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Texas firm making lightweight HDPE pipe

By: Michael Lauzon

November 9, 2012

KILGORE, TEXAS (Nov. 9, 1:45 p.m. ET) — A new reinforced-plastic pipe producer is beginning operations in Kilgore.

Composite Fluid Transfer LLC said it has developed a composite high density polyethylene pipe that is lighter and easier to install than conventional HDPE pipe for transferring water in oil and shale gas fracturing, mining and agriculture.

Composite Fluid’s product is a 10-inch-diameter, multilayer HDPE pipe reinforced with fiberglass, according to a news release issued by Kilgore Economic Development Corp. The company claims the pipe weighs about 80 percent less than conventional HDPE pipe. At a weight of 130 pounds per 30-foot length, it can be installed by two workers. Conventional pipe would weigh 700-800 pounds and require a crane for installation. Composite Fluid is working to patent the new pipe.

“We originally were thinking this would be used in fracking to move water,” said John Blackburn, a company principal, in a news release. “But as we started down that path, we realized there are a lot of other situations where you need to move water, other than just for fracking.”

Composite Fluid spent 15 months developing the pipe. The Kilgore facility is initially employing six. The firm occupied a facility in Longview, Texas, but outgrew it.

“Many of the principal investors work in Kilgore, and we all had a strong desire to support Kilgore,” Blackburn noted.

Kilgore Economic Development supplied $20,000 in incentive reimbursements that helped finish the office space. “We’re expecting as we create more jobs here and grow our business, there would be more incentives,” he added.

A conversation with someone in the water-transfer business led to the idea of the composite pipe, Blackburn said.

“Well, we knew a little about pipes and some about composites, so through a system of trial and error we created this pipe,” he said. “Then we worked on creating a way to connect it together.”

Composite Fluid claims the new pipe performs as well as conventional pipe and is bendable. The company calls its product FiberFlex Composite Pipe.