counterparts but are produced with PE112 will enjoy a longer lifespan, thanks to their increased durability, and this will benefit both water users and the organization that oversees the waterworks systems like PWA.”
Finally, it is our conviction that the development of the plastic innovation has not only made great contribution to the quality of the pipeline system that will deliver fresh water to Samui but will also assure water users on Samui of the quality of the water provided by PWA and allay their concern about leakages, which can potentially affect the quality of the tap water. Furthermore, the collaboration between the three allies will also lead the development of other projects that will result in sustainability in drought-stricken areas in the future, as Mr. Somchai Montburinont has shared his view on the project.
“I am proud. This project will be Thailand’s first pipeline installation project that features such a large and long submarine pipeline, and more projects like this will be initiated for islands or remote areas that face fresh water shortages.”
Compared to PE100 pipes, PE112 pipes, which are manufactured using the innovative EL-LeneTM H112PC black polyethylene compound, exhibit greater durability and can stand 10% more pressure, which helps extend the lifespan of the pipes and, in turn, the lifespan of the infrastructural system. In addition, PE112 pipes are just as easy to weld as the PE100 counterparts and are considerably flexible, making them bendable and easy to be sunk to the seafloor.
Mr. Wiboon Sangwithayanon
Chief Executive Ofiicer
Wiik & Hoeglund Public Company Limited
“Multilateral cooperation, at the very least, helps encourage product development. For instance, I believe this project will prompt not only SCG Chemicals but also other plastic pellet producers to engage in self-inspection and feel the need to improve themselves.”
Mr. Somchai Montburinont
Deputy Governor (Technical Affairs), Provincial Waterworks Authority
“I am proud. This project will be Thailand’s first pipeline installation project that features such a large and long submarine pipeline, and more projects like this will be initiated.