A Canadian producer of hybrid-plastic, high-pressure pipe plans to build a new facility to supply Alberta's oil industry.
ProFlex Pipe Corp. expects to invest about C$15 million (US$10.5 million) in the plant and equipment, according to ProFlex President Donald Wolfe. He did not reveal equipment suppliers for the new plant.
Wolfe's firm has been producing flexible, high-pressure pipe for four years in Edmonton, Alberta. ProFlex's pipe is a hybrid of thermoplastics and elastomers reinforced by thermoset composite and can withstand pressures as high as 3,000 pounds per square inch.
The new facility will make pipe used to transport oil from wellheads to central gathering facilities. Steel pipe, now standard in the application, has high failure rates due to corrosion, Wolfe said in a telephone interview. Alberta's oil industry uses about 12,000 miles a year of such feeder pipe, depending on how many wells are drilled.
ProFlex now makes the pipe in diameters of 2 and 6 inches for oil, natural gas and water applications in lengths of 33 feet. ProFlex developed the pipe with help from the University of Alberta. Wolfe did not disclose current annual sales, but he predicts the new facility will generate sales of about C$35 million (US$24.5 million) annually.
Wolfe said potential locations for the facility include Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta. He plans to have it up and running within a year. ProFlex now employs 14, but the new facility could create as many as 260 jobs.
ProFlex will supply pipe in coils that installers can unroll to lay pipe into underground trenches. Coils of 3-inch pipe could contain as much as two miles of pipe, which is designed to withstand temperatures of 170° F down to minus 40° F.
Wolfe said ProFlex pipe starts with extruded thermoplastics such as high density polyethylene, nylon and elastomers. Fiberglass-reinforced composite gives it added strength.
ProFlex is a private company, but has plans to go public in 12-18 months, Wolfe said. Within two years, ProFlex also wants to begin operating a U.S. pipe plant, he added.